It’s been 116 days since the last officially sanctioned bicycle race happened in Oregon.
The coronavirus crisis forced the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) to cancel all races on March 12th. What was expected to be a four week hiatus turned into nearly four months. Dozens of events have been cancelled statewide, resulting in a major blow to OBRA’s finances, a hit to promoters’ pocketbooks, lots of frustrated athletes, and a loss of tourism dollars for the many cities and small towns that host races.
That sad streak will be broken this Sunday when racers show up to Blodgett, Oregon (just east of Corvallis) for the 33rd annual Mudslinger cross-country mountain bike race.[Read more…]
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association, our state’s official sanctioning body for competitive cycling, knows it isn’t doing enough to support participation of Black, Indigenous and people of color. And they’ve taken a first step to do something about it.
In a statement shared with the group’s 4,500 members yesterday, OBRA Board of Director members Stacy Westbrook and Christy Hawkins wrote, “The events over the last few weeks have shone a spotlight on the systemic racism prevalent in our communities. OBRA recognizes that the cycling industry, and the sport of cycling, has contributed to this.”[Read more…]
North St. Bags owner Curtis Williams models his latest creations. (Photo: North St. Bags)
As Portland settles into life during a public health crisis, local businesses, organizations, and community leaders continue to step up and adapt.
Here’s a roundup of local coronavirus-related news…
North St. Bags Makes the Switch
Portland-based bag maker North St. Bags has joined the list of local companies making personal protective equipment. The company has suspended production of its popular backpacks and panniers to help protect frontline medical workers.
North St. owner Curtis Williams said, “We wanted to be able to put our expertise to use and help the situation, and we think this is the best way to do that.”
Face shields and surgical masks are already shipping out to hospitals and government agencies. Most are being sold, but North St. also has a donation program where people can “buy” a mask via their online store to help cover their production costs and allow the company to donate some items.[Read more…]
Screen grab of Save Women’s Sports article showing OBRA Board Member Inga Thompson at a rally in Washington D.C.
The Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) has decided that one of their board members accused of “pervasive transphobia” can remain on their board of directors.
At-large OBRA board member and three-time Olympic cyclist Inga Thompson has come under scrutiny from some OBRA members who feel her conduct discriminates against transgender athletes. Thompson works closely with a group named Save Women’s Sports and was featured in an article published on their site in October titled, Male athletes are taking over women’s cycling.
After a decade at the helm, Kenji Sugahara has announced plans to move on from his role as executive director of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).
OBRA is the statewide sanctioning body of competitive cycling and currently has around 3,700 members who compete in a variety of disciplines including cyclocross, track, road, and mountain bike racing.
Sugahara, 44, was chosen to lead OBRA in 2008. He plans to stay on for another six to nine months to help with a transition to a new executive director. Sugahara tells us his sights are set on the¶ leadership job at the new Office of Outdoor Recreation that was created by the legislature last session. It would be a natural fit for Sugahara, who currently sits on the Oregon Tourism Commission after being appointed by Governor Kate Brown in 2014.
In a letter emailed to OBRA members last night, Sugahara wrote: “I have had some amazing opportunities arise that I cannot pass up so I have decided that this is an opportune time to pass on the torch. Though we have faced headwinds that have been mirrored on the national level, we have a solid foundation with a great plan to move forward.” [Read more…]