Nothing Beats a Heat Island Like a Cool River Swim

This weekend, in partnership with BIKETOWN and TriMet, The Street Trust led its friends and members on a guided bike and transit ride from the Lents town center to The Big Float in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Lents was the deadliest heat island during last summer’s heat dome disaster and the dangerous conditions persisted during this year’s record-breaking heat waveThe Street Trust understands that our climate crisis affects frontline and low-income communites disproportionately. We also know that an estimated 30% of Oregonians don’t drive. That’s why, we chose to support Lents’ residents with affordable, safe options to access the cool waters of the Willamette River without having to drive. 

While most participants rode their own bikes or used Biketown to take advantage of the beautiful sunny day, The Street Trust also distributed transit passes to anyone who didn’t feel comfortable cycling. Despite being known as a multimodal leader, many Portlanders feel uncomfortable cycling and/or accessing public transportation. Our focus on providing multiple mobility options to The Big Float is indicative of our efforts to be more inclusive while also promoting a critical mobility service. 

This multimodal event was the first of its kind for The Street Trust, and based on initial feedback we hope to continue offering transit tickets, BIKETOWN access, and mobility guides for future events.

“Heat Island to River Relief” bike ride participants met their guides at 10AM at the Lents Town Center, where the local farmer’s market takes place. Several passersby approached The Street Trust to ask us what we were up to (probably something to do the giant pile of lifejackets strapped to a bike trailer). These encounters demonstrated to us that there is interest in BIKETOWN and bike events in the Lents neighborhood, which is also home to many of our priority communities. 

OUtdoor fun - Andre in a Doughnut Float, Madi looking sleek in Black logo tee and pants

Some participants took TriMet’s #14 bus, which has frequent service and stops directly in front of Lents Town Center. The bus dropped us off only a few blocks away from the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, making the journey very convenient while also offering a refuge from the heat. Taking in that stellar view of the Willamette as the bus crossed the Hawthorne bridge was also a reminder of how lucky this city is to have such an incredible public resource… and how important it is to ensure that everyone feels like they can access it. The journey also allowed us to connect with each other and talk about the impression that folks had about Portland’s transit system. 

Overall, the Heat Island to River Relief was yet another successful community-oriented summer event from The Street Trust. Not only did it serve the important mission of reminding participants of the seriousness of the heat island effect and the different ways you can access one of the most important cooling amenities in the city; it also brought together the TST community for a little fun in the sun. And it doesn’t get any better than that. 

Thanks for being so welcoming to The Street Trust, Lents neighbors — we look forward to partnering and enjoying future events with you! Check out more pictures in BikePortland.

Want to volunteer for our next multimodal event? Sign up!

Pedestrian enjoying Eastbank Esplanade in Portland B&W

 

Standing United Against Violence and Hate in Our Streets 

A visiting Asian family was attacked while cycling along the Eastbank Esplanade in Portland earlier this week. We understand that this attack was racially motivated and led to physical and verbal abuse of both the father and child. 

The attacker has been charged with a bias (aka hate) crime which has led us to do more research on what exactly triggers that classification. 

Under Oregon law, a bias crime — or hate crime — is defined as a crime in which a person “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes physical injury to another person because of the person’s perception of the other person’s race, color, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.”

While the event is tragic, we were happy to hear that the family was not seriously injured and that upon seeing the confrontation multiple community members stepped up to deter the attacker which led to his arrest shortly after the attack. 

Creating safe streets for all is central to the work of our organization. Still, this event reminds us that the barriers to safe transportation are more than the built environment and speeding cars. It reminds us that bias, discrimination, and systemic oppression are all alive and well, and that the hateful people in our region are willing to lash out at any moment to reinforce this reality. 

The Street Trust stands in solidarity with the AAPI community. We will use our platform and influence to continue educating our members and partners about the explicit and implicit biases rooted in our culture and we will continue to elevate and celebrate the diverse voices of AAPI-identifying communities throughout our region. 

We’d also like to thank the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) for their continued work and leadership in the AAPI community. The Street Trust shares APANO’s vision of a just world where Asians and Pacific Islanders and communities have the power, resources, and voice to determine our own futures,  and where we can work in solidarity to drive political, social, economic, and cultural change. You can support APANO by donating here.

We recognize that we have a long way to go until we reach a place where communities no longer have to fear being targeted in the streets because of their identity but we’re confident that we can achieve this vision by working together as a caring and supportive community.

 

Racially motivated hate crimes are a challenging topic so we’ve included some resources for those of you who are interested in learning more:

https://www.aapihatecrimes.org/facts

https://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/learn-about-hate-crimes

 

Happy Disability Pride Month!

Although it’s not recognized federally, the disabled community recognizes July as Disability Pride Month in honor of July 26th being the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. 

At The Street Trust, we champion safe, accessible, equitable, and low-carbon streets. We also acknowledge that transportation justice and disability justice go hand in hand. Whether something is accessible or not means different things depending on the context, but it should always include access for disabled people because we overlap with all other groups. 

The Street Trust’s Community Engagement Assistant Cassie Wilson and Yamhill County Commissioner Casey Kulla during the Oregon Active Transportation Summit.

As someone with a mobility disability, accessibility to me means having the freedom to move through life with as much ease as someone who is not disabled. This includes anything from accessing housing, school, and work (in-person or online), to navigating our communities. Accessibility also emphasizes how mobility devices are freedom and independence for many disabled people, making it easier for us to move our bodies, as opposed to being ‘confined’ to them as is often how they’re described.

Something feels accessible to me when I don’t have to think much about it or go through extra steps to get my needs met. It removes the added labor of figuring out how to navigate life in a way that works for me. For that reason, it’s a lot easier to notice when things are not accessible such as buildings with one step to get inside or crosswalks without accessible (or any) curb cuts.

Speaking of curb cuts, everyone benefits from accessibility! The ‘curb cut effect’ demonstrates how increasing accessibility for disabled people accessing sidewalks by adding curb cuts also improves conditions for people pushing strollers, bicycles, skates, carts, etc.

As a disabled person living in a rural area without public transit, I am forced to drive. Driving is already expensive, and the cost only increases when you factor in accessible vehicle upgrades and added insurance for those features. When I was reliant on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), transportation accounted for over half of my below-poverty-level income. Increasing access to public transit, bike lanes, and sidewalks state wide would hugely benefit people who can’t drive due to disabilities, and it would also benefit the estimated 1 in 3 Oregonians who can’t or don’t drive as well as those who would choose not to if given feasible alternatives.

 

      – Cassie Wilson, Community Engagement Assistant @ The Street Trust

 

Celebrate Disability Pride Month with The Street Trust at our Pedalpalooza ride at 4:00pm on July 28th which starts and ends at Adaptive Biketown. 

 

RSVP To TST’s Pedalpalooza Event!

Pre-member meeting bike ride

 

Last month, The Street Trust held its June Member Meeting at BG’s Food Cartel food cart pod in Beaverton. 

The Street Trust members, board members, staff, Washington County elected officials, and Washington County community leaders came together to discuss our work and theirs, and find ways we can collaborate and support one another.

To emphasize our dedication to the entire region, The Street Trust has held our first

June Member Meetup at BG's Food Cartel

 two in-person member meetings in Milwaukie (May) and Beaverton (June). We’re actively recruiting to increase our membership in these communities, which have a big role to play in the future of our region. Through this outreach, we have found that these diverse communities also have an intense need for active transportation and transit organizing- and we are eager to support them. We’re particularly interested in organizing along corridors of concern, such as with our recent Farmington Road Study Tour.

We kicked off our June member meeting with a group bike ride that started at the Beaverton Transit Center. During this ride we experienced what Beaverton has to offer in terms of bike trails, multi-use paths, quiet greenways, bike lanes, sharrows, highway sidewalks, and highway-side railroad gravel. Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty generously shared details about the many City transportation projects and other community issues as we biked through Beaverton for a wonderfully in-depth look at the city.

We’re so grateful for everyone who could make it out! If you’re not a member yet, join us, July’s member meeting details will be announced soon–like our previous two meetings, it will be easy to access by walking, rolling, and transit. Save the date of Monday, July 18th from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Become a member!

The Street Trust June Member Meeting participants at BG Food Cartel

Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, Julian Dunn, The Street Trust Community Engagement Manager Madi Carlson, Nic Cota, Shawne Martinez, Councilor-Elect John Dugger, Beaverton Mayor Lacey Beaty, State Representative Dacia Grayber, Eric Wilhelm, State Representative WLnsvey Campos, Councilor-Elect Kevin Teater, The Street Trust Board Member Dave Roth, The Street Trust Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner.

Two people pedal an adaptive quadricycle past The Street Trust's booth

 

We at The Street Trust love activating public spaces, like we did for last year’s Alice Awards. While there are a lot of parks and squares in Portland, the city’s largest public space is its streets, and there’s no more rewarding way to experience them than through Sunday Parkways.

After a two-year hiatus, Sunday Parkways returned with a splash on June 26th for Northeast Cully Sunday Parkways. The Street Trust staffed an intersection along the course to cheer on walkers and rollers, distribute snacks, bike lights, and temporary tattoos- all while preventing unnecessary car traffic in the event.

We stationed ourselves near our friends at Adaptive Biketown and Biketown, so we could easily send people down the block for test rides. (Side note: we’re hosting a Harry Styles themed Pedalpalooza bike ride with Adaptive Biketown on July 28th–RSVP here!)

With temperatures in the 90’s we weren’t sure what to expect, but our region’s love for open street events was reflected by the tons of people who came out. Everyone stayed hydrated thanks to water refill stations along the entire course (some volunteers even carried water dispensers on bike trailers!). Our booth canopy provided ample shade that walkers and rollers could use to rest from the heat for a spell, while joining us for snacks and refreshments too.

Being part of an open streets event is tremendously fun. We engaged with hundreds of event participants thanks to the help of our wonderful volunteers, and our staff members on duty engaged residents who needed help safely driving around the event. These events give us a glimpse of what a car free city could feel like, but more importantly, they show us that people enjoy walking and rolling around town.

We’d love to have you join us for an upcoming open streets event, Carefree Sunday in Milwaukie on Sunday, August 7th. Sign up to volunteer with us at Carefree Sunday, or if that date doesn’t work for you and you’re not yet on our volunteer mailing list, add your name now.

 

Free Tickets to the Big Float When You Ride with The Street Trust

 

Our friends at the Human Access Project are throwing their 10th and final Big Float to celebrate the Willamette River!

The Street Trust is joining in on the fun by leading two guided rides – one by bike and one by public transit – from the Lents neighborhood to the waterfront. Apart from being tons of fun, these rides will also draw attention to one of the deadliest heat islands in the city and help educate residents how they can access the cooling power of one of Portland’s best free amenities, our beautiful Willamette River. 

 

RSVP to secure your free tickets!

 

Sunday, July 10th, meet in Lents Town Center at 10:00 a.m.

Professor Vivek Shandas holds a handlebar heat monitor while Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba looks on
Portland State Professor Vivek Shandas holds a handlebar heat monitor while Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba looks on

With extreme summer temperatures on our minds, The Street Trust is eager to demonstrate that the trip from Lents to the Willamette River can be fun, quick, and affordable by leading two group rides to the Big Float – one via transit and one via bikes and other active transportation devices. Special thanks to Biketown and TriMet for making these trips accessible for all.

 

We’ve got 150 free tickets to the event, free life jackets for all, and if you need a free bus ticket or free Biketown code, we’ve got that, too!  

 

We joined 350PDX for their Heat Week Ride on Tuesday and visited the hottest spot in Lents, where PSU Professor Vivek Shandas reported the ground was over 100 degrees despite the temperature feeling mild in the shade. The ride took us from Lents to inner Southeast Portland so we could experience the change in quantity of tree canopy and notice the increase in shade and drop in temperature.

 

Join us before the heat of the day on Sunday, July 10th at 10:00 a.m. in Lents Town Center (SE Foster Rd at 89th) for light refreshments before we set off via bike parade and transit trip to the Big Float festivities.

 

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 focus issues and neighborhoods. We work in community to achieve our vision, from co-founding the Getting There Together and Just Crossing Alliance coalitions, to forming a statewide alliance to increase funding for safe routes via SB 395, and joining up with regional and statewide partners to pass HB 2017 – our state’s last major transportation infrastructure package.

When we created our first strategic partnerships position last year,  we knew that we would need to recruit a born networker ready to connect with a wide range of people leading in every aspect of urban policy and transportation conversations from across zip codes, sectors, and organizations. 

Enter Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner, who comes to The Street Trust with years of experience building relationships in the higher education sector. In her previous role at Portland State University, Anouksha was responsible for collaborating and building partnerships with schools, colleges, organizations across the West Coast as well as in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Now Anouksha is focused on building The Street Trust’s relationships with businesses and community based organizations.

Our new relationship with Rosewood Initiative is one that Anouksha and the rest of The Street Trust is especially excited about. 

Rosewood Initiative believes in building a safe, healthy and vibrant community where neighbors can thrive together. They are an organization that implements neighbor-led strategies since 2009 and their community center provides space for people to gather, connect to resources, celebrate and work on projects that improve their lives and the community.

To keep our followers informed about The Street Trust’s efforts to build partnerships that help us advance our mission of creating a more accessible, equitable, safe, and sustainable regional transportation system, we asked Anouksha how this partnership came about and what to expect from it in the future.


In her own words – Strategic Partnerships Manager Anouksha Gardner

What inspired you to reach out to Rosewood Initiative?

When I started working at The Street Trust, I was looking to connect with organizations we had done work with and those we hadn’t connected with yet. Tsering Sherpa, the programs director at Rosewood Initiative connected with me and told me that she worked at a NPO. Tsering was a friend from Portland State and so when we connected and spoke about our organizations I realized that we could work together to support the Rosewood Community, especially with their transportation needs and wants. 

What have you learned by pursuing this course of action?

I’ve learned that the community is tired of speaking about their needs and no changes happening. The Street Trust is focused on changing that. We are collaborating with Rosewood Initiative to hear about what their community needs and taking steps to provide the resources needed and bring about changes needed.

What ado you appreciate about Rosewood Initiative?

I am very grateful for Rosewood’s unwavering support of The Street Trust. We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to table at events and speak to the community. We’ve had their support in signing on to grants we have been applying to. We are also grateful for Rosewood Initiative being our first partner in the Our Streets Community Mobilization Campaign. I am very impressed with how much Rosewood does for their community. Every Saturday Celebration I have attended has been supported by the community and everyone I have spoken to there has nothing but good things to say about the organization. 

What are your hopes and aspirations for this partnership in the future?

I hope to continue the relationship we have with Rosewood Initiative and work on doing more with their community. We are going to be hosting listening sessions with their community to find out what their transportation needs are and what The Street Trust can do to provide resources and support. I am very thankful for their support and hope to keep up the relationship in the future.

 

Interested in supporting The Street Trust’s partnership with Rosewood Initiative and other community based organizations? Donate or become a member below.

 

Donate To The Street Trust!

Learn More About Rosewood Initiative!

A group of people in rain gear standing under the Hollywood Theatre marquee which reads Filmed by Bike and Crimes of the Future

 

Celebrating our community and partnerships are at the core of The Street Trust’s work, and this week we are proud to celebrate our longstanding relationship with Filmed by Bike,  Portland’s own bike-themed festival that celebrated its 20th anniversary over the weekend with help from The Street Trust.

This year saw the return of the annual The Street Trust Opening Night Ride and we tried something new and led the ride through the East Side instead of downtown. We made the event extra cinematic by kicking off at Clinton Street Theater and swinging by Bollywood Theater and Movie Madness on our way to the Hollywood Theatre.

The ride had a star-studded cast from places near and far, including visitors from Seattle, Olympia, Sacramento, and even Rochester, MN! Sadly, heavy rain meant there were fewer costumes than we’d normally see on this bike ride, but we were thrilled to see so many folks join us in their rain gear! 

Did you know we had two separate social media contests to give away free tickets to Filmed by Bike? Winners were selected via Instagram and Twitter so be sure to follow us for future giveaways! We’d also love to connect with you on Facebook, LinkedIn, and our new TikTok!

Not on social media? Subscribe to our newsletter and you won’t miss a thing. If you’re not sure about your subscription status, please click the Manage Your Data link at the bottom of any page on our website to make sure your contact information is correct and your email is set to “Yes, receive email updates.”

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On May 31st, in partnership with Washington County and 1000 Friends of Oregon, The Street Trust hosted a half-day study tour of Farmington Road and nearby streets in Washington County. We decided to explore Farmington Road in person after analyzing Metro’s 2020 focus corridors and a conversation with Washington County Commissioner Nafisa Fai, both of which pointed to Farmington as one of the most critical streets in need of improvement in the region.

People walking single files in dangerous roadway
Photo: Sean Carpenter, 1000 Friends of Oregon

We invited diverse participants, including staff from community-based organizations, Commisioner Fai’s office, an Oregon House Representative (and Senate candidate), as well as agency staff from the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington County’s Planning Division.

The Street Trust believes that by directing the attention of our members and energizing them with ideas for how Farmington Rd. could be improved, this event could lead to infrastructural transformation on the ground. 

 

People walking single file to board bus in dangerous roadway

Why is taking our mission to the streets important?

In the age of COVID-19, many of us have grown accustomed to the luxury of remote work. We’ve seen our morning commute to offices and other locations transform into the simple wiggle of a mouse and adjustments of our cameras. As a result, many of us have become disconnected from the experiences that many members of our communities still live daily – including the requirement to show up to all the places they need to be regardless of whether or not they have access to their own car. It is also often the case that communities that rely on transit, walking, and rolling for mobility have limited capacity to shape in policy discussions without support from organizations like The Street Trust.

We conducted our study tour on foot and by TriMet MAX and bus so all of us could experience together the challenges – and serious danger – that people who don’t drive across our region face when trying to get from place to place throughout their day.  

 

Key Transportation Knowledge: The Urban Road Maintenance District

Washington County has a funding mechanism called the Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) with which you may not be familiar. The URMD provides preventive road maintenance services for public roads within its boundaries, except roads that are designated as arterials or collectors on the Washington County Transportation Plan. About 430 miles of neighborhood streets have designated URMD maintenance funds.

Improved Roadway in Washingon County
Touring a Washington County street improved with URMD funds

The Urban Road Maintenance District (URMD) was created by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and approved by voters in urban unincorporated Washington County in 1987. It is a county service district, formed under ORS Chapter 451. URMD Ordinance No. 4.

 

Voters in the urban unincorporated area approved an ad valorem property tax levy of $0.365 in 1994, which became a permanent rate of $0.2456 upon approval of Ballot Measure 50 in 1997. Property owners in the URMD pay $0.2456 per $1,000 assessed value. The owner of a home with an assessed value of $200,000 pays less than $50 per year for URMD.

 

While originally created for road maintenance, in 2011 URMD funds have since been allocated to improve pedestrian and bicycling safety, some of which we were able to observe during our tour. 

 

Contrasting County vs State Managed Roadways
Top: Farmington Rd as managed by Washington County Below: Managed by ODOT

ODOT Fails Street Users… Again.

There was a noticeable difference between ODOT-managed and Washington County-managed facilities. As we’ve seen across the region the lower emphasis on safety for pedestrians and cyclists leaves many wanting more from ODOT.

In the larger context, we would be remiss if we didn’t highlight for you the immense difference in the safety and accessibility of the right-of-way for people walking, rolling, biking, and accessing transit along Farmington Road. There are major decisions about regional transportation funding currently underway, including the choice to spend billions of dollars expanding highways around our region. These choices come at a great cost to current and future Oregonians – not only in in terms of the debt they’ll be saddled with but in terms of opportunity costs as dangerous roadways like Farmington Road (where people live, work, play, and pray) remain deadly and go unimproved. 

 

Next Steps for Washington County

Washington County’s Major Street Improvement Program (MSTIP) is heading toward a decision point where it will be voted on by county commissioners. Currently there is a request for funding a complete streets project between 173rd and 209th along Farmington. The Street Trust is highly supportive of this project (among others) and highly encourage you to offer feedback once the public comment period for the MSTIP opens up in July. 

Photo: Sean Carpenter, 1000 Friends of Oregon

This was TST’s first policy tour since launching the #OurStreets community mobilization campaign. Our goal is to reach, connect with, and mobilize people from all walks of life and across sectors and spheres of influence for better outcomes. We think it’s a great model and our hope is to do similar tours along other key corridors in our region. But we can’t do it without you!

Want updates about Farmington Road or Washington County? Sign up for our mailing listvolunteer, or donate today.

 

Donate to support future study tours like this!

 

Last Friday, The Street Trust kicked off Pride Month and celebrated World Bicycle Day at the same time by hosting a family-friendly, rolling parade withDowntown Portland and hosted by celebrated Portland drag queen Poison Waters.

Participants gathered in Shemanski Park, which is conveniently located near Biketown stations a block in either direction – in front of the Portland Art Museum and at Director Park. Several attendees checked out a Biketown bike for the parade, including celebrity guests the Gay Beards.

The parade was also joined by everyone’s favorite one-wheeled hero, the Unipiper, and the Multnomah County Library book trike. Our two-mile parade route bounced between points of interest from Portland’s LGBTQIA2S+ past and present, including the office and residence of famed 1900’s lesbian Doc Marie Equi; Vera Katz Park, named for former mayor and gay ally; and Pride Plaza, one of our new street plazas filled with street art, public seating, and community activities.

The Street Trust offers a special thanks to our ride ambassadors from BikePOC PNW, an organization that actively creates space for BIPOC folks to ride bikes, build community, forge life-long friendships, and challenge the status quo.

Ryan Hashagen and Cory Poole pushed the pedicab up hills

This ride would not have been possible without the generosity of Icicle Tricycles,   who provided a pedicab in which we conveyed our host Poison Waters, not to mention the pedicab training sessions and assistive pushes uphill from Icicle Tricycle owner (and Better Block PDX Principal) Ryan Hashagen. Additional thanks to longboard skateboard advocate Cory Poole, who also pushed the pedicab and took many of the photos shared in this post.

We stopped for mini dance parties in three Portland Public Street Plazas and ended our parade with a big dance party at the Cart Blocks Food Cart Pod at Ankeny West, which featured a surprise appearance from Darcelle, the Guinness World Record holding “Oldest Working Drag Queen”. Umpqua Bank greeted our arrival with tricycles filled with ice cream and ice pops.

Bikes, trikes, unicycles, skateboards, and longboards– this year’s Pride parade had all manner of environmentally-friendly wheeled vehicles (we love our multimodal life) and The Street Trust can’t wait to do this again for next World Bicycle Day 2023!

TST staff Anouksha Gardner, Madi Carlson and Board member Jackie Yerby, with Darcelle