Oregon Walks

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…]

Transportation Trivia packs them in as Shoup-inspired team takes top prize

Avatar by on February 25th, 2019 at 10:35 am

Team “You Make Me Want To Shoup” hoists the trophy: (L to R): Sarah Iannarone, Joe Cortright, Alyssa Heminger, Tony Jordan and Clint Culpepper.
(Photo: Yashar Vasef)

Transportation leaders and bright minds from around the region convened at the Lagunitas Community Room on Thursday night for the latest rendition of the Community Cycling Center and Oregon Walks’ Transportation Trivia event. It was an overflow crowd and for the first time in the event’s history, all tickets were sold out before the festivities even began.
[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…]

Invoking “emergency” law, Commissioner Saltzman will propose a lower speed limit on SE Stark

Avatar by on April 6th, 2018 at 9:54 am

Stark just west of 162nd.

Almost exactly a year after Portland City Council unanimously supported an emergency speed limit reduction on outer Southeast Division street, they are now poised to take the same extraordinary measure on outer Stark.

Shaina Hobbs, a policy director for City Commissioner Dan Saltzman confirmed with us this morning that an emergency ordinance (view it below) will be proposed at City Council on April 11th. The ordinance would lower the speed limit on Southeast Stark from 35 mph to 30 mph for a period of 120 days. “Commissioner Saltzman has pushed for this ordinance to come to Council on an accelerated timeline,” Hobbs shared via email this morning.

The ordinance stipulates that the new speed limit would apply to the section of Stark from SE 109th to 162nd and would be effective as soon as new signs are installed.
[Read more…]

Petition presses Commissioner Saltzman for immediate help on deadly outer SE Stark Street

Avatar by on March 9th, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Advocates are joining forces to create urgency for safety fixes to outer Southeast Stark Street.

After a woman was killed while walking on Stark around 148th last month, a coalition of community groups and residents being led by Oregon Walks and The Rosewood Initiative have started an online petition they hope will result in help from Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Saltzman oversees the transportation bureau and has shown a willingness to act quickly in the face of tragedy. Last year when a similar spate of tragedies befell another outer east Portland arterial, Saltzman attended a meeting where his PBOT staff presented a plan to tame traffic on Division. “We’re sorry,” the commissioner said, “and we’re bound and determined to do something about that.”

As we reported last month, outer SE Stark has become a repeat location of traffic violence. Three people have died in traffic crashes at or near that same intersection in less than a year and a total of five people have died on Stark between SE 122nd and 162nd since November 2016. Kem Marks with the Rosewood Initiative told us today that, “I just hope people come to realize that Stark is becoming what Division has been, and some of the fixes to Division have moved the problem north.”
[Read more…]

After another death, community groups will press City for ’emergency’ on outer SE Stark

Avatar by on February 7th, 2018 at 2:12 pm

Looks like an emergency to me.

We’ve seen this sad movie before: After seemingly incessant traffic violence on our streets, people join together with tears in their eyes and frustration in their hearts to implore our government agencies to do more to make our streets safe.

This time Oregon Walks and the Rosewood Initiative will lead the way. They’re hosting a press conference Thursday morning to draw attention to terrible conditions on outer SE Stark Street after a woman was killed by an auto user at 148th Street last week. That was the third fatal traffic crash at or near that same intersection in less than a year. In a statement (below), Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is calling on the City of Portland to declare an official emergency on SE Stark in order to immediately reduce the speed limit from 35 to 30 mph.

Mickelberry hopes the Portland Bureau of Transportation will take a similar approach to the emergency declaration they successfully pursued on SE Division last year.

Here’s more from the Oregon Walks press release:
[Read more…]

Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry is stepping down

Avatar by on January 16th, 2018 at 12:09 pm

Mickelberry (with Steve Bozzone) at the Weston Awards in November.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Noel Mickelberry has announced she plans to end her tenure as executive director of Oregon Walks.
[Read more…]

Oregon Walks ED to Mayor Wheeler: ‘We need urgency to save lives on our streets’

Avatar by on December 21st, 2017 at 9:13 am

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On the same day that 60-year-old Elizabeth Meyers became the 20th person to die while walking on Portland streets this year (the most since 2003), Oregon Walks Executive Director Noel Mickelberry penned a letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler and City Council imploring them to do more — faster — to make our streets more livable.

Here’s the text of Noel’s letter (with her formatting/emphases):

Mayor Wheeler & Portland City Council,

Portland is experiencing a livability crisis in our streets. Today, the 20th person this year was killed while walking. This makes 2017 the deadliest year on record for pedestrians since 2003. Last week, Multnomah County published a new report showing that 80 people died last year while living outside on the streets of Portland. We believe these issues are interconnected and the approach to solving them must take into account numerous factors critical to Portlanders’ safety.
[Read more…]

Inspiring speeches from Oregon Walks award winners

Avatar by on November 6th, 2017 at 1:54 pm

View from the stage.
(Photo: Steph Routh)

As I alluded to last week, volunteer activism is at the foundation of Portland’s livable streets movement. At Oregon Walks‘ annual Weston Awards fundraising party on Friday night, two of the award winners epitomized that fact: citizen activist Steve Bozzone and the Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood represented by Meesa Long, Lesley McKinley and Chelsea Powers.

With an impressive crowd of advocates, electeds, city staffers, and fellow citizen activists looking on, Bozzone and McKinley shared memorable acceptance speeches that are worth sharing.

Long, McKinley and Powers were up first. This amazing trio led an effort that garnered over $5 million in grants to improve streets in their southeast Portland neighborhood. That’s a big number for a grassroots campaign! And in the process they set records for highest public participation Metro had ever seen by rallying their fellow residents to send in hundreds of postcards, fill in online comment forms, and sign petitions (over 1,000 signatures total).
[Read more…]