The organization that supports and coordinates the country’s state and local active transportation advocacy groups has a new boss, and she’s a Portlander.
The Alliance for Biking and Walking, which counts the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Oregon Walks among its many affiliates, announced Monday that it’s named Breen Goodwin as its new executive director. Though the Alliance has been based in Washington, D.C., since its founding in the late 1990s, Goodwin will be based in Portland.
“This is a special place for my family,” Goodwin, who grew up in Tacoma and who still has family there, explained in a brief interview Wednesday from her current workplace.
Goodwin has worked since 2011 as the first executive director of the Beaverton-based Columbia Empire Volleyball Association. Before that, she spent three years as deputy director and education director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
Rob Sadowsky, chair of the Alliance’s board (when he’s not serving as executive director of the BTA) said Wednesday that Goodwin was chosen from among 11 finalists after a national search by a third-party firm.
“She’s got fundraising experience, she’s got board development experience, she’s got experience with advocacy,” Sadowsky said. “We’re also excited to take this work outside of the Beltway, which ends up getting stuck on the federal legislation. … Most of the money is coming from the state and local level at this point.”
The Alliance has had a strong relationship in recent years with a much older national advocacy group, the League of American Bicyclists. Three years ago, the two groups agreed to merge with one another and with a third national advocacy group, PeopleForBikes (which was then known as Bikes Belong and which is, to complicate things even further, my own other half-time employer). That deal later fell apart. On Wednesday, Sadowsky said he thinks changes at the League, related to the departure of its own executive director Andy Clarke, might lead the Alliance and League to more closely combine their operations.
“There’s some real opportunities for us to grow and potentially to strengthen into some of the areas that they might be dropping off of,” Sadowsky said of the League.
Fortunately, BikePortland doesn’t aspire to keep close tabs on the country’s constantly shifting bike advocacy politics. But it’s great to have a major national biking advocate riding the streets with us in town. We’ll look forward to a Q&A on her thoughts about advocacy and Portland itself when she starts work on Sept. 1.
Michael Andersen was news editor of BikePortland.org from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.