Publisher’s note: In honor of our 15th birthday, I hope you’ll allow me to reminisce a bit about fun stuff we’ve done over the years. I think it’s important to look back at where we’ve been as a community and ponder how things have changed (and how they haven’t). I also think doing these every so often will be a fun way to help folks new to town (or to this site) learn a bit of our history.
2006 was a great time to be in love with bikes in Portland: We were on the cusp of a big jump in the number of bike commuters, our local custom bike builder scene was about to blow up in a big way, we had a popular and bike-friendly transportation commissioner (Sam Adams), bicycling was a winning political issue, and Portland felt like the epicenter of cycling in America.
By July of 2006 I’d been doing BikePortland for over a year. I was riding a wave of optimism, excitement, and enthusiasm around cycling I thought would never end. Part of what fueled my fire in those days were all the bike-inspired artisans I’d gotten to meet through BikePortland. At that time I also had some great contacts at City Hall and it felt completely natural to propose a bike event in City Hall for First Thursday. I’m pretty sure the staffers at Commissioner Adams’ office were just as excited about it as I was.
The event was a huge success. City Hall surrenders to cycling scene, was the headline to the recap the morning after.
Imagine the scene: Adams’ office door wide open and all types of Portland bike scene-makers (including Zoobombers!) hanging out, drinking beer, and clowning around; piles of freak bikes parked in the plaza out front; bike-making luminaries like Natalie Ramsland (Sweetpea Bicycles), Sacha White (formerly Vanilla Bicycles), Ira Ryan (then Ira Ryan Cycles, now Breadwinner Cycles), Tony Pereira (then Pereira Cycles, now Breadwinner Cycles), Chris King (of Chris King Precision Components), and others chatting it up and comparing notes; and artists like Shawn Granton (Urban Adventure League), Carye Bye (Red Bat Press, now in San Antonio), and Tiago Denczuk sharing their work with the big crowd.
One commenter on our recap of the event said it best: “Yes, I had many a ‘I love Portland’ moment last night… Was it the art in everyone’s offices? Drinking free beer in City Hall while perusing an 1897 bike map on someone’s wall? Which did I like ogling more, all the beautiful handbuilt bikes in the rotunda, or everyone’s magnificent steeds parked outside? Anyway, it was great fun.”
And Adams’ Chief of Staff summed up the event by saying, “Of all the First Thursday’s we’ve held here at City Hall, this one looks the most like Portland to me.”
Were you there? Any familiar faces in these photos? Any memories to share?
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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