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Mayor says today is Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day

Posted by on October 9th, 2009 at 7:30 am

“Whereas, bicycle messengers provide a value-added service that businesses seek out as a means to reduce costs and improve efficiency, crucial to the movement of important information…”
— Mayor Sam Adams, in a proclamation of 10-9 Day

Professional bike messengers around the country will recognize today as 10-9 Day, a.k.a. Messenger Appreciation Day.

October 9th has been a day of thanks for bike messengers since 1997, when Toronto joined San Francisco with a joint proclamation. Since then, 10/9 has been officially recognized in Calgary, Chicago, Edmonton, Montreal, Houston, Vancouver and Washington DC.

Now you can add Portland to that list.

Mayor Sam Adams has added his official seal to a proclamation declaring October 9th as Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day. Here is the full proclamation:

Messenger Appreciation Day Proclamation-1

The official proclamation.

Whereas, a solution to the problems of pollution, congestion and gridlock faced by large urban centers is needed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the downtown core; and

Whereas, bicycles take up less space on the road and do less damage to the roads than cars, resulting in better conditions and streets for all road users; and

Whereas, Portland is recognized as the nation’s leader in bicycle commuting, featuring a robust bicycle industry and community; and

Whereas, bicycle messengers provide a value-added service that businesses seek out as a means to reduce costs and improve efficiency, crucial to the movement of important information; and,

Whereas, bicycle messengers are ambassadors of goodwill for the city; and

Whereas, bicycle messengers promote the bicycle as a viable form of transportation and economic development;

Now, therefore, I, Sam Adams, Mayor of the City of Portland, Oregon, the “City of Roses,” do hereby proclaim October 9th 2009 to be

International Bicycle Messenger Appreciation Day in Portland, and encourage all residents to observe this day.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance will serve free coffee and donuts to messengers from their office on NW 5th Avenue (between Everett and Davis) Friday morning.

Dee Branham, who works with the Magpie Messenger Collective says 10-9 Day in Portland will be celebrated this year with a party and raffle to help raise money for the Tokyo Bike Messenger Association. That group is in debt after putting on the Cycle Messenger World Championships back in September.

Portland has about 30-40 full-time bicycle messengers and a growing number of pedicabs and other cargo bike business operators.

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  • Marcus Griffith October 9, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Its a nice gesture, but how many bike messengers are left in Portland? Would a tax break been more meaningful act of support?

    Considering the $92K accounting error for the BTA, can it really afford to be given out free doughnuts to anyone right now?

    I have to wonder when Sam Adams will hold a press conference to tell everyone he really did not mean to make 10/9 Bike messenger appriecitaion day, but that public wouldn’t have believed the truth

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  • Jeff October 9, 2009 at 8:37 am

    And what about all the hardworking Portlanders who just try really, really hard to look and act like bike messengers? Will there be no day for those people?

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  • Q`ztal October 9, 2009 at 9:04 am

    a tax break and traffic signal amnesty.

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  • […] the story here. October 9th, 2009 | Tags:, Mayor, Sam Adams | Category: […]

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  • N October 9, 2009 at 9:39 am

    glad dee said that….

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  • lisa October 9, 2009 at 9:46 am

    thanks to them sitting around all day at my work doing nothing

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  • Mark Atwood October 9, 2009 at 10:06 am

    How about a “Bicyclist Messengers who obey stop signs and stop lights Appreciation Day”.

    The 5 people who it applies to can split the money.

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  • Jocko October 9, 2009 at 11:09 am

    10/10 fake bike messenger appreciation day! Sponsored by nextel, chrome and the flip flop hub.

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  • Becky October 9, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Good morning everyone!

    Have a sip of your favorite morning beverage, think of the sun, and let’s remember what Thumper’s mom said.

    Part of working is sitting. You can’t go pick up a package if your dispatcher hasn’t called you.

    There are professional messengers who do obey the signals and signs. Let’s generalize from there instead of from the ones who don’t.

    Choose to have a FANTASTIC Friday!

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  • solid gold October 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

    there are only like 15 registered bike messengers in portland, everyone else just wants to look like one. there are actually more pedicabbers in this city than messengers, and their cargo tends to weigh around 500 pounds, rather than 10oz.

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  • M_S October 9, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Um, whatever? Honestly, they’re just a few people working a low wage job. They’re not providing some valuable public service, or somehow bettering the community.

    I don’t have anything against messengers, but I can think of a heck of a lot more people that actually deserve appreciation for their jobs…

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  • joel October 9, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    #11 M_5:

    sweet. im sure no one appreciated the legal filing i smoothed out today after noting that our client had gotten their fee schedule all mixed up. im sure they didnt appreciate the efficient way i sorted everything out, so they didnt have to cut another check, re-file, and incur an extra set of rush round-trip charges.

    im also sure every rush job i did today was totally unappreciated by the people who sent them out.

    pretty sure nothing i did today could be considered a valuable public service. nope. no way.

    EVERYONE deserves appreciation for their job.

    what none of us deserve is for nitwits like you to totally discount our contribution to the community, business or society in general based on our level of income. THAT, i dont appreciate.

    and #7 Mark Atwood:

    if i didnt work a low income job thats not worthy of appreciation, maybe id have enough money to bet you that an equal or greater percentage of the *25* bike messengers who work in this town ride responsibly and within the law when compared to the general population of bicyclists in this city. id also bet you that you cant pick out those 25 out of the full range of the hundreds of cyclists you see in downtown portland. your tired stereotypes are TIRED. give them a rest.

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  • M_S October 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Wow, somebody’s grumpy.

    I’ve never made more than 12 dollars an hour, so if you’re insinuating that I’m classist or some BS, try again.

    And from your description of your job, it sounds like a public appreciation day for your field would be kind of silly as well, no offense. An appreciation day for shop rats and retail employees (me) would be likewise odd.

    Look. What are messengers doing above and beyond to help the community that transcends what they are compensated for anyways? What am I? The answer is: not much. You may deserve more acknowledgment from the person on whose behalf you sorted a fee schedule, but from the city at large?

    If you don’t comprehend this, why don’t I provide some examples of professionals that perhaps deserve some extra acknowledgment for the benefits they provide to others:

    – K-12 teachers
    – Social Workers
    – Firefighters
    – That guy with the mickey mouse ears on the Hawthorne bridge (well, maybe not)

    Do you see a pattern, Joel? All of these fields presume some amount of selflessness, actions in the interest of others (in a general sense) and not themselves. I don’t do that in the course of my job(s). I don’t see how messengers do, either. They’re just delivering packages, for chrissakes. Surely important to the offices that employ them, but to me? Not so much.

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  • I get it. October 9, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    People who know anything about how court cases and the filing of legal documents work ought to be grateful for those 25 bike messengers who work in this town. Someday, it may be your legal case/issue and it may be that one of those messengers hired by your attorney pulls your fat out of the fire without you even knowing it.

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  • Sixty October 9, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    Like Portland we have around 25 steady messengers working in our downtown core and I can tell you, because I was once one of them, that this is a tough gig.

    It’s not just the rigors and perils of the job but the derision and contempt so many people seem to have for bicycle messengers.

    There are also a lot of people who appreciate the services their messengers perform and if they want to demonstrate that with some small gesture… how does that affect anyone else ?

    I am sure no tax dollars were wasted here.

    And one day you may find that some guy or girl on a bike did pull your fat out of the fire or already has but you just don’t know it.

    Realtors, bankers, and lawyers here depend very heavily on those 24 guys and one girl to make sure things get to where they need to be on time.

    So do you.

    Joel – I’ll be in PDX in a few weeks and if I see you I’ll buy you a cold one.

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  • M_S October 10, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Court cases could be filed electronically, and many states now allow this. Just saying. I’m not a messenger hater. They’re just doing their jobs. But I don’t needlessly romanticize them either.

    Messenger Appreciation Day strikes me as silly pandering to the people who do romanticize them, for whatever reason.

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  • joel October 10, 2009 at 1:59 am


    im not expecting you to romanticize me, or my profession. in fact, i hate it when people do that. frankly, im not entirely sold on the existence of 10-9 day/messenger appreciation day as anything more than a way for us to get some fragment of the “thanks” that itd be really sweet to hear from the people we do work for more than just occasionally.

    perhaps i made too much of a leap from your comment about us being “just a few people working a low wage job”, but that kind of somewhat dismissive comment has a tendency to set me of, as does commentary suggesting we *dont* deserve appreciation for our jobs… (and for what its worth, though i am *not* accusing you of classism, i dont believe that class and income have an inherent direct link, but thats a whole different can of worms…)

    10-9 day originated because we (back in sf – i was kinda involved when the whole idea had its genesis) saw ourselves in a largely thankless occupation, and thought “hey, maybe we can get some big muckity-muck to say ‘thanks’ all official-like! that would feel kinda swell.”. and so we asked, and they did. and it kinda propagated itself from there over the last decade or so.

    im pro- a public appreciation day for shop rats, retail employees, or anyone else, frankly. theres a hell of a lot of people like ourselves out there in pretty menial occupations that probably wouldnt mind a nice pat on the back occasionally, acting selflessly for the benefit of society or not. we messengers just happened to ask for one, and got it.

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  • anonymousbikemessenger October 10, 2009 at 2:26 am

    Well stated as usual Joel. Nothing wrong with a tip of the cap to a dying breed.

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  • JH October 10, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Awesome for bike messengers.
    I think we also need an appreciation day for bike mechanics!

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  • Sixty October 10, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I am really looking forward to bike mechanic appreciation day (this is what I do now).

    Also… barista appreciation day is long overdue although you probably should not buy them a coffee.

    I guess the best plan is to get into the habit of saying thank you on a regular basis to the folks who make your day a little better and make things go a little more smoothly.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) October 10, 2009 at 10:38 am

    Just so everyone knows, this day and proclamation wasn’t just some wild idea by the Mayor or some other person… it is something that existed already in other cities and has been around for over a decade.

    I’m sure if there was an established Bike Mechanic Appreciation Day or a Barista Day, or whatever, than Portland would join those as well.

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  • Nerf October 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    some days i forget why i hate cyclists.

    then i read the comments on bikeportland and remember.


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  • Steve B. October 10, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    There are professional messengers who do obey the signals and signs. Let’s generalize from there instead of from the ones who don’t.

    Choose to have a FANTASTIC Friday!

    Positivity! Well said.

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  • jorge October 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    some days I forget why I hate nerf…

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  • Afro Biker October 11, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Does being a trendy fixie rider count as being a “bike messenger” ?

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  • Schrauf October 11, 2009 at 9:49 am

    I’m not sure why some people have their spandex in a bunch. The City is recognizing bike messengers more for their example of sustainable transportation and business practices, as opposed to some perceived notion they are better than retail shop employees – to cite one example from above.

    Relax, smile, have a beer and go for a frickn ride. You will feel better. Or have the beer after the ride, if that idea bunches up your spandex even more.

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  • Brick. No Pager. October 12, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Bike messengers are a needed cog in a smooth running city. They get things done that can be considered undoable within the paramaters available.

    There have traditionally, in the last 25 years anyway, averaged around 40 messengers in Portland in a given year.

    The numbers are low now, but will rise again.

    10/9 has never seen to me to be anything more than a reason for messengers to recognize each other for doing a good job.

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  • michael November 5, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Some people need to lighten up, other people need to do the opposite. I enjoyed being a bicycle/motorcycle messenger and doing a good job for our clients. I appreciate barristas, bartenders and mechanics(bicycle,car and motorcycle). I try to always say thank you to people that serve me(this includes retail employees and shop rats, I have been both). I some times break traffic rules on my bicycle less now than in the past though. opinions are like………

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