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Bikes help local non-profit “Take Back the Night”

Posted by on April 25th, 2008 at 11:55 am

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About 100 riders assembled at Colonel
Summers Park for Bike Back the Night.
More photos here – (Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Women’s Crisis Line — a non-profit that helps victims of sexual violence — held their first annual Bike Back the Night ride last night.

The name of the ride is a spin-off of the more well-known Take Back the Night — an event observed nationwide which is part of a movement to end sexual abuse.

“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we wanted to do something that was both very visible and would help bring people to our rally and event at PSU [Portland State University],” said sexual assault advocate and one of the event’s organizers Ledena Mattox.

Mattox added that she did a similar event on foot last year and that she wanted to do something on bikes because so many of her group’s clients and volunteers already ride.

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The riders strung out along the Waterfront.
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The ride met at Colonel Summers Park in Southeast Portland where participants were treated to a lovely buffet of donuts, pastries, coffee and cookies. Mechanics from Bike N’ Hike and PSU were on hand tuning-up bikes and a volunteer from the Community Cycling Center handed out free front and rear bike lights as part of their “Get Lit” program.

City Council candidate Jeff Bissonnette was there (check him out). I enjoyed meeting him again and I was able to introduce him to a few friends. (After the ride, my family and I met up with Bissonnette again as we rode up the bike lane on N. Williams Ave.)

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The happy crew of volunteers and organizers.
(Notice their nifty “Bike Back the Night” patches.)

After a few statements by Mattox, executive eirector of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, Rebecca Peatow Nickels, and PWCL program coordinator Lyndi Burton, a line of people on bikes that numbered close to 100 set off for a ride through Southeast Portland.

We rolled out over the Hawthorne Bridge, through downtown (past the new bike box at Broadway and Taylor) and onto the South Park Blocks, where a rally (that included an awesome performance by the Sprockettes!) was held in front of the Smith Student Union on the campus of Portland State University.

Along the way, volunteers held up signs in support of the cause — like this one that read, “You are creating change right now.”

The ride was a major success and it might not have happened without the inspiration of Shift. “I was on their website,” said Mattox, “and it said anybody can organize a bike event. So I thought, I’m anybody, let’s do it!”

See more photos from the ride in my Bike Back the Night Photo Gallery.

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Comments
  • Linda April 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Thank you so much for being there everyone! It was a wonderful ride to watch (I was the one with the little girl on the sidelines cheering you all on)!

    I hope that there are more opportunities for the Portland bike community and the Portland Women\’s Crisis Line to raise awareness together!

    Linda Miles
    Development Director
    PWCL
    Confidential 24/7 Domestic & Sexual Violence Crisis Line 503-235-5333
    Online advocacy: support@pwcl.org

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  • Lyndi April 25, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you to everyone who came out last night for Bike Back the Night! What a magical ride. Thank you also to bikeportland.org for the great article and all of the pics.

    Lyndi Burton
    Sexual Assault Program Coordinator
    Portland Women\’s Crisis Line
    Crisis Line: 503-939-4464

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  • gabriel amadeus April 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    This is so rad! Congrats on the big turnout.

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  • Aaron April 25, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    This is a beautiful statement and my thanks goes out to Peatow and everyone who helped her to make this event happen. I hope that many more people have an awareness of this issue now.
    Congratulations!

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  • John Russell April 25, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    Speaking of new bike boxes, might there be a way to make a special page on the site that shows the locations of the bike boxes as they go in? Something like the Google Maps mash-up that shows bike shops in the area, perhaps?

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  • Ledena Mattox April 26, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Hi Everybody,

    Many thanks to all of the volunteers and people who came out for the ride (and it didn\’t rain!). If anyone wants to get involved with our organization please be sure to check out http://www.pwcl.org. There are lots of ways to volunteer (and of course we\’ll be doing this ride next year).

    Also, I wanted to say a special Thanks to Timo Forsberg and Janis McDonald from the office of Transportation Options. They were a big help and encouraged me right from the get go with this idea. Thanks!

    Ledena Mattox
    Sexual Assault Advocate
    Portland Women\’s Crisis Line

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  • halle April 26, 2008 at 8:46 am

    Bike Back The Night was rad! It was great to see people coming together to support bike culture and ending sexual violence! Thanks so much to Ledena Mattox for all her hard work and inspiration for this awesome event.

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