Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is stepping down

Posted by on January 16th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Mickelberry (with Steve Bozzone) at the Weston Awards in November.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Noel Mickelberry has announced she plans to end her tenure as executive director of Oregon Walks.

In a statement released today, Mickelberry wrote, “At the end of February, I will be stepping down from my role as Executive Director of Oregon Walks. I’ll be taking some much needed personal time with my family, friends, and puppy; while figuring out my next steps professionally. This work is near and dear to my heart, so I won’t be going far from the movement for safer and more just communities.”

Mickelberry, 29, became Oregon Walks’ leader in June 2014 after rising from an intern in 2010 to vice president of the board prior to taking the top job.

Oregon Walks was founded in 1991 as the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition and changed its name and organizational priorities in 2012.


Mickelberry (lower right) on one of the many neighborhood walks she organized.

Among the highlights of her work in the past four years, Mickelberry said she’s most proud of the close partnerships Oregon Walks has formed with other organizations, “particularly those representing low income communities, communities of color, older adults, and youth, to understand and engage on the intersectional nature of walking and transportation justice.” Mickelberry also highlighted Oregon Walks impact on the City of Portland’s Vision Zero policy. “We were able to support the creation of the city’s first Vision Zero policy that includes not only a goal of zero road deaths,” she wrote, “but also, a goal of zero racial profiling – a first nationally.”

Mickelberry leaves Oregon Walks as Portland just went through its deadliest year on record for people walking since 2003. 20 people died while using their feet to get around Portland last year. In a charged statement released last month, Mickelberry said Portland has a, “livability crisis in our streets,” and called out Mayor Ted Wheeler and city council members for their lack of leadership. “We have not yet seen the urgency from our City leadership necessary to end this growing epidemic,” she wrote. “If the City of Portland wants to seriously address documented and decades-long public safety threats to people walking – we should be shutting down our High Crash Corridors to auto traffic tomorrow.”

Mickelberry will be at Oregon Walks through the end of next month and there’s a farewell party planned for February 21st.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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BreesaGena GastaldiRoger AverbeckMike Mason, ODOTSteph Routh Recent comment authors
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Steph Routh
Steph Routh

Thank you so much for all your work and passion, Noel! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Grateful for your leadership.

Mike Mason, ODOT
Mike Mason, ODOT

All the best, Noel. Thanks for your dedication and hard work to making projects better for people walking.

Roger Averbeck
Roger Averbeck

Thanks for your vision and leadership, Noel! Unfortunately the 2017 pedestrian fatality total in Portland was 21. We still have much work to do…

Gena Gastaldi
Gena Gastaldi

Thanks for all your hard work and passion, Noel! I hope you enjoy a much deserved break and I look forward to crossing paths soon.


Noel is leaving Oregon Walks stronger than ever. I’m amazed at all she has accomplished. She created a more sustainable fundraising program that allowed her to add two additional staff members, she grew the board, she raised the profile of the organization, she constantly worked to amplify the voices of underserved community members. She stands on the shoulders of giants, as we all do, but her accomplishments are truly incredible and I am so proud to know her and work alongside her.