Yesterday I had an experience in Salem that I will never forget.
I joined Steve Brown — the man who’s leading the effort to bring a velodrome to Portland — in a meeting with Senator Jason Atkinson.
This meeting was the result of my trip to Salem last month. During that trip, Scott Bricker (of the BTA) and I met with Sen. Atkinson and he mentioned a bill he was working on that would direct Measure 66 funds (which uses Lottery money to fund parks projects) to build a new velodrome in southern Oregon.
Upon hearing that, I asked Atkinson if he was aware of Portland’s own fledgling effort to build a velodrome. He wasn’t. So I told him all about Steve Brown and when I got home, I sent Sen. Atkinson Brown’s contact information and links to my coverage of his efforts and plans.
It took several weeks to happen, but the two finally met yesterday.
I could tell right away that they shared a passion for track racing and a dream of tapping Oregon’s vast potential to have a premier track racing program that could someday produce an Olympic athlete.
We have the talent, the coaches, the organization, and the enthusiasm to make it happen.
The only thing missing is the right facility.
On that note, Sen. Atkinson revealed to us that he just finished the draft of a new Senate Bill that if passed, would allocate $3.5 million to build two new velodromes in Oregon; one in southern Oregon, and one in the Portland metro area!
This addition of a Portland velodrome into the bill is a major breakthrough for Steve Brown’s effort and is a very exciting development for the state of Oregon and for the Portland metro area.
A year-round, world-class velodrome facility located near downtown Portland would be not only a premier racing venue that would attract talent from all over the world, but could also be used for exciting new youth programs, summer camps, and so on.
We’ll be able to see the full text of the bill once it’s officially in the system on Monday (2/25).
Now, I hope the entire community will support Sen. Atkinson and Steve Brown and do whatever it takes to pass this bill. Now is not the time to debate what type of facility we need or where it should go.
We need to pass this bill first or we won’t even have a facility to talk about.
Stay tuned for developments and opportunities to support this effort.
UPDATE: The official website of the Portland Velodrome Project is now live. Check it out to learn more about this effort.