(Photos by Craig Harlow)
Welcome to the first post in a new series we’re calling ‘Positive Spin’.
Every now and again I get emails from readers with warm and fuzzy stories or I come across them on the various email lists I subscribe to. Recently, someone asked if there was anywhere on BikePortland where people could post good news or positive interactions they have with other people — whether it be out on the streets or otherwise. There wasn’t. So, after thinking it over and coming across what I thought would make a great opening story, here we are.
The story below was posted to the Active Right of Way (AROW, a local transportation advocacy group) email list by citizen activist Russ Willis with the subject line of “thanks, Craig”.
A few weeks ago I was coming out of the library at NE 15th and Fremont, and I ran into Craig Harlow standing near the bike rack at the north end of the sidewalk that fronts the Whole Foods [market] there. You know, the rack that is placed much too close to the two parking spaces there that are designated for “compact” cars.
As often happens, there was a car parked there with its front bumper jammed up against the wheel of a bike tied to that rack. Craig was writing a note to the driver of the car, though it was not his bike. Each of us had seen several repetitions of this situation, and we agreed that the rack was essentially unusable.
Apparently Craig had talked with someone at Whole Foods, and they had said they were going to reconfigure something or other as a part of their remodeling, and the rack would be moved. While we were talking, the driver turned up, and Craig had a direct conversation with her, which I did not overhear.
The next time I visited the library, there were labels taped to the rack, warning bicyclists of the risk. I assumed this was Craig’s work. And better yet, the next time after that, there were concrete wheel blocks at the front of each of the parking spaces, preventing cars from parking that close to the rack. Problem solved.
I have to think this was the work of Craig Harlow, so I am giving him a shout out… to say, “Thanks, Craig.”
Yes, it was the work of Mr. Harlow, who happens to be a dedicated citizen advocate for bicycling. He is/was Chair of the Lloyd District Bikeway Development Projects Stakeholder Advisory Committee. And, as it turns out, an activist for better bike parking in Northeast Portland.
This is a great example of someone taking on an issue and finding a solution through a bit of leg work and persistence. Craig gives credit to a Whole Foods employee who pushed the issue to management and ultimately to Patty Richards, team leader at the Fremont store for “making these changes happen.”
“The whole thing took several inquiries up the Whole Foods chain (and a few damaged wheels) over a couple of months in order to get it into their priorities,” remarked Craig, “but they came through.”
— If you have some good news to share — whether it’s appreciation for someone who makes a difference in our community, a small gesture or interaction you witness, or whatever — drop us a line and we’ll consider featuring it in an upcoming edition of Positive Spin. And, as always, let us know what you think about this new column.