Community Cycling Center set to build ‘Bike Repair Hub’ at New Columbia

Future home of the Bike Repair Hub!
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Community Cycling Center has finalized their plans to build a ‘Bicycle Repair Hub’ in the New Columbia neighborhood of north Portland. According to a statement released this morning, the CCC will build the facility this month with community-led design charrettes beginning August 20th and final construction expected to be completed 11 days later.

The quick construction turnaround is made possible through a partnership with graduate students from a joint MFA program in Applied Craft and Design at the Oregon College of Art and Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. The Bike Repair Hub will be the graduating class’s intensive design/build project that turns empty spaces into “dynamic and creative learning centers.”

For the CCC, this project represents a major milestone in their ongoing efforts to remove barriers to bicycling faced by ethnic minorities and low-income Portlanders. The New Columbia neighborhood looks a lot different than most in Portland. 70% of the residents qualify as low-income and they come from 22 different countries and speak eleven different languages. Underscoring how this project is related to their “Understanding Barriers to Bicycling” work we first reported on back in 2009, the CCC chose today to release the final report of that project. (We shared the project’s initial findings in April 2010).

Cover of Understanding Barriers
to Bicycling Final Report
Download PDF

Unlike the programmatic work of outreach and education non-profits are usually known for, this new bike repair hub is a physical manifestation of the CCC’s efforts to make bicycling accessible beyond the usual suspects.

“Though Portland is known for being great at many things, including being the best bicycling city in the United States,” reads a CCC press release, “this does not represent everyone’s reality. There are complex and interrelated barriers – including cost, safety, and education – that put bicycling out of reach for many low-income people.”

Alison Graves, executive director of the CCC said today that,

“Since completing our ‘Understanding Barriers to Bicycling Project,’ we have fundamentally changed the way we work… simultaneously removing barriers that build community while showing a different way for bicycle organizations to engage. These collaborations have shifted and enriched our organizational culture, with a focus on diversity and inclusion. This evolution has given us the ability to influence policy investments and ensure equity is a priority.”

So, how exactly will this Bike Repair Hub break down barriers to bicycling? It will provide affordable bike repair and maintenance clinics and it will serve as a meeting spot for weekly bike rides through the neighborhood. The rides will be led by volunteers from We All Can Ride (Facebook), a group of New Columbia residents that serve as the community’s bike committee and that emerged in large part because of the CCC’s presence in their neighborhood.

This project was made possible with support from Bike Gallery, Home Forward, the Portland Development Commission and a $10,000 grant awarded last November to the CCC by national bike advocacy group Bikes Belong.

— Download the Understanding Barriers to Bicycling Final Report (PDF).

UPDATE: Initially, the CCC planned to include a bike skills park and/or a pump track at this location along with the repair facility. I didn’t see any mention of that in today’s announcement so I asked the CCC for a clarification/update. It looks like that part of the project is delayed. Here’s more from the CCC’s communications director Melinda Musser:

“We have plans to build a permanent Bike Skills Park by June 2013 on the same lot as the Bike Repair Hub. We originally intended to build a pump track, however, there were funding and maintenance limitations with the grant for that project. We are currently working with the We All Can Ride bike committee and a designer to figure out what the Bike Skills Park will look like. Once the designs have been approved, we will keep you posted on that project.”

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