Alt text: 2-up image with Twitter post featuring image of auto crashed into telephone pole adjacent to bike share station alongside image of cyclist forced into the street by car parked in bike lane.

During the past year, The Street Trust has renewed its focus on regional transportation advocacy but we still show up at the municipal level to shape better outcomes.

Recently, we showed up for street users in the City of Portland in four key efforts:

  • Supported PBOT’s proposed Parking Climate and Equitable Mobility Transaction Fee alongside our colleagues at Verde, Parking Reform Network, Oregon Environmental Council, and Getting There Together coalition. The resolution to apply a parking surcharge to fund services like the transportation wallet and Biketown passed City Council unanimously this week.  
  • Supported PBOT’s Safety Camera bill (HB 4105-1) in the Oregon Legislature to allow civilian review of automated traffic enforcement citations. (Did you know that in Portland, 100% of automated traffic enforcement violation review occurs on police over-time!?!) This legislation has passed out of the House and Senate committees. Now it’s on to a floor vote and, if that is successful, back to the House Rules Committee one more time before the session ends. 
  • Opposed PBOT’s proposed installation of unprotected cycling infrastructure on NE Killingsworth along with with BikeLoud PDX, Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando, and Community Cycling Center.  You can read about our close call with an out of control automobile on NE Killingsworth last weekend along with recommendations for reducing traffic fatalities in this Oregon Way piece: We must act now to stop traffic Fatalities in Oregon.
  • Opposed Mayor Wheeler’s sweeps of houseless people camping along dangerous roadways. Nowhere in any transportation study, advocacy campaign, nor community forum seeking to address our roadway safety problems has it been suggested that unhoused people and encampments should be swept or outright banned as a partial solution to this crisis. We organized with over two-dozen organizations, including Oregon Walks, Verde, Street Roots, Central City Concern, and Transition Projects, Inc. to push back on this non-solution to our traffic fatalities crisis and will continue to promote proven solutions to traffic safety. Read the Street Roots update here: Mayor’s order forbidding camping in high-traffic areas leaves unhoused Portlanders with few places to go

This is an important level of advocacy work that The Street Trust attempts to replicate locally in cities across the region. But it is labor intensive and difficult to fund. Your support makes the difference between The Street Trust having the capacity to lead on the these issues or sitting by in silence. 

Join The Street Trust or make a donation today.

Alt text: 2-up image with Twitter post featuring image of auto crashed into telephone pole adjacent to bike share station alongside image of cyclist forced into the street by car parked in bike lane.

 

It’s time for Oregon’s leaders to reject the old—dangerous and deadly—normal and to create a safer mobility system.

 

“We want to welcome you to our WeBike ride, a monthly program to empower women, transgender, and non-binary people to safely ride…” 

CRASH!!! BANG!!! 

We had just kicked off our event outside Hacienda CDC, at the corner of NE Killingsworth and Cully in Portland. The plan for the day was to tour the neighborhood and explore ways that the City of Portland (PBOT) could improve safety not just for people on walking or riding bicycles, but all street users, even those driving. We’d barely finished our introductions when we heard the boom of a crash next to us on the street. A car had slammed into the utility pole right next to the BIKETOWN station where just five minutes earlier several of us had stood in a group to unlock the shared bicycles for our event.1 

You don’t need to be a daily sidewalk or bike lane user to feel how close to home the epidemic of traffic violence is hitting—we’re all feeling it daily, regardless of our travel mode. This week, the New York Times reported per capita vehicle fatalities in the U.S. increased 17.5% between summer of 2019 and the same time in 2020—the largest two-year increase since World War II. Oregon is, sadly, outpacing the national trend, with statewide fatalities up 22% in the same period. And Portland has posted its highest fatalities in three decades.

As we round the bend into a third year defined by COVID-19, we know too well the extent to which the pandemic has exacerbated existing social problems and inequality. This is evident when considered alongside the recent report from our partners at Oregon Walks who found that “people who identify as Black, who are experiencing homelessness, who are Older Adults or who are Persons with Disabilities are all at a disproportionately high risk of being killed in collisions.”

The intensification of vulnerability during the pandemic is reinforced by a recent announcement that 70% of pedestrians killed in Portland last year were people experiencing homelessness; many were living along streets identified in the city’s “high crash network.”

As the reports of these rising fatalities sound alarms, there’s no shortage of attempts to explain away the problem. The NYT analysis referenced above blames “erratic behavior.” For the Portland mayor, homeless camps located near busy streets are the problem. Oregon’s Department of Transportation (ODOT) chalks it up to reckless driving, too few cars on the road, and too few officers to police them.

To me, this feels a lot like blaming a toddler for being cranky all day because they ate birthday cake for breakfast–is it the cake that’s to blame or the fact that it ended up on their plate in the first place?

Let’s be clear: crashes are a function of vehicle speed and volume. People are dying—on bikes, on motorcycles, on sidewalks, and, yes, inside autos—because drivers are going too damn fast. And they’re able to drive that way because our streets have been designed for frictionless driving, not human health and safety. 

We’re glad to see U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledge the traffic fatality crisis and attempt to address it via his recently released National Roadway Safety Strategy (NRSS). This Strategy marks an important display of leadership in the right direction. Systemic responses to epidemics are warranted, and we’re happy to see Buttigieg draw a throughline from the lack of safe streets to our inability to shift away from drive-alone trips toward low-carbon modes like walking, biking, and transit. We hope that the guidance issued in his roadmap trickles down quickly (along with adequate funding) to state and local governments.

But we can’t wait for Secretary Pete to come to our rescue: we need to rethink our streets—and our relationship to the streets—rapidly and locally. We can and must take swift action informed by best practices to reduce traffic fatalities immediately.

Oregon is in the top quartile of deadliest states for traffic crashes in the nation and the deadliest on the West Coast. This is a preventable tragedy that can be addressed by investing in a system that’s not as dominated by cars. When you improve the multimodal system and allow people to shift trips from vehicles, you not only reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled, you improve the safety of the transportation system.

A few state-level fixes we could make this month? The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill to authorize civilian review of traffic violations citations initiated by fixed photo radar, photo red light, and dual function cameras. Passing this will reduce costs for local police departments. (Currently in Portland, 100 percent of this review occurs on police over-time!) And more importantly, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) will soon be directing ODOT how to allocate its one-time windfall from Biden’s infrastructure package.

OTC needs to address the traffic epidemic by steering these resources away from a funding mix that prioritizes drive-alone trips toward active transportation, public transit, and Safe Routes to School infrastructure, education, and safety programs, prioritizing those interventions and investments with the greatest climate and equity impacts. This is no time to undersign the deadly status quo by directing these funds to roadway expansions in conflict with our safety goals. 

The City of Portland, ostensibly a global leader in transportation innovation, could also act swiftly to reduce its traffic fatalities. Instead of sweeping vulnerable people off streets by emergency declaration, it could by the same authority (and with the same money) reduce vehicle speeds, clear intersection corners, and improve lighting in high-crash areas. (Reducing speeds from 40 to 20 MPH increases the likelihood that a vulnerable street user survives  a crash by 70%.)

Portland needs to rethink its public safety budget, beginning with reallocating funding set aside to hire police officers toward completing unfunded and shovel-ready projects in PBOT’s High Crash Network. Expediting implementation of the “Nearer Term Recommendations” from the Pricing for Equitable Mobility Task Force would generate revenue to enhance investments in programs like the “Transportation Wallet” that encourages travel modes other than driving alone. 

And finally, back to NE Killingsworth where this story started. PBOT is currently rushing through a paving project on that street which would leave that community with minimal protection from crashes just like the one we witnessed. Instead, project managers need to slow down and meaningfully engage residents to achieve the highest standard of protection for this already marginalized community – protection that could have possibly stopped that car this past Saturday from making it onto the sidewalk at all.

Making our streets safer is not going to be easy, but failing to act now will only continue the deadly trends, exacerbating disparities in communities with historical underinvestment. Investments in safe routes to school, pedestrian improvements, and safe ways to bike and access transit help strengthen the entire transportation network by reducing traffic fatalities and congestion, as well as improving public health. But sufficient funding is critical to provide these enhancements to the network.

It’s time for Oregon’s leaders to reject the old—dangerous and deadly—normal and to create a new mobility system and safe streets that keep our people safe and moving in the right direction.

By Sarah Iannarone, Executive Director

This post originally appeared in the Oregon Way substack.

sARA

Make Your Voice Heard B&W

 

Transportation advocates have long been pushing for safer streets and greener transportation policies to address the high rates of traffic fatalities and the fact that 40% of Oregon’s carbon emissions come from transportation. Today, we need your help to convince statewide policymakers to take bold action to invest in a sustainable and equitable transportation system.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has put together different scenarios for how to spend the $1.2 billion of federal funding received from the Investments, Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA). Out of this massive investment, $412 million are considered “flexible funds.” While one of the scenarios does commit more to public and active transportation – areas that have been profoundly underinvested with enormous negative climate and equity outcomes – all of them take a “spread it around” approach, allocating at least $54 million to expansion and maintenance of highways.

ODOT and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) must adopt an investment approach that does right by communities that have been overshadowed and underfunded. ODOT should also follow the Governor’s Executive Order calling for a reduction in GHG emission and all investments with these funds should be evaluated for their climate impacts. 

Over the last few weeks, state legislators, individuals, and leaders from multiple advocacy groups have commented to ODOT demanding a more thoughtful allocation of the funds in line with our values and now ODOT needs to hear from you! 

We’re asking you to provide input to the decision in three ways. (We’ve provided assistance below this list to help you complete these tasks):

  1. Fill out ODOT’s open house survey including “ratings” for the different programs and scenarios and the option to add comments. (Need ideas? We’ve included key points and suggestions below). The results of this survey will be presented to the OTC. 
  2. Submit a comment through the OTC public comment form.
  3. Provide oral comments at the OTC virtual meeting on February 17 (12:30 to 2:30 PM). Comment timeslots are limited, and you must sign up by at least 4pm the day before the meeting – information is posted on the OTC meeting website.

The OTC will make the final investment allocation decision at the end of March. We’ll keep you posted about ways to engage as the conversation progresses. 


As promised – our advice to help you craft testimony:

  • No money should be allocated to “Enhance Highway” 
  • If money must be allocated to “Fix-It” it should be limited and prioritized for projects with the greatest climate and equity impacts
  • Invest in programs with better safety, climate, and equity impacts: Safe Routes to School, Great Streets, and Local Climate Planning
  • Prioritize spending on areas where, due to constitutional restrictions, Highway Trust Fund money cannot be spent.

For the survey, we suggest the following ratings. (More detail about our take on these areas below.)

  • Station 2 (Survey 1): Areas to Invest
    • Safe Routes to School – 5
    • Great Streets – 5 
    • Fix-it – 1
    • Enhance Highway – 1
    • Local Climate Planning – 5
    • ADA Curb Ramps – 3
    • Business and Workforce Development – 4
    • Match for US DOT Competitive Grants – 3
    • Maintenance and Operations – 1
  • Station 3 (Survey 2):  Funding Options
    • Fix-It – 1
    • Public and Active Transportation – 5
    • Enhance Highway – 1
    • Balanced – 1

More Detail on the Areas of Investment:

  • Safe Routes to School: The Safe Routes to School program builds bike lanes, sidewalks and street crossings around elementary and middle schools. This is a grant program that always has many more applications than it can fund, and provides direct investment in community-identified projects.
  • Great Streets: Many state highways that pass through communities focus on moving traffic and do not adequately address the needs of people biking, walking, or riding transit, nor do they adequately support community and economic vitality. Great Streets is a new program that could provide much-needed focus on people instead of vehicle movement.
  • Fix-It: There is no question that repair of roads and bridges is an expensive and important investment. However, regardless of the amount of money allocated to ODOT, the agency always lacks adequate funding for repair and maintenance.  ODOT has historically chosen to spend unrestricted money on large-scale roadway expansion projects over investing in maintenance and operations.  ODOT needs to shift to systemically prioritizing maintenance instead of expansion and spend our dollars efficiently to make our system whole. Our low ratings for “Fix-It” in this survey reflect our belief that these important investments need to be built sustainably into the budget, and ODOT should not be bailing itself out with this one-time windfall. 
  • Enhance Highway: “Enhance highways” means building new roadway. It is a scientific fact that “enhancing” or expanding highway infrastructure increases miles driven and, in turn, greenhouse gas emissions. This relationship between road capacity and traffic is well established as the “fundamental law of road congestion” or “induced demand.” Because of this, ODOT’s intention to expand highways directly contradicts Governor Brown’s executive order calling for a 45 percent reduction of GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2035. If Oregon intends to meet these goals, highway enhancement is not an option and no money should be allocated to it. (It’s worth noting that adding roadway capacity also reduces congestion only in the short term, and we’ll all just end up stuck in the same traffic on wider roads with more other vehicles.) There are plenty of other reasons to avoid “Enhance Highway” investments – they create new maintenance obligations on top of the existing ones that ODOT has demonstrated very little interest in meeting, and lead to more driving which leads to more injuries and deaths. 
  • Local Climate Planning: The state’s Department of Land Conservation and Development is proposing making cities, counties and metropolitan planning organizations across Oregon update their transportation plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation system. This money would support rapid implementation of those rules, which will support climate and equity outcomes across the state.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act Curb Ramps: ODOT is required by a lawsuit to build ADA-compliant curb ramps. While ADA-compliant curb ramps are extremely important for accessibility, this work – which should have been done long ago – should also be covered by ongoing funding, not by this one-time windfall.
  • Business and Workforce Development: ODOT is investing in internal programs that train new construction workers and support businesses owned by women and people of color so they can compete for ODOT contracts. 
  • Match for U.S. DOT Competitive Grants: The U.S. Department of Transportation will hand out more than $100 billion for competitive grants. Most programs require grantees to provide at least 20% of the total project funding. ODOT would like to use some of the IIJA federal money to replace state funding on various projects, so they can use that state funding as a match to apply for grants to get more federal money. This could be good or bad, depending on what grants ODOT applies for.
  • Maintenance and Operations: This money would be spent on regular highway maintenance activities like patching potholes, plowing snow, and other day-to-day work. As with the Fix-It category, our low ratings for this investment option reflect our belief that maintenance needs to be built sustainably into the budget, and ODOT should not be bailing itself out with this one-time windfall.

 

Pro-shelter protesters stand adjacent to busy Portland Arterial

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

SAFE STREETS AND HOUSING ADVOCATES RESPOND TO EMERGENCY DECLARATION: DO NOT USE TRAFFIC DEATHS AS JUSTIFICATION FOR ENCAMPMENT SWEEPS; MAKE OUR STREETS SAFER AND EXPAND HOUSING OPTIONS WITH URGENCY

To: Portland City Council
Cc: Local Media

February 4, 2022

This week’s release of the Traffic Crash Report by the Portland Bureau of Transportation shows the devastating reality of how dangerous our current streets, roadways, and other facilities are. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler shared on his own takeaway via social media: “Portlanders deserve safer streets, roads and freeways.” Indeed, all community members deserve better, which is why we strongly object to the emergency declaration to sweep encampments and further displace unhoused community members from alongside our most dangerous roads. The presence of unhoused people does not make our streets unsafe; rather, poor roadway design, ongoing neglect and deferred maintenance, recklessness in the form of speeding, operating a vehicle while impaired by drugs or alcohol, and other dangerous behavior are all well-documented reasons why there is this alarming uptick in deaths.

Portland is not alone in this upward trend, unfortunately: all across our state and nationally people are dying on roadways. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledges this national crisis and has taken steps to coordinate a response through the new National Roadway Safety Strategy. Nowhere in any transportation study, advocacy campaign or community forum seeking to address our roadway safety problems has it been suggested that unhoused people and encampments should be swept or outright banned as a partial solution to this crisis.

The deaths that our communities grieve over is a direct result of prolonged underinvestment, bureaucratic disarray, and broken promises that advocates for safe streets and those experiencing the brunt of our housing and economic crisis have consistently raised to decision makers at every level of governance. In June of 2021, Portland City Council unanimously passed the Paving the Pathway from Streets to Stability ordinance  (#190478), which codified our approach toward outdoor shelters and provided the regulatory tools we need to build six Safe Rest Villages (SRVs). City Council approved $24.9 million in the first tranche of ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) dollars to build up six SRVs around the city. These shelters remain unbuilt, and the demand for appropriate housing and shelter continues to outpace the availability of temporary, much less permanent options.

Even if we did have ample capacity to shelter everyone potentially displaced through this emergency order, the Oregonian reported this week that it’s unlikely that most people swept from their residences would even know they have an alternative: 95% of unsheltered Portlanders said city workers didn’t offer shelter before camp sweeps. City officials proposing this emergency declaration are fully aware of the 9th Circuit Court ruling in Martin v. Boise that unless there is enough shelter space for the homeless population of Portland, we cannot prohibit them from camping outdoors on public property. Sweeping unhoused people without viable options for them to safely relocate and shelter is inefficient, ineffective, and inhumane. 

We need to – and can – act urgently to save lives. The City of Portland’s elected leaders can take bold action to do that without further jeopardizing those living on our streets. Swift action can be taken to:

  • Issue an emergency resolution to close down high crash corridors and intersections to auto traffic and reduce speed limits to 20 MPH on all city-owned facilities and roadways 
  • Rebalance the city’s public safety budget to address the traffic fatality epidemic, beginning with reallocating funding set aside to hire 67 police officers to complete unfunded and shovel-ready projects in PBOT’s High Crash Network
  • Fully fund Portland Street Response citywide
  • Immediately fund, implement, and enforce the “vision clearance” of approximately 350 intersections citywide, beginning with those located on high crash network streets
  • Develop Safe Rest Villages (SRVs) quickly using a low-barrier model that is driven by the needs, hopes, desires and lived experience of people experiencing the trauma of homelessness. Ensure that the City develops SRVs equitably and that they are allowed throughout the city 
  • Move to expedite implementation of the “Nearer Term Recommendations” from the Pricing for Equitable Mobility Task Force
  • Quickly convert existing vacant structures into housing that would meet the needs of people sleeping unsheltered in places that pose a risk to their personal safety, following recommendations in the Here Together Coalition’s Road Map
  • Invest more boldly and urgently in Housing First and other proven models that quickly and humanely support people’s direct transition back into permanent homes. 

 

Sincerely, 

Oregon Walks
The Street Trust
Verde
OPAL Environmental Justice
Portland Forward
Getting There Together Coalition
Human Solutions
Imagine Black
No More Freeways Coalition
Street Roots Advocacy
Our Portland PAC
Portland: Neighbors Welcome
Northwest Pilot Project
Impact NW
Sunrise PDX
BikeLoud PDX
1000 Friends of Oregon
Right 2 Survive
Outside In
Urban League of Portland
Portland Jobs with Justice
Central City Concern
Transition Projects, Inc.

 

 

The Street Trust is proud to be among the ranks of grassroots transit rider groups, transportation, environmental, climate justice, civil rights, faith organizations, and transit workers unions recognizing transit equity as a civil right. 

As we build back stronger and more equitably beyond the pandemic and with a focus on racial justice, transit access and justice will be critical. Access to transit means access to mobility, opportunity, and freedom. Rosa Parks’ work toward desegregation was only the beginning of the work we must do to ensure a transit system that works for all. Frequent, reliable, accessible transit service means access to jobs, education, services, housing affordability, and economic prosperity for communities. 

The Street Trust fought for increased funding for transit in HB2017 and is fighting for a higher percentage committed to transit from the IIJA today. It’s important work, and we hope you will join us in it. 

 

“People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically… No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” ~Rosa Parks: My Story

 

In honor of Rosa Parks, Portland-area transit is fareless all day. TriMet will not collect fares for rides on the bus, MAX, WES or Lift Friday. Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN are also offering free rides. 

 

Get ready to Walk+Roll!

 

Mark your calendars and get ready to help K-12 students Walk+Roll with Winter Walk+Roll to School Day, Earth Month, and the Walk+Roll May Challenge.

Winter Walk+Roll to School Day: Wednesday, February 23

Earth Month: All April with special celebrations on Earth Day, Friday, April 22

Walk+Roll May Challenge: All May with special celebrations encouraged on Bike to School Day, Wednesday, May 4

Make sure you bookmark www.oregonsaferoutes.org/walkroll where we’ll be adding resources like event coordinator toolkits, social media images and messaging, printable event posters, activity suggestions, free incentive ordering and ideas, and more!

 

Want safer walking + rolling year round? Sign up to VOLUNTEER

 

Bring better driving to your neighborhood!

 

Want to learn how to be a safer and friendlier driver when sharing the road with people walking and biking? Sign up for FREE online Oregon Friendly Driver training through our partnership with Washington County Library and the Westside Transportation Alliance.

You will learn rules of the road, infrastructure, along with common mistakes and how to avoid them. They’re appropriate for drivers of all levels, from new drivers to professional drivers!

  • Cornelius Public Library: Thurs, Feb 10, 6:30 – 7:30 PM: Register here!
  • Forest Grove City Library: Sat, Feb 12, 10 – 11:30 AM: Register here!
  • Tualatin Public Library: Weds, Feb16, 5:30 – 6:30 PM: Register here!
The Street Trust Reciprocal Memberships

 

The Street Trust welcomes Parking Reform Network, Forth Mobility, and Business for a Better Portland as our newest Reciprocal Business Members. We value partnerships with organizations where we can further each of our missions and collaborate to make our transportation future better. The membership is catered to the needs of each organization and allows for mutual promotion and participation in public and member events.

Parking Reform NetworkForth MobilityBusiness for a Better Portland

We have business memberships available to businesses and are open to forming partnerships through reciprocal memberships with businesses and organizations that share our mission, values, and priorities . These partnerships make our advocacy more powerful, by bridging communities across differences, issue areas, and geographic focus. They also strengthen your business through the technical support and robust networking TST membership offers. 

We believe that we are stronger together than apart. We value partnerships that make it easier for us to collaborate for a better transportation future. PRN, FORTH, and BBPDX are all reciprocal members: unique partnerships designed to meet the needs of each organization. They allow for mutual promotion and participation in public and member events.

If you would like to join our work, please contact Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner: [email protected]

 

A Pacific Northwest winter provides so many exciting bicycling environments: relentless rain, very cold temperatures, long hours of darkness, snow, and ice!

Here are 10 tips to help you bike in some of the conditions winter might present.

And if you’re a member of The Street Trust or Business for a Better Portland, join us for an hour-long virtual Winter Biking Clinic on January 24th to learn even more.

  1. Fender up! Full-coverage fenders will keep that dirty, gritty water and slush on the ground from getting on you, but they also prevent it from making its way into your bike where it will slowly grind away at your drivetrain.
  2. Clean your chain. Wiping your chain clean and applying lube more often throughout the winter will keep your bike running smoothly. Also wipe accumulated snow off your chain as it builds up.
  3. Shield your glasses. Get a visor for your helmet to keep rain and snow off yoBiking in snowur glasses. Or you can make one: remove the button from the top of a baseball cap and it will fit nicely under a helmet.
  4. Wool is warm! Wool keeps you warm even if it gets wet. There’s no great vegan alternative to wool so whether or not you’re wearing wool:
  5. Layer up. Wear base layers under jeans, jeans under rain pants, two pairs of gloves, two pairs of socks.
  6. Re-waterproof gear. Check your soggy rain gear’s tag or online to see howto reactivate it–many items just need a spray-on or wash-in coating andthey’re like new. 
  7. Bring extras. If you’ve got room to stow extra gloves, socks, or even shoes, do it! You’ll use these extras to replace wet items or to add as extra layers.
  8. Avoid wet metal. Metal plates and grates can be slippery in the rain so go around them whenever you can.
  9. Long stops. Give yourself extra stopping space when the ground is wet–especially if you have rim brakes rather than disc brakes.
  10. Light up! You’re required to have a front light visible from 500 feet away, but a stronger light that illuminates potholes and other hazards is great for riding in the dark.

Join us with your lunch on Wednesday, January 26th to learn even more about biking in winter. Email [email protected] if you haven’t received your invite yet or to check the status of your membership. Not a member yet? Join for $5 a month or $40 a year here.

Winter Biking Clinic

 

The Street Trust had an unprecedented year in 2021. Even as the pandemic continued to disrupt our society, our organization dug into an intensive rebuild with an eye to the future and took action to ensure we’re making an impact across the Portland metro region and beyond. Despite unique challenges, TST pushed the region closer to a complete, safe, low-carbon, multimodal transportation system that contributes to equity in access, opportunity, health, and prosperity for all.

In 2021, the organization hired an Executive Director; forwarded state legislation to get more funding for people walking, biking, and rolling; recruited 18 new esteemed and diverse board members across both the 501c3 and 501c4 boards; published our 2021-23 Strategic Action Plan; and kicked off the #OurStreets campaign – an intensive effort to build tools and community power for better transportation outcomes across the Portland metro region

But don’t take our word for it! We went straight to our team on the ground for their wins from 2021 and their aspirations for 2022 …

2021 was a breakaway year for our advocacy work. Over the past year, we revived and rebuilt The Street Trust Action Fund, our 501c4 political arm. The Action Fund board members represent diverse experiences and perspectives, who aspire to work together for greater credibility and influence in the politics of the greater Portland region. Working in complement to the efforts of our 501c3 arm, they are going to focus on the politics of elevating multimodal transportation as a priority issue at all levels of government and in all parts of the region. Building in greater power will help hold leadership accountable for making real progress in improving transportation options for people in their communities.

TST managers André Lightsey-Walker and Anouksha Gardner at the 2021 Alice Awards.

Policy Transformation Manager André Lightsey-Walker worked intensively in 2021,  writing letters to agencies and officials calling for more equitable, climate-smart mobility options, and serving on committees at every level of government to shape better outcomes. He is most excited with how the organization built up our “capacity and presence at a diverse variety of tables,” adding, “We’ve been impressing folks everywhere we go and building healthy relationships.” André is optimistic that 2022 will bring more opportunities, “to come together in person for walks, rolls, and gathering in Our Streets!” 

 

Partnerships are critical to our work, and this year our Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner made connections that emphasize our commitment to building alliances across many sectors and throughout the entire Portland metro region.

She worked hard in 2021 refreshing existing relationships and building new ones, including signing reciprocal memberships with members of the freight, technology, and business sectors, including Forth Mobility, B-line, and Business for a Better Portland. By adding Killer Queen Cyclery and Icicle Tricycles as new business members, Anouksha kept TST true to our biking roots.

Anouksha also connected with large institutions whose commuters and political influence can work with us to shape the future of Portland, such as Kaiser Community Health and Portland State University. When it comes to community-based organizations, Anouksha kicked off collaborations with Historic Parkrose, Unite Oregon, and the Rosewood Initiative as part of the #OurStreets campaign.

 

Supporting the next generation of walkers and rollers continues to be central to our programming. Education Director Lindsay Huber is proud that, despite school closures and distancing, TST helped schools and students host multiple successful Walk+Roll events in 2021. “We were also very proud to add 123 Oregon schools to the list of schools across the United States celebrating Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day with support from Ruby Bridges herself! This event encouraged students to learn about racial justice and apply it to active transportation.”

Walking and rolling to school isn’t possible without a safe way to get there, which is why TST is thrilled with Safe Routes To School Coordinator Nicole Perry’s hard won successes in 2021, including new safe routes for students attending Linwood Elementary and Sojourner Schools in Milwaukie. 

In 2022, TST will work hard expanding our offering of Walk+Roll programs, including a Winter Walk+Roll event to encourage students to get to school safely in cold, rainy, or snowy weather with active transportation; and an Earth Month event in April to help students think about the impact of how they travel on the environment.

 

Despite the pandemic, The Street Trust also continued our critical work in the streets. Community Engagement Manager Madi Carlson, “loved that the 2021 Move More Challenge expanded beyond biking and included walking, scooting, transit, and more in a bigger effort to reduce car usage.”

In addition to the Move More Challenge, Madi hosted inclusive WeBike rides and supported or led other bike rides throughout the year. This included two community rides hosted by Teatro Milagro in SE Portland: Día de la Madre in May and Día de los Muertos in October. She also worked with the City of Portland over the Summer to host an event at Gateway Discovery Park and an events action table in Old Town for the ‘Here for Portland’ weekend. To help fill the void so many of us felt with no formal Sunday Parkways, Madi led our efforts to activate the street outside Teatro Milagro every Sunday in August to create “mini Sunday Parkways.” In 2022, Madi is hoping to return to “more in-person programming for the Oregon Active Transportation SummitBike Commute Clinics, and The Street Trust member events!”

 

Community Engagement Manager Madi Carlson hosting the parklet TST hosted in Oregon City for Parking Day.

TST also deployed grants to support activations that transformed streets across the region into people-oriented spaces. In September, Grants & Impact Manager Henry Latourette Miller obtained a grant from SPIN and worked with the local business community to set up a parklet in a parking space in Oregon City as a part of International Parking Day. He was thrilled to organize the Oregon City event, which, “proves our commitment to serving the entire Portland metro, while featuring a partnership with the local business association, demonstrating our ambition to create innovative alliances across many sectors.”

In a perfect harmony of furthering our mission while building up our community, our biggest street activation of the year was our annual Alice Awards, which we transformed into a lively, intercultural block party at the Friends of the Green Loop’s Ankeny West space. Along with allowing our supporters and allies to gather in celebration of transportation leaders for the first time in over a year, the block party was also an opportunity to take over a full lane of West Burnside Street, one of Portland’s most notorious arterials. 

White Lotus and Dragon Dancers performing at TST’s 2021 Alice Awards

Looking to the future, In 2022, we’re going fight for you from the literal intersections of a public health crisis in which unsafe and incomplete public streets threaten our lives and livelihoods. We’re going to refuse to settle for an autocentric transportation system that worsens disparities and sacrifices our future. We going to stand firm in the belief that we can stop preventable death resulting from inequality, lax safety, and climate change. And we are going to do everything we can to win policy transformation and major investments that save lives, reduce barriers, and expand opportunities to the people and neighborhoods our current system neglects.

In 2022, our work will be defined by a continued commitment to investing in advocacy, education, community, partnerships, and impact. The #OurStreets Community Mobilization Campaign is now underway, with planned collaborations with Rosewood Initiative, Historic Parkrose, and Unite Oregon set to take place this spring. We are supercharged with new faces and new energy ready to take the work of The Street Trust to new heights. 2021 was a year of big changes and bold moves. 2022 is the year those seeds we planted will bear fruit.  

But we can’t do any of this without you. Together, we can have greater impact advocating for public investments that make our region more livable, equitable, and healthy. As a new year begins, please make sure your membership is up to date, gift a membership to street users you love, and sign up to volunteer. In 2022, we’re going to reclaim our streets, and our future – but we can’t do it without you.

 

Support The Street Trust

 

Teatro Milagro Artistic Director Dañel Malán plays BIKETOWN bean bag toss
Teatro Milagro Artistic Director Dañel Malán plays BIKETOWN bean bag toss

The Street Trust partners with a wide range of organizations from non-profit, labor, business, health, education, faith, and other sectors. These partnerships make our advocacy more powerful, by bridging communities across differences, issue areas and geographic focus.

We’re so happy to have forged a partnership with Teatro Milagro this year. What began with answering a request for a blender bike blossomed into five fun in-person events with more to come.

Milagro’s thirty-eighth season launched with a community art project, La Bici, an episodic video play that brought together ideas of bike safety and how it relates to art and the community. Naturally, The Street Trust was a perfect fit for supporting their vision by lending our experience and volunteer power to some of events!

The Street Trust staff led the Dia de Muertos ride while our volunteers helped keep everyone safe
The Street Trust staff led the Dia de Muertos ride while our volunteers helped keep everyone safe

We joined Milagro as bike safety escorts for two community rides–Día de la Madre in May and Día de Muertos in October. We also activated the street outside the theater on Sundays in August, creating “mini Sunday Parkways” to help fill the void so many of us are feeling with no formal Sunday Parkways events this year.

After a year of very little in-person contact, it was wonderful to create so many memories with our new friends at Milagro.

Do you want to be notified next time we’re looking for volunteers to help staff an event like the Día de Muertos ride? Fill out our volunteer form and join the fun!

Join The Street Trust volunteer list!