Safety and Climate Justice for Hawthorne Boulevard

This summer, PBOT is repaving and redesigning Hawthorne Boulevard from 24th to 50th Ave. Nearby residents and local businesses strongly supported the opportunity to add protected bike lanes and make dramatic safety improvements for pedestrians, but PBOT instead chose to keep the same deadly design that killed 15-year-old Fallon Smart in 2016—and lied about racial equity and climate justice to manufacture consent for that decision.

We're going to sue PBOT for failure to comply with multiple Council-adopted city plans and policies (the 2030 Bicycle Plan, the Transportation System Plan, the 2015 Climate Action Plan, the Climate Action Through Equity Plan, and the Vision Zero Action Plan) and their failure to make our community's main street more safe, equitable, and climate-resilient. All we're seeking is for them to reverse their decision and build the safer design with protected bike lanes that was unduly scrapped.

Protected bike lanes allow people of all ages and abilities (including kids and the elderly) to safely ride bikes, and make the street safer for pedestrians by getting bikes off the sidewalk. They also make streets more equitable  and are great for the environment .

Public agencies need to be held accountable. While ODOT attempts to widen a freeway  and pretends it’s good for the environment (and is now being sued for their deception!), PBOT is attempting to keep Hawthorne a deadly neighborhood freeway—and also pretends it’s good for the environment.

We cannot allow this greenwashing to continue. By holding PBOT accountable for complying with our city's policies and plans, we’ll ensure that they don’t use the same deceptive tactics to avoid making essential safety improvements on other streets in the future.

In addition to improving Hawthorne, this lawsuit will also serve as an example to cities all over the world that designing streets for racial equity and environmental justice is not optional, and that—when necessary—legal action can hold agencies responsible for doing the right thing.

Thirty years ago, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (now The Street Trust) sued Portland for not building bike lanes—and won. We can do it again in 2021.

Here’s how you can help

Hiring a lawyer is expensive, and we can’t do it without your help. We know several lawyers who are interested in pursuing this case, but funds are needed to bring them on. 100% of money raised will go towards legal fees.

Please consider donating $1, $10, $25, $1,000, or any amount you can to help us achieve our goal and make sure Hawthorne is safer, more equitable, and more climate-resilient for years to come—and that PBOT is held accountable for designing our streets for the future.

Edit: For transparency, I want to clarify that if the funding goal is not met or we don't raise enough money to bring suit for some reason, we'll refund all donations right away.

If you have any questions or want to get in touch for any reason at all, you can either click "contact" below or email me, Zach, at [email redacted].

Thank you so much! ❤️

- Zach & the Healthier Hawthorne team

PS: Check out this video we made of why people want protected bike lanes on Hawthorne:

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Zach Katz
Portland, OR

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