Alice Nominee: Jay Dean

This article is the eighth in a series profiling the varied and amazing nominees for the 2008 Alice B. Toeclips Awards, which will be presented to five winners at the Alice Awards & Auction on March 22nd. This profile was written by BTA correspondent Geoffrey Earl.

“If I had a mission statement,” says Jay Dean, “it would be very close to the Community Cycling Center’s mission statement.” Which is, slightly modified, dsc01692-small.jpg“Bicycles are a tool for personal empowerment and a vehicle for social change.”

Shortly after Jay Dean moved to Portland to pursue a graduate degree in sociology from Portland State University, the 27-year-old native of Cleveland, Ohio, began volunteering at the CCC. In February of 2007 he began teaching two Bike Safety Club classes a week to children. A few months later, he was hired by the CCC as a summer bike camp counselor, and shortly thereafter, he moved into the role of Adult Programs Coordinator.

jay-dean-2008-small.jpgDuring his tenure, he’s pursued his passion: promoting cycling as a means for people to access to resources, opportunities and personal freedom in a healthy, safe and affordable manner. To these ends, his efforts have resulted in, among other things, the distribution of 360 bicycles to the community through the Earn-A-Bike program (formerly known as Create-A-Commuter). Through the Earn-A-Bike program, a bike, a lock, a helmet, tools, and safety and maintenance training act as a gateway to employment, school and other aspects of independent and healthy living for people transitioning out of homelessness.

Jay was also a key figure in last year’s Get Lit program, which distributed 400 sets of lights to cyclists all over the city. Both programs are continuing this year, though due to a cut in funding, only 180 bikes will be distributed through Earn-A-Bike.

It seems like Jay was destined for his role as a community bicycle advocate. He’s a life-long bike commuter, “right from when I was little,” he says. “I used to get made fun of,” and he was perhaps emboldened by the experience. During his undergrad work at Montana State University he rode his bike everywhere, year-round, snow and all.

While he once enjoyed mountain biking, Jay says “I don’t ride for recreation anymore, I commute.” It sounds like a sad story at first, until you factor in the amount of travel that Jay’s day might include – sometimes 30 miles of it, as he travels to different schools and other locations on CCC business.

Even when he’s not working at his day job, Jay is always ready to help out a cyclist in need. In his off hours he’s built a few bikes, fixed many and generally made himself available to friends in need, free of charge. Members of a community just help each other out, he figures.

Next nominee: Bike planner Bill Barber.

Comment

Comments (8)

  1. ginger palmer Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 07:52am

    GREAT ARTICLE! and good job, Jay. much love, aunt ginger & uncle george

  2. Thea Palmer Zimmerman Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 08:59am

    The Earn-A-Bike program sounds like a terrific approach to a universal problem. Might be hard here in Cleveland (12″ of snow last night), but if Jay could bike year round in Montana, perhaps it could work. Very impressive story – good luck both to the program and to Jay! love, one of your many cousins

  3. Favorite Aunt Candy Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 09:05am

    Good job Jay! We are all proud of you.

    Love
    Aunt Candy

  4. Favorite Aunt Andrea Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 09:26am

    Way to go, Jay! You have always been a caring person!!!

  5. Aunt Holly Uncle Dennis Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 11:16am

    Hey Jay! Keep on bikin’!! Great article – we are very proud of you . . . . Love, A.Holly and U. Dennis

  6. NO, NO, Favorite A. Nancy Permalink  | Feb 27, 2008 10:29pm

    Wow, Jay! Your energy and enthusiasm embarrass me! What a credit you are to all of us!

  7. buy a domain Permalink  | Jul 14, 2010 01:10am

    While he once enjoyed mountain biking, Jay says “I don’t ride for recreation anymore, I commute.” It sounds like a sad story at first, until you factor in the amount of travel that Jay’s day might include – sometimes 30 miles of it, as he travels to different schools and other locations on CCC business.

  8. Andrew Permalink  | Aug 05, 2010 12:27am

    Jay was also a key figure in last year’s Get Lit program, which distributed 400 sets of lights to cyclists all over the city. Both programs are continuing this year, though due to a cut in funding, only 180 bikes will be distributed through Earn-A-Bike. joint pain treatment


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