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How Travel Oregon has responded to spate of bicycle collisions

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

“Travel Oregon is deeply saddened by the recent bicycle tragedies on Oregon roads, and they have served to elevate our attention and concern.”

While Oregon’s highways are under the official jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, they’ve also become a key asset in our state’s burgeoning bicycle-based tourism economy — and that means the Oregon Tourism Commission/Travel Oregon also has in interest in how they’re managed.

For years now, exploring Oregon’s rural roads by bike has been a cornerstone of Travel Oregon’s marketing strategy. They’ve invested in advertisements, created an online guide to the best routes, and they’ve partnered with the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department to help promote and develop a network of official State Scenic Bikeways program.
(more…)

Travel Oregon adds gravel routes to bicycling portal website

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
rideoregon
Now you have one less excuse to not explore Oregon’s excellent unpaved roads.

RideOregonRide.com, the awesome resource developed by Oregon’s tourism commission Travel Oregon, now includes a handful of the best gravel rides our state has to offer.
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Governor appoints OBRA Director Kenji Sugahara to Tourism Commission

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014
kenjilead
Sugahara spoke out during a community forum
on safety issues on Skyline Blvd in 2011.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber has appointed Kenji Sugahara to a seat on the Oregon Tourism Commission. The nine-member commission, better known by its business name of Travel Oregon, manages the state’s $9.6 billion tourism industry.

Sugahara, 41, lives in West Salem and became the executive director of the 5,000 member Oregon Bicycle Racing Association in 2008. Sugahara is also a member of the Oregon Scenic Bikeway Committee and is a board member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

According to Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson, Sugahara was picked specifically because of his experience with cycling in Oregon (OBRA promotes and sanctions around 400 events annually in every corner of the state). “We are pleased to welcome Kenji to the Oregon Tourism Commission,” Davidson said in an official statement, “the Governor has selected someone who brings not only a cycling perspective to the commission, but experience with rural Oregon, international media and transportation issues.”

Travel Oregon takes cycling seriously in part because a recent study they commissioned showed bicycle-related travel accounts for $400 million in annual economic impacts to the state of Oregon. (more…)

Five bike projects earn Travel Oregon grant awards

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Sandy Ridge loop-5
Tourism grants will help fund everything
from maps to a bike visitor center, to
new off-road cycling trails.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign that bike tourism is taking the state of Oregon by storm, a recent announcement of 11 grant awards from Travel Oregon (officially the Oregon Tourism Commission) worth a total of $120,000 included five bike projects.

From southern Oregon to the Columbia River Gorge, local governments, agencies, and non-profit groups are jumping on board the biking bandwagon and working hard to develop their natural assets into cycling destinations. This latest round of grants were aimed specifically at advancing projects that “improve local economies and communities by enhancing, expanding, and promoting Oregon’s travel and tourism industry.”

We asked Travel Oregon for details on all five bike projects. As you can see below, there are exciting things afoot for cycling all across the state!

Here are brief descriptions of the projects (taken directly from Travel Oregon grant applications):
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Mayor Greg Ballard will bring wisdom from Indianapolis to Portland next month

Friday, June 20th, 2014
ballardbyannis
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
(Photo by Rob Annis)

Though the flow of gawkers from other city governments to Portland may have ebbed a bit, our city still draws its share of leaders from around the country to see our streets in action.

But next month, Cycle Oregon is turning that tradition on its head: at the suggestion of Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller, it’s bringing the mayor of Indianapolis on its 10th annual Policymakers’ Ride (a.k.a. the Visionary Voyage), so one of the country’s bike-friendliest mayors can offer insights to his counterparts here in Portland.

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Dates announced for carfree riding around Crater Lake

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Cycle Oregon Day 3 - Crater Lake!-21.JPG
There’s nothing quite like it… especially without any cars to deal with.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you missed a chance to ride McKenzie Pass without being disturbed by noisy and smelly cars (it was just re-opened to all traffic over the weekend), then I’ve got some great news: Officials from Crater Lake National Park and Travel Oregon just announced this year’s dates for their own version of carfree cycling spectacularness.

This year there will be three different dates when certain sections of Rim Drive will be open only to non-motorized traffic: June 21-22 (this weekend!), Saturday September 20th and Saturday, September 27th.
(more…)

Travel Oregon launches Columbia Gorge Bicycle Trail Survey

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-36
Riding the Historic Highway.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new online survey just launched by Travel Oregon wants to know more about your bicycling experiences in the Columbia River Gorge. With exciting cycling momentum — both on and off road — in the Gorge, state tourism officials now hope to analyze the impacts of recently completed projects as they prep for new ones already in the pipeline.

As we shared back in November, nearly two miles of newly paved cycling paths opened adjacent to I-84, completing the connection between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. That new path is already spurring economic development in Cascade Locks, a small town that is quickly becoming a bicycling epicenter in the Gorge. (more…)

First-ever Oregon Bicycle Adventure Summit set for January 21st

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
Oregon has a lot of backroads and more and
more people are setting out on bikes to discover them.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign of surging interest in endurance, gravel, and adventure riding, a new event dubbed the Oregon Bicycle Adventure Summit will take place in Eugene later this month.

The event is the brainchild of Eugene resident and co-owner of Co-Motion Cycles Dwan Shepard. Shepard, a veteran of Oregon’s bike industry who has been active as a sponsor and participant in rides and races throughout the state for many years, felt it was time to organize the enthusiasm for “gravel grinders“, gran fondos, and rides like the Oregon Outback.
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Bike projects win big with Clackamas County tourism grants

Friday, December 20th, 2013
Biking on and around Mt. Hood will get even better.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Clackamas County Tourism & Cultural Affairs office has announced 10 projects that will split $200,000 in grant funding and seven of the projects support bicycle-related tourism. This news will surely continue the strong momentum for bike tourism in “Mt. Hood Territory” that we reported on back in July.

These tourism development grants are funded through Clackamas County’s 6% lodging tax which was passed by voters in 1992. It applies to all lodging receipts over $15 per day from county hotels, campgrounds, events, vacation home rentals, and other types of lodgings.
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Travel Oregon wants to develop a statewide ‘gravel riding network’

Thursday, November 21st, 2013
First meeting of the Oregon Gravel Riding
Working Group.
(Photo by Kristin Dahl/Travel Oregon)

In the latest sign that gravel road riding is poised to be the Next Big Thing in cycling (just wait until you see how many major bike brands will offer “gravel bikes” in 2014), Travel Oregon (a.k.a. the Oregon Tourism Commission) convened an official working group yesterday to, “Create a strategy for promoting and further developing Oregon gravel riding network.”

As we’ve shared on a few occasions, Oregon is full of amazing unpaved roads through farms and forests that only a handful of people have ever pedaled on. Therein lies the potential of gravel riding (which is really nothing more than riding on unimproved/unpaved roads): It opens up hundreds of miles of new route options and adventures in every corner of the state.
(more…)

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