Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Be a ‘Superhero’ and help save Sunday Parkways!

Posted by on June 17th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Sunday Parkways-3.jpg

Beth Hamon,
Sunday Parkways volunteer.
-Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

OK Portland, it’s time to step up and take care of a good friend in need. That good friend is Sunday Parkways, an absolute gem of an event that we are all very lucky to have.

Word from organizers is that the event is in need of a bunch more Superheroes (volunteers) to swoop in and make sure it remains a successful event. Put bluntly; without more community ownership — both physical and financial — Sunday Parkways could be in serious trouble.

I’ll save the financial details for later, but what’s urgently needed now are more Intersection Superheros. According to my friend Neal Armstrong with Good Sport Promotion (the company hired to manage the volunteer effort), they need a total of 200 Intersection Superheroes to monitor, direct, and divert traffic as well as chat with nearby residents to make sure they are cool with the event.

Armstrong says that as of Tuesday, they only had about 106 out of 196 intersections covered for the North Portland event, which happens 10 days from today (6/27)! For their next event in East Portland on July 18th they’ve got only 32 people signed up to monitor 150 intersections.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-38

Volunteer bubble blower making
sure everyone has a good time.

I’ve known many Sunday Parkways volunteers, and they all say it’s a super fun way to spend the day. But even so, there’s a new perk for volunteers — the Talk in the Park Program. The City has lined up some interesting folks who will lead one-hour discussions after Sunday Parkways on a variety of topics. The talks are for volunteers only!

And yes, I’m one of the Talkers. I’ll discuss the need for carfree spaces in Portland; where we might push for more of it, what other cities are doing to create it, why we don’t have as much of it as we should, and how we can go about getting more of it. Other talk hosts include author Laura Foster, dietitian Nancy Becker, walking advocate Steph Routh, and bike businessman Evan Ross. Learn about their topics and sign up to join in the talks here (volunteers only please!).

So volunteer! Help save Sunday Parkways from mediocrity. Your involvement will help keep it amazing. To see how happy and beautiful Sunday Parkways volunteers are, I’ve gone through my archives and created the slideshow of them below:

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • rigormrtis June 17, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Woo hoo….I’m 1 of 32!

    Of course, my workplace encourages this kind of stuff.

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  • kiwimunki June 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    The shifts are short, so if you volunteer for a few hours you’ve got the rest of the day to enjoy the Parkway.

    It’s the only way I can think of to get 15,000 people to smile at you for 4 hours straight. And there are people who pedal around to bring you muffins.

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  • Michael M. June 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Signed up last week for the NoPo Sunday Parkways. One of the problems for me is that I already have a standing weekly volunteer gig on Sunday afternoons. I suspect a lot of people are similarly committed. I didn’t volunteer at the NE event for that reason, and I’m not sure how many more of the upcoming SPs I’ll be able to volunteer for.

    Portland is a great volunteering town, but there is a ton of need out there right now and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. So many people I know are already committed up the wazoo with volunteer responsibilities. I wonder when we hit the wall?

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  • Dan Kaufman June 17, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    The organizers have probably already thought of this but it might be time to hit the neighborhood organizations/committees again.

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  • jim June 17, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    The city is broke. I think they should just do 1 sunday parkway a year. that is unless the parkway people can come up with the funds to cover it. i know that in the past there were a ton of police involved. Those are high paid people to just sit around all day and not do any real police work, on a sunday at that.

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  • Michweek June 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    So I’m signed up for the Sunday Parkways (all of them) already, but how do I now sign up for the Talk in the Parks? I want to reserve my spot asap.

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  • Neal Armstrong June 17, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you all for signing up to volunteer for Portland Sunday Parkways. It’s a huge task to support 20,000 people on traffic-free streets and we’re glad that the whole Sunday Parkways community is coming together to keep these events going strong.

    To register for the talk of your choice, please go to the Talk in the Park website. You’ll find more information on all the speakers and a direct link to register for each one.

    See you on the 27th!

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  • hanmade June 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I have volunteered every parkway and at each one the police work pretty hard. They stand, not sit, directing traffic (and frustrated drivers)for hours. The vast majority of people, though, are having fun and meeting their neighbors. IMHO it is an event that brings a lot to the community, way beyond the cost incurred.

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  • Ryan June 17, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Done… I hope this post encourages lots of people to sign up for this!

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  • KJ June 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    I was an intersection superhero for NE and it was super fun and easy. ]

    I work Sundays and I had to take work off to go and do that. (Which is why I chose the Sunday Parkways that was in my neighborhood.) And it was more than worth it. (But sadly it keeps me from doing more than one, even for fun.)

    It’s one day, if it’s your ‘hood, it’s even super convenient!

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  • jim June 18, 2010 at 3:07 am

    paying someone their wages (police) to stand on a corner and direct traffic is a waste of money. It would be better to hire a bunch of people and just pay them minimum wage to do that. no extra beni’s.

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  • middle of the road guy June 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm


    it would be even better if all of the so called cycling advocates gave something back to the cycling community instead of complaining how bad things are.

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  • middle of the road guy June 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Inter ‘section’ hero?

    I thought I was signing up for inter’course’ hero.

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  • solid gold June 20, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    hey, where would our bike community be without paid advocates? how could we do it without their private college degrees and desire to change the world while making money?

    i guess it would be just like Pedalpalooza, the WNBR, Mult. Co. Bike Fair, Shift and Zoobomb! man how have we managed to get anything done without paid advocates?

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  • beth h June 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    If the City wanted to do something about unemployment, it could divert money to create minimum-wage paid positions for Sunday Parkways and run it every week like they do in Bogota.

    I’m dreaming but I’m serious.

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