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‘Bike Week’ is start of something big in outer east Portland

Posted by on March 24th, 2015 at 1:49 pm

East Portland street scenes-3

There’s reason for hope.
(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

This week is Bike Week in east Portland’s Rosewood neighborhood and it’s also the launch of the much-needed cycling spark that east Portlanders have been waiting for.

As we learned first-hand back in June, once you cross over I-205 on a bike everything changes. There are no longer bike shops on every other corner, the streets feel a lot less welcoming, and you suddenly feel like a fish with no school to swim with.

“Coming to Portland and seeing the rich amount of bike resources in the central city, and taking advantage of those resources myself on a daily basis, I was struck by the fact that those resources were fairly lacking in east Portland.”
— Matt Martin, director of Rosewood Bikes

Rosewood Bikes, a new community bike shop and advocacy organization that will open its doors for the first time tomorrow, hopes to change that. The new shop is part of a growing movement in east Portland to create the kind of cultural infrastructure that’s essential to making a place bike-friendly.

46-year-old Matt Martin is the director of Rosewood Bikes. He moved to Portland four years ago from Omaha, Nebraska where he ran the Community Bike Project. In a phone interview this morning, Martin, who has a background interest in equity and social justice issues, said opening up a similar bike shop in east Portland was a “no-brainer.”

“Coming to Portland and seeing the rich amount of bike resources in the central city, and taking advantage of those resources myself on a daily basis,” Martin said, “I was struck by the fact that those resources were fairly lacking in east Portland.”

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Bike Farm, a non-profit bike shop in northeast Portland, donated several bins of parts to help Rosewood Bikes get off the ground.
(Photo: Rosewood Bikes)
rosewoodlogo

Martin did a lot of research before charting his course. He did consulting work for the Community Cycling Center, some contract projects with the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and is now working part-time at Citybikes Co-op. He also learned about the work currently being done in east Portland by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (co-organizers of Rosewood’s Bike Week), PBOT, Bike Farm, the CCC, and others. “It’s not that they don’t want to do more in east Portland,” he explained, “there’s just so much work to do and everyone has limited capacity.”

mattmiller

Matt Martin, director of
Rosewood Bikes

What Martin hopes to provide this neighborhood that’s further away from downtown Portland than Vancouver Washington, is a sense of permanence. “There have been good, one-off efforts to do bike stuff in east Portland, but nothing had ever been of a solid, ongoing, and continuing nature out there. It just seemed to me like a fertile area for activity.”

He was drawn specifically to Rosewood because the work they’ve already done around bikes. The Rosewood Initiative won a $1,000 grant last winter to install a bike oasis at their location on SE Stark at 160th. The oasis gives locals access to basic tools, parts, and volunteers to keep their bikes running smoothly. The Rosewood Initiative has also partnered with with the Community Cycling Center and hosted several well-attended bike safety events put on by the Portland Police Bureau.

On Wednesday (3/25), Martin will open up a pop-up shop inside The Rosewood Initiative Community Center. With donated tools, workstands, and bicycles he’ll offer a free bike repair workshop from 4:00 to 6:00 pm. The event will kickoff weekly open shop fix-it nights and will provide Rosewood Bikes with a place to flap their wings.

Martin hopes to find a permanent location for his shop by mid-to-late summer where he can expand his organization and take it to the next level. Ultimately, he hopes to make Rosewood Bikes a “center of bike activities” including classes, advocacy opportunities, employment training, youth mentorship programs and more.

Look for the Rosewood Bikes table at Sunday Parkways East Portland this May and stay tuned for their fundraising campaign to launch in the coming months.

RosewoodBikes.org, Facebook, Twitter

Bike Week is organized by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the Rosewood Initiative. Check out the flyer below (PDF here):

bikeweekflyer

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CaptainKarma
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Most excellent. Sign me up as a volunteer. Will visit on Friday!

Matt
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We’ll gladly sign you up as a volunteer! To get us your contact info, could you please email us at info@rosewoodbikes.org? Thanks!

Spiffy
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Spiffy

good to see some east-side love… there’s been a huge hole to fill, especially since Bike Gallery left Division/110th…

gutterbunnybikes
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gutterbunnybikes

Definitely good news and much needed.

Dave Cary
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Dave Cary

I have just the opposite opinion of bike facilities when comparing near east-side and outer east-side. As a resident of Gresham I found that there were only two through-way streets to travel to Downtown Portland: the Springwater Trail or Marine Drive (assuming you’re comfortable with 45-55 mph vehicles just a few feet away). And neither puts you at Downtown; both require a few miles jog to get there.

Division has a good set of bike lanes until you reach 60th. Then nothing. Stark is inconsistent, starting out with bike lanes in Gresham, dropping them at 162nd, then picking up again closer to Mall 205. After that it becomes a crap shoot. Burnside is not bad (except for Rockwood) but peters out around Mt. Tabor. Glisan is well-marked to 162nd and then it is still pretty broad. But it becomes uncomfortable after about 122nd. A Sullivan Gulch trail could do wonders to connect Gresham to Portland.

Chris I
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Chris I

Burnside is, in my opinion, the quickest, safest, and most-direct route through east Portland. When you hit Mt. Tabor, you simply shift north a bit onto the neighborhood greenway. It weaves around a bit, but it will take you all the way into downtown.

Aaron
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Aaron

Greenways, man! 4M, even though it’s still technically a pre-greenway, is an awesome way to get from 174th past 82nd. From there you can go over Mt. Tabor to hook up with Lincoln or head south to Clinton.

That said if I’m feeling speedy I just mash it down Burnside.