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 wave. The 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.
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.
The Street Trust has developed robust e-bike and e-scooter training program in partnership with Forth Mobility with funding from Metro . Together we run workshops to put the training in action with Community Cycling Center and ABC or “Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando” (Riding your Bike and Walking Around). ABC is a group of community organizers who host bike rides, advocate for safe routes to school, and provide basic bicycle maintenance and training to friends and neighbors.
Recently, a group of ABC members with BIKETOWN for All memberships have been joining The Street Trust for e-bike and e-scooter clinics. Last weekend’s workshop was an e-bike clinic that went beyond the typical safety skills and group ride to include troubleshooting and problem-solving elements of Biketown that would allow participants to assist others interested in trying out Portland’s bike-share.
We did a lot of locking and unlocking Biketown bikes, located a lone bike to practice a mid-ride bike swap, flagged a bike as damaged, and identified the East Portland Super Hub Zone. We also intentionally experienced the power drop upon entering a slow zone in Kʰunamokwst Park (the best part was hearing the laughter when we left the park as the bike motors boosted back to full speed!)
ABC has a busy summer planned with the aim of getting more of their community onto bikes, and The Street Trust urges its followers to consider supporting them and attending the following events:
ABC will host several rides with BIKETOWN this summer- including at both Sunday Parkways– to get people signed up for BIKETOWN for All and guide them through the experience.
ABC will also host a Bike Fair at Rigler School on Sunday, June 12th, where they’ll teach community members how to ride, get them signed up for BIKETOWN for All, and take them on trial rides with BIKETOWN staff.
ABC will participate in three additional workshops with The Street Trust, Forth, Community Cycling Center, and BIKETOWN to build their knowledge of the system.
Beyond just learning to ride and use the BIKETOWN app, ABC’s collaboration with BIKETOWN addresses the very real issue of secure bike parking. PBOT installed bike lockers at Hacienda CDC, which the community appreciates and uses, but as more and more community members gain confidence on bikes, even more parking is needed. It’s a good problem to have, and using BIKETOWN solves the dilemma.
BIKETOWN for All provides Portland-area residents 16 and older living on low incomes with a reduced-cost BIKETOWN membership. Learn more here.
Kids across Oregon are getting outside to move and celebrate active living with their schools for the Walk+Roll May Challenge. This month, The Street Trust is encouraging and supporting students who choose to ‘walk and roll’ outside for transportation and exercise, and asking K – 8 students to draw why they walk+roll for our May Challenge art contest.
Click here to learn more and submit art by June 15 to win cool Walk+Roll prizes. Art will be judged based on the inclusion of walking and/or rolling safety features and creativity. Drawings can include anything from students’ imaginations or experiences, so wackiness and fantasy are encouraged!
Winners will be selected in the following grade groupings: Kindergarten – 2nd grades, 3rd – 5th grades, and 6th – 8th grades.
In Oregon, we celebrate the Walk+Roll May Challenge in conjunction with National Bike to School Day. The first-ever National Bike to School Day took place on May 9, 2012, in coordination with the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Month. Almost 1,000 local events in 49 states and the District of Columbia joined together to encourage children to safely bicycle or walk to school.
The event builds on the popularity of Walk to School Day, which is celebrated across the country – and the world – every October. Many communities and schools have been holding spring walk and bicycle to school events for years, and National Bike to School Day provides an opportunity for schools across the country to come together to celebrate and to build off of the energy of National Bike Month.
For more than thirty years, greater Portland’s civic leaders led byThe Street Trust Board of Directors Vice-Chair, Randy Miller, have been traveling together to other cities and regions seeking tools to improve outcomes here at home.
The past couple of years have been challenging for Oregonians as we came together to face the intersecting crises of the COVID pandemic, the racial justice reckoning of the Black Lives Matter movement, and unprecedented wildfires in our state made worse by the climate crisis. For Nashville, these crises were compounded by multiple natural disasters and a Christmas morning bombing that shook their downtown.
Over the decades, Portland’s leaders have worked to ensure our civic learning trips are more intentional, effective, and inclusive. Now, as our region finds itself in transition -at a crossroads, some would say- it is more important than ever that we invest as a community in increasing our capacity for addressing the various challenges we face, including population growth and housing affordability, congestion and the need for transit investments, and deepening social and economic inequality.
Prior to joining The Street Trust, our Executive Director, Sarah Iannarone, worked full-time hosting inbound and outbound delegations of urban leaders seeking tools for improving conditions in their places. An expert in educating policy makers, she led the design and execution of a transportation focused learning experience in Nashville for over 100 Portland officials and civic leaders. She and Strategic Partnerships Manager, Anouksha Gardner, worked with Walk Bike Nashville and Bike Fun Nashville to expose Portland’s leadership to a range of active transportation, Music City style.
The three-day deep-dive into policies and best practices encouraged our local leaders to explore what’s working and what’s not in another city, and to better understand what tools they should bring home to help Portland grow smarter. It also reminded many participants how fortunate we are for robust transportation tools already in place in Portland – from TriMet’s regional cooperation with Oregon Metro to local mobility solutions such as PBOT’s Biketown for All.
Other topics on the agenda? Regional economic development led by Monqiue Claiborne of Greater Portland, Inc, preserving indie culture led by Music Portland‘s Meara McLaughlin, and a thought-provoking conversation about treating mental illness as a health (not criminal) issue led by Multnomah County DA, Mike Schmidt.
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…”
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 Timesreported 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.
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.
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.
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 rollerscontinues 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.”
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 Summit, Bike Commute Clinics, and The Street Trust member events!”
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.
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.
On top of their unwavering support of pedestrian and bike clinics, TCNF has also been involved in The Street Trust’s legislative advocacy efforts over the years. A recent example is Ray Thomas’s testimony in Salem in favor of legislation clarifying that bicycle lanes exist within intersections, even when painted markings are interrupted. Jim Coon has also recently helped draft proposed legislation updating Oregon’s bicycle bill, and spoke at last year’s Active Transportation Summit on that topic.
When asked why safe streets are so important to them, TCNF said, “As injury lawyers we have an intimate view of the impact traffic collisions can have on the lives of our clients, from the acute stages of treatment to the long-term mental and physical repercussions. Unfortunately, fear of another collision often discourages our clients from riding the way they did before, and we know many other would-be cyclists avoid riding out of concern for their safety. We need safer streets to welcome those who want to get around without a car, but don’t currently feel safe doing so.”
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. The Street Trust appreciates and values the relationship the organization has with Thomas, Coon, Newton & Frost, working together for safe streets for us all.
The Street Trust is always looking to partner with organizations and businesses. Become a business member/partner here.
School is back in session and with students traveling to in-person classrooms again, drivers need to remember school routes are everywhere and #DriveLikeIt!
The Street Trust has partnered with ODOT, Metro, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, and Safe Routes to School programs to share this message across the region. Yard signs have been distributed and Trimet buses are running bright pink ads reminding drivers to slow down and watch out for kids.
Want to get the message out in your community? Visit our toolkit to download campaign posters and create your own social media posts!
Wednesday, October 6 is International Walk+Roll to School Day! Is your school ready to celebrate and encourage their students to walk and roll?
International Walk+Roll to School Day is a global event that involves communities from more than 40 countries walking and rolling to school on the same day. It began in 1997 as a one-day event and over time, this event has become part of a movement for year-round safe routes to school and a celebration – with record-breaking participation – each October. Today, thousands of schools across America – from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – participate every October.
Visit the Safe Routes to School website to learn individual and whole-school activity ideas, including how to sign up for our next student art contest!
The Street Trust will teach you how to drive around people walking and bicycling by talking about laws, infrastructure, and common mistakes that people make while out and about through our interactive virtual class. This free class is appropriate for drivers of all skill levels from new drivers to professional drivers!
On September 1st, The Street Trust partnered with the Community Cycling Center for the #ParkrosePedal by the Parkrose Middle School. The event was dreamt by and organized by Nichole Watson, a local bike advocate looking to improve visibility and representation in the cycling community, and the Parkrose School District. Three #TST leaders supported the “bike rodeo” activity and joined dozens of community members for a walk and ride to build a more inclusive cycling culture in the region.
TST was thrilled to see such a large turnout and is always seeking volunteers to participate in and help organize more of these types of events in the future!
Questions about TST’s education efforts? Email TST Education Director Lindsay Huber at [email protected] or