About Steph Routh (Guest Contributor)

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Steph Routh lives in Portland's Lents neighborhood. She is the former executive director of Oregon Walks and a founding board member of Cycle Wild.

Steph Routh (Guest Contributor) Post Archive

An interview with Momoko Saunders, co-founder of Bike Farm

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Momoko Saunders.

This is the second installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. Don’t miss her interview with Meeky Blizzard. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Momoko Saunders is the quintessential behind-the-scenes creator. There are those who take their applause from a stage, and those who hear their work appreciated from the back of the room. Momoko has held a hallowed place in the latter category, and it’s time to shine a light on her work.

As co-founder of Bike Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to bike repair and education, Momoko developed the administrative back-end that makes or breaks any new enterprise. She volunteers on the Board of Portland Society and is an iOS developer by trade.

Momoko and I met up at the Community Cycling Center office, which happens to be right around the corner from Bike Farm.

How did you get started in biking?
I didn’t get into biking seriously until Bike Farm and then not seriously myself until my bike tour. And then I never looked back.
[Read more…]

An interview with Meeky Blizzard, one of Portland’s original freeway fighters

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Meeky Blizzard.
(Photo: Matt Giraud)

Written by Steph Routh, this is the first in our Women’s Bike Month interview series sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Every day we travel past, on, or under structures and streets named for the people who had some relationship to its construction. Ladd’s Circle. Flanders Street. Naito Parkway. The Glenn Jackson Bridge.

Meeky Blizzard’s name is not attributed to a structure, because she made her mark on transportation and land use planning with the structure that was never constructed — the Western Bypass. Instead, the planned Western Bypass corridor from Tualatin to Hillsboro remains largely agricultural land, thanks to Meeky and other activists who started the group Sensible Transportation Options for People, also known by its apt acronym STOP. Meeky and other STOP members opposed the project and instead proposed alternate solutions that were eventually codified in the Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality (LUTRAQ) study.

After the demise of the Western Bypass in 1996 (which briefly re-emerged in the recent legislative session), Meeky went on to serve as Livable Communities Advisor to U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer until her retirement in 2012. Now living in rural Washington County, she still advocates for livable communities. Meeky testified against a freeway proposal in April, telling legislators that building freeways is “simply a waste of money.”

I recently sat down with Meeky in Portland City Hall to learn more about that fateful freeway fight and what lessons it might hold for today’s activists…
[Read more…]

Guest opinion: Why forest lovers should support a bike corridor to the coast

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Salmonberry Corridor would connect Banks
to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.
(Map by Oregon State Parks & Rec)

Turning the broken Salmonberry rail line into a biking, walking and horse-riding corridor between Washington County and the Pacific Coast has some of our neighbors worried that it’ll interfere with Oregonians’ age-old connection to the forest.

I get the concern, because my family has loved this forest for generations. But here’s what I see: Connectivity is what this proposed facility does best. Let’s connect more people to Oregon’s beauty, to the traditions I grew up with, and to a more resilient local economy.

When I first heard about the Salmonberry Corridor project, my thoughts were mixed. It’s a cool idea and use for a pre-existing, troubled rail alignment; but Northwest Oregon currently has many needs that are unfunded (Barbur Boulevard, 82nd Avenue, multi-modal improvements along Highway 101 main streets, etc.). Frankly, I was skeptical that adding a new path to the Coast was a priority.
[Read more…]