Portlandians this week are wondering what kind of fool would vandalize more than 200 bikes from the progressive city’s bike-share program.
But what’s even better is the community has sprung into action to do something about it.
A day after the Portland Bureau of Transportation reported the act of what purports to be anti-corporate vandalism to its BIKETOWN bike-share system, several bike shops and mechanics volunteered to fix the bikes and get them rolling again. By Wednesday morning, about a dozen bikes were restored to service, agency spokesman Dylan Rivera said in an email.
“All Portlanders should be saddened and outraged by this senseless act of vandalism,” City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT, said in a statement detailing the vandalism.
Rivera said there is no cost estimate for the damage. A police investigation is underway.
Portland – oft lampooned (with love) as the hipster’s promised land — opened its bike-share last July to expand biking and promote a mode of transportation that’s both healthy and clean. The program got going with a sponsorship pledge of $10 million over five years from the sports gear giant Nike, which is headquartered nearby and whose iconic swoosh appears as part of the bike-share’s logo. The program has more than 2,745 members and served more than 45,542 riders, city officials said. BikePortland.org says the bikes have been the target of intermittent vandalism since the program opened.
On Tuesday morning, though, city officials discovered that many bikes had been purposely damaged– their seats and tires slashed, their wheels spokes broken. The stations also were messed up: control screens on the bikes had been marred with graffiti, as had informational signage and the electronic kiosks used to check out bikes. BikePortland reported that at least 12 locations had been hit.
The vandals also left anti-corporate calling cards saying, “THIS BIKETOWN IS NOW CLOSED. OUR CITY IS NOT A CORPORATE AMUSEMENT PARK.” Whatever that means. I think we’re supposed to be impressed that they call themselves the “Rose City Saboteurs.” Turns out they have a logo, too.
City officials didn’t have time to bother with whatever message the vandals were trying to send. Motivate Inc., the bike-share’s New York-based contractor, put its local staff to work right away making repairs, Rivera said. He said offers of help also came from several local merchants, including Chris King Components, Sellwood Cycles, various wheel builders and bike mechanics.
“We can’t know what was in their heads,” Leah Treat, director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation said in a statement.
But others have already shown that altruism is the best anti-corporate message.
Read more of Tripping:
–This post has been updated to correct BikePortland’s URL and photo credit.