With departure of executive director, Oregon Walks will push even harder for racial justice

Jess Thompson at an event in April 2019.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Walks Executive Director Jess Thompson announced Wednesday morning she’s leaving to take a job as leader of a nonprofit in Hawaii. The move will further hasten the organization’s shift away from traditional walking advocacy and toward anti-racism work that centers racial and social justice.

Thompson was hired in October 2018 to lead Oregon Walks, a group founded in 1991 that was formerly known as the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition.

“It is a bittersweet transition,” Thompson said in her announcement, “because I have learned so much from each of you as we have engaged in the work to center walking as climate, health, transportation, and social justice solution.”

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Better Naito organizers urge patience as lane gets used as loading zone

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Trucks blocking Better Naito-12.jpg

Acceptable trade-off for a “Better Naito”?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Having a reduced speed limit and 15 feet of space dedicated to biking and walking on Naito Parkway for three full months is a welcome improvement. But it comes with a trade-off: In order to get full support for the project from Waterfront Park event organizers, the City of Portland is allowing trucks to use the lane as a loading zone.

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With pilot project, City will turn Naito Parkway into public space for all

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
naito-lead

It’s coming!
(Graphic: Better Block PDX)

Starting this Friday morning, the non-profit Better Block PDX, the Bureau of Transportation and its commissioner-in-charge Steve Novick will embark on perhaps the boldest experiment we’ve seen in years: the creation of public space on Naito Parkway in what are currently standard travel lanes.

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