Activist, who me?

Me, being a person who cares about things (a.k.a. an activist), at a memorial for a crash victim back in April.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Catie Gould is a BikePortland contributor and co-chair of Bike Loud PDX.

Activist is a loaded word.

For years, when someone would call me an activist, I just shrugged it off. “I just go to a lot of public meetings,” I’d say. The word seemed too big for me. I was just interested in a few local projects and occasionally asked a hard question. Even after I went from attending rallies to organizing and speaking at them, the word still felt uncomfortable. Advocate, yes. That feels better. I could agree that most of my comments advocate for something. But activists? They are subject-matter experts, lead movements, build coalitions. I just wanted to go to a few meetings to channel my frustrations and hopes into a place where it might matter. Isn’t that what we’re all doing?

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“Induced Demand” singer Paul Rippey is Portland’s new transportation hero

Paul Rippey captivating a City Council audience on Wednesday morning with a stirring rendition of his original hit, “Induced Demand.” Watch and listen in the video below.

As the Oregon Department of Transportation bulldozes their way to several freeway expansion projects in the Portland region — including one in the central city that even Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler supports — grassroots activism against the projects has flourished. When the powerful, the paid-off, and (much of) the public are blinded by ODOT’s slick pitch and PR tactics; we rely on independent, courageous, creative people and coalitions to speak out against these immense mistakes.

Paul Rippey, a folk singer who lives in the St. Johns neighborhood, is one of those people.

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After media reports, state says it will smooth sunken grates on Barbur

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Beaverton to Tualatin ride-14

Jim Parsons in a 2011 photo.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

For at least one last time, the squeaky wheel known as Jim Parsons has gotten some grease onto the gears of government.

After the veteran Portland-area bike advocate’s unsanctioned paint job of two sunken grates in Barbur Boulevard’s bike lanes landed them on TV news for two consecutive days, the Oregon Department of Transportation said Friday that it’ll follow his recommendations for addressing the problem within the next week or two.

An agency spokesman added that ODOT owes thanks to Parsons, who recently finished a degree at Portland State University and is planning a move to China.

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Critical Mass returns (at least in name)

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Critical Mass - Portland

Critical Mass in Portland, June 2005.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

After years of telling people that Critical Mass was dead in Portland, it seems I might have to start telling a different story. Tonight, after a nearly six-year hiatus the well-known tactic of bike-centric street activism will return — at least in name if not in form.

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