Advocacy Archives

Sue Stahl, accessibility advocate who pushed for Portland’s adaptive bike program, has died

Posted on November 20th, 2017 at 4:06 pm.

Suzanne Stahl.
(Photo via Facebook)

One of Portland’s most persistent advocates for the rights of people with disabilities has died. Sue Stahl passed away on November 14th. She was 42 years old.

Stahl was a fixture in the fight to make Portland’s streets work better for all people, not just those in cars and on bikes. Her impressive advocacy resume included: Chair of the Portland Commission on Disability, board member of Oregon Walks, member of the City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee, and much more. She also ran for Portland City Council (against Steve Novick) last year.

BikePortland readers probably recall Stahl’s name in our coverage about the lack of adaptive bikes in Portland’s Biketown bike share system. Stahl began asking the Portland Bureau of Transportation about the accessibility of the system as far back as March 2016 — three months before it was due to launch.
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Deputy director of The Street Trust takes job at ODOT

Posted on November 17th, 2017 at 11:56 am.

LeeAnne Fergason.
(Photo: Tanja Olson)

LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.

ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.

Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”

Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.

There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated.
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Inspiring speeches from Oregon Walks award winners

Posted on November 6th, 2017 at 1:54 pm.

View from the stage.
(Photo: Steph Routh)

As I alluded to last week, volunteer activism is at the foundation of Portland’s livable streets movement. At Oregon Walks‘ annual Weston Awards fundraising party on Friday night, two of the award winners epitomized that fact: citizen activist Steve Bozzone and the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood represented by Meesa Long, Lesley McKinley and Chelsea Powers.

With an impressive crowd of advocates, electeds, city staffers, and fellow citizen activists looking on, Bozzone and McKinley shared memorable acceptance speeches that are worth sharing.

Long, McKinley and Powers were up first. This amazing trio led an effort that garnered over $5 million in grants to improve streets in their southeast Portland neighborhood. That’s a big number for a grassroots campaign! And in the process they set records for highest public participation Metro had ever seen by rallying their fellow residents to send in hundreds of postcards, fill in online comment forms, and sign petitions (over 1,000 signatures total).
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North Portland rising: Arbor Lodge and Overlook residents ready to fight for safe streets

Posted on October 26th, 2017 at 3:09 pm.

At the N Greeley Traffic Safety Open House last night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Something’s happening in north Portland. And it will have a profound impact on street safety for years to come.

People in all 11 neighborhoods that make up our city’s northern peninsula are sick and tired of living next to unsafe streets. And they’re coming together to do something about it.

Last night about 60 people crowded shoulder-to-shoulder inside Madrona Hill Cafe on the corner of Ainsworth and Greeley for a “traffic safety open house”. The meeting came five days after 50 people donned raincoats and rallied for safer streets at an unrelated event in St. Johns.

At the open house last night there were babies and kids and senior citizens and young professionals. And everyone had a story to tell. By the end of the night there were well over 100 post-it notes stuck to two large maps where people had written things like, “dog hit” “car hit” and “son cannot cross street w/ bike in the morning”. The event came after months of planning from a nascent group of volunteers from the Arbor Lodge and Overlook neighborhoods who are focused on traffic safety issues. [Read more…]

In two separate events, north Portlanders will seek attention for dangerous streets

Posted on October 19th, 2017 at 10:45 am.

Flyer for tomorrow’s rally.

North Portlanders are tired of waiting for the City or advocacy groups to save them from the deadly streets in their front yards. They’re taking matters into their own hands by elevating voices of vulnerable road users and demanding attention for their concerns.

Two events in the coming week — one from the Arbor Lodge and Overlook neighborhood associations and one from the St. Johns Neighborhood Association — will focus on dangerous streets where motor vehicle users cause daily environmental, safety and public health problems.

This Friday (10/20) a group of St. Johns residents calling themselves Citizens for a Safe and Attractive Fessenden/St Louis will hold a rally to demand that the Portland Bureau of Transportation follow through with promises. Fessenden/St.Louis is a neighborhood collector street between Columbia Boulevard (to the north) and Lombard (to the south). Residents PBOT to fully implement the St. Johns Truck Strategy Phase II project that was approved after a 17 month public process in 2013 (as part of the St. Johns Truck Strategy adopted by City Council in 2001).
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Gal by Bike: At The Street Trust’s annual Alice Awards

Posted on October 2nd, 2017 at 12:47 pm.

The parking lot at the biggest annual fundraiser for the city’s biggest transportation advocacy group.
(Photos: Kate Johnson)

Editor’s note: Gal by Bike columnist Kate Johnson has been a local bike commuter and biking advocate for years, but had never been to The Street Trust’s annual Alice B. Toeclips awards gala until Friday. Here’s her take.

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More than 100 line up to say goodbye to Better Naito and call for permanent protected bike lanes

Posted on September 29th, 2017 at 6:34 am.

A quarter-mile of Portlanders lined Southwest Naito Parkway’s temporary protected bike lane Thursday evening to form bollards with their bodies and call for the next “Better Naito” to be permanent.

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Subscriber post: Today is the big day for the future of biking, if we make it so

Posted on September 28th, 2017 at 10:33 am.

A person-protected bike lane in New York City last month.
(Photo: Streetsblog NYC)

This is a subscriber post by Kiel Johnson of Go By Bike.

At 6 p.m. tonight, join me and your fellow bike enthusiasts for what could be, if we want it to be, the biggest bicycling demonstration in Portland’s history. Together we will stand against the complacency that has told us that more biking is inevitable if we only do nothing.

We all know how to get more people biking, but it will only happen when enough people in Portland stand and demand it as loudly and as often as they can.

Each bike lane that we add or take away tells a story about who we are and what kind of place we want to live in. Are we a city that fosters health, community, and environmental stewardship? Or are we a city that breathes the same polluted air and sits in the same traffic as most of the rest of the United States? Tonight, I choose to help make a city where biking is accessible and safe for all; where we prioritize people who move through our city in ways that make us appreciate one another; where we build bridges that connect communities instead of rivers of cars to separate us.

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Half-hour ‘human-protected bike lane’ will rally support for permanent street improvements

Posted on September 22nd, 2017 at 1:12 pm.

A human-protected bike lane in San Francisco in May. A group of Portlanders are organizing a similar event on Naito Parkway next Thursday, before the protected bike lanes there are removed.
(Photo: Brandon Splane via Streetsblog SF)

As the City of Portland prepares to remove the temporary protected bike lane along its downtown waterfront, some Portlanders see a one-time chance to grab the public imagination.

A group of residents and others who support protected bike lanes in the central city and elsewhere are planning to line up along the soon-to-be removed Naito Parkway protected bike lanes at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, to touch arms and create a half-hour “human-protected bike lane,” complete with music, then capture the image for a crowdfunded advertising campaign in support of permanent bike lane protections.

“I think it’s gonna be awesome,” said Emily Guise, the co-chair of advocacy group BikeLoudPDX. “We’re taking inspiration from people who have done them around the globe: Dublin, San Francisco, New York. … It’s going to be a really positive event.”

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One year after he was killed while biking to work, Gresham man’s family will honor him

Posted on September 21st, 2017 at 2:32 pm.

Robert Esparza.
(Photo via Legacy.com)

The family of Robert Esparza will be on the Gresham-Fairview Trail late afternoon Sunday to call attention to bicycling awareness, organ donation and Esparza’s life.

Esparza, 21, was hit by a Corvette on Sept. 24 of last year while biking through the marked crosswalk near 200th and Glisan at 3:30 a.m. The alleged driver was Alex Jacoby. Esparza, a 2013 Gresham high school graduate, had been on the way to his shift as a welder for medical equipment maker CAPSA Solutions.

Esparza’s sister Janelle Ramirez said in an interview Thursday that she and her family will set up a table, bottled water, cookies and pictures of her brother from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Facebook event here.) She expected other family members, friends and supporters to be there or stop by too, though no particular speech or moment is planned.

“I kind of just thought we could talk to people as they approach if they’re interested,” Ramirez said. “I just want a way to recognize him.”

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