jess thompson

Nonprofit leaders say Portland streets aren’t ‘open’ for all

Avatar by on May 19th, 2020 at 10:30 am

Seen in north Portland.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

While some Portlanders ride bikes and walk around their neighborhoods with relative ease, that ostensibly simple act isn’t so easy for many others. Local nonprofit leaders who work with immigrants, people of color, and families that rely on social services, paint a much different picture of neighborhood mobility.

In the case of Oregon Walks, Executive Director Jess Thompson said in a recent member newsletter that many people they serve, “Are not feeling safe leaving home during the pandemic.” “Too many folks do not have enough (or any) access to face coverings or reliable information about how to walk ‘Covid-aware’ and more safely when they walk out the door.”[Read more…]

Portland Mayor fears more people in the street, Oakland Mayor embraces them

Avatar by on April 10th, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Runners using the street to avoid other sidewalk users has become a common practice in Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been a rip-roaring 24 hours in the streets activism world.

We’ve seen Portland’s Mayor say “no” to adapting streets to be in line with Covid-19-induced behaviors. We’ve seen the City of Oakland become a national sensation for saying the opposite. We’ve had some important chats about how groups that work with people of color see the issue. And we’ve had our first dose of tactical urbanism from someone who’s tired of waiting for changes.

It started when Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler took to Twitter to answer a question about giving more street space to give people on foot and bikes. Wheeler deferred to Portland’s transportation bureau and said, “If we close a street, we potentially make it more attractive and create a destination where large groups can congregate. This is exactly the opposite of what we want to do.” [Read more…]

Oregon Walks hires Jess Thompson as new executive director

Avatar by on October 22nd, 2018 at 9:21 am

Jess Thompson.
(Photo: Oregon Walks)

Jess Thompson is the new executive director of Oregon Walks.

The Portland-based nonprofit announced the hire this morning. Here’s more from their Board President Sama Shagaga:

“… Jess is a lifelong walker, and comes to us with experience as a public school teacher and instructional coach, nonprofit manager at Community Warehouse, and most recently as an equity and inclusion consultant. She is honored to join Oregon Walks in the essential work to ensure all people are able to access walkways that are safe, convenient, and enjoyable. Jess joins the Oregon Walks team as we embark on a new strategic planning process and address challenges in ensuring safe streets for all; she anticipates the coming years will be filled with much listening, learning, and advocating for pedestrian safety with volunteers, community partners, staff, board, and donors.”

[Read more…]