Portland Century - August 18th

Tonight: BTA hosts first-ever Bike Advocacy Clinic

Posted by on December 17th, 2014 at 1:58 pm

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance wants more of the community to step up and become their own advocates for better biking. Tonight they host a Bike Advocacy Clinic that aims to give people with bike-related concerns and issues the tools they need to fix them.

The BTA has done free bike legal clinics for many years, but this is the first time they’ve offered a clinic on advocacy. The group’s engagement manager Carl Larson said today that they recognize there’s, “A need for informed advocates in our community and we can’t tackle every little problem.” “With some basic tools and and tactics,” he added, “our members and the public can make biking better.”

It’s sort of like getting to tap into the BTA’s 25-years of lessons and expertise. Topics that will be covered at tonight’s clinic will include messaging, defining success, figuring out who holds influence on your issue, finding allies, and the difference between pressure and persuasion.

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Here’s more from the BTA’s event description:

– There’s no place to park your bike at the grocery store.
– Your kid can’t bike to school because of one dangerous road crossing.
– Your neighborhood association is fighting a bike-friendly project.

The problem is clear. The solution might even be obvious to you but how do you get others on board? How do you get the problem solved?

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has been advocating for better safer streets since 1990. In this free one-hour clinic, a BTA advocate will share some of the lessons we’ve learned about how to get your voice heard — how to get your community’s problems solved.

Larson said this clinic is a way for the BTA to help be a part of bike-friendly changes, without having to be directly involved with every little effort. “We get called about a lot of legitimate problems, like a dangerous intersection, but if we’re going to be an effective advocacy organization we just have to say no to some things.”

With some basic knowledge and guidance, the BTA hopes to create an army of community advocates to help usher in a bike-friendly future.

The clinic starts at 6:00 pm tonight at the BTA office (618 NW Glisan St., Suite 401). Learn more about the event here (FB).

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16 Comments
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    Scott H December 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    *sigh* The BTA wants the community to step up the advocacy. You know what I wish the BTA would do? Step up the advocacy.

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      Dave Thomson December 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Sigh – nothing more pathetic than people whining about a volunteer organization not doing enough.

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        Scott H December 18, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        You don’t need to bother pointing out that my comment on a news article isn’t productive or tangibly effective, I’m aware.

        An advocacy clinic is a great effort, but it’s not the direction I’d like the BTA to go, we already have enough community advocates. The reason I no longer support the BTA through donations and membership fees after many years of doing so is because I still haven’t seen the BTA do what we need it to. What we need the BTA to do is hold PBOT and ODOT ( etc ) accountable for putting our lives at risk through inaction.

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          Jeff M December 19, 2014 at 12:17 am

          I’m not so sure that the problem is PBOT, but rather a political leadership issue.

          Regarding an earlier comment, BTA isn’t a volunteer organization – they have paid staff.

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    Mike December 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    So let me get this straight. BTA is having a Bike Advocacy Clinic. In Portland. Where there are enough biking and walking advocates to populate a small city. But in places that need advocacy clinics…well that’s not Portland and how do I have time to put on a clinic and then go to my local fad restaurant and then to my favorite pub? Going to another town that needs help with advocacy is just too hard!!!

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      Scott H December 18, 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Why are you mad that the BTA chose to have a clinic at their headquarters?

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        Mike December 18, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Scott,
        I am frustrated with all of these supposed Oregon-wide groups advocating for better transportation, walk/bike infrastructure, etc. and they are 1. headquartered in Portland–not where the the state-level decision makers are; and 2. primarily do their projects, advocating, workshops, etc in and around Portland. Just because Portland isn’t Amsterdam yet doesn’t mean that that’s the place to do all of the work. Why not work on getting other cities to really improve and help us local advocates?

        BTA’s homepage has in big letters: “In Oregon, we know the joy of riding a bike to work, to school, and around the neighborhood. Wherever you go, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance works to make your ride safe, convenient, and fun.” That seems to be saying that they care about all of Oregon. And yet the rest of the state, with maybe the exception of Eugene and Bend, gets treated like we don’t exist except to go visit occasionally.

        If you are a Portland-only advocacy group fine, be there and only work there. But if you are claiming to work for Oregon, then WORK for all of Oregon.

        One of the commenters, Pete, suggested something similar to mine although I’m not sure how far away from Portland he is referring. Jeff, another commenter, has exactly the mind set that irks me. Instead of looking at this workshop as covering Portland, he thinks that SW Portland should get their own. What about reaching out to the rest of the state first?

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    jeff bernards December 18, 2014 at 7:24 am

    Carl, Thanks for putting this together. The bike portland bloggers have been wanting more from the BTA and I’m glad to see you doing this. Knowing who to contact and how to go about making change is valuable information. It would be impossible for the BTA to know every bike unfriendly situation in Portland and to be able to advocate for it too.
    Good luck.

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    Kevin @ Pedal PT December 18, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Cool idea and concept to build a better, proactive cycling base- I wish I could attend tonight! Carl, if this becomes a regular thing, please keep me posted- I’d love to participate and help out as I can!

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    David Amiton December 18, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Great idea! Reminds me of Cascade Bicycle Club’s Advocacy Leadership Institute (http://www.cascade.org/ali) and Richmond’s Bike Walk RVA Academy (http://www.sportsbackers.org/blog/first-bike-walk-rva-academy-graduates/). Hope it went well and is just the start of a sustained and successful program.

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    Pete December 18, 2014 at 10:22 am

    One idea would be to take this sort of event on a ‘roadshow’ to various BPACs, having them set aside a meeting (or have a special meeting) to hear from the BTA. It would also help the BTA get feedback from those who work directly with city council/planners on local issues. (I’ve certainly noticed very different styles in attending BPAC meetings in neighboring cities while serving on our own). At the very least BTA could improve attendance at these events with a targeted mailer to each BPAC’s public contact.

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    Carl (BTA) December 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Things went well last night — well enough that we’ll certainly do another. I aim to have them every other month and my hope is to find off-site hosts for half of them. Venue/host ideas are certainly welcome.

    Many thanks to those of you who came out last night!

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      Jeff M December 18, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      It would be great to have one hosted in SW Portland! Lucky Lab in Multnomah Village has some space, or Max’s Fanno Creek Pub in Tigard both come to mind. The Multnomah Arts Center frequently has SWNI community meetings.

      I would also like to know how to stay informed of these events. I didn’t hear about it until now.

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      jeff bernards December 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      just leave out the beer and get down to business (maybe a beer after the meeting!)

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    Matt- Bike Milwaukie December 19, 2014 at 11:05 am

    Carl, you are welcome to have one of these event in Clackamas county or Milwaukie any time. I’m sure we can find a place out here to hold it.

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      Carl (BTA) December 19, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Two of the three non-downtown events will likely be in Clackamas and Washington Counties. I suspect the third will be in East Portland. Thanks for the suggestions, all!

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