Families for Safe Streets of Oregon and SW Washington, in partnership with The Street Trust, invites you to join us for the observance of World Day of Remembrance 2023 on November 19. This international event honors the memory of those who have lost their lives in road traffic crashes and advocates for safer streets.
11:00 am Gathering begins outside The Street Trust offices at 1259 Lloyd Center
11:30 Processional Walk led by Oregon Walks departs Lloyd Center for Memorial Coliseum
12:00 Program with Invited Speakers starts at Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Charlene McGee, Director Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, Multnomah County Health Department
Wendy Serrano, Equity and Inclusion Manager, City of Portland Bureau of Transportation
The Morrison Bridge will be lit up yellow all day in observance and participants will wear yellow, as well. There will be an installation under the portico of Memorial Coliseum of black “body bags” representing the lives lost in traffic on Portland streets to date in 2023. (Actually sleeping bags, they will be donated to people in need following the event.)
Objectives of the Event:
Remember all individuals killed and injured in traffic crashes this year
Advocate for improved support for road traffic victims and their families
Raise awareness about the legal response to culpable road deaths and injuries
Promote evidence-based actions to prevent future road traffic incidents
The Challenge in Oregon:
Between 2010 and 2022, annual traffic fatalities in Oregon increased from 351 to 606. The rate per 100,000 residents surged from nine to 14. This alarming rise highlights a public health epidemic, emphasizing the urgent need for safer and complete public streets.
Veterans Memorial Coliseum is easily accessible by MAX (red, green, blue lines to Rose Quarter Transit Center or yellow line to Interstate/Rose Quarter) and *TriMet* bus lines (*4, 8, 35, 44, 77 to Rose Quarter Transit Center*).
We encourage all concerned residents, road safety stakeholders, elected leaders, and members of the media to participate in this crucial event. Help us remember those we’ve lost, advocate for safer streets, and support initiatives that can save lives.
The Street Trust Board Member Randy Miller was recently featured in an in-depth interview series conducted by KATU called, ‘City in Crisis: Broken Bridges, New Pathways‘ which spoke with community leaders and changemakers tackling some of the city’s most pressing challenges.
According to Miller, who for over thirty years has hosted best practices trips for hundreds of Portland’s civic leaders domestically and internationally, there are no “cookie cutter formulas” to make a city great. “You have to really understand the ethos and the culture of that community,” he insists.
And Portland’s ethos? Focus on making Portland a great place for people in the community. “We were outliers… we created a community that [is] attractive for people… not necessarily anything else,” he stresses, “for people.”
Randy shares The Street Trust’s optimism that Portland can reclaim its status as a great place by focusing on core elements such as compact neighborhoods, safe infrastructure for people walking and bicycling, robust public transit, and investments in environmental sustainability and climate adaptation.
Oregon’s eBike enthusiasts were abuzz this fall with the electrifying news of the Ride2Own launch in Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood. This groundbreaking initiative, a brainchild of The Street Trust in collaboration with We All Rise,Oregon DEQ, and PGE is set to revolutionize eBike accessibility in Oregon, particularly for historically excluded communities.
The Ride2Own program is not merely about providing eBikes. It’s a comprehensive approach that encompasses education, gear, and community-building. The overarching goal? To create transformative experiences through e-mobility and initiate a ripple effect that expands sustainable transportation options across the region.
This is the first of four pilots Ride2Own will be conducting across the Portland metro region. The other neighborhoods are Portland’s Parkrose, Milwaukie, and Hillsboro. A total of approximately 90 eBikes will be distributed to qualifying community members across the four pilot areas.
“I am excited about the opportunity to be a part of making bike commuting even more accessible to members of communities of color like myself,” said one program participant in their application.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of this launch. At a time when Oregon’s transportation sector contributes a staggering 40% of the state’s GHG pollution, initiatives like Ride2Own are not just welcome; they’re imperative. Ride2Own’s overarching goal is to create positive, transformative experiences through eBiking and initiate a ripple effect that expands sustainable transportation options for residents and reduces the amount that people need to drive (VMT, vehicle miles traveled) across the region.
“Portland General Electric is excited to award funds from DEQ’s Oregon Clean Fuels Program to support our partners in expanding cleaner transportation systems across the state,” said Elyssia Lawrence, senior manager, Product Manager and head of PGE’s Transportation Electrification team. “Transportation electrification plays an essential role in accelerating the clean energy transition. It is going to take all of us working together to achieve a cleaner and more equitable future for all Oregonians.”
Ride2Own stands as a testament to what’s possible when innovation meets determination.
In a world where the status quo often reigns supreme, Ride2Own is a reminder that with the right vision and commitment, we can build transportation systems that serve everyone equitably. As we celebrate this launch, let’s also recommit to a future where every Oregonian, regardless of background or zip code, has access to safe, sustainable, and inclusive transportation options.
Special thanks to The Street Trust Board Member Paul Buchanan, for helping bring the Portsmouth Neighborhood Pilot from idea to reality and to PGE Drive Change Fund, which is funded via the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Fuels Program. Funded by the sale of Oregon CFP credits, which PGE aggregates on behalf of residential customers who charge their electric vehicles at home, the fund supports projects aimed at expanding electric mobility options and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The DCF prioritizes projects focused on serving vulnerable populations and underserved communities.
The national spotlight recently shone on Victor Duong, a distinguished board member of The Street Trust, in a Forbes article that delved into the complexity of bike parking regulations in Portland. As a housing architect of Vietnamese descent, an avid sport cyclist, and a former Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) member, Victor’s multifaceted background offers a fresh and informed perspective on the challenges and opportunities surrounding urban planning and transportation.
The piece highlighted the paradox of bike parking mandates in cities like Portland. While there’s a growing trend to reduce or eliminate car parking requirements, bike parking regulations seem to be on the rise. Such mandates, though well-intentioned, can inadvertently inflate housing costs. The logic is simple: when housing developers are compelled to allocate space for bike storage, it can lead to larger unit sizes, which in turn can push up rents.
Victor, in his professional capacity as a Project Manager at Leeb Architects, has witnessed firsthand the implications of these regulations. He notes, “The previous revision of the bike parking code removed approximately 1-2 units for every 200 units; the current bike parking code now removes approximately 1 out of 15 units.” Such reductions come at a time when housing efficiency is paramount.
The crux of the matter isn’t about diminishing the importance of bikes or undermining their role in sustainable urban mobility. It’s about striking a balance. As Victor aptly puts it, “We are crafting a city for people, not just buildings and bikes.”
At a public hearing on October 24th before the Portland Planning Commission, Victor brought his unwavering commitment to fostering a safe, equitable, and sustainable transportation system, promoting a conversation and vision that harmoniously integrates the needs of all Portlanders. (Full video of the meeting available on YouTube.) He followed up his terstimony with a think piece in Strongtowns, where he emphasized, “Our regulatory priorities are backwards… bike parking is important, but not more important than housing, not even close. Resources should first go to housing, then figure out bike parking from there.”
We are inspired by Victor’s unique insights and dedication to service on our board’s Policy Working Group, where he reminds us weekly that when we advocate, it must be through an equity lens, via respectful dialogue, and with a focus on the collective well-being of our community.
Last month, Oregon Governor Tina Kotek appointed The Street Trust Director Sarah Iannarone to represent road users on the state’s new Jurisdictional Transfer Advisory Committee. This appointment recognizes The Street Trust’s subject area expertise and dedication to fighting for safety and multimodal investments on behalf of all street users, irrespective of their zip code or primary transportation mode.
House Bill 2793, sponsored by State Representative Ben Bowman (HD 25) and supported by The Street Trust, was passed in the 2023 legislative session. The bill establishes the Jurisdictional Transfer Advisory Committee within the Department of Transportation. This committee, consisting of 11 members appointed by the Governor, is tasked with reviewing jurisdictional transfer applications and recommending a list of jurisdictional transfers for funding.
The committee’s composition ensures a diverse range of perspectives. It includes transportation engineers, representatives from cities, counties, and regional governments, law enforcement, transit users, and members from the state bicycle and pedestrian advisory committee, and the Transportation Safety Committee. By having a seat at the table, The Street Trust can help ensure that these decisions prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate action for all Oregonians.
As you probably know, dangerous arterials such as Powell Boulevard in Portland (pictured above, source: KGW news) were originally constructed across Oregon to connect communities to each other and goods to market. But as our state has urbanized – in some areas quite rapidly – these deadly “orphan highways” no longer reflect the land use and mobility needs of the community. Jurisdictional transfers are more than just administrative decisions; they can be matters of life and death.
Transferring these facilities from ODOT to local jurisdictions – as was recently done on 82nd Avenue in Portland – is a pathway to transforming them for improved safety, equity, and mobility. The Jurisdictional Transfer Advisory Committee’s mandate is to review and recommend jurisdictional transfers, ensuring that our roads are managed effectively and safely.
“As we celebrate this appointment,” said Iannarone, “it reminds us of the importance of our work and the impact transportation decisions have on the lives of Oregonians. The Street Trust remains committed to collaborative approaches in which diverse voices come together to shape a safer, more efficient transportation system for all Oregonians. Whether you’re a farmer delivering produce to market, a worker eBiking to your job at the port, or a care provider catching the next bus, we believe that you deserve to get home safely to your loved ones at the end of the day.”
Back in September, The Street Trust published our first annual impact report. This report details our most transformational successes that we were able to achieve in FY 21-22. These successes would not have been possible without the dedicated support from our board, our members, and our partnerships. To everyone who has been part of our hard work over the past year:
In my thirteen years living in Oregon, the protest on Powell Blvd last week was the first I’ve ever attended.
Assembling peacefully in the street demanding government accountability on traffic safety was my first exercise of my First Amendment right to assemble as a U.S. Citizen. I’m originally from Nepal and was proud to be naturalized this past year. At this protest, I witnessed firsthand the power of the community coming together to demand something like safer streets from our officials.
Not only was it my first time at a protest, it was my first time being a ‘Human Bike Box,’ meaning participants stood together with our bodies in front of traffic in the intersection representing where safety infrastructure used to be. Each time the light would turn red, I’d step into traffic to form the Human Bike Box; each time, so many feelings welled up within me. I felt a sense of power, to be able to stand arm in arm with other community members, I felt a sense of strength in the statement we all were making. I felt brave and a little bit scared to be standing in front of an oncoming car, especially since I’d brought with me my mother, who is visiting the U.S. from Nepal. Most of all, I felt connected to diverse people from parts of society who use the street in different ways – people who walk, people who ride bikes, people who ride transit and people who drive. There were young people and elders, families, and people with disabilities.
Standing in traffic changes your perspective. Even though as Strategic Partnerships Manager for The Street Trust it’s my job to connect with a wide range of people around our mission, it was a new experience to talk with people sitting in stopped cars right in the middle of street – answering questions, sharing information, and for the majority of people, sharing sadness around Chef Pliner’s death and wanting safer intersection for everyone whether they’re walking, rolling, or motoring through it. Many people in cars wanted to know how they could help and how the demands we were making would be put into effect and when. It really put our current strategy in context, and drove home why it’s important to include people who drive cars in the movement for safer streets and a better transportation system.
I live in Washington County but decided to take my mother to the protest because we wanted to gather in solidarity to honor Sarah Pliner, who was killed the previous week in the intersection where we were protesting. My mother shared with me how when they protest in Nepal, the tactics and demands differed a lot from what we were doing at our protest. But at the end of the day, the goal was the same – accountability from the government and justice for the people.
Participating in the protest in the streets was an empowering, and satisfying experience for me, but it was also scary. Scary because there were motorists who didn’t like us being there in the streets. Scary big trucks passing so close to our feet while we stood on the sidelines. And scary because of the aggressive drivers intentionally racing through at high speeds and loudly revving vehicles to make some sort of misguided point.
At the end of the day, the protest on Powell was amazing to see because not only did nearly 200 people come together in silence, with signs and solidarity, to convey the message that enough is enough: we demand safer streets for people now.
The Street Trust is tired of issuing statements and offering condolences for the loss of life and limb due to government inaction on SE Powell Blvd. in Portland and are demanding immediate action -today- from local and state government to prevent future injuries and deaths.
On May 10th, 2015 at this intersection, Alistair Corkett was struck by the driver of a pick-up truck, resulting in the loss of one of his legs. Just a few weeks later, on May 29th, Peter Anderson was bicycling through the intersection and had his leg broken by the driver of a Jeep Cherokee. On Tuesday, October 4, Aviary restaurant founder Chef Sarah Pliner was killed there while bicycling by the operator of a semi-truck. Our condolences go out to Sarah’s family and community as well as the over 400 families affected by traffic violence this year across Oregon. (Read the BikePortland report.)
These injuries and Sarah’s death were preventable and the lives of the Cleveland High School population and other street users in the area remain at risk. The Street Trust is demanding that the City of Portland and State of Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) cooperate to immediately physically separate from motor vehicle traffic all vulnerable street users including people on bicycles, pedestrians, and transit riders until a full investigation of yesterday’s killing is completed.
The Street Trust proposesimmediate emergency installation of a protected intersection for people walking and biking, as illustrated. This could be constructed immediately with concrete jersey barriers, event fencing, or other materials the DOTs have on hand, similar to those implemented for pedestrian safety during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The Street Trust is also asking that Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) install metal signs that read, “High Crash Intersection” in that location.
Powell is owned and maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation and The Street Trust has long protested against their mismanagement of this street, a so-called “Orphan Highway,” which is a state highway forced to function as a city street, (Read former ED Rob Sadowsky’s statement on violence in this intersection from 2015.) Powell Blvd. is notoriously dangerous. The intersection of SE 26th and Powell Blvd. is considered a high crash intersection for people traveling by bicycle, in particular. Between 2010-2019, there were two pedestrians and seven people riding bicycles injured there.
“We’ve accepted death and serious injury as a product of our transportation system and desensitized ourselves to the severity of its violence. We’ve convinced ourselves that death and injury are the expected outcome for people who navigate our transportation system outside of a motor vehicle… that is absurd!” says André Lightsey-Walker, Policy Transformation Manager at The Street Trust. “We have the data and tools necessary to solve these problems but we need the political will to redirect energy and resources toward our most vulnerable and historically disadvantaged street users or we’ll continue to see tragedies like yesterday’s occur.”
One year ago, on November 16, 2021, The Street Trust Executive Director, Sarah Iannarone, emailed ODOT Region 1 Manager, Rian Windsheimer, with her concerns about safety on this stretch of Powell Blvd., excerpted below:
“As the parent of a Cleveland High School grad who worried – quite rationally – whether my child would make it back and forth across Powell alive each school day, I can’t help but wonder what criteria (such as the presence of schools or community centers) and/or how many deaths in a concentrated area it takes before we’re willing to fully commit to Vision Zero? I am excited to hear that ODOT is planning an emergency speed reduction between SE 20th – SE 36th but hope you’ll consider an Emergency Speed Reduction to 20 MPH in that stretch rather than 30 MPH until the fatalities stop.
Please let us know how The Street Trust can support you in this effort, the jurisdictional transfer, or other safety improvements on this and other orphan highways across our metro region.”
Iannarone was joining a chorus of voices from the public and active transportation advocacy community in demanding critical investments in Powell Blvd., including the jurisdictional transfer of Inner Powell Blvd. to Portland Bureau of Transportation in a state of readiness and with an adequate -and mutually agreed upon- level of resources to upgrade the street to ensure safety for all users regardless of mode.
Given how long the transfer of 82nd Avenue from ODOT to PBOT took, we understand that this heavy lift could take years to research, negotiate, and fully fund. In the meantime, we are demanding that ODOT adhere to its own Blueprint for Urban Design (BUD) guidelines how streets like Powell Blvd. should be updated to meet the needs of multimodal transportation. To date, ODOT Region 1 Manager Rian Windsheimer and his enginners are using their discretion and choosing to NOT implement the BUD in Region 1. The public does not need to wait for a jurisditional transfer to see upgrades on Inner Powell: if ODOT is truly prioritizing safety (as they claim) and focused on reducing the number of crashes, injuries, and fatalities on their facilities, it will implement their existing policy standards on Inner Powell in advance of the jurisdictional transfer.
Harry Styles fans, adaptive bike riders, and Pedalpalooza regulars alike gathered on Saturday morning for The Street Trust and Adaptive BIKETOWN’s accessible group ride. It was my first time participating in and leading a group bike ride, along with Jenna Phillips (aka @jennabikes), my co-lead.
Since getting involved in the world of transportation justice, I’ve seen my friends post every year about fun group rides, especially during Pedalpalooza. It wasn’t until I tried out an adaptive cycle at Adaptive BIKETOWN that I could see myself being able to participate in a group ride.
We set the gathering time as 10am and left the departure time up to when the group was ready. Getting fitted to an adaptive bike can take a few tries and adjustments, and it was important to us to make sure everyone’s needs were met. Some rode their own bikes, some rode traditional BIKETOWN e-bikes, one person rolled along in their electric wheelchair, and myself and a handful of others rode adaptive bikes.
To make the event as accessible as possible, the 2.5 mile route started and ended at Adaptive BIKETOWN. We rode along the Eastbank Esplanade, briefly rode in the streets that connected us over to the Springwater Trail, and rode until a grassy opening where we pulled off onto the gravel trail for a water break before connecting back onto the paved trail and heading back.
Along the way we listened to the tunes of Harry Styles as they played out of an impressive, portable sound system pulled via bike trailer. Some riders dressed up in Harry Styles inspired outfits or donned feather boas and heart shaped sunglasses. While rides don’t require a theme, adding one gave myself and other disabled attendees, who can’t usually participate in group rides, the full experience.
If you’ve come across a BIKETOWN booth recently, you’ve likely seen their backdrop that says: YES, YOU ARE A BIKE PERSON. Riding together alongside other disabled people as we led the group truly allowed me to feel that sentiment for the first time. Seeing oneself represented and able to participate in the cycling community makes a world of difference in imagining how we can move through the world together.
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.
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: