New volunteer program aims to recruit ‘Slow Streets Superheros’

(Photo: Axiom Event Productions)

After launching with a bang in early May, we haven’t heard much about the “Slow Streets” portion of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Safe Streets Initiative. These are the 120 intersections where PBOT has installed “Local Access Only” and “Go Slow” signs along with barricades in a bid to reduce driving and improve conditions for people who need more space to walk and roll while maintaining a safe distance from each other.

Today a new volunteer program launched that wants to raise the profile of these streets and strengthen the impact of the program.

PBOT has partnered up with locally-based Axiom Event Productions (the same company they use for Sunday Parkways) on a new program that aims to recruit volunteers to give this program a boost. According to Axiom owner Neal Armstrong who spearheaded the effort, the goal is to find people who will step up to help maintain the signs and barricades, adopt specific locations, hand out yard signs, and decorate neighborhood greenways so everyone knows to drive slow and safe.

Specifically, they’re looking for four types of volunteers:

Slow Streets Superhero
Borrowing a title from our Sunday Parkways friends, the Slow Streets Superheroes are key to the upkeep of Greenways installations. Superheroes will regularly visit and report on the status of barricades and signs. When issues are found and reported, the Greenways Response Team will deploy and resolve the problem. The goal is to provide a near-immediate deployment of the response team to fix any issues with Greenways installations.

Adopt an Installation
We invite those who live near Greenways barricade locations to “adopt the installation.” This is an informal, non-binding support of a site. The request is for neighbors of installations to make daily checks and agree to report issues to the Greenways Response Team. Additionally, if interested, there are opportunities to lead projects that decorate and activate your neighborhood Greenways.


Yard Sign Delivery
Help PBOT spread the message across the city to promote slow streets and safe streets in our neighborhoods. The Greenways Volunteer program has signed up to help deliver nearly 1,500 yard signs to our neighbors. We’re looking for volunteers in each Greenways Zone who agree to store and deliver signs when requested.

Decorate Your Greenways
A goal of the Slow Streets | Safe Streets initiative is to build awareness and support of our Neighborhood Greenways. No better way to do so than making our Greenways inviting, festive and visible to everyone who uses them.

The Greenways Volunteer Program is calling for all ideas on how we should enliven our streets. With your ideas and our supplies, resources and volunteers, together we can create beautiful, fun and inspiring movements across the Greenways network. Efforts now will include restrictions and safety measures to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus. As we gradually open up as a city, opportunities to involve the public will grow.

Bike Loud PDX is also getting into the act with a very cool interactive “brainstorm” map where you can add suggestions on how to improve the Safe Streets initiative.

To sign up as a volunteer and learn more, visit

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