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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
For over a year, young people around Clackamas County have been meeting every month to learn about and provide input on the county’s Climate Action Plan via the Youth Advisory Task Force. The county working to ensure that by 2023, “a Climate Action Plan is adopted for our community with specific recommendations to reach the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.” (Learn more). The Task Force has engaged stakeholders from around the county in a variety of ways while prioritizing youth engagement- as today’s young people are the frontlines of the climate crisis.
Over the past year the Task Force has learned about and engaged on issues relating to climate justice, including equity, energy, consumption, housing, land use, transportation, public health, and resilience. When asked to narrow down which actions would have the most immediate positive impact for youth, the top three were tied to transportation and land use. Those actions are: improving public transit options, encouraging destinations near homes, and improving biking and walking transportation options.
Clackamas County now has a Climate Action Plan survey open through the end of June for folks who live in the county to respond to initial ideas on how to achieve carbon neutrality.
With transportation contributing to 40% of Oregon’s emissions and a large portion of Clackamas County’s emissions, this survey is a great opportunity to weigh in on what the future of getting around Clackamas County can look like. Creating safe, accessible, equitable, zero carbon streets is good for both people and the planet.
WeBike is The Street Trust’s program to inspire more trans people of all genders, gender non-conforming people, Two Spirit, and women (both trans and cis) to incorporate a bike into their lives and use biking as a way to meet their transportation needs and personal goals. WeBike dismantles the barriers of cycling through rides, knowledge-sharing events, meet and greets, and mentorship.
Last weekend, WeBike’s May ride ventured into new territory: Beaverton! The 10-mile loop started at the Beaverton Farmers Market and utilized many quiet greenway-type streets, the Westside Trail, several bike-friendly cut-throughs (one gravel!), and creatively utilized a shopping center parking lot, an office park parking lot, and some sidewalk to avoid a couple not-so-bike-friendly roads. The ride passed many points of interested including two entrances to Tualatin Hills Nature Park, the Aloha Mall shopping center, and BG Food Cartel food cart pod.
In June, WeBike will have a meet-up to talk about bike camping! We are always looking for new participants- no experience necessary. Learn about all the ways you can carry camping gear by bike, what you need to bring, where to go, and get all your questions answered! Camp coffee and snacks provided. Read all the details on the Shift/Pedalpalooza calendar listing and RSVP here.
The WeBike-Portland private Facebook group is a resource, hub, and a way to connect with others riding in the area. If you have any questions about biking or great biking tips you want to share, post them there!
Ways allies can support WeBike: promote events on socials, print a poster, and donate to The Street Trust.
Despite challenges created by the ongoing pandemic, last week The Street Trust’s 11th annual Oregon Active Transportation Summit drew 95 speakers from around the region, state, and country to talk about the needs and challenges in our transportation systems and how we can address them.
From learning about how transportation advocates can improve media coverage of traffic deaths, to exploring the new public plazas in downtown Portland, and discussing how cities can reach zero auto ownership, this year’s summit demonstrated our commitment to promoting all modes to achieve a safe, accessible, equitable, and sustainable transportation system.
Summit 2022 – by the numbers:
The Summit included 30 virtual sessions over the course of 3 fun-packed days
158 passionate transportation thinkers and doers attended to Monday’s 3-hour opening session featuring USDOT Civil Rights Office chief Irene Marion, Metro President Lynn Peterson, Youth Climate Activist Cassie Wilson, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, Washington County Commissioner Nafisa Fai, and N. Clackamas School Board Chair Libra Forde among other community leaders
By Day 3, Summit sessions had accumulated more than 1,000 views from over 300 attendees — ta 50% increase over last year’s attendance
The experience included 10 fun and engaging in-person events across the Portland metro, including a visit to the Afrovillage MAX conversion and a closing happy hour sponsored by Nelson/Nygaard (thank you!)
The Street Trust team was thrilled to bring back some in-person programming and we were humbled by the terrific response we got from attendees and volunteers who helped out. After two completely virtual Summits, it was wonderful to see our friends getting together as a community again.
Missed the in-person events this year? Below are snapshots of just a few of the exciting adventures put together by The Street Trust and our partners. Watch for video recordings of sessions as they’re posted as well as our summary report coming soon.
Road pricing systems are direct charges levied for the use of roads. These most commonly take the form of highway tolls, but can also be distance or time-based fees, congestion charges, or charges based on specific vehicle size or fuel types.
Conversations about the implementation of road pricing systems are emerging across all levels of government throughout the Portland Metro region. From the demand-based parking model proposed by PBOT’s POEM Task Forceto the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project and ODOT’s I-205 tolling project, our region is exploring various methods and strategies to implement charges for road use – pushing back on the normalized practice of subsidizing road use for drive-alone trips.
The Street Trust supports road user charges that reflect the true cost of driving and greenhouse gas emissions, while improving travel for everyone. We’re excited about a future where the cost of driving more accurately reflects its negative impact on everything from the climate to public safety and individual health. However, we know that the primary objective of many road pricing models (even in the Portland metro) is to generate revenue to cover the cost of new highway construction rather than to change behavior to improve traffic flow and help us reach our climate goals.
This is unacceptable and we’re working to change it.
We will continue to show up at decision-making tables across the region fighting to ensure that before any of these policies are put into place there’s a guarantee that they will improve equitable outcomes throughout our transportation system.
If the future of road pricing is something that interests you we invite you to join us as we move toward a better future, together!
The Street Trust is proud to announce that Seattle-based Bullitt Foundation has committed a major gift to fund, in part, the #OurStreets regional community mobilization campaign. This award is among a suite of funding requests The Street Trust submitted to foundations this year in an effort to grow community power to fight for and win transportation policy and investments that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice in our region.
Their generous $45,000 contribution will support critical work engaging diverse and underserved communities across the greater Portland metro. It includes building out a data visualization tool, the #OurStreets Scorecard, which is designed to empower communities to advocate for investments such as street lighting, sidewalks, and transit service where they live, work, and play. It will also support other regional advocacy work underway at The Street Trust, including the implementation of equitable congestion pricing, e-bike lending libraries, and ensuring the multi-billion dollar Interstate Bridge Replacement Project has a positive impact on multimodal transportation in the region.
This gift is a significant investment in Portland-area mobility at a time when the region is facing numerous challenges and experiencing a changing-of-the-guard in leadership. An agenda-setting funder of climate action for a quarter-century in the Pacific Northwest, in 2019 the Bullitt Foundation funded The Street Trust to found what is now known as the Getting There Together Coalition (GTT), an effort to lead development with Metro regional government on a multi-billion dollar transportation measure. GTT continues to advocate for transportation justice in our region today.
Bullitt Foundation is giving away most of what’s left of its endowment during the next couple of years, so this is likely to be one of their last investments in helping Portlanders achieve equitable, climate-smart transportation in our region.
“We see this as an important opportunity to elevate multimodal transportation as a priority issue at all levels of government and in all parts of the region,” says Henry Miller, Grants & Impact Manager at The Street Trust. “It will help us empower communities to advocate for themselves and hold their leaders accountable for making real progress in improving transportation options at a time when they’re desperately needed.”
We still have $30,000 more to raise to reach our goal. Please join us in thanking the Bullitt Foundation for their investment in our future, and consider joining them by giving to The Street Trust today.