About Sam Balto (Contributor)

Sam Balto (Contributor)

Sam Balto is a northeast Portland resident who teaches physical education at a local public school. In 2019 he was honored with a Weston Award from Oregon Walks for his school-based traffic safety advocacy. Follow him on Twitter at @CoachBalto.


Sam Balto (Contributor) Posts

How to make the most of your carfree Healthy Block this summer

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

What will you do on your Healthy Block this summer?
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The saying better late than never definitely applies to PBOT’s new Healthy Blocks program.

During the pandemic, PBOT prioritized business permits for outdoor dining and paused popular programs like block parties, street paintings, Sunday Parkways and Play Streets.

Now PBOT has reimagined their permit process for street closures and has made it easier for Portlanders to open up streets to support active and social neighborhoods. As a physical education teacher who’s worked on many open streets projects over the years, I’m very excited for this and hope many of you take advantage of these permits.

Here are some ideas to jumpstart your Healthy Block.[Read more…]

7 ways to transform traffic safety around your school for under $500

Wednesday, March 31st, 2021

Kids parking bicycles at racks in front of a school.

If you’re not looking forward to school traffic stress, consider some of these ideas.

[Read more…]

Guest article: Consider a practice bike ride to school on calmer streets

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

A family leaves for a ride in Sellwood.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The coronavirus has changed our lives forever. From here on out, we will think of life before coronavirus, and after. While these are very scary times, we are seeing some positive things appear. With calmer streets and less people driving, there’s been a surge of children and families riding bikes together.

If you’re one of them, it might be a good time to do a practice run to school (if you don’t bike there already).

As a Physical Education teacher at a K-8 school in north Portland I see daily the impacts physical activity — or lack thereof — has on my students’ well-being. In PE class we work to give children the skills they need to be a physically literate person. We are building students’ competence and confidence so they can live a healthy life.

I tell my students that doctors have studied why being physically active is important for children. The closer children are to the 60 minutes of physical activity recommended by the Center for Disease Control, I tell them, the better health outcomes they’ll see. Children who are more active do better in school, get in less trouble, have better relationships with friends, get sick less and live longer lives.
[Read more…]

Guest opinion: We should open up neighborhood streets for social distancing

Monday, March 16th, 2020

Many people have open spaces right in front of their homes, what if we discouraged driving on them and opened them up to safely-distanced play?
(Photo: Sam Balto)

[Read more…]