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Portland picked to host world carfree conference

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

[A scene from Portland’s
Car Free Days last September.]

The city of Portland has been chosen to host the 2008 Towards Carfree Cities conference. The conference is a project of the World Carfree Network and it aims to “bring together people who are promoting practical alternatives to car dependence.”

Portland will be the first U.S. city to ever hold the conference.

Past conferences have been held in Lyon, Timisoara (Romania), Prague, Berlin, Budapest and Bogota. The 2007 conference will be held in Istanbul, Turkey.

[Last summer, a group of Portlanders
set up a living room in the street
during Last Thursday on Alberta.]

Spearheading Portland’s application for the conference was Elly Blue. Elly is a regular contributor to BikePortland and her first article ever was aptly titled, “Envisioning carfree streets.”

Elly made the announcement on the Portland Carfree Day email list and said:

“We got it! Congratulations to us! Some pizza and early-planning are in order pretty soon. This is going to be really, really fun.”

In the official announcement, Randall Ghent of the World Carfree Network listed several factors that influenced their decision to pick Portland. Among them were, “that Portland is a very dynamic city with a lot of inspiration and support to offer the conference, and in addition the ideas of the conference have a high probability of being applied there.”

Last September, Elly was one of the main organizers behind a local Car Free Day event that was held on Ankeny street in downtown Portland.

Elly, and her hard-working cohorts on the Portland Carfree email list also made some news over the summer when they set up coaches and tables in parking spots during the Last Thursday festivities on Alberta.

If you’d like to get involved with this conference, join the Portland Carfree Day email list or stay tuned to the Portland Carfree Day website, which I’m sure will be getting updated very soon.

Congratulations to Elly and everyone else involved with this effort!