The northeast Portland-based nonprofit that believes bicycles are a vehicle for changing our communities has hired a new leader. The Community Cycling Center announced yesterday that Kasandra Griffin is their next executive director.
Griffin is known quantity in local bike advocacy circles. She spent eight years (on and off) on the Board of Directors for The Street Trust and also served as their interim executive director for five months in 2002 and as their finance director from 2003 to 2005. She has also worked at the City of Portland’s parks bureau and most recently as policy manager at Upstream Public Health, a nonprofit.
“Coming back to an organization centered on bikes feels like returning to my first true love,” she said in an interview posted on the CCC’s website yesterday. “Doing it at an organization that is also focused on equity makes me feel honored, delighted, and eager to get to work.”
Asked what her dream is for the region, Griffin replied, “To live up to its hype!” Here’s more from that answer:
“Many white people like to think of Portland and Oregon as progressive, but really the city and state have an incredibly racist past, which leads to a racist present. I want the community to not just be the kind of progressive that votes to expand the bottle bill, but also the kind of progressive that shuts down the white supremacist organizations in our midst instead of providing free bus service for hate marches.
Similarly, I would love for the transportation system to live up to its hype. Portland’s bike facilities and ridership statistics may be better than most large American cities, but that is a depressingly low bar, and we need to aim higher. Furthermore, since our transit system is much weaker, we don’t have a combined car-free system that can serve our community well. And of course, the best bike facilities and the best transit service are both concentrated in wealthy, close-in neighborhoods, not the ones further out where people are less likely to be able to afford car ownership.
As ED, Griffin will oversee an organization that currently operates several successful programs including: Biketown for All, Portland’s bike share program for low-income residents; a STEM bike maintenance education program at local public schools; a full service bike shop on Alberta Street; collection, renovation, and donation of used bikes for programs like the Holiday Bike Drive; and a variety of community partnerships all centered around stheir mission of expanding access to bicycling.
Some of the current activities include:
Griffin joins a staff of 27 full-time employees at the CCC and will start her new role half-time next week and will be full-time as of July 1st. She takes over for Mychal Tetteh, who left the organization last November. Tetteh held the position of CEO for four years and now works at the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation.