Posts Tagged ‘Portlandia’

Some numbers to start your day and it’s not pretty.

The coronavirus pandemic, social unrest, and a scarred economy has created a tipping sentiment toward many jobs NOT coming back.

According to a Harley-Davidson press release, “The ReWire” strategy will now eliminate 700 positions globally of which 500 of the layoffs will occur this year. It will result in a $50 million restructuring charge in 2020, including $42 million in the second quarter. According to new Chief Executive Jochen Zeitz, getting the company on “a path to winning” also includes CFO John Olin leaving the company effective immediately.

Flashback – remember this abrupt CFO departure in 2009?

Some news outlets have reported Mr. Olin’s departure as a “retirement,” but color me skeptical since most retirements have a longer celebratory departure than immediately exit through the door. The current VP Treasurer, Darrell Thomas assumed duties as interim CFO until a successor is appointed.

I’m not sure why, but the CEO press release declaration of “a path to winning” reminded me of that time Charlie Sheen was winning HERE … maybe I just needed some humor?!

Harley-Davidson is not alone on the layoffs.  Below are just a few of the latest examples:

  • Macy’s announced it would lay off about 3,900 and shutter stores
  • AT&T will lay off 3,400 and shut down more than 250 stores.
  • Hilton Hotels announced it would lay off 2,100 corporate employees amounting to 22% of its corporate workforce.
  • Chevron announced it will cut 10% – 15% of its 45,000 global workforce.
  • Boeing announced it would lay off nearly 7,000 employees.
  • Uber announced it is cutting 3,700 jobs (14% of its workforce), then a month later announced they will cut 3,000 additional jobs and close 45 offices.
  • Airbnb announced it is laying off about 25% of its workforce, or 1,900 employees.
  • Virgin Atlantic (now part of Alaska Airlines) announced it would cut 3,150 jobs.
  • Hertz plans to lay off 10,000 employees.
  • Under Armour announced that it will lay off about 6,700 employees.
  • United Airlines will send layoff warnings to 36,000 employees — nearly half its U.S. staff.
  • ZipRecruiter laid off 443 employees.
  • GE announced it will be reducing approximately 10% of its aviation unit’s workforce, amounting to about 2,500 employees.
  • Cirque du Soleil announced it is laying off 95% of its 4,679 person staff.

You get the point.  Sadly, a lot of employees are expected to exit various organizations. In fact, since February, about 4.6 million Americans have stopped actively looking for work, and another 2.2 million are unemployed NOT on layoff.

And, then there are those companies that have taken an extremely tacky and classless route of laying off employees via Zoom.  Looking at you Bird, the electric scooter company, who laid off 30% of its staff via a 2-minute Zoom call.

Talk about a Nobel Prize-winning way to “Put a Bird on It” — From the “Portlandia” TV show.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson, Great Art and IMDb.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Motorcycle parked between the “sidewalk” proper and a building (Japan)

This is the kind of culture we live in. One of selfishness.

It’s a country where what I do counts and I’m not even thinking about you. Global warming? Income inequality? The big issues don’t matter, I’m entitled to live my life how I want and if someone else suffers… well, that’s your issue.

Or is it?

If you drive around downtown Portland, you already know how difficult it is to find street parking.  In fact, you’ll barely see a spot through all the SUVs in the parking lots.  As a result, we see everything from the tiny moped to the biggest Harley-Davidson cruiser taking up space on the sidewalk.

So, what is it about motorcyclists psychology that we feel “entitled” to park our motorcycles on the sidewalk?

There are a large number of non-riding people out there who when they see motorcycles parked on the sidewalk their first thought is “what a total selfish douche”.  It’s a similar reaction to how some see lane splitting…you are cutting the line, getting ahead of them, doing something others cannot. It’s unfair to them.  It’s highly unlikely they are thinking, “what a considerate individual, leaving parking spaces for the rest of us and our SUVs.”  It simply doesn’t dawn on them that we’re leaving more open spaces for automobiles.


Motorcycles parked between “sidewalk” proper and building (Belmont area)

When it comes to parking a motorized two-wheeler in Portland, it might look like anything goes as scooters and larger motorcycles have become more popular and are an easy way of getting around the city.  Sometimes there isn’t street parking or when there is, the kinder motorcyclist would rather not use up street spaces and risk angry cagers ramming their bike or backing into it when parallel parking.  I’ve even heard of people getting their scooters or motorcycles moved by people wanting to take their parking places!  In fact, in Seattle it became such an issue they created legislation that made moving scooters illegal. Click HERE to read more about the legislation.

And speaking of legislation, the Oregon House looks well on its way to passing HB 2963.  It’s legislation that allows Portland and other cities to consider stricter sidewalk regulations.  The area of focus is on a sit-lie ordinance – prohibiting sitting and lying on the sidewalk, but f the new ordinance passes it will bring increased law enforcement scrutiny to cities sidewalks and sidewalk parking.

I decided to go to “the people who keep Portland moving”, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and ask the questions:

Q: Are motorcycles allowed to park on sidewalks?
A: Not in Portland.  Sidewalks and the side walk between the curb and property line, whether paved or unpaved, are for pedestrians.  Click HERE for more information.

Q: Yeah, but what about that unused part between the sidewalk proper, and a building? Often places put tables and chairs there if it’s a coffee shop and often is paved. Again it is not the “proper sidewalk” but space between it and the building. If up against the building, are you OK since that is not the sidewalk but private property?
A: No.

Q: Can you park in that strip between the sidewalk and the street? That strip that has the utility poles, squares cut out for trees, and bicycle racks?
A: No


Sidewalk being used by Portland Motorcycle Police to ticket.

Q: Can a motorcycle be parked at a bicycle rack if you chain it to the rack?
A: No

And since were talking about parking, have you heard about Portlandia’s war on civility?  Busybody do-gooders running around town with the goal to promote civil values of mutual respect, personal responsibility, compassion, tolerance and adherence to the rule of law.  They are out there to remind us lest we forget.  I don’t know about you, but the last time I walked on SW 3rd Ave., from Stumptown I saw what looked like a dope deal, a shouting match at the bus stop over a grocery cart and another couple nearly break-out into a fist fight over what, I’m not sure and all the cussing was just a bonus.  But the icing on the cake was the “Urban-Outdoorsman” urinating in some business doorway while giving me that “do you mind look”.

Yeah, I missed a couple opportunities to raise my civility score, but it’s not my war.

At this point you might be asking yourself; “so, where’s the advice for those of us who plan to park on the sidewalk”.  Again, parking any motor vehicle on city sidewalks is unlawful and subject to ticketing and towing… But, it seems that in Portland enforcement is spotty.  The “ticket people” will more often leave motorcycles and scooters alone, if they’re parked “correctly” and no one complains…

“Correctly” as I’ve defined means it’s an art, always risky and not a science.  Here are a few tips that I’ve “heard” about:

Tip #1 – “Make It Short”
The longer you park in any one spot, the more likely you are to get a ticket. The longer you intend to be there, the better the sidewalk spot needs to be. If you can’t find a decent spot near where you’re going, then settle for an out of the way mailbox, street sign or lamp post.

Tip #2 – “Be Stealthy”
The more visible you are, the more likely you are to get a ticket. Don’t park on the sidewalk during “no parking” times, or someplace where the sign says “no standing” (Although I’ve seen people park in “Commercial Parking Only” streets on the sidewalk during the day…)  It’s been suggested to find a spot where a parked car hides your bike from being visible from the street. But try not to get in anyone’s way – make sure you’re not blocking access to a car door or to an entrance, etc.

Tip #3 – “Motorbike Lockdown”
One benefit to sidewalk parking is that you can chain it to something immovable. Street signs are okay, but a lamp post or mailbox are better.  The ticket people are unlikely to pull up a street sign to tow your bike, but a thief might.  Use a heavy duty chain.   On a side note, I’ve seen bikes parked (“legally”, between cars) on the street near a street sign locked up with a cable. This is not a bad idea either, but you need a longer chain or cable than most.

Tip #4 – “Missing License Plate”
A sketchy thing that the more aggressive sidewalk parkers attempt…  if you’re parking and chaining on the sidewalk anyway, some people take their license plates with them. You can stick velcro on your license plate mount and just take it with you when you go. A side benefit of that is, no one will be able to steal your plate!  However, the VIN number is usually accessible and an annoyed ticket person (with nothing but a lot of time) might ticket your VIN number. Sure there are things you could do to hide the VIN number – like a good bit of grease smeared on the VIN plate to make it unreadable, but this aggressive action is a slippery slope.

I’m not guiltless in trying out the sidewalk, but these days I most often park in designated vehicle places.

Teal motorcycle photo taken by author in Japan; Motorcycle parked on sidewalk (Belmont area) photo courtesy of Wikimedia; LEO on Sidewalk courtesy of KATU.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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At Rose City Thunder - 2003

Rose City Thunder – 2003

There were angry and vocal protests to Mayor Vera Katz.  Two appeals were filed seeking a venue change prior to the event.  There were appeals to the city Noise Review Board.  Police were a little edgy.

I’m talking about the Rose City Thunder.

It’s coming up on the 10th Anniversary of the most legendary and controversial motorcycle event in the city’s history.  Portlandia was one of only four cities in the U.S. chosen for the “Ride Home” tour.  And it all happened in the lazy dog days of summer in 2003 in the South Park blocks.  In celebration of Harley’s 100th Anniversary, the motor company and local dealer, Destination (now Paradise) H-D in Tigard sponsored the event with the purpose to send riders off in colorful fashion to the “Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary Ride Home“.

After more than two months of controversy, a unanimous City Council vote along with assists from Harley supporters and the downtown business establishment,  the kickoff party for Harley-Davidson’s 100th anniversary was a go on Friday, August 15, 2003.  There were loud exhausts, public address systems, and rows of the famous “honey buckets” (portable toilets).  Organizers estimated 15,000 visitors, plus 2,000 motorcycles attended pumping an estimated $1.5 million into Portland’s economy.

To be sure, there were inconveniences to downtown residents by streets that were closed, as well as the beer gardens, food, merchandise vendors, live music, motorcycles, and the associated crowds and, teeth-chattering rumble of the hogs’.  The South Park Blocks area residents were not impressed and could give two shakes of a unicorn’s tail that the involved bikers were well behaved and left a lot of their money in the city.

None the less, streets were filled with Milwaukee iron, chaps, bandanas, tattoos and ‘If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand’ t-shirts.  Even the Oregon Lottery got involved with a Harley-Davidson Scratch-It campaign and where a Madras man won a motorcycle.

The Portland event was a lead up to the great trek back to Wisconsin and as it turns out the atmosphere in the Park Blocks on that weekend were surprisingly mellow.  Participants were low-key, drank their refreshments and moved about the event in an orderly fashion.

The so called “incensed residents” returned to their usual way of life when the last Harley departed downtown, but continued to grit their teeth and fight another day on the great Fluoride debate of 2013!

Photo taken by the author.

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A bowl hair cut, peering eyes and scores of people running all around nervous and looking exhausted.

And you thought the title reference was about Justin Bieber’s 105 minutes of fame adolescent screams where he tries to prove he’s just a regular guy in 3D!

Glock Model 22

Unfortunately, I’m talking about the recovery rate of weapons stolen from or lost by law enforcement.

There it was in my inbox… a newsflash from Oregon State Police — an OSP detective conducting a follow up investigation who went into a unisex restroom at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and placed their handgun (a Glock model 22(Black)) in its holster inside the restroom.  The detective left the restroom without the holstered handgun, but didn’t notice it missing until after leaving the hospital.


If we lived in South Africa no one would even take note of this incident.  According to this report, the police in that country lost more than 3,000 firearms in 2010.  So many in fact, that the police have wittingly or unwittingly become a major supplier of weapons to the country’s criminal underworld.

So, I won’t get my panties in a bunch, because I know mistakes happen.   You may even remember back in 2000 a Gresham policeman had 4 guns, including a MP-5 machine gun stolen from his home.  He was a member of the department’s Special Emergency Response Team who was allowed to keep automatic weapons and the thieves targeted his place.  They were caught.

Timing is everything and it’s not been a stellar start in the new year for law enforcement.  We have this lost gun/rest room incident.  Add to that the 16-year veteran police lieutenant from Redmond (Larry Prince) arrested in Coos Bay accused of selling firearms and other stolen items while he ran the armory.  And then we have the 3 deadly encounters between military vets and law enforcement over the last 5 months.  Anthony McDowell.  Thomas Higginbotham.  Nikkolas Lookabill.

Not to be influenced, the ever thinner Oregonian thought it was perfect timing for a pro-law enforcement editorial proclaiming that the time has come to admit that “we” made a mistake in 1980 and for the public to fix it… by voting for a constitutional amendment to restore primary funding of the state police to the gas tax.  If approved in November it would redirect $93M in gas taxes to fund OSP patrols over the next two years.  Most ballsy given all the negative news on law enforcement!  I half expect Portlandia‘s dreamy and absurd major Sam Adams to hold a press briefing any moment to announce a ban on high-capacity magazines and proclaim how that will prevent crime from ever happening again.

Here’s, my question… would any of that $93M go toward training officers or is this all about a ‘show of force’ with a bunch more shiny new “radar’ed up” Dodge Chargers and officers decked out in SWAT attire looking to pull over motorcyclists doing 7MPH over the speed limit in rural Baker County?  Yeah, I’m still bitter about that one!  How is it funded after year two?  Is it always an ever increasing burden on the few(er) employed people in the state to fund rising costs for PERS, health plans, benefits, etc.,?  Does this make sense to claim there is 365x24x7 coverage in remote parts of the state?

But I’ve really gotten off track now and will step down from the soap box.

If you find the missing gun you are encouraged to contact Sgt. Jon Harrington at: 503.731.3020 ext. 258.

Photo courtesy of Glock.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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