BikePortland

Inga Thompson has resigned from the OBRA Board of Directors


The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association says controversial board member Inga Thompson has resigned. The move comes less than a week since the organization voted to keep Thompson on their board following calls for her removal from some OBRA members. Thompson has attracted concern because of her advocacy around transgender athletes.

OBRA Executive Director Chuck Kenlan announced the resignation in an email to members on Thursday. “I pledge to you, our passionate membership, that OBRA will continue to strive towards fulfilling our mission of inclusiveness in the sport of bicycle racing and adhere to our statement of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Kenlan wrote, “We are imperfect, and recognize that there is so much more to learn.”

According to the Willamette Week, Thompson’s resignation came after the OBRA Board found her in violation of their confidentiality agreement. “In a Dec. 11 email to Thompson obtained by [Willamette Week], Kenlan wrote that due to statements made to BikePortland and on Twitter, the board determined that Thompson “violated the confidentiality of the executive session’.” (Some of those tweets can be found in the screen grab at right.)

The OBRA Board was going to vote to remove her and before doing so gave her the option to resign.

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Thompson first came under scrutiny from some OBRA members last month for her work with Save Women’s Sports and her foundation to exclude transgender athletes from racing in the women’s category.

Throughout this episode, Thompson has maintained that she supports transgender athletes. On Tuesday, Thompson replied to our story on Twitter by saying, “So excited the Board unanimously voted to keep me on and see the the value of more inclusion of transgender women!”

But her words bely her advocacy which is tied to people and organizations who intentionally misgender and disrespect transgender people. Her association with Save Women’s Sports, a group that works with well-known anti-transgender groups like Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation, also raises eyebrows. These associations, combined with her recent online conduct, likely made her continued association with OBRA untenable.

Along with Thompson, three other OBRA Board members have resigned in the past 90 days.

David Saltzberg, owner of Zone 5 Promotions, said he stepped down this week with one year left in his term. Asked via email why he resigned, Saltzberg replied. “It’s a rather toxic situation. Inga and the board have been vilified in the process. The intent of her efforts have been trampled by your site and other media outlets. The truth has been overwhelmed by partisan emotion. I chose to not get caught up in the fray. I have more important things to do.”

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