Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 8th, 2017 at 11:40 am
This post was written by The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director Stephanie Noll and Campaign Manager LeeAnne Fergason.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, five amazing kids testified in Salem before the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization. These young advocates had never before been to the Capitol. Legislators welcomed Oliver from North Portland; Ben, Gus, and Isadora from Eugene; and Trey from Milwaukie as they and their parents spoke out for Safe Routes to School.
“My name is Shane MacRhodes, this is my daughter Isadora, who is 8 years old, and my sons Gus and Ben who will be 7 in two weeks. We’re from Eugene and we’re here to ask for a better Transportation Bill 2017 that includes Safe Routes to School funding.” Shane wrote about their experience in a post on the Eugene Safe Routes to School website.
Oliver and his father Robert Ping also testified. “I’ve almost been hit by a car biking to school,” Oliver explained. He wants to make streets safe for all kids to be able to walk and bike.
Trey testified and delivered 1,000 postcards from families across Oregon who have joined the For Every Kid Coalition in support of expanding Safe Routes to School to every kid in Oregon. Trey has been testifying locally in the Portland Metro area for five years to try to make the streets around his school in Milwaukie safe. He is now 10 years old, and as of now, he has not seen any safety improvements. Last night he took his message to the State Capitol.
“I live just over a quarter mile from school and I can’t safely walk and bike there,” Trey said. “We need you to support the priorities of House Bill 3230 [a bill The Street Trust wants integrated into the Transportation Package (House Bill 2017-3)]. You can have a big impact, and that’s why we are all here, right?”
These kids made their way to Salem after a whirlwind call to action by the For Every Kid Coalition in the short window between when HB 2017 became public last week and this week’s public hearings. Safe Routes to School is named in the package, but it is not adequate. Oregon kids showed up this week to demand better.
While families were getting kids home from school and off to the Capitol on Tuesday, a group of Portland Metro residents biked the last several miles of The Street Trust’s #RideToSalem to speak out for a balanced Transportation Package that prioritizes walking, biking, transit, and Safe Routes to School and share concerns about the proposed bicycle sales tax.
Advocates young and young at heart from Bend to Eugene to Milwaukie are lining up to help Senators and Representatives make our needed Transportation Package the best it can be for kids, seniors, and all people who walk, bike, and use transit (and occasionally drive!).
Join us and these amazing youth in telling legislators what you want to see (and don’t want to see) in the transportation funding package. Tonight is the last scheduled work session on the bill of the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization, so today is the final day to contact your legislators. You can email the committee directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
— The Street Trust