About two dozen people stood on the corners of SE 26th Avenue and Powell Boulevard last night to protest plans to remove a pair of bike lanes. As big, wet snowflakes fell, people rang horns and bike bells and held signs high that read, “No backpedaling on our safety,” “It’s always biking season,” “Keep your hands off our bike lane” and “Vision Zero now”. [Read more…]
LeeAnne Fergason is the new Safe Routes to School program manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation.
ODOT announced the hire in a statement today, saying Fergason will join the agency in mid-December.
Reached today via email, Fergason told us she’s excited for her new role but, “Deeply saddened to say goodbye to The Street Trust.” “The Street Trust’s staff (old and new), partners (so many amazing partners), and supporters (our members and friends),” she continued, “have helped me so much, and I’m eternally grateful for all the smart, passionate, and kind people that have taken the time to teach me.”
Fergason is the longest tenured employee at The Street Trust. According to her official bio she began work there as a bike safety education instructor in 2007. Fergason became The Street Trust’s main advocate for Safe Routes to School (a program they implement with a combination of state, federal, and regional funding) and spearheaded their “For Every Kid” campaign. She moved into the deputy director role back in July when The Street Trust’s former deputy director Stephanie Noll left the organization.
There’s a lot of Safe Routes work to do at ODOT these days. The former manager of the program, Julie Yip, recently retired, and the statewide transportation package includes $125 million over the next 10 years for a new Safe Routes to School grant program. As ODOT announced today, one of Fergason’s first tasks will be to staff a new Rules Advisory Committee that will create the policy framework for how these new funds will be allocated. [Read more…]
Sadowsky in June 2016. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Rob Sadowsky is the new executive director of Bark, a Portland-based nonprofit that works to protect and conserve the Mt. Hood National Forest.
It’s an interesting position for Sadowsky. While Bark supports some types mountain biking, they are co-plaintiffs (with Sierra Club) on a lawsuit to halt construction of the Timberline Mountain Bike Park (more on that below).
Bark was founded in 1993 and currently has eight staffers and an email list that goes out to around 30,000 people (they are not a membership-based organization).
As I mentioned above, Bark is fighting a plan by Timberline Lodge to create a lift-assisted mountain biking resort on Mt. Hood. In 2013 we published an op-ed in opposition to the project from Bark board member Amy Harwood. Final oral arguments on the lawsuit were just heard on Monday (it was Sadowsky’s first day on the job and he was in the courtroom) and a decision is expected within the next month or so.
Asked about his opinion on mountain biking on National Forest land in a FAQ just posted to Bark’s website, Sadowsky didn’t mention Timberline: [Read more…]
The parking lot at the biggest annual fundraiser for the city’s biggest transportation advocacy group. (Photos: Kate Johnson)
Editor’s note:Gal by Bike columnist Kate Johnson has been a local bike commuter and biking advocate for years, but had never been to The Street Trust’s annual Alice B. Toeclips awards gala until Friday. Here’s her take.
In a blog post yesterday The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) offered further rationale for why they’ve chosen to not sign onto a letter opposing the a freeway widening project on Interstate 5 at the Rose Quarter.
In a post titled, “The future of the Rose Quarter” written by newly hired Communications Director Romain Bonilla, the group said, “While we have chosen not to sign this coalition’s letter, we share advocates’ concerns and wholeheartedly agree that widening highways will not reduce congestion.”
The No More Freeway Expansions coalition has written a letter to Portland City Council and the Oregon Transportation Commission that has been signed by over 25 organizations including the Audubon Society of Portland, Neighbors for Clean Air, the Urban Greenspaces Institute, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and others. Their letter strongly opposes the I-5 widening project and demands that the project is removed from the City of Portland’s Transportation System Plan. [Read more…]
The 51-year-old northeast Portland resident who lives on the Going Street Neighborhood Greenway and tells us she “cheered” when its sharrows appeared in front of her house, is a new kind of leader for an organization in the midst of transformation.
Detweiler is currently the interim development manager for Prosper Portland (formerly the Portland Development Commission). Before that she served three years as a policy director for former Mayor Charlie Hales — her second stint on Hales’ team after working with him out of college in the mid 1990s.
After earning a Masters degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina in 1992, Detweiler worked on planning and permit issues for then Commissioner Hales from 1995 to 2002. After that she spent 12 years at TriMet — first as a planner and then as director of real estate. In that position she oversaw $240 million in property acquisitions as part of the MAX Orange Line project.
With her background of city hall politics, transit planning, and high-profile development work, the selection of Detweiler reflects The Street Trust’s goal of becoming a political powerhouse with an expansive portfolio and the funding streams to make it all possible. She has no experience in professional bicycle activism, and that’s likely part of the reason she was hired (we heard from sources that The Street Trust favored candidates with more political experience). [Read more…]
Participants in the Ride to Salem pose with signs outside the capitol (top, left), while children and their parents from Eugene, Portland and Milwaukie testified. (Photos: The Street Trust)
This post was written by The Street Trust’s Interim Executive Director Stephanie Noll and Campaign Manager LeeAnne Fergason.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, five amazing kids testified in Salem before the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization. These young advocates had never before been to the Capitol. Legislators welcomed Oliver from North Portland; Ben, Gus, and Isadora from Eugene; and Trey from Milwaukie as they and their parents spoke out for Safe Routes to School. [Read more…]
Right now in Salem, lawmakers are drafting a statewide transportation funding package that aims to raise over $8 billion. As we reported last week, one small piece of that new revenue — an estimated $2 million a year — would come from a 5 percent tax on the purchase of new bicycles.
The tax would add $35 to the average price of a new bike purchased at a bike shop. It would be an unprecented step for Oregon and the only tax of its kind in America.
Not surprisingly, bike shop owners throughout Oregon are very concerned.[Read more…]
The Street Trust (formerly the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) is going through a major transition. With 15 paid staff and an annual budget of $1.3 million, the organization is currently looking for a new executive director and a communications director, forming a new 501(c)(4) political organizing committee, and launching a new strategic plan to guide their work for the next five years.
No matter how you slice it, this is a lot of change for an organization that continues to search for that magic mix of leadership, vision, political power and community support that will allow them to lead the ever-growing transportation reform movement in Portland and beyond. [Read more…]
The bill, sponsored by House Representative John Lively (D-Springfield) and Senator Kathleen Taylor (D-Milwaukie), would take $12 million from the state’s General Fund and deposit it into a Safe Routes to Schools Fund that would be administered by the Oregon Department of Transportation and mandate that ODOT spends at least $20 million of their State Highway Fund allotment on the safe routes infrastructure projects. It would also prioritize the funding toward low-income Title I schools and require infrastructure projects to be coupled with educational and outreach components. [Read more…]