Bike stars shine at Alice Awards

Alice Awards party

[A stylish Chris King]

On Saturday night the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) held its 11th annual Alice Awards at the Oregon Convention Center. The sold out event hosted 600 Oregon bike advocates, politicians (past and present), industry leaders, and business owners. The event was a fundraiser for the BTA and a chance for them to honor Oregon’s “bike heroes.”

Here’s a few highlights from my perspective:

Alice Awards party

[Former Mayor Bud Clark and
Congressman Earl Blumenauer.]
Alice Awards party

[Brita Johnson and her mom.]
  • Chris King, founder of Chris King Components, was the major bright spot of the evening. Not only did he show up in a gold, pin-striped zoot suit (one of six he owns from his days as a professional swing dancer), but I’ve known him for about 10 years and I’ve never seen him in such a loose and gregarious mood. Maybe it’s the fact that he just turned 50 or because he has finally settled into Portland, but whatever the reason it was great to see. The BTA was especially glad he came because he won the most exciting auction of the night…a $4,000 trip to Cycle Oregon. Portland is lucky to have Chris King and I think we’ll be seeing and hearing much more from him and his company in the future.
  • A major highlight of the night for me was being able to introduce Congressman Earl Blumenauer (who I’d just met for the first time in Washington DC) to Bill Sinnott, head of traffic for the Portland Police Bureau. I had a great talk with Bill and he’s really interested in learning more about the bike community. He actually asked me to tell him more about Zoobombers…and luckily Earl walked up before I had to answer.
  • Poignant moment of the night was the farewell to six-year BTA employee Brita Johnson. Brita will be sorely missed by the bike community for her tremendous work. Brita’s mom and dad were on hand and joined her onstage for a touching farewell. Thank you Brita for dedication to the bike community…and have fun on your upcoming world travels!
  • City Commissioner Sam Adams made a grand entrance for his speech by riding up on a new Trek Portland.
  • And a few lowlights (tiny things, given the great success of the night overall!):

    • The bike parking was really bad. The “rack” in front of the entrance was actually a barricade and was very difficult to lock up to. I think next year it’d be cool to have a real bike rack pulled into the lobby!
    • I was bummed to see so many people leave early. The empty tables made it feel like a lot of energy was lost from the crowd as the night went on.
    • I was disappointed to not see more photos and slideshows of people on bikes on the big projection screen.

    The BTA was the big winner on the night, raising thousands of dollars for their work, but here are the winning bike heroes that won Alice B. Toeclips awards:

    • Jackie Dingfelder – a representative in the Oregon Legislature who helps the BTA pass bike-friendly laws in Salem.
    • Jeff Bernards – a citizen activist who – with help from Shift to Bikes – started the “Get Lit” program that gives free lights to cyclists.
    • Lillie Fitzpatrick – an active local advocate for Safe Routes to School.
    • Jim Lawrence – he brought the BTA’s Bike Safety programs to over 300 Albany area kids.
    • Darren Pennington – an employee of Providence Portland Medical Center who has organized Providence bike commuters into a strong voice and the result has been more commuters and improved bike facilities.
    • Amy Wantulok – an employee of The Bike Gallery (Hollywood) has fostered and supported women riders in the community. Here’s a shot of the entire gang from Bike Gallery.

    Check out the rest of my photos in the Alice Awards photo gallery.

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

    Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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    Brita Johnson
    Brita Johnson
    18 years ago

    Thanks for telling the story of the Alice awards, Jonathan! It was a night full of great energy and wonderful faces from all corners of the bike community.

    To your comment about the bike parking – I agree that it was subpar. The way the Convention Center works, it would only have been possible for the BTA to provide our own bike parking if we had it brought in on Saturday afternoon AND picked up again that night (nothing can stay on site overnight) – most companies won’t do that, so we’d have had to truck it in and out ourselves, and didn’t have the capacity to do that this year. We did ask about indoor bike parking, but that garnered a big fat NO.

    To the Convention Center’s credit, they do provide covered bike parking in the parking ramp, and they have a map showing the location of that parking, plus the racks around the outisde of the building. And they did try to accommodate, by providing the outdoor bike parking themselves. If the BTA holds the Alice awards at the Convention Center again next year, I’ll recommend some research into other options. Maybe partnering up with some friendly outside entity to provide the bike parking… 🙂

    Jessica Roberts
    18 years ago

    Here’s a list of all the Alice winners with more information about what makes them bike heroes.