(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
—BikePortland’s coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.
Oregon advocates might have the easiest job of any of the state delegations here at the National Bike Summit. No matter which of the seven offices they entered during the annual bike lobby day on Capitol Hill, they were greeted with smiles and support.
But even so, that doesn’t mean that the 20 or so advocates took it easy or let their guard down. On the contrary, they lobbied like true pros. In fact, one main reason Oregon’s congressional representatives are so friendly to cycling is because of the quality of our advocates. This was on display from the first meeting to the last.
The Oregon advocacy team was well-prepared and delivered a persuasive barrage of statistics, poignant personal stories, and examples of successes earned and challenges that remain. Economic development was a big theme; but beyond impressive dollar figures, stories were shared about how bicycling is vital to combating Oregon’s childhood obesity crisis and about the importance of signature projects like the Salmonberry Corridor and the completion of the Historic Columbia River Highway.
To illustrate the importance of projects like the Salmonberry, advocate Stephanie Routh told House Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-1st) how her grandfather’s Tillamook County timber business was decimated years ago and how a new trail could help revitalize forest towns (a topic she shared more about with us back in December).
The big surprise of the day came during a meeting with Greg Walden, the sole Republican in Oregon’s Congressional delegation. Before anyone could even sit down in his office, he asked eagerly, “What’s the route for Cycle Oregon this year?” Turns out he and his wife did a bike-and-barge trip on e-bikes along the coastline of Croatia this past year. Rep. Walden loved it and couldn’t stop singing the praises of bike touring and e-bikes the entire meeting.
Check out more photos below from Oregon’s bike lobbying day on Capitol Hill:
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