Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Walking advocacy group honors Don’t Shoot PDX with ‘Walkstar’ award

Posted by on September 11th, 2020 at 11:49 am

Walkers for racial justice on the Burnside Bridge on June 1st.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

In the latest sign of evolution in the transportation advocacy world, Portland-based nonprofit Oregon Walks has named Don’t Shoot PDX as a winner of one of their ‘2020 Oregon Walkstar’ awards.

Don’t Shoot PDX formed in 2014 in response to the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The group has been on the frontlines of Portland’s protests against racial justice. In June they filed a lawsuit against the City of Portland over the use of tear gas against people protesting in the street*.

“We don’t just walk to get to work or to school or for health. We walk and roll for change.”
— Jess Thompson, Oregon Walks

Oregon Walks Executive Director Jess Thompson shared in an interview this morning that the award is just the latest example of how her organization is changing. “Oregon Walks is working to listen and understand what safety in the right-of-way looks like and feels like to a wider base of people,” she said. “We’ve tried to expand away from just transportation policy and really look at what the experience of walking is like for a wide variety of people.”

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The award is also an acknowledgment of the vital role foot-powered people play in social movements — and the expansion of what Thompson refers to as, “The expansion of paramilitary operations against people walking for justice.” Seeing people gassed and brutalized for being on the street has spurred a reckoning of how Oregon Walks envisions their role. “We don’t just walk to get to work or to school or for health. We walk and roll for change,” Thompson said.

And when it comes to the march for social change, Oregon Walks says Don’t Shoot PDX is leading the way.

The 2020 Oregon Walkstar Awards (formerly known as the Weston Awards) event will happen online September 18th. You can get free tickets and learn more here.

(*Interesting aside: Timur Ender, the Portland transportation bureau employee who was the subject of an OPB story this week after he and his family were tear gassed in their homes during a protest, is an Oregon Walks board member.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Hello, KittyXDagny TaggartPhil BarberBetsy Reese Recent comment authors
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Steve Scarich
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Steve Scarich

As an avid pedestrian (I do all my local errands walking) and reacreational cyclist, pedestrian advocacy groups that transition into anti-police activists, are not my friends.

X
Guest
X

Ask yourself, why would people put themselves at risk just because there are police? Maybe because it’s because they are actually FOR something: rights guaranteed in the US Constitution and its several amendments.

Dagny Taggart
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Dagny Taggart

Are you referring to the Bill of Rights? Does that mean all of them as written, or just the ones you agree with?

X
Guest
X

I’m OK with the whole thing, in its original intent. It’s sorta like the Bible, people tend to pick and choose. There’s some space between “…well regulated militia…” and packing guns in Starbucks.

My father was in the NRA, there was a gun in the house, we knew where it was and that it was not ever going to be touched at all. He had no time for pistol wavers. /understatement

Dagny Taggart
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Dagny Taggart

“…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

No wiggle room there. Starbucks can tell customers “no guns” rendering them defenseless while in their store, but the government is prohibited from doing so. The right of self-defense is given to all people by our creator – governments have no authority to remove that right.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

Do you think the first half of the sentence you quoted has any relevance to the second half?

And your assertion that the right is absolute is completely contradicted by well-accepted laws prohibiting possession of flame-throwers, hand grenades, bomb making material, etc. Did our creator declare semi-automatics to sacrosanct but fully-automatics unkosher?

Actually, given what else is in Leviticus, maybe he (or she) did.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

Sure, it has relevance – the security of a free state must be defended by someone; the 2A says that someone is “the people”, with arms, not to be infringed by the govt. The bill of rights is about rights of “the people”, individuals, you and me. 😉

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

I never trust arguments based on selective quoting. The bill of rights is not entirely about individuals… Look at #10, for example, or even #9.

donel a courtney
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donel a courtney

well said; the main danger to walkers is cars, the main solutions lie in road design and traffic rules covering motor vehicles. groups advocating for walkers need to stay on mission.

X
Guest
X

If a person cares about elephants, for example, does that mean they should not also support the cause of people oppressed by law and, abominably, with the excuse of religion, starting over 400 years ago and continuing up through the lives of people now living? It’s no mystery that a child born in this year has a measurably worse prospect in life because of what happened to their parents, their grandparents…

I am who I am because my parents grew up on dirt farms in the 1930s. Things that happened before I was born left a mark on me.

What’s true for me is true for people who were not allowed to live in the town where they worked, people traveling who were told they could not sleep where they had just arrived, people who could not legally marry the person they loved, working people who could not buy a house, soldiers who came back from war to be beaten and lynched for trying to vote? All of these things are historical facts, not from the distant past but in living memory. This is everyone’s problem and ‘stay in your lane’ is not an answer.

Hello, Kitty
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Hello, Kitty

We should all “get out of our lane” — There’s no reason why the folks involved with Oregon Walks can’t or shouldn’t join a group focused on police violence (or whatever cause). They probably should, and there are now plenty of groups to choose from.

But as someone who cares about both pedestrian safety and police violence, based in what I’ve read here (and seen on their website), it does feel a bit as if Oregon Walks got bored with their mission and wandered off to the trendy cause de jour*. Not getting hit by a car while crossing the street is still important to a lot of folks, in all demographic groups, and we still need people advocating for that.


*It’s not like police violence started in May — it’s been a big problem basically forever. I hope the focus it currently has will result in change before everyone’s attention turns to whatever the next popular cause will be, but I’m pessimistic that the tactics and proposals I’ve seen out there will prove effective.

Phil Barber
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Phil Barber

Walkers experience varying levels of danger depending on a number of factors. People of lower economic status are more likely to have to rely less safe transportation infrastructure, which in turn exposes them disproportionately to danger from cars. Because of structural racism and systemic inequality, in the US BIPOC are more likely to find themselves lower in economic status than their white peers, and therefore more likely to be exposed to danger from cars thanks to the color of their skin.

Experiencing danger comes in other forms, too– like the danger police pose to BIPOC communities, and to individuals walking down the street: more likely to be detained, assaulted, arrested, convicted than similarly situated white peers, BIPOC folks are in more danger than white folks from police and judicial violence while walking down the street simply by stepping out in in public.

Dagny Taggart
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Dagny Taggart

Agree, particularly when they become anti-police activists because of a case where police actions were justified, as they were in the Brown case. Don’t take it from me – take it from a POC writing for leftist Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2015/03/16/lesson-learned-from-the-shooting-of-michael-brown/

Quote: “… But this month, the Justice Department released two must-read investigations connected to the killing of Brown that filled in blanks, corrected the record and brought sunlight to dark places by revealing ugly practices that institutionalized racism and hardship. They have also forced me to deal with two uncomfortable truths: Brown never surrendered with his hands up, and Wilson was justified in shooting Brown.”

Phil Barber
Guest
Phil Barber

Dagny, you must not have finished reading the article because you wouldn’t have posted that quote without also acknowledging that the author ultimately makes the *opposite* point, writing:

“Yet this does not diminish the importance of the real issues unearthed in Ferguson by Brown’s death. Nor does it discredit what has become the larger “Black Lives Matter.” In fact, the false Ferguson narrative stuck because of concern over a distressing pattern of other police killings of unarmed African American men and boys around the time of Brown’s death. Eric Garner was killed on a Staten Island street on July 17. John Crawford III was killed in a Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, Ohio, on Aug. 5, four days before Brown. Levar Jones survived being shot by a South Carolina state trooper on Sept. 4. Tamir Rice, 12 years old, was killed in a Cleveland park on Nov. 23, the day before the Ferguson grand jury opted not to indict Wilson. Sadly, the list has grown longer.”

Dagny Taggart
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Dagny Taggart
Phil Barber
Guest
Phil Barber

“Dagny Taggart”, by the comparison you just made and a few of your other comments elsewhere in this thread, it seems like you may be trying to argue that structural racism doesn’t exist and we’re all equally able to pull ourselves up by our own two bootstraps if only we’d try harder, regardless of the color of our skin or any other circumstance of our birth. Is that your point?

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

That was not my point, but you are correct that we are all equally able to pull ourselves up, but not by our “bootstraps”; you pull yourself up by making good decisions in life, realizing you can do anything you want if you are willing to do the work required to achieve your goal. Many people of all races, from all corners of the world, come to this country and do exactly that. Many arrive here with nothing but the clothes on their backs, cannot speak English, and go on to become millionaires by their discipline and hard work. Others may not be millionaires, but may be successful, happy people in the USA, the nation with more freedom than any other nation on earth. The USA isn’t perfect, and it is not racist; people of all races occupy leadership roles in every part of our society. Those who fight with police, no matter their race, may have a bad ending. The choice is for each of us to make. The riots are just violence by unhappy people who have nothing better to do, and D leaders are letting them act like children and making no attempt to stop it. Do not support people who want to destroy our nation.

Phil Barber
Guest
Phil Barber

Steve, it looks like you accidentally left out a word from your comment, fixed it for you: “As an avid [white] pedestrian…anti-police activists, are not my friends.”

Timur Ender
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Timur Ender

No amount of sidewalks, rapid flashing beacons, or ADA ramps will make our streets safe when some pedestrians are more likely to be detained, searched, surveilled, cited, assaulted or killed due to the color of their skin.

No street is safe when a leisurely stroll could end in ICE agents separating you from your family and community.

No pedestrian is safe when state actors chase, gas, and assault the John Lewis’ of today, turning city streets into a theater to enact psycological trauma.

Our funding for transportation justice is threatened when elected officials burn precious general fund in the raging wildfire of state violence.

No one is safe when unmarked vans with unidentifiable individuals claiming to be police from another part of America misuse legal authority to round up random pedestrians in downtown Portland.

No sidewalk is safe when we become silent about things that matter.

Timur Ender, J.D.
Oregon Walks board member

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/5978-there-is-nothing-more-painful-to-me-at-this-stage

Jesse Jackson: ““There is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps… then turn around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Phil Barber
Guest
Phil Barber

I won’t feed this troll by engaging any further, but I did want to point out for the record that Steve S and Dagny T are representing positions that don’t conflict. They aren’t arguing with each other, and both hold viewpoints logically consistent with a general opposition to the earnest, honest pursuit of racial justice and the healing of scars left by intergenerational trauma.

Dagny Taggart
Guest
Dagny Taggart

What will it take to heal those “scars left by intergenerational trauma”? What is you plan? Spell it out. Let’s read it. You have no plan. You will never be satisfied. You want to help POC? Get on the local school board, get rid of unions that prevent firing of incompetent teachers, get rid of ALL SJW BS in the curriculum, stop teaching to the dumbest in each class (no more common-core math); instead, teach the kids skills that will be useful in their lives: reading, writing, math, home economics, history (not SJW history), the Constitution, wood shop, auto repair, physical fitness, basic home finances, typing (whatever it is called for computers), etc. Stop teaching the kids that they are victims and have no chance in life – that is a lie and is ruining their lives.

This country used to be pretty good – people got out of school with at least some level of competence in SOMETHING. Today far too many come out thinking the world revolves around their view of themselves as SJWs, and falsely thinking they are victims, that people in the past had it so much easier than they do; all bullcrap. Life is not easy for anyone – it never has been – everyone does not deserve a trophy, and everyone else is not out to get you. Do your work, take care of your business, do the right thing, and anyone can do well.

X
Guest
X

Everyone has the same chance in theory but it is well established that identical applications or resumes get fewer responses if the applicant can be identified as being of African descent. Sure, bust your butt in school, it’s sure to pay off.

Hello, Kitty
Guest
Hello, Kitty

I know the studies you are referring to (and it’s African-American descent, not African, which I think is an important distinction). However, I wonder if those same results wouldn’t apply to someone applying for, say, technical work named “Candi” or “Elmer” or “Moonbeam” or other “white” names that carry cultural baggage and don’t invoke images of intellectual excellence. I’ve never seen a study that looked at that.

Knowing all that, I’d choose not to name my daughter “Diamond”, even if I really liked it. And if my parents had chosen a name like that for me, I’d change it to something like “Hello,” (at least in my professional life) to remove that particular barrier.

Phil Barber
Guest
Phil Barber

Thanks for writing this Timur! Apologies to any folks reading this, I neglected to identify myself as a fellow Oregon Walks board member in my comment replies above.

Betsy Reese
Guest
Betsy Reese

Jess Thompson made it clear that this award acknowledges that among the reasons that people walk is to demand justice, and that when they do, they are frequently brutalized by police.
  
The charge of “blocking traffic” that police make against protesters marching for justice is a pretext to deny us the right to use our streets for free speech.  Put each one of those protesters in a separate motor vehicle and you would have a traffic jam, not a justification to teargas, flashbang, shoot with rubber bullets, or abduct.

Hiking in the Rocky Mountains, a ranger told us, “The bears use the same trails you use.  If you cross paths with a bear, step off the trail and let them pass.”  When hundreds or thousands of protesters are marching in the streets, they are not “blocking traffic”.  They are traffic.  With little inconvenience, others in motor vehicles can ‘step off the path’ by detouring a block or two, so those on foot can pass.

In addition to the “blocking traffic” pretext to brutalize and prevent protesters from using our streets, motor vehicle tonnage has been weaponized by both police and civilians to intentionally terrorize, and sometimes physically harm, or even kill, soft human bodies protesting on foot.  Oregon Walks has legitimate reasons, as our state’s walking advocacy organization, to draw their circle wide and include protection of pedestrians while they are marching in protest.

Don’t Shoot PDX is a worthy recipient of this Walkstar award “for inspiring us all to take to the streets and walk for justice. (And for) protecting Oregonian’s right to walk safely, by filing a federal lawsuit against the department of homeland security for violating free speech, using excessive force, overstepping their authority and acting under the command of someone who hasn’t been formally confirmed in his role.”  https://oregonwalks.org/2020-oregonwalkstar-award-winner-dont-shoot-portland/

Whose streets?  Our streets.