Thank you Chloe Eudaly for your leadership on Vision Zero

30 April 2019

Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 210
Portland, OR 97204

Dear Commissioner Eudaly:

Portland is a city that moves deliberately, and with good reason. We value public process, so that each voice can be heard, each perspective considered. We value planning, so we can anticipate every impact, make the most of every project. We value careful action, so our projects are delivered on time and under budget. Portland is a city well-known for delivering great projects, a reputation it deserves.

But when we are in a crisis, leaders need another playbook. Vision Zero is such a crisis. When a growing number of people are dying on our streets, when those people are disproportionately the most vulnerable among us, when the magnitude of the problem is overwhelming – then what we need is not only carefully planned projects, but immediate, proportional action. Leaders must sometimes put aside high-level processes and instead work at the most basic level of human compassion. They must show us that we are a city that not only can plan for collective benefit, but one that can intervene to protect its most vulnerable citizens.

At a memorial in response to Lori Woodard’s death, you recognized the work and deliberate progress we have made on Vision Zero: “Portland was one of the first cities in the country to adopt the Vision Zero pledge to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries. Through our commitment to this vision, we have built safer roads, worked with communities to share our commitment to safety, and addressed impaired driving.” Business for a Better Portland shares this commitment, and urged City Council to adopt the Vision Zero Action Plan in 2016. However, you also recognized that this work is not enough, that it is “time to do more of this work and to do it faster”. Furthermore, you backed these words up with immediate action, unveiling a new Crash Response Protocol which represents a totally new type of playbook that can be deployed immediately to intervene and save lives.

Your words and actions are a breath of fresh air. You have shown us that during a crisis, our leaders can act decisively and with compassion. This style of leadership is so rare that I felt I simply must call it out. Because we will need more leadership like this. So much more. As our region turns not only to eliminate traffic deaths, but to finally confront the impending crisis of climate change, we will need leaders who can sometimes put aside projects and planning, and instead take bold steps to embrace and protect our most vulnerable.

Thank you,

William Henderson
Founding Board Member
Business For A Better Portland

cc: Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Nick Fish, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty