Former Obama transpo secretary will headline Oregon Active Transportation Summit

Charles Brown (L) and Anthony Foxx will deliver keynote speeches on April 25th.
(Photos: Brown, Rutgers University; Foxx, Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Active Transportation Summit will take place April 24th through the 26th at the Oregon Zoo. The annual conference is organized by The Street Trust and features a full slate of mobile workshops, plenary sessions, professional training, and networking opportunities.

Headlining the summit’s main day — Thursday, April 25th — will be a noted researcher and a Cabinet Secretary for former President Barack Obama.

Former Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx spent four years as Obama’s Transportation Secretary and as of last October works for Lyft as their chief policy officer. Foxx visited Portland in 2016 as part of the US Department of Transportation’s “Smart City” initiative.


Charles Brown is a senior researcher at the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center (VTC) and adjunct professor at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. Mr. Brown will deliver the lunch keynote. In 2018 he was nominated for a “Streetsie Advocate of the Year” award by Streetsblog Los Angeles for his, “important work on the intersections of race and mobility.”

In a statement about the event, The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler said, “This year, many sessions address ways to achieve more equitable outcomes from our transportation system.”

Among the topics of Thursday’s breakout sessions are: Voices From Williams Avenue; Designing Safe Streets for Pedestrians of Color: The Intersection of Equity Engineering and Vision Zero; Inclusive Bike and Scooter Share; Creating Bike Networks; Let’s (Not) Talk About Congestion; and more.

After a day of interesting keynotes and sessions, The Street Trust will host a Pecha Kucha event at Rock Bottom Brewery. Unwind with friends old and new as you listen to a series of short and stimulating presentations on a variety of transportation-related presentations.

Register for the event and view the full schedule here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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Obama picks Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for USDOT Secretary – UPDATED

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Anthony Foxx could be
our next DOT Secretary.
(Photo: Anthony Foxx Facebook Page)

News has broken this evening that President Obama will pick Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next US Department of Transportation Secretary. Foxx, 41, would replace Ray LaHood, who Obama appointed in December 2008.

Foxx has been mayor of Charlotte for almost four years and just recently announced he would not seek re-election. He’s a former lawyer who has spent most of his professional life in politics. From what I’ve seen reported so far, it appears Foxx does not have much transportation experience. He’s pushed for highway widening projects, he’s started a streetcar revival in Charlotte and he’s a big proponent of rail transit in general.

Here’s more on the selection of Foxx from Slate’s Matthew Yglesias:

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Bike advocates respond to Obama’s Interior Secretary pick

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Sally Jewell at her nomination announcement.
(Photo: Pete Souza/White House)

If you’ve been biking for a few years, chances are you have something in your closet from national outdoor retailer REI. Now the CEO of that company, Sally Jewell has been picked by President Obama to be Secretary of the Interior. With that job comes the rather large responsibility of managing our public lands — many acres of which include (or should include) bicycle access.

Not surprisingly, people who care about the outdoors and about bicycling are thrilled at Jewell’s nomination. REI is a company that has built a solid reputation for not only their commitment to selling bicycles and bike products (not to mention their highly regarded Novara brand), but they are also good partners in the communities they operate in. They regularly donate to bike-related non-profits and they host bike events and clinics at their stores. For many people, the local REI is also the local bike shop.

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Bikes, Obama, and the State of the Union

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Obama spoke cards-1.jpg

I believe it’s time for a
new transportation vision.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tonight, President Obama will give the annual State of the Union address. While there’s zero chance he’ll mention bicycling, there is a chance he’ll mention transportation investments (likely in the context of creating jobs).

If you were writing the speech, what would you have him to say about biking and transportation?

Go ahead, suspend your grip on reality and imagine that transportation is a non-partisan issue and that bicycling isn’t a polarizing political football and favorite public scapegoat.

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Obama tourism initiative has Oregon (and biking) connection

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Todd Davidson.
(Photo: PureTravelNW)

President Obama announced a new initiative yesterday aimed at boosting U.S. tourism. With an eye on job creation and economic stimulus, the White House unveiled a host of strategies to make it easier to visit the U.S. and encourage cities and states across the country to roll out the welcome mat.

The man picked to lead the effort is none other than Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson. According to a statement released today by Travel Oregon, Davidson has been selected for the post by U.S. Secretary of Commerce John Bryson.

This news is not only validation for the work Travel Oregon has done to make Oregon a premiere travel destination, it also bodes very well for raising the profile of bike tourism in Oregon and beyond.

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Portland bike companies poised for Obama’s “insourcing” initiative

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That’s right. 100% made here in Portland.
(Photos © J. Maus)

President Barack Obama made headlines yesterday as he announced a new effort to re-ignite America’s manufacturing base by hiring from within — within the United States that is.

Obama, with Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and CEO of locally based Keen Footwear by his side, talked up “insourcing” (as opposed to outsourcing, get it?) and laid out several measures to help make it happen. The new initiative seems tailor-made to give a much-needed bump to Portland’s flourishing bike industry.

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Scenes from outside the Obama-Kitzhaber rally

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Obama - Kitzhaber rally in Portland-8

The folks from Rejuiced Bikes rolled
through the crowd in one
of their bike cars.
-Slideshow below-

I spent a few minutes checking out the scene outside the Oregon Convention Center this afternoon in advance of the arrival of President Obama. Obama is in town to pump up Democrats in a get out the vote effort for gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber.

In a funny twist, the temporary racks provided by the event planners sat about half empty, while railings, trees, and shrubs near the Convention Center had bikes locked all over them. I think people expected to not find any official parking, so they locked to whatever they could find. It also didn’t help that the temporary racks were behind two large lines and were not in plain sight to the arriving throngs.

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Biking to Obama? Check the Lloyd District Bike Parking Map

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Detail from map showing bike parking
locations around Convention Center.

As we mentioned yesterday, the Oregon Convention Center is not likely to be able to provide enough bike parking for the Barack Obama visit today (latest news is that he’ll speak at 6:45).

That being said, we forgot to mention an awesome resource for finding bike parking in the Lloyd District. Our friends at the Lloyd District TMA reminded us about their Interactive Bike Parking Map. Check it out below…

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Bike parking will be at a premium for tomorrow’s Obama visit

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BTA Bike Commute Challenge Party-2

Temporary bike parking like this will
be used at the Convention Center tomorrow.
(Photos © J. Maus)

President Obama arrives in Portland tomorrow to stump for gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber at the Oregon Convention Center. The event starts at 5:00 p.m., at the peak of evening rush hour and in a part of town that is — thanks to streetcar and other construction projects — already quite traffic-snarled. The roads will be a complete mess.

Getting there by bike (or MAX) will be much easier; but if you go by bike, will there be a place to park?

Back in 2008, during the North American Handmade Bike Show, huge crowds quickly overflowed the Convention Center’s bike racks (and 500 indoor spaces that were made available especially for the show). When people started locking up to nearby railings, Convention Center security guards cut the locks and started impounding bikes.

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Will Mrs. Obama’s obesity focus boost Safe Routes to School efforts?

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Michelle Obama could help bring
Safe Routes to Schools to the table.
(Photo: White House on Flickr)

America has a long legacy of First Ladies who have used their diplomatic profile to further specific causes, so I was very pleased to learn that Michelle Obama’s focus would be obesity.

Anyone who has spent time in the bike advocacy world knows that the obesity epidemic is often thrown around as a key reason why our country needs to put a higher priority on biking. So, is the First Lady’s focus on obesity and “healthy families” something to get excited about?

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