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Oregon Active Transportation Summit is back after virus hiatus

Posted by on March 12th, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Graphic: The Street Trust

Stymied by Covid in 2020, the Oregon Active Transportation Summit is back and looks to be stronger than ever.

OATS, as it’s known among the local advocacy crowd, has been held annually since 2011. It’s a must-do gathering of bicycling, walking, transit, and every other kind of non-driving mobility expert, activist, or influencer. You should be there if you want to get your foot in any doors or want to notch-up your professional networks and knowledge. OATS is organized by The Street Trust, the Portland-based nonprofit formerly known as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. (Fun history: OATS began as a project of Cycle Oregon known as the Oregon Bike Summit in 2006. The word “bike” was dropped in 2010.)

The 2021 OATS will take place online from Tuesday to Friday April 27 through April 30th. “On this tenth anniversary of OATS we are thrilled to be giving a platform to the bright minds that are taking on the intersecting issues of climate change and transportation in an equitable and sustainable landscape!” reads the official website.

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Ronnie Harris.
(Photo courtesy The Street Trust)

This year’s slate of panels, workshops and speeches will include a diverse range of subjects and perspectives. Among them are: Mobility, Equity and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Disability and the role of accessibility in equitable transit, Safe Routes to School as a Climate Resilience Strategy, Electric Mobility and Black Portland, Adapting Commuter Programs During and After COVID, The history and evolution of highways in Oregon, What Does Abolition Look Like on Public Transit?, and many more.

This year’s keynote speaker is Ronnie Matthew Harris. Harris is a Chicago resident who’s billed as, “an experienced urban mission strategist” and someone who has, “devoted his life to seeing people flourish within the context of global cities, advocating for equitable access to a quality life.”

Early bird registration rates of $149 are available now through March 15th. After that tickets go up to $199. Learn more and register here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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I assume they are paying the speakers, and I think that’s great. Even so, $150/$200 seems a bit much for an online conference. Do they have plans to make this more accessible financially? (Grants, scholarships, community funds, etc.) Or is this like a “gala” event that’s really a way for The Street Trust to raise money? Which is fine, I just want to be clear on what this is 🙂

Also where did you get the list of speakers, panels and workshops? I looked on The Street Trust website and as far as I could find there’s even less information there than on the Eventbrite page. Kind of strange for a conference with an early bird price ending today to not have it a bit more fleshed-out.

All of this is meant to be genuine curiosity and I hope it doesn’t come across as an attack. Really just looking for more info.