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.
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.
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:
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.
The Street Trust has embarked on an ambitious mission to advocate for multimodal transportation options that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice in the Portland Metro Region. Our new Strategic Plan, Executive Director, and Board will usher us into the post-pandemic age with integrity and action.
We are looking for six or more new Board Members to guide this important work. The ideal members believe in our core values and our priorities of Advocacy, Community, Impact, and Partnerships.