“Umbrella” nonprofit helps navigate the wonky side of activism

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[Editor’s note: This profile of local livable streets nonprofit Umbrella is the first story of new BikePortland news intern Jenny Leonard. Welcome, Jenny!]


“Umbrella seeks to empower community-based street culture. Streets are meant to connect, not divide, neighborhoods. We support active ideas that develop streets as vibrant, safe, and welcoming public spaces that serve communities.”
–Umbrella’s mission statement

Our city is chock full of community events for alternative transportation. The small organizations that man these events put in a lot of time and effort setting up, running, and enjoying the event. But there is more happening behind the scenes — the nitty-gritty accounting and organization nobody sees.

Often the people who handle these chores belong to a volunteer-run, non-profit group called Umbrella. Steph Routh, the organization’s president (her day job is leading the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition); secretary Matt Picio (co-founder of bike touring organization Cycle Wild), and board member Theo Elliot Roffe sat down with me to detail how Umbrella started, what exactly Umbrella is and how it works in the greater Portland community.

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A summer bike camp on two wheels (Slideshow)

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A day with the CCC

Seeing the neighborhood at biking speed.
More images/Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last Friday I spent the day with the Community Cycling Center’s “Coasters” summer bike camp.

The camp is for kids 6-8 years old and the idea is to teach them how to ride on city streets, do basic bike maintenance (very basic), build confidence, show them around the neighborhood, and of course to just have fun.

My daughter is finally old enough to join so I went along with her on the final day of the week-long camp. After gathering at the CCC on Alberta and 17th, we rolled east via N. Going Ave. The street is slated to be a major bike boulevard and it’s easy to see why. It’s plenty wide, already has low traffic, and its just one block south of Alberta. Even biking with 13 kids, several of whom were fresh from the sidewalk and the watchful eyes of parents, was stress-free.

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Homebound seniors can now get meals on two wheels

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Volunteers delivering meals on two wheels.
(Photo: Loaves & Fishes Center)

Loaves & Fishes Centers, “The Meals on Wheels People”, have launched a new “Meals on Two Wheels” program and they’re looking for volunteers in the Portland-Vancouver area.

Julie Piper Finley, the organization’s communications director, got in touch today to tell us about the new program. She said they’ve been delivering meals to homebound seniors throughout Multnomah, Washington and Clark counties for over 40 years using “conventional automobiles”, but beginning this month, the agency will be rounding up volunteers to deliver meals by bike.

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‘Cross movie screening will benefit Bikes to Rwanda

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Pure Sweet Hell movie poster.

Bikes to Rwanda, a Portland-based non-profit that provides cargo bikes to cooperative coffee farmers in Rwanda, is hosting a special screening of the highly acclaimed cyclocross film, Pure Sweet Hell.

The event (this Thursday from 5-8pm) is being billed as a kickoff party for the Cross Crusade race series (it’s starts this weekend!), but more importantly, it’s a fundraiser for the great work being done by Bikes to Rwanda.

Here’s the event flyer (download larger PDF):

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