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Portland will allow two shared, electric scooter companies to launch as early as this week, according to an announcement from the city’s Bureau of Transportation Wednesday.

Bird and Skip have been issued temporary permits in Portland as part of a scooter pilot program running through Nov. 20. Up to 2,500 total scooters will be allowed on Portland streets under the pilot.

Oregon state law requires riders to wear helmets and forbids them from riding on sidewalks. Bird and Skip will be required to educate riders about the rules of the road as part of the pilot. Additional companies that qualify will be allowed to launch in Portland in the coming weeks, according to the city.

Electric scooters were ushered into Portland with a bit of Twitter drama Wednesday, first spotted by The Oregonian. The official account for the Portland Bureau of Transportation suggested that shared, electric scooters were “toys that tech bros leave lazily strewn about, blocking corner ramps needed for people with disabilities.”

The tweet was met with swift opposition online. “This attitude toward a service is appalling,” responded one Twitter user. “Many Portlanders are excited about these and they have as much right to use it … as cars, bikes and other transit.”  The bureau later walked back the tweet.

Free-floating shared scooters have taken off in cities around the country, to mixed reviews. Many view the industry as a badly needed alternative form of transportation in congested cities while other see the scooters as a hazardous blight on public spaces. As the PBOT dust-up shows, municipal governments are still coming to grips with the impacts scooter sharing will have.

“This is a rapidly changing industry, and we wanted to be flexible and nimble in setting up this pilot,” Portland’s interim transportation director, Chris Warner, said in a statement.

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