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Bricker out as BTA Director: National search for replacement begins


Scott Bricker.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) Board Chair Mary Roberts has announced that Scott Bricker has “left his post” as Executive Director of the organization.

Here’s the intro to the statement just released by the BTA:

“The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) Board Chair Mary Roberts announced today the need for a change of leadership at the BTA and that Scott Bricker has left his post as Executive Director.”

Bricker had been with the BTA since 1998 and was selected as their leader in October of 2007.

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The BTA Board also announced today they’ll begin a national search for a new leader. Board Chair Mary Roberts says in the statement, “We cannot rest on our successes of the past but must push forward to secure a healthier future for all of our citizens.” Roberts also hints at how the BTA might change their advocacy tone in the future, “… the BTA will become a more assertive advocate for 25% of Portland’s trips to be made by bike by the year 2030.”

BTA Board Chair Mary Roberts.

This was likely a difficult decision for the BTA Board. Stability at the top is important for an advocacy group and they were just coming off the relatively short tenure of Evan Manvel.

Roberts says the decision to let Bricker go was made because the game has changed. “This is about a change in where we see the BTA going, which is less about just the bike and more about how the bicycle serves the entire state in many ways. We’re starting to see ourselves in a much larger context.” Asked why Bricker was no longer the one they wanted to lead the way, Roberts replied, “He has enormous strengths in lobbying, advocacy, and policy development, but those aren’t the strenghts of running a bigger kind of organization.”

“I think this is a transformational time in our state around bicycle transportation and that it is calling on really different skills. We need a different kind of talent to help leverage that.”
— Mary Roberts, BTA Board Chair

Roberts and her Board colleagues feel like the BTA has not kept pace with what they see as progress of bicycling in our region and our state. “I think this is a transformational time in our state around bicycle transportation and that it is calling on really different skills. We need a different kind of talent to help leverage that.”

Roberts feels that support for bicycling from elected leaders and policymakers across the city, region and state has reached unprecedented levels in recent years and the BTA has not kept up. “We’re trying to catch up to this new reality where we really have support at every level.”

So, how does Roberts see the BTA’s approach changing? Roberts said that will ultimately be up to the new leader, but she was clear that they want to focus more on building public pressure on politicians and decision makers to get more funding for bikeways. “I think the day has come where we need to be a more aggressive organization… and get our members to speak out more, and make sure we are applying pressure in the right places.”

Bricker’s departure is effective immediately and the BTA’s three staff directors — Roopal Patel, Angela Koch, and Eileen Trudeau — are filling the leadership role until someone new is hired.

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