Adventures in Activism

This column is edited by Bike Loud PDX volunteers Catie Gould and Emily Guise.

Our goal is to share experiences and insights gleaned by activists doing work “in the trenches” of Portland’s transportation reform movement. See the introduction post here.

Adventures in Activism: Tools of the trade

by on December 7th, 2018 at 10:51 am

Portland transportation activist Ted Buehler uses his trusty measuring devices (in his bike basket) to uncover the dangers of rail tracks.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Who’s running Portland right now? You. Pick a problem that really matters to you. Seek organizations addressing it and give them anything you’ve got: time, money, intellect, energy, even tweets. But don’t sit this out. You must engage.”

That’s what Portland activist and former city council candidate Sarah Iannarone posted Wednesday in response to a Willamette Week cover story on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s first two years in office.

How can you “engage” in transportation advocacy? You’re in the right place, since one of our missions here at BikePortland is to get you inspired and informed enough to have a valuable role in local policy and project decisions. But you need tools. Our activism editors Catie Gould and Emily Guise of BikeLoudPDX have put together a list tools they use to sharpen their activism skills.

Take it away Catie and Emily….
[Read more…]

Activism insight: You don’t need to change the world to make a difference

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike) by on November 28th, 2018 at 9:37 am

There are over 20 yard signs like these on 7th Avenue.
(Photos: Kiel Johnson)

BikePortland supporter and contributor Kiel Johnson (owner of the Go By Bike valet) has been working to create more support for a neighborhood greenway on 7th Avenue as part of PBOT’s Lloyd-to-Woodlawn project. This is his latest post in a series.

You don’t need to change the world to make a difference.

That’s what I’ve learned from these past few months of hunkering down on my advocacy for a NE 7th Avenue neighborhood greenway. If built as proposed, the project would transform 7th — from I-84 to Woodlawn — into a street where safety of all users is the priority.[Read more…]

We can’t fix what we don’t know: Why access to information is key to Vision Zero

by on October 11th, 2018 at 3:47 pm

*Watch how many people drive in front of this man while he waits for a chance to cross.

This post was written by our Adventures in Activism column co-editor Catie Gould.

On the evening of April 7th, Alex Hubert was crossing to the MAX platform to catch a northbound Yellow Line train back home when he was struck by a car. There was no police alert on Twitter. There were no news reports. But I was there.

This post is about my attempt to learn more about the safety issues at the intersection and find out why they haven’t been fixed.[Read more…]

We talked to over 100 people about making Better Naito permanent

by on October 3rd, 2018 at 10:53 am

It was hard not to feel a wave of optimism about biking in Portland after talking with so many people who wanted to support this project.
(Photos: Armando Luna)

This is the latest installment of our Adventures in Activism column, written by Catie Gould and Emily Guise.

“Make Better Naito permanent! Sign a postcard!”
[Read more…]

My neighbors actually showed up! Maybe it was just the free ice cream

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike) by on September 14th, 2018 at 9:03 am

50 people showed up to our neighborhood park to talk with each other about the project.
(Photos: Kiel Johnson)

This is the conclusion to Kiel Johnson’s grassroots effort to talk to more of his neighbors about a transportation project. Don’t miss part one and part two.

After three days of knocking on doors inviting our neighbors to an ice cream social to discuss the proposed Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway, it was time to find out if anyone would actually show up.
[Read more…]

Hi I’m Kiel, want to come to an ice cream social to talk about a transportation project?

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike) by on September 11th, 2018 at 11:32 am

Let’s do this.
(Photos: Kate and Kiel Johnson)

This is the second post by Kiel Johnson in a series about his effort to talk to his neighbors about the Lloyd to Woodlawn neighborhood greenway project.

This past week my wife Kate and I went door-to-door from NE 7th and Alberta to NE Thompson inviting people to an ice cream social to talk about the proposed Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway. As I shared last week, the purpose of the event was to create a low-stress place for neighbors to meet each other and share their opinions about the proposal that would add diverters and create a new family-friendly bikeway between I-84 in the Lloyd to Dekum Street in Woodlawn.

For a 32-year-old, knocking on the doors of complete strangers is not the easiest thing to do.
[Read more…]

Taking greenway activism door-to-door in northeast Portland

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike) by on September 6th, 2018 at 2:39 pm

My door-knocking partner, Kate Johnson.
(Photo: Kiel Johnson)

This post is written by Kiel Johnson, a local business owner, transportation activist, and northeast Portland resident.

Over the next few weeks, in their downtown offices, city staff will determine the route for the Lloyd to Woodlawn Neighborhood Greenway using a combination of personal egos, local political winds, community feedback, and hopefully, reason. Whenever the city wants to make it a little harder to drive a car somewhere they are always faced with passionate opposition. Trying to do it in inner northeast Portland, an area that has undergone rapid gentrification and change, is even more difficult.

I recently moved to NE 7th so this process has gotten a lot closer to home. Over the next weeks I am going to share my attempt to navigate this complexity and advocate for the route greenway route to be on NE 7th. Our society has wronged a lot of groups and as a white male I have benefited from a lot of those policies. Is it possible to address this privilege while also advocating for something that will be a big change for a lot of people? My approach is to include as many people and viewpoints as possible and make sure everyone is heard, even if I disagree with them.
[Read more…]

‘Mobility for All’ initiative seeks to create one-stop shop for transportation access

by on August 28th, 2018 at 11:10 am

A panel answered questions about the benefits of the program at a workshop held at Metro in June. From Right to left: Jan Campbell, Chair of the Special Transportation Fund Advisory Committee; Adrian Pearmine, DKS Associates; Bob Stacey, Oregon Metro Councilor District 6; Brenda Durbin, Director of Clackamas County Social Services; Julie Wilkie, Executive Director of Ride Connection.

“Right now we have a second-class transportation system for folks that have accessibility issues and it just plain isn’t fair.”
— Adrian Pearmine, DKS Associates.

Seniors and people living with a disability who need accessible transportation across the Portland region have dealt with a patchwork of inadequate services for years.

A new initiative called Mobility for All hopes to change that by creating a one-call, one-click regional transportation information system.

Today, many communities in the Portland Metro do not have accessible or frequent transit, requiring residents with special needs to reserve rides days in advance in order to get around. Service varies significantly in rural communities, and getting across the region through multiple service providers can be daunting. One of those options, TriMet’s privately operated LIFT paratransit service, was recently under fire at a Workers Rights Board hearing in May for inadequate scheduling systems and long wait times for riders among other complaints from employees and community members.
[Read more…]

Bringing the ‘Bike Lane Uprising’ to Portland

by on August 22nd, 2018 at 10:13 am

What was the outcome of this? How often does it happen? I have no idea.

Catie Gould and Emily Guise are co-editors of our Adventures in Activism column.

It’s a scenario familiar to anyone biking in a city: you’re riding down the bike lane, when suddenly you’re forced to brake and swerve around an unforeseen obstacle blocking your way. At best, this is annoying; at worst, it is deadly.

Reporting these issues can be extremely frustrating. In Portland, there is no way to send a photo to the Parking Enforcement number, and callers rarely know if a ticket was ever issued. Reports to the 823-SAFE hotline can take months to be reviewed and disappear into a database that is not publicly accessible. This leads people to resort to social media, which raises only temporary awareness.

A new website aims to fill the gap. Since Bike Lane Uprising launched in September 2017, it has received over 2200 bike lane obstructions reports. Christina Whitehouse, an industrial designer in Chicago, has been surprised by how quickly it has taken off. The site allows people to submit incidents of bike lane infractions which are posted online and entered into a database and mapped. As more people contribute, Whitehouse can create heatmaps to identify conflict zones, trends, and notify businesses that are repeat offenders.
[Read more…]

Chill reads for new urbanist needs

by on July 25th, 2018 at 9:13 am

Our co-editor Emily Guise models proper reading form.
(Photo: Catie Gould)

This summer reading list was created by Catie Gould and Emily Guise, BikeLoud PDX volunteers and co-editors of our Adventures in Activism column.

Summer is a great time to relax by the pool (fountain, river, lake, sprinkler, or whatever) and still get nerdy about transportation and land-use. What could be better?

Here’s our list of favorite urbanist classics and a few newer ones for good measure…
[Read more…]