Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on April 5th, 2011 at 1:14 pm
A week may have already passed since the Oregon Active Transportation Summit down in Salem, but our news intern Patrick Croasdaile and I still have notes and photos to share. Of particular note was Patrick's experience at the big "Lobby Day" on Wednesday.
Organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Lobby Day consisted of dozens of scheduled meetings between transportation advocates and state legislators. Patrick tagged along with a trio of advocates from the Community Cycling Center.
For a glimpse into the action, see his photos and notes below...
"For my own part, I was incredibly interested to see what legislators thought about walking and biking as solutions to reducing our health care costs and increasing the livability of our communities across the state."
"I managed to catch up with Mychal, Laura, and Alison [from the CCC] after their first set of meetings. Laura was particularly impressed with how open to suggestions Chip Shields was. I got the impression from the rest of those assembled that advocates from Portland were making good headway with their representatives. Ted Bubhler was high-fiving anyone who had just talked to a representative for the first time. “Thank you for participating!” he chirped at each clap of hands."
"Rep. Buckley is confident that the health care benefits of walking and biking will speak loud and clear in Salem, especially in light of the budget presented by Gov. Kitzhaber. According to Buckley, health care is a primary consideration in the governor’s budget. Kitzhaber understands that health care costs are likely to rise significantly in the near future, and as Buckley puts it, "if state legislators continue to put health care considerations by the wayside, our budget collapses." The solution is raising awareness to the health care savings associated with active transportation increasing health equity. Mr. Buckley pointed to the success of Ashland Public School district’s implementation of a wellness program, which over the past year reduced employee health care costs by 18% through encouraging its faculty and staff to pursue more active lifestyles."
"The conversation diverged from mere pleasantries when advocates began discussing Ms. Kotek’s support for the Columbia River Crossing. Buehler and Kotek were in complete disagreement regarding the definition of the bridge’s lane capacity... in conversations after the meeting, I was informed that a large number of Ms. Kotek’s constituents disagree with her handling of the issue. But Rep. Kotek is staunch in her belief that the CRC will generate significant economic activity in light of the projects hefty price tag... Kotek wasn’t touching on the fact that there is still a considerable amount of start-up capital to be generated by Oregon taxpayers that is seemingly disproportionate to the intended user of the CRC."
Center pauses for a portrait.
"By the day’s end, I had visited with four representatives from around the state (Portland, West Linn, Ashland, and Woodburn), and was left with a positive outlook on how our Oregon’s legislature responds to the active transportation lobby."
Thanks for sharing your experience with us Patrick, and thanks to all the advocates who participated in the lobbying day.
— Browse more of our coverage from the 2011 Oregon Active Transportation Summit here.