(Photos © J. Maus)
Neary 800 bike advocates from all over Oregon spent Saturday night toasting each other’s accomplishments at the 13th annual Alice Awards and Auction held at the Oregon Convention Center.
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) hosts the event and they made sure there was enough bike parking — and it’s a good thing they did because nearly half of the attendees rode to the event. Volunteers staffed a valet bike parking area that parked over 300 bikes and racks in front of the building still overflowed.
Those who didn’t ride, likely did so to make sure they could carry home their winnings.
As the BTA’s largest annual fundraising event, Alice attendees bid on a wide variety of silent auction items and gift packages with all the proceeds going to help the Portland-based non-profit with their mission of bringing bicycles to the masses.
With election season in full bloom, and perhaps a symbol of the growing importance of bicycling in our region, the crowd featured many policy-makers and politicians. Among them were Portland City Council hopefuls Amanda Fritz, Chris Smith, Jim Middaugh, Jeff Bissonnette, and John Branam.
Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams,
Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves.
Also in attendance was perhaps Portland’s most high-profile bike backer, City Commissioner (and mayoral front-runner) Sam Adams. Former Portland Mayor Bud Clark was in the crowd, as was Metro President David Bragdon and Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder.
Oregon State Representative Jackie Dingfelder (who’s now running for the Senate) and State Senator Ginny Burdick, both long-time bike supporters (and former Alice Award Winners) were also there.
And, fresh off his rousing speech at the Barack Obama event on Friday, U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer stopped by briefly before heading off to another event (1000 Friends of Oregon, a land-use advocacy group, held their annual dinner on the same night).
But Alice is much more than an event for political schmoozing, it’s really about basking in the glow of all the inspiring bike advocacy going on in Oregon.
And, of course, it’s also a great excuse to have fun. The crew from River City Bicycles had their share.
Without their boss David Guettler knowing it, (he was deep in conversation at the time) they raised his auction card high and won the bid ($2,000) for a new Trek Portland. Why is that funny? Because River City happens to be one of the nation’s top Specialized dealers, which is a competing mega-brand with Trek. Shaking his head with a smile, “Very funny guys,” was Guettler’s response once he realized what they’d done.
Back to the action up on stage we were treated to the debut of a new video about the BTA and their work. BTA staffer Tricia Satterlee said the professionally produced video will be used to educate potential partners and donors about what the BTA does and why they need more money to do it (if and when it’s available online I’ll let you know).
The crowd heard the BTA’s appeal for help loud and clear. The organization that “opens minds and roads to bicycling,” was also successful in opening up wallets. But the BTA wasn’t the only winner on Saturday night; six dedicated bike advocates added their names to the esteemed list of Alice B. Toeclips award winners.
And the winners were:
Chief Jon Zeliff
(Read more about Chief Zeliff)
Sergeant Jeff Britton accepted the award on Zeliff’s behalf. In his acceptance speech Sgt. Britton said he was a bona fide, “bike nut” and, with help from the BTA, they’ve purchased a fleet of Giant bicycles and are working on a bike safety education program for kids.
Ann Donaca-Sullivan and Patty Verazani
(Read more about them here.)
Ann Donaca-Sullivan teared-up on stage as she shared her gratitude and her story. She credited support from the community with helping her establish a program to teach disabled kids — including her 12 year-old son with Downs Syndrome — how to ride a bike.
(Read more about Cycle Oregon.)
Accepting on behalf of Cycle Oregon was Jonathan Nicholas. He reminded us that the ride he founded over 20 years ago is now working in an advocacy role to make sure that, “Oregon will be known as America’s best bicycling state.”
(Read more about Sen. Prozanski.)
Accepting for Sen. Prozanski was State Representative Jackie Dingfelder. Dingfelder spoke about Prozanski’s dedication to passing laws that improve bike safety and how his interest in doing so was piqued by the recent death of his friend Jane Higdon while she rode along a country road in Eugene.
(Read more about Mel.)
Mel Huie is a trails planner with Metro who has worked tirelessly to complete many major trail projects in and around Portland. Huie, who likened the Alice Awards to, “Portland’s version of the Golden Globes,” said his goal is to have 900 miles of trails in our region.
Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award – Jay Graves
Jay Graves’ commitment and efforts to encourage bicycling, not just in Portland but throughout Oregon, is unsurpassed. His generosity (much of it anonymous) takes myriad forms and touches many facets of what make our region such a great place to ride. From pumping up tires for strangers during Bridge Pedal to sitting on the State Parks Commission and lobbying for bikes in the Hall of Congress, there is simply no one else like Jay Graves and we’re all lucky to have him in our community.
Thanks Jay for everything you do.
And on that note, swimming in an aura that was a mix of inspiration, optimism, and excitement, we pedaled off into the night, riding confidently into the future to continue the work that this night so perfectly celebrated.
See my 2008 Alice Awards photo gallery for more of the faces, outfits, and images that made this event so memorable.
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 email@example.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.
Thanks Jonathan! Great article! It was a fantastic evening! Looking forward to next year.
Mel, Congratulations! You deserve it!
Just a note of clarification so that credit goes where it is due – Bike Gallery did donate a bike but not the one mentioned here (a Trek Soho 4). The Trek Portland was donated by Trek Bicyles. Trek has been a great supporter of the BTA, through Alice and other events and they deserve the credit for donating the Portland bike.
Another note -Thanks to all of the volunteers that helped with the Silent Auction- Scott, Meghan, Rebecca, Starmichael, Sawithia, Joel, Ryan, Lee, and Doug!. You guys (and gals) were fabulous! You worked hard, had fun and made the evening a joy. Thank you so much for dedicating your evening to helping out. It was a pleasure to work with you all.
thanks for the correction bArbaroo… I\’ve edited that paragraph. cheers.
I was at the 1000 Friends dinner, so I didn\’t make it… Someone really should schedule those things better, I\’m guessing that a fair number of people would have gone to both.
Thanks BTA for all the great work you do, for making cyclists \”a political force to be feared\”, and for throwing a great party!
And I would like to thank my stylist, Ms. Anna of Cully, for the wardrobe and makeup.
Wow, I\’ve been to most of the Alices over the last 8 years or so, but this was the best yet! So much excitement, a sold-out crowd, inspiring award winners, and smashing fashion (thanks to Timo, Rex, and others). Amazing effort!
BTA thanks for holding this event back from the traditional early March time slot…it was nice to actually have the option to bike to the event on a warm, drier, and sunny later date. And it no loger butts up against the DC Bike Summit. This also made it nicer to attend the Library Bike after party.
And thanks for making last year\’s idea a reality…free tourist photo snaps on a bike.
A false clarification…about the number of attendees…at this bike event:
The Portland Police did an aerial count by helicopter and estimated that there were less than 80 attendees. (Or was it a bike count in planning for towings.)
Though the Portland Fire Marshal almost closed the doors of the event…due to the estimated 8000 attendees…all that body heat from the infrared scans…happy healthy and hot bicyclists. 🙂
Todd B. said
Although I agree with Todd that it was nice to have it later in the month of March, I really hope we don\’t have it on Easter Weekend again. It made the weekend WAY to hectic for me an my family. I signed up to volunteer before I realized it was Easter weekend. Hopefully they won\’t overlap next year!?
By the way, what city are we going to next year? Can we go to Kigali, Rwanda?
I was struck by the energy of the crowd. Every speaker was inspiring and all the awards were well earned. I had a friend who attended who is a new commuter and it was her first Alice. She was totally blown away and it made me so proud of all the great work being done by so many in and around this community. Go team!
The super trooper award for Alice should go to Bonnie Hildebrand, who was one of the people manning the raffle table and who missed most of dinner while counting cash from the raffle sales. Fortunately, she was still able to get all her food.
I\’m sure for every one story like Bonnie\’s, there are a dozen others with the other volunteers. All of you, very well done! And to the BTA staff and especially Trish Satterlee, fantastic job! This was my first Alice, but I\’ve been involved with organizing similar events from 50-2,500 people, and I have to say that this was one of the most well-run events I\’ve ever been at. Fabulous job!