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Oregon advocates find warm reception on Capitol Hill

Posted by on March 5th, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-11
Oregon bike advocates in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Greg Walden (R-2nd). Left to right: Blane Meier, owner of First City Cycles in Oregon City; Harry Daalgard, Travel Oregon; Brian Potwin, Commute Options, Bend; Rep. Walden; Alison Graves, executive director of Cycle Oregon (seated); Brian Jorgensen, student at Lees-McCrae College; Dr. A.J. Zelada, advocate and former member of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Mike Cosgrove, gravel road riding evangelist from John Day.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland’s coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

Oregon advocates might have the easiest job of any of the state delegations here at the National Bike Summit. No matter which of the seven offices they entered during the annual bike lobby day on Capitol Hill, they were greeted with smiles and support.

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The Oregon delegation wore a modified, Cycle Oregon
inspired version of the ubiquitous bike pin.

But even so, that doesn’t mean that the 20 or so advocates took it easy or let their guard down. On the contrary, they lobbied like true pros. In fact, one main reason Oregon’s congressional representatives are so friendly to cycling is because of the quality of our advocates. This was on display from the first meeting to the last.

The Oregon advocacy team was well-prepared and delivered a persuasive barrage of statistics, poignant personal stories, and examples of successes earned and challenges that remain. Economic development was a big theme; but beyond impressive dollar figures, stories were shared about how bicycling is vital to combating Oregon’s childhood obesity crisis and about the importance of signature projects like the Salmonberry Corridor and the completion of the Historic Columbia River Highway.

To illustrate the importance of projects like the Salmonberry, advocate Stephanie Routh told House Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-1st) how her grandfather’s Tillamook County timber business was decimated years ago and how a new trail could help revitalize forest towns (a topic she shared more about with us back in December).


The big surprise of the day came during a meeting with Greg Walden, the sole Republican in Oregon’s Congressional delegation. Before anyone could even sit down in his office, he asked eagerly, “What’s the route for Cycle Oregon this year?” Turns out he and his wife did a bike-and-barge trip on e-bikes along the coastline of Croatia this past year. Rep. Walden loved it and couldn’t stop singing the praises of bike touring and e-bikes the entire meeting.

Check out more photos below from Oregon’s bike lobbying day on Capitol Hill:

Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-1
Randy Miller (left) and Rob Sadowsky strolling the halls of the Cannon House Office Building.
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-2
Rapha Communications Director Chris Distefano wanted to tell Rep. Bonamici about how his company has brought jobs to her district.
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-4
Miller and Sadowsky in the meeting Rep. Bonamici.
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Jeanette Kloos and Steph Routh.
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Rep. Bonamici shaking hands with Portland resident (and BikePortland Podcast producer) Lilian Karabaic.
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-7
Around the table in Rep. Walden’s office.
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Rep. Walden looking over materials about cycling in Oregon.
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Alison Graves (Cycle Oregon), Mychal Tetteh (Community Cycling Center) and Christopher Delaney (Humans on Bikes) discussing strategy outside Sen. Merkley’s office.
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Pre-meeting hall traffic outside Sen. Merkley’s office.
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Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten shared stories about impending development at Intel and Nike and how company leaders want more employees to commute by bike.
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Brian Potwin and Christopher Delaney. It was Delaney’s first-ever time on the Hill. “I love it!” he told me, “This [advocate for something he loves] is what I want to do with my life!”
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-18
Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh did a stellar job leading the Merkley meeting.
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-19
Sen. Merkley has that powerful combination of genuine warmth and sharp intelligence.

— Hope you are enjoying my coverage from D.C. See the rest of it here.

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Comments
  • schrammalama March 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Go Dr. Z! He’s also a bikeportland.org advertiser, “See betr here”, and the man behind Fremont Family Vision.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • rob March 5, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    First nonnegative report I’ve heard regarding Walden on any issue. Don’t know that I’ve ever felt represented by him on anything.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

    • Todd Hudson March 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

      I’m glad to see our only Republican is useful for at least one thing. Hopefully he stays off the anti-bike infrastructure bandwagon….

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Paul Pastor March 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    Thanks for the update. It’s good to be represented by such a stellar group of people. Go advocates!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • IanC March 6, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Ah, Walden. John Boehner henchman extraordinaire!

    He probably loves the dollars CycleOregon brings to desperate villages in Eastern Oregon, but can never look to cozy with those Liberal bottom feeders advocating “Active Transportation” “Mass Transit” “Health” and a “Clean Environment”.

    Proof is in the pudding – Watch how Walden votes, not how he smiles.

    Cynically yours,

    IanC

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • erin g. March 7, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Great to see these OR advocates on The Hill! Glad groups like CCC are making a diversity push, such as exhibited in recent Board decisions, so that in future years, an even more diverse representation of Oregon’s deep, hard-working advocacy community may be represented. Keep up the leading work, all.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jeff March 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I’d love to get one of those pins

    Recommended Thumb up 0

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