Intellect, Fire, Heart: Our 2017 Alice Awards

Last month, we held our annual Alice Awards to celebrate our movement for active transportation, our latest legislative victories, and the tireless advocates who made them possible. This was our first Alice Awards as The Street Trust—and we had a blast! Thanks to all of the advocates and supporters who joined us for this festive evening with The Street Trust family.

We gathered on Friday evening at Castaway, a warehouse-turned-venue which fittingly, in 1929, was home to the makers of the yellow strand rope used in the original Portland Streetcar. The event kicked off with a speech by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Portland) who praised Portland’s progress in making bicycling, walking, and public transit safe and easy—achievements which have inspired numerous cities nationwide to make similar investments in active transportation. Congressman Blumenauer also stressed the importance of building on this momentum to further push for livable infrastructure in the region: “We cannot and will not be a heritage livable community.” The Chair of our Board of Directors, Justin Yuen, then shared some thoughts on The Street Trust’s history and where we are headed next to hold our political leaders accountable and make bicycling, walking, and public transit easy and accessible to all.

Jillian Detweiler, The Street Trust’s new Executive Director, delivered a heartwarming welcome to guests sharing a few poignant moments from her first months in the position. “Fire, intelligence, heart: That’s the Street Trust. I could not be more proud to be its Executive Director,” she said. “If I haven’t met you yet, I will recognize you by your fire, your intelligence and your heart.” The evening then moved on to our exclusive active transportation auction which helped raise more than $122,000 for our active transportation goals—a tremendous success for our movement.

Then came time to acknowledge the real winners of the evening: the recipients of this year’s awards. The 2017 Alice Award went to the Youth Environmental Justice Alliance (YEJA), a project of OPAL Environmental Justice. YEJA develops low-income youth and youth of color leaders through political education, campaign organizing, and skill-building to fight for environmental justice. Through its leadership program, YEJA creates a space for marginalized youth to address issues that directly impact them and their community. YEJA led the way to get free youth transit passes for students in East Portland, expanding the YouthPass to the Future program to include students at David Douglass and Parkrose high schools. Thanks to YEJA’s relentless advocacy for East Portland youth, students in the Portland-Metro area can more affordably travel to their schools, jobs, and friends throughout the region.

OPAL Deputy Director Vivian Satterfield along with three representatives from Youth Environmental Justice Alliance joined us on stage to accept the award. Congratulations to YEJA for earning this year’s Alice Award! We’re very excited for what they’ve got planned for this upcoming year.

The 2017 Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement award went to Shane MacRhodes, a dedicated member of the For Every Kid coalition who was integral to securing a record $125 million for Safe Routes to School in the recently passed statewide transportation funding bill. Shane has an impressive résumé of advocacy and years worth of accomplishments for active transportation—so for him, the award felt more like a Midlife Commitment Award. “One of the most important things that we can give our children is independence, and the skills that go along with that, but we have to have a city that is built for that independence for families to feel more comfortable letting them go,” Shane said, “The best future for transportation isn’t flying cars or even autonomous cars, it’s us working together to help create a city built for autonomous kids.”

The Street Trust thanks all the supporters, advocates, community members, and local leaders who joined us to celebrate with us at this year’s Alice Awards. We hope you left the event feeling inspired and reinvigorated to keep up the fight for healthy and thriving communities where it is safe and easy for people to bike, walk, and ride public transit. We sure did!

For more photos of the 2017 Alice Awards, check out our album on Flickr!

A big thank you also goes out to organizations and business partners who sponsored the event. The 2017 Alice Awards were presented by Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost and sponsored by TriMet, Pinpoint, Heritage Bank, Tonkon Torp, Kittelson & Associates, Inc, CH2M, Portland Streetcar, Showers Pass, ThinkShout, and Hopworks.

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