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Alice Awards red carpet photos and recap

Posted by on March 9th, 2009 at 2:20 pm

BTA Alice Awards-18

An estimated 750 came out
to toast the BTA.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Saturday’s Alice Awards gala had all the glitz, glamour, and inspiration you’d expect when 750 of Oregon’s biking superstars get together to toast their collective success.

Since most of the crowd are used to meeting up at bike events and work meetings, many people use the night to show off their fashion sense. Check out a few samples below…

Here’s Portland Mercury reporter Sarah Mirk and her interesting choice in hats (one commenter on Flickr called her grin a “S-mirk”):

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Joseph Rose, The Oregonian’s commuter blogger, sported this nifty tie:

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Bike fun and Shift veteran Ken Southerland looking quite dapper:

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Clever Cycles store manager Tyler Robertson looking as stylish as the bikes he sells:

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Former city bike coordinator, principle at world renowned Alta Planning, future author, and all-around biking superstar, Mia Birk:

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This is Shelli Romero (L) from ODOT community relations and April Bertelsen with the City of Portland Bureau of Transporation’s pedestrian program:

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Even off-road advocates clean up well: This is Frank Selker on the left and mapping guru Jack Newlevant on the right (maybe they’re teaming up to map out new bike routes in Forest Park):

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And last but not least is bike fun aficionado and BTA staffer Lily Karabaic (L) and veteran Sprockette Shannon “Agent Trouble” Palermo:

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The mingling began at the silent auction, where attendees put in their bids for all types of prize packages. Among all-expense paid vacations and packages of bikes and accessories worth thousands, was a peculiar prize — a night of bike fun with the BTA’s own Carl Larson. The winner of this package got a bag of beer chips, two bottles of vodka, a loaner freak bike, a “full-outfitted Zoobomb experience” and more.

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Milling around the tables was none other than Randy Albright. Randy — whom you might remember from his infamous run-in with a TriMet bus back in 2006 — told me he remembers, back in 1996 or so, when this event was held at Kell’s pub downtown. Things sure have changed since then.

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Rep. Tobias Read and Sen. Jackie Dingfelder.

Despite having vastly outgrown a small downtown pub, Alice also brings out the city’s political heavyweights. Making their presence known Saturday night were City Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz and their boss, Mayor Sam Adams. Metro Councilor (and founder of the BTA) Rex Burkholder, showed up as usual with an outfit everyone was talking about (see what he wore two years ago).

From the state legislature, I caught up with Representative Tobias Read (D-Beaverton) and Senator Jackie Dingfelder (D-Portland). Sen. Dingfelder was eager to tell me about the fledgling bike caucus that has sprung up down in Salem. She said they’re trying to get more legislators to sign on, and invited me to join them for a ride next time I visit.

BTA Alice Awards-38

Adams spoke as part of the
Rose Quarter Bike Lane Team.

I could have kept on talking with the people in that room for hours, but it was soon time to find our seats for dinner so the night’s program could begin.

Once settled into my place for dinner, I had a chance to look around and see who else was in the room. A few tables over was Mayor Sam Adams.

It was the first big bike event that Mayor Adams had attended since he admitted lying about a relationship with a teenager during his run for Mayor. Also at Adams’ table was former Mercury reporter Amy Ruiz along with other staffers and friends.

I had a brief conversation with Mayor Adams. He asked me how my business was doing (something he has always been interested in) and then we spoke about the upcoming budget. He gave hints that I can expect his budget to have some clear differences from the one requested by the Bureau of Transportation. He didn’t share details, but I assume that he’ll find more money, or even more likely, create an entirely new funding stream for bike-related infrastructure and programs.

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I cannot think of a more
deserving award recipient than
Police Officer Robert Pickett.

The highlight of my night was watching Robert Pickett win an Alice Award. Pickett’s work to create a productive bridge between the Police Bureau and the community has been one of Portland’s true bright spots since I first covered his work as a member of the Southeast Bike Patrol unit back in December of 2006. Since then, Pickett has become a regular contributor to BikePortland (both as an author and a commenter) and has been named the official community liaison on bike issues by Chief Sizer.

During his moving speech, Pickett spoke candidly about the challenges cops face in interacting with citizens and he shared his perspective on the power bicycles have to transform communities.

Along with Pickett, Alice Awards were given to Salem Mayor Janet Taylor, Eugene’s Safe Routes to Schools coordinator Shane Rhodes, the Rose Quarter Transit Center Bike Lane Team (accepted by TriMet GM Fred Hansen), and ByCycle.org creator Wyatt Baldwin.

— Learn more about each Alice Award winner at the BTA’s Blog. See more of my photos in the 2009 Alice Awards photo gallery.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

39 Comments
  • Avatar
    John Russell March 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I was certainly glad to be there to see Officer Pickett win an award. If anyone there deserved it, it had to be him. He was the only one of my personal picks to win, but it was still a great event to attend.

    If this thing keeps growing, where will it be in a few years?

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    chuck March 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Looks like a fun evening. Are the Alice Awards open to the public?

    Did you happen to see one of Emily’s tiny top hats at the awards, Jonathan? Emily had someone make a special order for one just for the evening. She adorned this one with piece of chain links. 🙂

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    the "other" steph March 9, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    i don’t suppose there’s a way to get a transcript of Officer Pickett’s wonderful acceptance speech? wow!

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    KWW March 9, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Congrats to Ofc. Pickett!

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    beth h March 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    @ chuck:

    Yes, the Alice Awards ARE open to the public, but tickets are sold in advance and the price of admission is steep (85 bucks this year for a single admission). If you want to go next year you should definitely plan ahead.

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    Jim Lee March 9, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    85 bucks is exactly what is wrong with BTA.

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    old&slow March 9, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    They do a nice awards show but don’t know how to respond to a $54 tax on bikes! Nice representation!

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    gabriel amadeus March 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    This event is a fundraiser. For the BTA. It produces something like 1/3 of their operating budget.

    Sure, I’ll never go either because of the outrageous price, but other people do, and the BTA needs that money.

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    Amos March 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I would have to disagree with you Jim, the BTA does great work and that work isn’t free. Those of us who were there didn’t mind contributing because we all thought of our admission price as a donation to the cause.

    Congrats to everyone, I was so thrilled to see Pickett win!

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    Scott March 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Mr. Lee, I’m just curious how much the event would cost if you were planning it for the BTA?

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    a.O March 9, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Definitely worth the price of admission. But don’t drink that Ginsberg rotgut. Pickett (and his little porcine buddy) were funny and deserving.

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    Dan March 9, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    I’m not a member precisely because of the “Paypal” button right next to “how to become a member”.

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    Ashley March 10, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Congrats to Officer Pickett!

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    Harth Huffman March 10, 2009 at 6:14 am

    My BTA membership fee is some of the best money I have spent on cycling in Oregon. As a cycling business owner and everyday commuter (not just me but my family members, too) I am thankful for the work the BTA does every day. They are a cyclist’s loudest voice in Salem and the challenging work they do costs money. I hope to be able to go to the Alice Awards some year – the cost is steep for us too – but it is a fundraiser, not just a BTA member party, so of course it is expensive. But it looks like a blast!

    Harth
    Wabi Woolens

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    beth h March 10, 2009 at 8:26 am

    I am on the fence about the BTA these days:

    http://bikelovejones.livejournal.com/121013.html

    I do not know exactly how I feel about their apparent lack of a forceful, clear response to both the CRC’s ridiculous proposal AND the latest silliness with the bike registration fee. I am wrestling with my feelings about this, and I am waiting for a clearer response from the BTA before I make a decision that might affect my membership in the organization. But I also admit that these recent events have certainly given me pause, and left me feeling rather unrepresented by the BTA. I hope for some clarity from them soon.

    Meanwhile, Alice is not something I can afford, now or in the near future. And that’s too bad, but it’s also typical of grass-roots organizations that grow far beyond the means of their majority front-line foot-soldiers. This is not a new phenomenon in non-profit land, and it should not be treated as such.

    Congratulations to the Alice B. Toeclips winners, and thank you for your activism. Perhaps we’ll meet on a bike ride one of these days. Cheers–

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    mmann March 10, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I’ve been a dues paying BTA member for several years – I’ve felt they have mostly made good use of my money. But I see this as a watershed year for them and have reservations about continuing my support. Kind of like with the mayor, I guess I’m in “wait and see” mode.

    I’ve always balked at the price of admission for the Alice awards – too rich for my budget, for sure. But I was thinking. If I stopped paying my BTA dues, but went to the banquet every 2 or three years, I’d still be contributing the same amount, but at least I’d get a good dinner and some entertainment – that’s better than a sticker 🙂

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    Close- but no March 10, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Dan-
    Maybe I am thick, but I don’t understand:
    Is it because it costs $, or because they use Paypal?

    If the former, how can the BTA operate without $?

    If the later, they also accept cash, check and CC.

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    Scott Mizée March 10, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I’d like to throw in an additional 2¢ (no pun intended)about the high cost (for many) of the Alice Tickets.

    I like others, do not have the funds in my own checkbook to attend this event. However, I treat it like most other events in this town that I want to be a part of. I volunteer my time. I have been able to attend for the last three years in a row as a volunteer.

    Yes, I work hard over the course of the evening, but I also have time to run into friends and acquaintances that I simply do not see in other places. There is nothing like it in the state and I hope it continues.

    Regarding others concern about BTA’s current policy positions, I think some of those concerns are valid, and I hope they will come out with a strong position statement soon. If they do not, I fear it will erode and divide their base. We (people who ride bicycles for transportation, recreation, therapy, sight seeing, bikey fun…) cannot afford more division amongst ourselves.

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    Brian Johnson March 10, 2009 at 9:42 am

    “It was the first big bike event that Mayor Adams had attended since he admitted lying about a relationship with a teenager during his run for Mayor.”

    Will you guys (the “media”) ever stop flogging this dead horse?

    Please let the man do his job and stop defining everything he does by that one event.

    We are NOT defined by the skeletons in or out of our closets.

    So, Bike Portland, just the facts, please.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) March 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

    “Will you guys (the “media”) ever stop flogging this dead horse?”

    I hear you Brian. I also anticipated someone writing a similar comment in the other direction if I had not mentioned it.

    Also, I did just mention facts. It’s just a matter of opinion as to whether those facts are necessary to mention or not.

    thanks for the feedback.

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    Bill Stites March 10, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Glad to see some conversation about the ticket cost – it matters.

    I did not attend this year for the first time in many, and it has to do with the BTA’s fiscal policy for Alice.
    It’s unfortunate that so many of the ‘true constituency’, as in the many volunteers that help BTA causes throughout the year, are excluded due to high ticket price.
    Scholarships/living lightly are embarassing IMO. I shouldn’t need a subsidy to participate in this important event. There are plenty of attendees with enough money to participate in the auctions in support of the BTA coffers.

    I understand it is a fundraiser, but the decision to raise to $100. [though they ended up retaining the ‘early bird’ fee of $85.] is absolutely exclusive.
    Perhaps there could be a ‘corporate level’ ticket fee, and ‘advocate/volunteer’ level?

    BTW Did I hear correctly that even volunteers were asked to cough up $55. for tickets? I hope I’m wrong there.

    I’m moved to share my thoughts here because I heard this A LOT from friends and neighbors about why they weren’t going. I didn’t realize I was so annoyed till I started writing. 😉

    Would love to hear some feedback on this from Scott Bricker – the person most responsible for BTA policy. My membership renewal awaits on my desk …

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    Scott Mizée March 10, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Bill — glad to see this conversation as well, and to hear that there are many of us with these thoughts. because, as you said It matters.

    To answer your question: in my experience as a volunteer, I was not required to pay $55 for tickets. My understanding is that if volunteers want a seat out in the banquet hall at one of the tables with full meal service, then they have to pay something, but I don’t know what it is.

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    steve March 10, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks to all of you for supporting the CRC project.

    The BTA needs those dollars to continue their important work building that 12 lane monstrosity. Thank you Sam Adams and Scotty Bricker.

    You make us all proud! Get out those checkbooks folks. Scotty needs a new pair of shoes!

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    Galen Seitz March 10, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    The Alice event is really a victim of its own success. The event has gotten so large that the convention center is about the only place big enough to hold it. The consequence is high ticket prices. Only $25 of the ticket price is tax deductible, so the remaining $60 reflects the cost of holding the event. Clearly some changes could be made that would reduce that cost, such as dropping the dinner. Nonetheless, the convention center remains an expensive place to hold an event.

    I believe that the BTA is aware of the exclusionary effect of high ticket prices. I suspect that in the future we may see some changes that address this issue.

    Full disclosure: I’m a long time BTA member, and my wife used to work for the BTA on the Safe Routes to School program.

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    David Anderson March 10, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I was glad to be there as well. Good time. Yes expensive, but a worthy cause. Good coverage, but, in the future, when mentioning our Mayor please don’t keep reminding us of his past fling – if I want to read, or hear, about that I’ll watch Fox News, and the other Fox wannabes. Thanks.

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    beth h March 10, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    @ Brian (# 21):

    “Scholarships/living lightly are embarassing…”

    I agree. I believe there are multiple reasons why they are embarassing.

    1. If you have to ask, there’s a built-in element of shame because of the growing gap between rich and poor in our society. Most non-profits no longer list “living lightly” options in print because if they did so, more people would apply for them and that costs the organization money. To reduce the number of people seeking scholarship assistance, they don’t mention it as an option. This is not exclusive to bike non-profits, BTW; it exists in many non-profits as a way to save money.

    2. It reflects a growing reality that most bicycle advocacy organizations are really trying to shore up support among middle-class constituents; this demographic exists in a convenient,people they don’t feel they have enough rights and yet are in a financial position to support the organization’s increasingly expensive work.

    The poor are a much larger constituency but a relatively powerless one; they cannot donate money or organize in ways that would be beneficial to the non-profit’s cause. As a result, the poorest [bicycle riders, in this case] are ignored. It’s not malicious on the BTA’s part but a more likely a matter of simple economics.

    3. As a result, people who rely on bicycles as transportation because they have few or no other choices are not a strongly reprepsented constituency for the BTA, or frankly for most non-profit bike transpo advocacy organizations I’ve volunteered for.

    I’m not accusing anyone of anything deliberate or malicious here; I’m simply making observations about the way I see things work. It may be that the BTA is UNABLE to represent me, and others like me (who took up bicycle transportation because other options were not affordable). If that’s the case, do I expect them to come out and admit that? No, because to do so would be to put a nail in their own coffin. But not to do so would also be harmful to their image. They’re stuck in a hard place that is partly of their own making, a result of their growth; and it may be that the BTA can no longer satisfy MY particular needs as regards bicycle activism.

    I still have more thinking to do about this, and I’m still waiting to hear from BTA leadership about where they stand on things. With all the buzz here and elsewhere I expect they’ll formulate a response sooner rather than later. At least I hope so.

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    Dan Kaufman March 10, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Steve #23 – How many CRC hearings or meetings have you been involved in? BTA has been there from the beginning representing the interests of cyclists.

    Have you read or listened to the testimony the BTA has provided at these meetings?

    You (and your anonymous ilk) strike me as either
    1- so stupid that you’d piss on an ally
    or
    2- cointelpro

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    bearhat March 11, 2009 at 10:54 am

    it was my first time attending and i had a stellar time. glad to be of support for a fantastic organization. great to see everyone again including you, Jonathan. 🙂

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    Jim Lee March 11, 2009 at 11:46 am

    SOMETHING MORE THAN A DELPHIC PRONOUNCEMENT ABOUT BTA

    The Bicycle Transportation Alliance should choose to be either a citizens’ advocacy group or an inside political player. It began as the former, doing much good work, but has morphed into the latter, chiefly providing its appointed leaders steps up the ladder of power.

    Currently it is a creature of the social and political elite. Its present executive director seems to serve mainly as a reliable “second” for the imaginary schemes of our inept mayor; a former director now is lucratively employed by that same mayor, with few credentials relevant to her job.

    Leaf tax. Paper bag tax. Safe and green streets. (OK–a little green paint has been put down on a few streets.) Moving the old Sauvie bridge–neglecting first to ascertain if foundations actually could be constructed at its proposed relocation.

    Sam Adams’s advocacy of a 12 lane Columbia River Crossing, duly approved by Catherine Ciarlo and duly seconded by Scott Bricker, is in truth excellent news for its opponents: the kiss of death!

    BTA’s board must change direction. Vacate the fancy new digs in Old Town. Discharge the Executive Director. Adopt a budget that can be funded chiefly by the membership it is supposed to serve.

    And no $85 per-person fund-raisers for the rich and famous.

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    beth h March 11, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    @ Jim (#29):

    You make some salient points, particularly about the BTA’s choice of direction (“citizens’ advocacy group” versus “inside political player”). I think that in the present politica/capitalist environment it is very nearly impossible for an organization to be both. I also believe more and more that an organization that starts out as a pure advocacy group cannot help but become an “inside political player” if it wants to survive (politically AND fiscally) in today’s world.

    The BTA is what it is, and probably can never go back to being what it was at its inception. Rather than ask the BTA to be something it’s not, I will very likely choose not to renew my membership.

    Instead, I will seek more truly grass-roots ways to advocate — and agitate — for the demise of car culture. I have come to realize that for me, nothing less will suffice.

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    Brad Ross March 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    I for one had a blast. Thanks to all who helped make it happen. GC wine was yummy. Sorry Team Beer, I was too hungover for more beer.

    And no, I’m not even a little bitter about being nominated for the sixth time and still not winning. Really.

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    Jim Lee March 11, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    @ Beth (#29)

    Good thoughts, Beth.

    Many years ago I volunteered my technical knowledge with a first class environmental organization; we accomplished some really good stuff that still helps many people in this state. But there was one member of our group who used the position to start climbing the political ladder of power–really smart and got near the top in short order–to wreak havoc upon us all.

    So there is substantial knee-jerk to my comments.

    I hang with some really fine bike people. Hope to meet you there sometime.

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  • We won an Alice Award! at byCycle.org March 11, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    […] at BikePortland.org gives a more detailed account of the Alice Awards here. « byCycle is now Open […]

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    Joe Rowe March 11, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    I’d like a whole separate article on why the BTA is too spineless to speak out ( and scream ) about how the jumbo bridge is harmful to bikes and anyone who believes in a “transportation alliance”

    I know many who work at the BTA whom I respect, but I can still strongly voice my opinion that they are what is wrong with this country, too many back door deals. You build your 12 lane bridge and give me x, y, z.

    I’m pretty much not going to renew my BTA membership unless they start attacking the jumbo bride plan soon.

    Scott Bricker said their BTA survey said the number one concern was safety as a barrier to getting more people out of their cars and on to bikes.

    Well beep beep Scotty. Beam down now from that cloud. You just got a super sized meal to kill any feeling of safety. You got the combo meal of a jumbo bridge, jumbo freeway and jumbo drink of Sam’s KOOL-AID.

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    Todd Boulanger March 11, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Yes it is spendy to support BTA (and many other 501c3s) and attend an annual fundraiser or donate time/ cash.

    I usually gather a table together to thank them for thinking of Vancouver. (Its a lot closer than Seattle is for a bike 911 call.) And many table holders (and some employers) cover the price of tickets or offer a sliding scale for their local advocate(s) to attend.

    $85 per ticket is not the $60 it was…the affordable thing as an individual would be to just send a check and not bid to or attend…but then again I just took out my family of bicyclists for a birthday dinner and it was $80 with tip…and no advocacy and no bike 911 help came with that evening.

    I could skip the daily latte and take out too, because I know what it is like to not have the bike 911 near by. But I do not – I skip the car payments instead and work to make bicycling more common.

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    Mike March 12, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I, too, feel that the BTA is letting me down. That being said, I was there to support them.
    No organization can please everyone all of the time. It is impossible. But the BTA does far more good than bad, and for better or worse, they are our (cyclists) voice.
    Rather than not support them or b@tch and moan about their fundraiser, I feel it would be more productive to change their Board of Directors. By doing this, you can slowly change the direction they are taking. These are volunteer positions held for 2 years, and half of the board is up for election every summer/fall.
    Don’t support the BTA, and we lose a voice (albeit a very quiet one) at the CRC table.
    As for the Adam’s Kool-aid… There is only one solution to that. Get rid of the Kool-Aid maker as soon as we can.

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    a.O March 12, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I think those of you who are complaining about the cost of the Alice Awards are missing the point behind the BTA’s ‘business’ model. They take money (donations) from the “elite,” as it was put (LOL), and then use it to advocate for rights for everyone. What’s wrong with that? It was a fun party, but I wouldn’t pout about missing it.

    Now, how they spend their budget is a different matter. Personally, I wish they were a little more aggressive and locally focused, but nobody’s perfect and I’m sure I’d have a critique no matter what they did. And I’m equally sure they appreciate their members’ feedback.

    Finally, I’m trained as a psycholinquist and I’m fascinated by how quickly new slang is getting coined right now. Is there a term for people who b!itch on blogs but don’t actually *do* any activism related to the topic they complain about? If not, we need one. [No offense to anyone in particular. It seems a common occurrence that I’m sure I have been guilty of.]

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    steve March 12, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Interesting how everyone assumes that people with honest complaints must not be ‘doing’ anything about them. Why do you presume to know what others do, or do not?

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    Dan Kaufman March 12, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Well, for starters, “steve”, if you had been to the public testimony hearings at the Portland city council meeting you would know that BTA opposed 12-lanes contrary to what you say in post 23.

    http://www.crankmychain.com/media/michelle-p-crc.mov

    I am really sick of how anonymous posters like you come in here make false claims and essentially tear down what was (and still is) a great forum for HONEST discussion (anonymous or otherwise).

    What are you motives “steve”? Perhaps you are a CRC supporter or anti-bike person who’d love nothing better to drive a wedge between cyclists and the BTA by making false and disparaging statements.

    I don’t presume to know your motives only that your statements are false.

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