Read remembrances of Gareth.

In memory of Gareth Parker

gareth

Many of you have heard about the recent fatality of a bicyclist near Oregon City. I just returned from a bike safety meeting, energized about making our city safer for everyone and I found out the latest news: the victim has been identified as Gareth Parker.

Gareth was an active volunteer in the bike community with organizations like Shift and the BTA. I met Gareth for the first time at the end of this month’s Critical Mass ride. We hung out at the Salmon Street Fountain and talked about the recent Bridge Pedal ride. He wanted to get my feedback on how to make it better next year.

My memory of Gareth is his huge smile that radiated energy and his sweetness to Eleni, my 2 yr-old daughter. Once he realized I was also involved in the bike community we sort of did that, “well, I’m sure we’ll see each other around,” thing at the end of our conversation. But unfortunately that won’t happen this time.

I would like to ask anyone who knew Gareth or who has been touched by his enthusiasm and love for cycling to contribute your thoughts in the comments below.

Memorial fund

The family is asking that any donations be made out to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in the name of Gareth Parker. Checks can be sent to:
Macy and Son Funeral Directors
Attn: Janet Stark
135 NE Evans
McMinnville, OR 97128

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BikePortland.org » Blog Archive » Hit-and-run driver gets seven years in prisonTom MoesSerra SermetAngela JuonBen Cooley Recent comment authors
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Greg Raisman
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Greg Raisman

This is as sad as it gets. Gareth was an amazing person who was intensely active with so many things that our community cares about.

Gareth had participated in 2 of the 5 Bike Safety Leadership Workshops to date. He followed up on those meetings with some of his great ideas. Here’s a quote from one of his emails:

“On the 1300 NPR news program Monday, August 22, 2005, there was a segment about a wristband technology which has been adopted by 12 states to monitor anyone on probation when drugs or alcohol are involved. It came out of sleep research that found than asleep patterns are different whenever a person has recently consumed drugs or alcohol. The story indicated that it cannot be fooled. Do you know anything about this? The behavioral modification results appear spectacular. This seems like something worth adopting here in Oregon. Especially as there is a real problem with repeat DUI offenders with suspended license. Personally, I have long favored adoption of the full Scandinavian model, not the incomplete designated driver model we promulgate. The full model includes lifetime loss of driving privilege with first DUI conviction.”

I have not seen reports of whether it was a DUII situation in Gareth’s death. But, many times, hit and runs do turn out to be alcohol related.

We have been working hard to reinvogorate DUII efforts in Portland. Just this week, we met with John Dieter, the Director of the DUII Intensive Supervision Program, to talk about how to reinvigorate DUII programs.

In conjunction with PSU, we will initiate an Opportunity Analysis to look at what our community can do to reduce DUII. More than half of our most recent bicycle fatalities have been alcohol related.

In that light, I will suggest that we name the DUII task force after Gareth. He worked tirelessly in life and we hope that we can carry that work forward by dedicating our DUII work to him.

As I’ve said too many times, each traffic fatality is a tragedy. Each person that dies are loved.

We must continue to work together to reduce the number of people who are getting hurt and killed on our streets. Please participate in these efforts. If you would like more information about how to get involved with bicycle safety efforts in your neighborhood, please call me at (503) 823-1052.

Please be safe out there.

Greg
Traffic Safety Specialist
Community and School Traffic Safety Partnership
City of Portland Office of Transportation.

Robert Ping
Guest

How does one begin to talk about the tragic death of another human being? Especially, how does one talk about someone who dedicated his life to helping others be safe, and then…but Gareth Parker deserves the attempt.

Gareth was a true bicycle advocate, participating in every event, committee, action and volunteer opportunity he could. Ultimately he was an advocate for a better and safer world for all of us.

Gareth helped kids learn to be safer bicyclists, and he worked to improve conditions for all cyclists. His work and the work of many others has helped to make Portland the best cycling city in the country; obviously, there is still change that needs to be made among some of the metro area’s driving citizens, and perhaps it will take ‘Platinum-level’ improvements to protect us from those who don’t have the courage to do it on their own.

Known for his tenacity and steadfast pursuit of a safer world, I can only wonder about the irony of Gareth’s passing. But he died doing what he loved most, he had passion for a better world and acted on it, and he made a positive change to the world in which he lived. To me, this is the best of lives lived.

Brita Johnson
Guest
Brita Johnson

Hi, friends –

I was away for the weekend, in a place where I could get e-mail, but not send. How strange it felt to be cut off from our bicycling community when this awful news came through.

So many people have testified beautifully to Gareth’s burning passion for bicycling and bicycle safety, and so rather than repeat that, I just wanted to speak a bit to Gareth’s contributions to bicycling through his work with the BTA.

Gareth was a super-committed BTA volunteer starting in the summer of 2003, and he put in many, many hours at advocacy and fundraising events, and – his special love – with the BTA’s bike safety program, working with kids at area middle schools. Gareth was a frequent face at the BTA office, stopping in to chat with staff about his current projects and the next big ideas on his horizon or to use the computers here to do research on bike issues. In the last conversation I had with Gareth, he leaned, on one elbow, deeply into our conversation, saying, “you know, bike safety, and working with these kids – it’s what I want to DO!”

Any bicyclist’s death on the road is a tragedy, but it’s an especially stupid, ironic tragedy that an advocate like Gareth, whose focus in life was better, safer biking, died in this way. In all the ways Gareth worked for better biking, his energy and commitment will be missed.

B

Carl Douthit
Guest
Carl Douthit

My name is Carl and my wife, Karen, and her sister Janet are Gareth’s sisters.

Thank you so much for being Gareth’s friends. It is so helpful to read your kind comments and to read about the good things that Gareth was involved in these past years.

The family is still finalizing the timing of the memorial service (most likely next week). The service will be at Willamette National Cemetary. The family welcomes your attendance and would appreciate the opportunity to meet you and to learn about Gareth’s life and activities. We will post the date and time of the services when they have been set.

Karen and I live in Boise, Idaho, and will be traveling over to Portland later this week. However, we will be sure to get the date and time of services posted for you when we know.

If it is possible and allowable, I would like to give the site administrator permission to provide the author of the original posting (“In Memory of Gareth Parker”) permission to contact me directly by email. Even if this is not allowed, we will make sure to keep all of you informed.

Again, the family thanks you for being Gareth’s friends.

Carl

Cate Ryan
Guest
Cate Ryan

So sad about Gareth. I volunteered with him several times at BTA events and he was such a nice, engaging guy – always wanting to help, and generous with his time and bicycling knowledge/skills.

In sadness,

Cate

Alex Pollock
Guest
Alex Pollock

Hi All,
Just read the news about Gareth. Very sad, especially when it’s one of our own.

Some of you might have been on the receiving end of Gareth’s enthusiasm and energy without even realizing it. He was the one who gave
out the ODOT neon helmet and spoke reflectors during Pedalpalooza 04. I believe it was his single-handed effort in getting these from ODOT and giving them out to eager Pedalpalooza attendees. I think this was over 700 pieces.

And in true Gareth style, he wrote an extensive report to give his contact back at ODOT as much feedback as possible.

http://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/shift/2004-07/msg00076.html

If anyone could get a photo of one of these distinctive spoke reflectors on bikeportland, I think that would be great. I know mine will
be staying on my bike for a long time.

Also, I think that there was a photo of Gareth on the old shift site, one of the rotating photos. If anyone could locate this, I think it
would be a good one to post.

I end with Gareth’s signature from the above email:

“In the world in which I live,
there is no such thing as coincidence.
There are only co-created-incidents

Namaste Happy Snowboarding Gareth”

-Alex

Jonathan Maus
Guest

There are also a few comments over at News4Neighbors.net.

Ayleen Crotty
Guest
Ayleen Crotty

I am honored to have spent time working, playing, talking bike stuff and enjoying life with Gareth over the lasts few years.

–Ayleen

Elicia Cardenas
Guest
Elicia Cardenas

Working with Gareth was like working with a cyclone that never ran out of energy. Sometimes he got so excited it actually seemed like he was overflowing with bike fun. I worked with Gareth both through SHIFT as well as at the Bicycle Advisory Committee, where he was a constant attendee. That kind of tireless energy is the sort of thing that inspires me when I’m sitting at yet another endless bike policy meeting.

I remember Gareth’s zealousness in handing out reflectors (i still have them on my favorite mini-bike!), his brain that never seemed to stop processing, and his absolute dedication to making cycling safer in Portland, and everywhere. We have lost a great treasure when we lost Gareth.
-elicia

Eric Hale
Guest
Eric Hale

Thank You!!
I’m glad to know that my dad was part of a community who cared for him. And you will be glad to know that his legacy is carried through cycling in his son. Many of my best and most vivid memories of him involve bikes: first crash without training wheels; first ride and Chilly Hilly ’87 on the 12 speed; first mt bike from the old REI in Seattle with the always present ski wax smell snd creaky wood floors…. I now have two mt bikes, a road bike, and a cruiser. I ride both for fun and to commute (sometimes, even, both at the same time). Were it not so late I could be nearly as verbose as is Gareth in the link above, but, alas, I do have to work early.

Peace and Love,
Eric

“In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident.”
-Henry David Thoreau

Jessica Roberts
Guest

I keep thinking of Gareth, randomly, and then finding it nearly impossible to believe that he won’t be showing up at the next (and every) bike event, full of new plans for how to make the world a better place. Gareth was an unstoppable ball of energy and optimism and plans. He was our most faithful and enthusiastic volunteer at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance–we could *always* count on him to help with our Bicycle Safety Education Program in middle schools, and much more. The world would be a safer, kinder, more fun place if everyone tried as hard as Gareth did.

Here’s wishing you endless smooth roads, full of fellow bike riders, Gareth.

Kiran Limaye
Guest
Kiran Limaye

We have lost a tireless advocate in Gareth. I remember first meeting him at an MMR two years ago. We talked about alternative energy sources, “co-created incidents” (as opposed to coincidences), and bikes into the late hours.

A regular at the Portland Bike Advisory Committee, his goal was improved safety and he worked for it persistently. The recently announced Police distribution of lights that was Gareth’s signature effort. He wanted to turn bike-police interactions into a chance for positive engagement. It looks like the rest of us we will get that chance.

Just last week he was working with me to help out a woman who had had bike trouble on MAX. We talked at Coventry’s about how he could help her and some meditation beads that we was looking for. I still haven’t tracked down the
beads.

I had read about the hit and run, but I all I thought was “at least they got the driver.” Who would’ve thought that the victim was Gareth? I never quite knew when I would see him, but I knew I’d come across him at some point — I
didn’t think it would be an electronic obituary.

I know he liked to snowboard, when not working for bike saefty or having bike fun. The man was an an exemplar for living a full life and doing what you
love.

Thanks Gareth, your passion is hard to match, though I hope many of us will try.

Kiran

Mark Hayward
Guest
Mark Hayward

Hi, I am the man who tried to save Gareth on the side of the road. I am glad that he has such a wonderful group of family and friends. I am happy to have crossed paths with him even though the situations was difficult. I wish my efforts would have prevailed, my hope was that I would see him again. In spite of my efforts he is no longer here with us. In reading your wonderful kind memories of him, I am glad I tried to keep him here but we will retain the memories and impact on our community forever. Even after the people drove up and told me not to touch him he was dead I did not listen to them and I rolled him over and helped him make it another few hours. Maybe our paths will meet again, it is nice seeing he had friends and family.

Jym Gibson
Guest
Jym Gibson

Hello All,
I knew Gareth for too short a time but was impressed by the vigor that seemed to emanate from him and the energy that was to me so rarely seen in an individual that was powered by someone who was dedicated to a cause that could be shared by everyone no matter what social or economic barriers existed. I now am beginning to find myself convinced that we need to get the younger ones imprinted with the liberating experience of the empowerment that can be expressed by the freedom of being able to ride bicycles and the sense community that can be found with the sure footing that can be had with bicycling. Too many kids are missing this phenomenon and this also is askewer by the factor that as our population changes less and less of the children are likely to be interested in bicycling as the children’s parents have had no good founding exposure to bicycles and thus have no point of reference to interact with the children as far as nurturing any interest in the world of bicycling.

Jym.

Judith
Guest
Judith

Gareth was a favorite cousin as are all who are “just a little older”. I always thought it sad that once grown we didn’t get to follow each other more closely. Your memos echo the thoughts of a cousin. Gareth was smart, very smart and filled with a zest for life. He was ahead of his time in caring about environmental issues and the quality of life. May you all ride safely… and if you are ever in Eugene, enjoy a town where bicycling is a major pastime.

Brita Parker
Guest
Brita Parker

Knowing that my dad was surrounded by people that cared for him is a great comfort for me. I would especially like to give my deepest gratitude to Mark Hayward for staying by his side after the accident. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

My dad will be in my thoughts everytime I ride my pink and white Schwinn cruiser.

-Brita

Janet Stark
Guest
Janet Stark

Jonathan:

On behalf of the family I just wanted to extend to you and to all of Gareth’s friends a heartfelt thanks for attending his funeral service. I know if it had been someone else in the biking community, Gareth would have been first in line to attend the service.

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS.

It was great to meet some of Gareth’s friends and acquaintances and to see how many different people his life touched. Also, the variety of
organizations present was amazing. It is truly awesome to know Gareth was a part of this group of wonderful caring people. We are picking up the pieces and will hopefully be moving forward, but will always carry in our hearts the treasured memories of how many people cared for Gareth.

It was very very special to see the bikers join in the funeral procession and to be a part of something much bigger than ourselves. Thank you for letting my son join in with the other bikers. This meant a lot to him.

I can’t thank you enough for posting his funeral service time and for organizing the bike ride to the cemetery. Also posting the memorial donations gives people an opportunity to share in something that was such a huge part of Gareth’s life.

If you need anything else from Gareth’s family in the future, please feel free to contact me.

Take care, ride safely, and have a whole lot of FUN!

Janet Stark

Beth
Guest
Beth

I am saddened by Gareth’s death and will miss his enthusiasm and seemingly tireless energy. We met last year at the PSU traffic and transpo class (where I found him to be so knowledgeable that I wondered why he wasn’t helping TEACH the course!). What I will remember most about Gareht is the effortless flow of his passion for bicycles and for good places to ride them. We are all diminished by his passing.

Ben Cooley
Guest
Ben Cooley

When I returned from a recent trip to Spokane, Washington I learned that the unidentified cyclist who was killed near Oregon City was Gareth Parker.
I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have been associated with and have become friends of Gareth. The comments you have posted here are surely a testimony to his commitment to cycling and what he wanted to accomplish.
I cannot attest to any of these things but is comforting to know that he earned respect and a large number of friends.
I can bear witness however that I am one who has known Gareth for the length of his life and have fond memories of his very early childhood.
Ride on Gareth and if my old legs and Wal-Mart special would do the job I would take that memory ride Sunday with all of your friends.However in place of that I will take my own memory ride near my home and will remember Gareth each day I am able to ride.
Thank you all and God Bless.
Uncle Ben

Angela Juon
Guest
Angela Juon

I am shocked and saddened to stumble across this site and the terrible tragedy of Gareth’s death. Gareth was in a network engineering class that I taught at PCC about 4 years ago. He was very kind and very enthusiastic about life. At the end of that class, he talked the students into going in on a very nice plant as a thank you gift to me. I was incredibly touched.

My thoughts and prayers are with Gareth’s family and friends.

Angela Scott-Juon

Serra Sermet
Guest
Serra Sermet

Remember Gareth who embodied the spirit of cycling,

Remember Gareth who yelled louder than most during political protests,

Remember Gareth who shared his passion for cycling with thousands of children,

Remember Gareth who was always there to lend his support,

Remember Gareth with his contagious smile and bright blue eyes,

Remember Gareth who embodied the spirit of volunteerism and community,

Remember Gareth.

Tom Moes
Guest
Tom Moes

Since it is hard for me to talk about sad events, I would rather just say something positive about Gareth’s zest for life through volunteering and his unconditional love for children safety.

I’ve known Gareth for 3 years, and plan to keep him a part of my life for many, many more. When he showed up to volunteer at one on my bike safety classes, my first impression was that this guy means business. Seriously, his shaved head, handle bar mustache, and skin tight shorts blew me away. Regardless of his appearance, he made a true impact in those kids’ lives and mine as he led packs of 4-6 kids on bike rides around their neighborhood school. Once, when a car drove too close to us during one of the bike rides, Gareth didn’t hesitate to put his life on the line to protect those kids. And of course, he didn’t hesitate to say something kind to the auto driver.

Over the years, I’ve had many discussions with Gareth-either at the Lucky Lab, over email, on PSU campus, or my last visit with him at the OR Brew Fest this summer. That last visit with was very memorable because just like all of the others, he wanted me to help him with one of his (many) volunteer gigs. Literally, I never met such a kind human individual that contributed more to the vitality of a community and yet, never expected anything in return. Well, I guess the only thing he might have expected was a good conversation. At the Brew Fest, I recall saying, “Gareth, you work way too hard. When will you ever slow down?” As I left, we both smiled each other. And of course, he reminded me of my duty to help him out. Oh, that sweet smile of his will be forever missed. He has shared many personal stories with me about his family and early childhood for which I am ever grateful. The next time my two bike wheels hit the ground, Gareth, my man, you will share the road with me.

Tom

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