Oregon Walks

‘Sidewalk closed’: Portlanders fend for themselves amid building boom

by on October 23rd, 2015 at 8:46 am

brian rod
Rod Yoder, left, and Brian Davis are both looking for long-term solutions.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Portland’s official policy is that when push comes to shove, making it safe and efficient to walk is a higher priority than making it safe and efficient to bike, which is a higher priority than making it safe and efficient to drive.

So why is it that when construction closes part of a street, sidewalks are so often the first to go?

On Thursday, a local engineering consultant led a walk through downtown Portland to show that it doesn’t have to work this way.


Local traffic victims’ families will band together to form new voice for safety

by on October 6th, 2015 at 10:00 am

kristi finney families for safe streets

Kristi Finney talks to fellow safety advocates Monday to plan the launch of Oregon and Southwest Washington Families for Safe Streets.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A group of people who’ve lost family members on Portland-area streets has seen the success of their peers in New York City and is preparing to launch a similar organization here.

“I really am interested in behavior change, cultural change.”
— Kristi Finney

If you know anyone who has lost loved ones to traffic — whether the victim was walking, biking or driving — Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets is building its network in advance of a planned Nov. 15 launch.

Families for Safe Streets has been a key force behind New York’s rapid adoption of a Vision Zero policy that prioritizes traffic safety over traffic speed. This spring, NYC transportation advocate Paul Steely White told us he’d “never seen a campaign have so much influence over elected officials in such a sort time.”


After two deaths this month, advocates want stronger Vision Zero commitment from City Hall

by on June 16th, 2015 at 11:59 am


Portland based walking advocacy group Oregon Walks has just released a statement following the death of two innocent people in the past two weeks — Thomas Gazzola and George Carlson — who were killed while walking on local streets.

Their statement, which is co-signed by 10 partner organizations and one individual (see full list below*), directly calls out Portland Mayor Charlie Hales saying, “We need action now… we must take bold steps immediately to protect those who walk on our street.” (more…)

State will conduct safety audit of Barbur and formally weigh road redesign

by on May 26th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

barbur curve looking north
Typical midday traffic approaching a curve in Barbur Boulevard from the south.
(Image: Google Street View.)

Four months after saying it had no plans to do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation will formally consider the possibility of new changes to a two-mile stretch of Barbur Bouelvard where six people have died in cars, on motorcycles and on foot in the last six years.


Bike/walk advocates unveil plan for Oregon to zero out road deaths

by on March 31st, 2015 at 2:54 pm

vz cover
The cover of the new report.

Two Portland-based advocacy organizations have released Oregon’s first detailed proposal for a “Vision Zero” policy that they say could completely eliminate road deaths and serious injuries.

The plan from Oregon Walks and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance describes itself as “A Unifying Vision for Street Safety for Oregon.”

The two groups assembled the report with input from officials at various government agencies, including the City of Portland and Oregon Department of Transportation. It’s the first big component of a coordinated campaign by the two organizations, part of a national effort to spread the Vision Zero concept.

What’s inside? Maybe the most significant ingredient here is the five-page list of specific recommendations at the end. Here are nine particularly interesting selections from that list.


Oregon Walks celebrates Vision Zero plan and honors livable-streets visionaries

by on November 24th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

lake crowd
Metro active transportation planner Lake McTighe, center, at Oregon Walks’ annual fundraising dinner and awards.
(Photos: Nina Johnson for Oregon Walks)

After a significant grant victory that’ll see the group partnering with biking advocates to advance street safety plans across the state, Oregon’s largest walking advocacy group had plenty to celebrate Saturday.

As it heads into the first year with a new executive director, Oregon Walks toasted its supporters, members and other advocates for ambling at the group’s annual Weston Awards.


Five Walktober ambles worth checking out

by on October 8th, 2014 at 9:58 am

In the 2012 Situationist Walk, attendees concocted
bizarre rules to govern their own behavior as they
strolled through Southeast Portland.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

Portland’s annual three-week festival of fun on foot, inspired by PedalPalooza, has its first big burst of action this Saturday.

Walktober is run by advocacy group Oregon Walks. Like PedalPalooza, anyone can create an event online; the most interesting will survive.

With lots of good contenders for people interested in exploring, learning more about the city or just sampling many kinds of beer without worrying about the bike home, we thought we’d pull a few highlights from this month’s calendar of walking events.


Biking and walking groups endorse ‘driver cards’ for undocumented immigrants

by on October 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am

A student driver in Washington, where citizenship status
isn’t required for state driving tests.
(Photo: Joint Base Lewis McChord)

Nonprofits that support road safety are backing a November ballot issue that would allow people who came to Oregon illegally to once again take driving tests and buy car insurance.

A public “yes” vote on Measure 88 would let undocumented Oregon residents get “driver’s cards” that let them drive legally, essentially restoring the system that was in place before 2007.

It’s not clear how many Oregon residents are now driving despite not having legal immigration status or licenses, but the number is almost certainly in the many thousands.


Leading the march: 10 questions for Noel Mickelberry of Oregon Walks

by on July 7th, 2014 at 5:16 pm

noel 320
Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry.
(Photo courtesy Oregon Walks)

Few local nonprofits have changed more in the last few years than Oregon’s main walking advocacy group.

Since 2010, Oregon Walks has renamed itself, relocated its tiny office, passed most of its board seats to new volunteers and shifted its strategy away from direct oversight of local government and toward grant-funded partnerships with other community organizations.

When Executive Director Noel Mickelberry took the reins Monday morning, the group’s transition was complete. We caught up with Mickelberry, 26, as she prepared to start the 24-hour-a-week job to talk about the differences between walking and biking advocacy and the new vision she’s been hired to execute.


Novick wants $1 million from general fund for beacons at 15 crosswalks

by on April 18th, 2014 at 12:51 pm

An active warning beacon in North Portland.
(Photo: City of Portland)

The City of Portland’s general fund has a few million dollars to spare, and Commissioner Steve Novick is mounting an unusual campaign to spend some of it on safer street crossings.

In a city where you’re twice as likely to die from traffic as from homicide, Novick and other backers say making roads safer is the most cost-effective way to improve public safety.

In an interview Friday, Novick called out a few police operations in particular as having lower returns on investment.