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BTA Alice Awards fundraiser: Here’s who will take home the honors

BTA Alice Awards fundraiser: Here’s who will take home the honors

BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-23.jpg

BTA Board Chair Justin Yuen at last year’s Alice Awards.
(Photos: J Maus/BikePortland)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (soon to be known as The Street Trust) is getting ready for its biggest fundraiser of the year: The Alice Awards and auction.

The event happens Saturday night in north Portland. Beyond raising money for the organization’s advocacy work, the Alice Awards are a time to honor people in the community who are going above and beyond to “open minds and roads to bicycling” (as the inscription on the award reads).

Included with the $150 ticket this year is the new Encore after-party which will let local biking leaders and their dates dance well into the night while staying cozy around a bonfire. If you stay for the party you’ll also get first peek at the BTA’s new “Street Trust” logo.

Before the fun and fundraising starts, let’s take a look at this year’s four Alice Award winners…


Biketown bike share launch-3.jpg

This award will go to representatives from Nike, Motivate (Biketown’s operator), and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the past few months you know how successful Portland’s bike share program has been. And its success is not a fluke. It was a long and hard road to endure for the City of Portland, who withstood controversy and a bit of ridicule for the multi-year process of finding a vendor and sponsors that would bring the plans all together. Challenges to ensure Biketown’s success still lie ahead, but it’s off to a great start and definitely worthy of recognition.

Oregon and SW Washington Families for Safe Streets

Powell protest ride-55.jpg

Kristi Finney.

Losing a loved one to a traffic crash seems like an impossible tragedy to most of us. Imagine having that happen to you and then having the fortitude to face it head-on and become a public figure that fights for safety improvements so it doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s what the people behind Oregon and SW Washington Familes for Safe Streets have done for nearly a year now. Led by Kristi Finney, Susan Kubota and Kim Stone, the group provides a support network and advocacy platform for families of traffic crash victims. Their strength to re-live the tragedies that have so altered their lives is inspiring and admirable.

Hassalo on Eighth, Builders Award


Wade Lange.

As you’ve been learning about for years here on on the front page, Hassalo on Eighth is the name of a major development in the Lloyd District that bills itself as “Portland’s newest neighborhood.” This award will go to representatives of the real estate company (Wade Lange from American Assets Trust) and architecture firm (Kyle Andersen of GBD Architects) behind this three-building development that sits adjacent to the protected bike lane on Northeast Multnomah. Hassalo is also home to the Lloyd Cycle Station, a massive bike parking facility that has room for 600 bikes and includes showers, a repair station and valet parking. So civilized!

Meeky Blizzard, Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award


Meeky, the long-time former Livable Communities Advisor for U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, goes way back. Over the past twenty years she’s been actively involved in local and regional transportation and land-use battles, such as the fight to stop the Western Bypass freeway project — a fight she continues even in retirement as co-chair of the Washington County Transportation Futures Committee. She was instrumental in pushing for light rail and streetcar extensions during her time on Blumenauer’s staff both on Capitol Hill and during his time on Portland City Council in the 1990s. We’re thrilled to see Meeky’s work recognized.

In other BTA news, two more staffers are leaving the organization. Washington County advocate Lisa Frank and Program Manager Nicole Davenport are both moving on. Frank shared her news in a blog post that recapped her three years working to improve road conditions on the west side. Davenport, who worked on the BTA’s Women Bike program, announced her decision in a blog post today. These staffing changes follow the departures of two senior staffers this year: Advocacy and Engagement Manager Carl Larson left in January and Deputy Director Stephanie Noll stepped down back in July.

Earlier this month the BTA released its 2014-2015 annual financial report. The organization brought in $1,287,397 dollars in revenue in FY 2015, that was up from $1,188,195 in revenue in 2014. Total expenses for 2015 were $516,806, up from $339,690 the previous year. Net income in 2015 was $46,629, down from $73,023 in 2014.

NOTE: This post has been updated with corrected financial figures after it was brought to our attention that the BTA had made a typographical error in their financial report. We regret any confusion.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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Over 11,000 people took the ‘Bike More Challenge’ last month

Over 11,000 people took the ‘Bike More Challenge’ last month

The team from Daimler Trucks NA.(Photo: B-line Sustainable Urban Delivery)

The team from Daimler Trucks NA.
(Photo: B-line Sustainable Urban Delivery)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) wrapped up their 19th annual Bike More Challenge with a big party last night in southeast Portland.

This was the first year the friendly competition was held in May instead of September. The BTA made the move to encourage more people to keep biking through the summer, but it looks like the warm and sunny weather also boosted overall participation. A look at the final numbers shows that about 1,000 more participants were coaxed into the event than in previous years.

This year’s Challenge had 11,741 total riders who biked 1,656,098 miles. That’s up from 10,722 riders and 1,247,886 miles in 2015 and 10,350 riders and 1,212,271 miles in 2014.

Of course a major difference this year was that participants could log all trips, not just work commutes.

The Challenge is also about encouraging people to give daily biking a try for the first time. 1,959 participants said they were new bike riders this year, that’s up from just over 1,300 last year. Participants were also given extra points if they encouraged a new rider to sign up and log trips. The winner of the new Top Encourager Award, Sierra Callahan, persuaded 38 new riders. Just imagine if everyone who works at a big company did that.

Here are the other teams and individuals who took home top honors at the awards ceremony last night:

Team with the most points, 500+ staff: Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), 221,149 points
Team with the most points, 200-499 staff: Quantum Spacial, 55,259 points
Team with the most points, 50-199 staff: SERA Architects, 36,131 points
Team with the most points, 20-49 staff: Alta Planning + Design, 21,756 points
Team with the most points, 7-19 staff: Portland Pedal Power, 10,077 points
Team with the most points, 3-6 staff: Metropolis Cycle Repair, 5,942 points
Female with the most miles: Jessica Wesling, 1,215 miles
Male with the most miles: Chuck Swanda, 4,190 miles
New Female rider with the most miles: Darcie McIntosh, 417 miles
New Male rider with the most miles: Michael Turnauer, 928 miles
Top Encourager: Sierra Callahan, 38 people encouraged
Brad Buchanan Team Captain of the Year: Zachary Horowitz, Kittleson and Associates, Inc.

See how your company stacked up in the full results at

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

Our work is supported by subscribers. Please become one today.

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BTA will change name, expand mission to walking, transit and political action

BTA will change name, expand mission to walking, transit and political action

2013 BTA Alice Awards-17

BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky says the changes will usher in a new era of progress.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Change is afoot once again at the Bicycle Transportation Alliance. The Portland-based nonprofit organization announced today that they’ve embarked on a major transition that will result in a new name, a new mission, and a new entity that will allow them to be more engaged in political lobbying.

“This is about building a broad political tent that can move policymakers.”
— Rob Sadowsky, executive director

The organization plans to no longer focus solely on bicycling and will expand their mission to include advocacy for better transit and walking. In addition, the BTA board has voted in favor of creating a 501c4 alongside the 501c3, a move that would give the BTA more tools to influence elections and politics through endorsements, direct political lobbying, phone-banking for candidates, and so on. The 501c4 would also offer memberships to other organizations with aligned missions: like Oregon Walks, the Community Cycling Center, 1000 Friends of Oregon, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, and others. After the reorganization is complete the BTA could lead a new political action committee (PAC) that could have wide-ranging impacts on elections and policy measures statewide.

In an interview with BTA leadership last week I learned that this change has been in the works for many years.

When the BTA hired current Executive Director Rob Sadowsky in 2010 he said, “We’re going to try to build a movement not just around pedal-power, but around how we relate to the streets.” This type of reorganization isn’t new to Sadowsky. As leader of the major bike advocacy group in Chicago in 2008 (prior to coming to Portland) he shepherded an organization through a very similar change. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation changed their name to the Active Transportation Alliance and expanded beyond a bike-focused mission. Justin Yuen, a software business owner and current chair of the BTA’s Board of Directors said conversations ramped up at a board retreat in 2013.

“This is about building a broad political tent that can move policymakers,” Sadowsky says.

It’s also about keeping up with the times. The national bike movement has for years been moving beyond a bike-only narrative: The once-named Oregon Bike Summit is now the Oregon Active Transportation Summit. Agencies like the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation aren’t hiring “bike coordinators,” they’re hiring “active transportation coordinators.” Some of that reflects the reality of the work being done — a more holistic, “complete streets” approach. But this is also about optics and the cultural baggage cycling carries (a.k.a. “bikelash”).

Sadowsky and one of his top advocacy staffers Leanne Ferguson say starting a conversation with bicycling first often makes it harder to win respect and buy-in from key partners.

Ferguson works with partners ranging from the public health sector to affordable housing advocates. “I think we’ve been working to overcome that [negative reaction to cycling]… We’re starting from a place of weakenss of having to only focus on this one form of transporation and for the work we’re doing with safe routes that starts us a step back. So this is going to make the story line up with the work and that’s going to bring more people along.”

“Coming at it from an advocacy perspective as a silo can sometimes set you back,” Sadowsky added. “We want to be looking at how our streets serve everyone who uses them not in a car.”

For Ferguson, who heads the BTA’s Safe Routes to School programs, the changes can’t happen fast enough. “I’m super excited because the work I’ve been doing with safe routes for the last 10 years has always been multimodal,” she says. “For me, this is our mission finally incorporating the work that I love. This is a really big moment for me and our work at the BTA to really embrace the multimodalness of the work we do.”

Think of it this way: Instead of the BTA pushing for a bikeway through a neighborhood, they’ll be working to make sure the neighborhood itself is a great place to be. “It’s not about the bike, it’s about transforming communities,” Sadowsky says, “‘Twenty-minute neighborhoods’ [a planning phrase championed by the City of Portland] is really the end goal.”

Infographic showing key differences between a 501c3 and a 501c4.(Courtesy League of American Bicyclists - Download larger version)

Infographic showing key differences between a 501c3 and a 501c4.
(Courtesy League of American Bicyclists – Download larger version)

In many ways, the changes will only enshrine the type of approach the BTA has already been taking. At a meeting last week Sadowsky shared an internal BTA document that lays out their 12 guiding principles. The reorganization would only slightly change four of them. In two of them the word “bicycling” is simply deleted and replaced with “active transportation.” And in another, the words “walking and transit” have been added to a sentence that reads, “We work for…. incentives for bicycling, walking and transit.” A guiding principle that used to read, “The ride is just as important as the destination,” gets changed to, “The or the stroll is just…”.

For a glimpse into the future of the BTA, look no future than the For Every Kid campaign that was just in the headlines last month. In that work the BTA led a coalition of partners (with a diverse variety of missions) under the Our Healthy Streets banner order to solidify support for safe routes to school funding at Metro.

Internally, Sadowsky says “It feels like a natural transition point.” But for members, existing partners and the broader public, he acknowledged “We have a lot of translating to do.”

When it comes to the BTA’s existing work plan the changes are also relatively minor. Their Vision Zero and Safe Routes to School work are already multimodal by nature. Their Women Bike initiative would remain, as would the Bike More Challenge (although Sadowsky said they could do a “Take Transit More” challenge in fall). When advocating for new infrastructure on big streets like SW Barbur, instead of pushing for a protected bike lane, the BTA would work for a complete street with transit and walking facilities too.

BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-23.jpg

BTA Board Chair Justin Yuen backs the changes because he feels it will help build stronger coalitions.

“If a protected bike lane gets put on a street, but at the expense of pedestrian infrastructure or access to transit,” Ferguson says, “It’s not a win.”

Realizing that some members might cringe at the thought of the BTA without the “bicycle,” Sadowsky says the organization is making two key promises: “We won’t accept a partial win if bikes are cut out.” For example, he continued, “If 82nd ends up with bus rapid transit but no protected bikeways, we would not call it a win. Bikes will always be a high priority.” And the second promise: “We won’t take resources away from our current bike advocacy work and put it towards transit or walking.”

A big part of this change is about raising more money for the organization. With a broader mission that includes walking and transit the BTA will be able to talk to a wider range of potential donors. Sadowsky recalls that after Chicago went through a similar change, “A lot more resources came to the table.”

From his experiences in Chicago and knowledge of New York City’s nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, Sadowsky says a multimodal approach is the only way to create real and lasting change. “The bicyclists bring the energy and the individuals, the transit and pedestrians work brings the institutions — and a successful political movement needs both.”

When it comes to politics, the creation of a 501c4 could give the BTA wide-ranging political powers. As a 501c3, they are not legally permitted to directly engage in partisan political lobbying. Sadowsky says he wants to form a leadership training program to develop the next era of politicians and train existing ones. As a c4, the BTA could also phone-bank and directly lobby for their preferred candidate. In local and regional elections that are often decided by just a few thousands votes, this could prove pivotal. If the BTA could flex its membership — and the membership of affiliated organizations through a new 501c4 — to vote for a specific candidate they could help win majority support for active transportation projects and policies in Portland and across the region.

Sadowsky expresses regret about the BTA’s inability to directly influence Portland’s mayoral election four years ago. “When Charlie [Hales] ran, we would have loved to have been more involved. And I think the result that all of us got was kind of a weak mayor.” And now, with incumbent City Commissioner Steve Novick in a runoff, the BTA has to sit on the sidelines. They’d prefer to support him after he successfully won a gas tax increase, but their 501c3 status prevents them from jumping into the race.

These changes could also help the BTA define who they are. The organization has struggled to find their identity since the tumult in 2009 when they abruptly let go their advocacy director and executive director much to the chagrin of many members. At the end of 2009 the BTA was at a turning point. And the changes kept coming in 2010. Just months after the arrival of Sadowsky the BTA’s finance director and development director resigned and eight new board members were elected.

As the seas continued to shift, the BTA launched a $50,000 branding and communications makeover in late 2010. Then in 2012, the BTA weathered harsh criticisms from their founder Rex Burkholder. (Reached for comment today Burkholder said he wasn’t yet fully aware of the changes and had no opinion on the matter.)

Much of the tension has centered around how aggressive the BTA should be.

A group that rose to prominence for a gutsy lawsuit against the City of Portland in the early 1990s hasn’t shown that kind of fight in years. And Sadowsky says that’s by design. In Salem for instance, he wants the BTA to focus on big funding battles and high-level policy changes and, “A lot less bicycling rights.”

“I don’t really want to get involved on what an intersection design on Ankeny and 15th should look like,” Sadowsky says, “I want to be on big policy wins that are going to bring more resources down. We want to see if we can shift the dynamics of politics, that’s very different that shifting the dynamics on the street.”

Does the BTA’s shift in direction open up an opportunity for a more bike-centric group to emerge? Perhaps one like BikeLoudPDX (which doesn’t have its nonprofit standing yet)?

“We bless and encourage a group like BikeLouder[sic] to do things in a way that we don’t do and have a different set of values and principles that guide their work. They’re both equally important but the BTA has intentionally moved away from that work because we wanted to see $3.5 million for Safe Routes to School,” Sadowsky explained, referring to their recent work at Metro and the need for the BTA to focus on a major campaign instead of reacting to every bike issue that pops up.

Times have changed, Sadowsy says, and a biking-only lens on the issues is “too narrow.” In fact, if the BTA was formed today, “We would not form as a bike-only organization,” he says. “We’ve gone beyond that unimodal need, when bikers were really crazy wearing really bright gear made by the Burley Cooperative in Eugene on bikes that maybe we built ourselves ’cause there weren’t enough shops around.”

“Which was awesome, like 20 years ago,” Ferguson interjected, “But we don’t have to do that anymore.”

The BTA wants their membership to rise from its current level of 3,400 households to 10,000 households by 2021. Sadowsky feels, “The only way to get there is to go multimodal.”

He recalls that in Chicago, prior to the big name change, support for cycling seemed to reach a ceiling. “There are just only many people who are willing to write a check and say, ‘I’m a member and I’m willing to wear a bike tattoo on my arm. As biking got more successful people saw themselves as less in a club or needing to be in a club.”

It’s important to note that nothing has officially changed at the BTA yet. Today’s announcement will be followed by a series of listening sessions to gain feedback from members about how exactly the organization should be structured. There are a lot of unknowns at this point — including what the new name will be — but the BTA’s board has voted that the changes can move forward. Structural changes and a new name are expected to be in place by this fall.

Amid such major change and with many decisions still to come, Sadowsky is sure this is the right step to take. “I’m confident we’re right and that this transition is going to make a big shift for us. It’s going to make a big shift politically and that it’s going to increase our clout. When we’re proven right, you will see more things on the ground.”

We’ll have more on this story in the coming days and weeks. Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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A Portland bike advocacy group wants to teach women how to fall off their bikes

A Portland bike advocacy group wants to teach women how to fall off their bikes


A falling class taught by We Bike NYC has inspired a local version.
(Photo: We Bike NYC)

The non-profit Bicycle Transportation Alliance has a mission to get more women on bikes. But strangely enough, they first plan to teach women how to fall off them.

We often talk about fears and barriers to bicycling for would-be riders. Most of the time it’s about fears of riding next to traffic, getting sweaty before work, not having enough cargo space, not wanting to get rained on, and so on. But falling? It never occurred to me that would be a significant barrier until I saw an email from BTA Program Manager Nicole Davenport. She posted a message to a local email list with the subject: “Bike Falling Expert?”

“Is anyone out there really good at safely falling off their bike?” she wondered. “Would you like to help teach a group of people to safely fall off their bikes?”

I recall doing falling drills while on the cycling team in college. We’d run on a field and then dive head-first onto the grass, breaking our fall with our arms and then tumbling into a tuck-and-roll. The idea was to get our bodies familiar with landing as gracefully as possible. During a race, falls can happen in an instant. Teaching your body what to do when it happens is a key skill (and one I’m sorry to say I used more than I care to remember). But falling drills for new riders who’d only be biking in the city and for fun? That was new to me.

I followed up with Davenport via email to learn more. I asked why she wanted to host a falling workshop. She said the inspiration came via an Instagram post from We Bike NYC, a group that promotes women’s empowerment through bicycles.

“Falling off my bike is one of my own largest fears while riding,” Davenport shared. She also races cyclocross but doesn’t worry about falling in the mud and dirt (“It’s a bit more forgiving than pavement.”). “But when it comes to urban riding,” she said, “I do get nervous about flying over my handlebars and breaking a wrist, clavicle or my face when I hit the pavement.”

Davenport hopes her upcoming workshop teaches people “how to hurt themselves less when they take flight from their bike.” And obviously not only women would benefit from a class like this, it just so happens that Davenport is managing the BTA’s Women Bike program so she’s starting there.

Davenport is still putting things together and the workshop won’t happen until spring or summer. If you consider yourself a falling expert, or want to learn how to fall better, get in touch Davenport via email at

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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On the scene at the BTA Alice Awards gala

On the scene at the BTA Alice Awards gala

BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-23.jpg

BTA Board Chair Justin Yuen makes the main point of the night.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last night was the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s 25th anniversary celebration and Alice Awards gala at the Portland Art Museum.

In addition to honoring bike advocates and raising money for the BTA (it’s their largest fundraiser of the year), the night is a chance for bike people around the region to dress up and catch up. I always enjoy these events because I get to see and talk with so many of the wonderful folks I’ve been working with, photographing, riding alongside, and covering all these years.

Unfortunately a somber cloud hung over this event, given the rash of collisions and injuries that have piled up in recent weeks in and around Portland. It was hard for the BTA to strike the right tone of optimism and accomplishment (two things key to encouraging donations) while there is still obviously so many failings in our bike system and so much work to be done.

The main focus of last night’s festivities were two big auctions: one silent, and one live. The museum venue was quite glamorous and one of the main ballrooms was filled to the gills with items to bid on.

As far as news, there wasn’t much meat on the table (there wasn’t anything on the tables actually, since they don’t serve dinner anymore). Mayor Charlie Hales did speak for a few minutes and took a moment of silence to remember Mark Angeles, the man who was killed while bicycling on SE Gladstone just two days ago. Hales took an interesting approach with his speech.

Here’s how it went (paraphrased from the hand-written notes he gave me because I didn’t write it all down or record it):

“All progress depends on the unreasonable person…

It’s not reasonable to stop building highways and start building bike lanes, sharrows, and neighborhood greenways.

It’s not reasonable to require new developers to build bike parking, lockers and showers. It’s not reasonable to see local developers build double the bike parking the city requires.

It’s not reasonable to close miles of city streets on a Sunday so thousands of families can enjoy their streets and parks…

It’s not reasonable that a young man moves to Portland to live his dreams only to be killed by a tow truck while riding on Cesar Chavez and Gladstone. Let’s take a moment of silence for Mark James Angeles.

It’s not reasonable to have a vision that there will soon come a day when we have zero such deaths in our city.

It’s not reasonable to imagine separated bikeways from NoPo [North Portland] to LO [Lake Oswego], Gateway to NW Broadway, or my personal favorite on that rail line from Portland to Astoria.

All I ask of the BTA is that you continue to be unreasonable and make Portland even more wonderful.”

We rely on financial support from readers like you.

Then it was back to more auctioning and fundraising.

Here are more photos of the scene and faces in the crowd…


BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-2.jpg

Spinlister handled the bike valet.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-3.jpg

BTA Engagement Manager Carl Larson.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-4.jpg

Volunteer Erin Kelley selling raffle tickets.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-5.jpg

“Our Heroes” was the theme of the night.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-8.jpg

Very sweet Igleheart was auctioned. It went for a shockingly low price of $1,750!
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-9.jpg

PSU Bike Hub Manager Clint Culpepper (L) and Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh brought their little ones along.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-10.jpg

BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-11.jpg

L to R: Volunteer Stanley Carpenter, Brian Seltzer, and Phil Richman.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-12.jpg

The silent auction crowd.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-13.jpg

BTA Director of Advocacy Gerik Kransky and volunteer Becky Olson.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-14.jpg

L to R: Daniel Fleisher, Sarah Angell, Jenny Cadigan, Jackie Yerby.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-15.jpg

Tony Pereira from Breadwinner Cycles and Nutcase product developer Meghan Sinnott.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-16.jpg

Nutcase Helmets owners and founders Miriam Berman and Michael Morrow.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-17.jpg

Metro Councilor Bob Stacey.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-18.jpg

Oregon State Rep. Tobias Read and Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-19.jpg

Sellwood Cycles Owner Erik Tonkin and Alta Planning + Design’s Jessica Roberts.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-20.jpg

Lawyer and activist Scott Kocher.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-21.jpg

First Stop Portland Program Director (and City of Portland First Lady) Nancy Hales with Metro Council President Tom Hughes.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-22.jpg

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, his policy advisor (and former Oregon State Senator) Jackie Dingfelder with her husband Tom Gainer.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-24.jpg

2015 Alice Award winners group shot includes Metro staff (for their Regional Active Transportation Plan), volunteers with Better Block PDX, former BTA Board member Susan Otcenas and the founders of the Rosewood Initiative.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-25.jpg

Gladys Bikes owner Leah Benson, Portland Design Works Marketing Manager Jocelyn Gaudi and Sugar Wheel Works owner Jude Gerace.
BTA Fundraiser Alice Awards Gala-26.jpg

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Tonight: BTA hosts first-ever Bike Advocacy Clinic

Tonight: BTA hosts first-ever Bike Advocacy Clinic


The Bicycle Transportation Alliance wants more of the community to step up and become their own advocates for better biking. Tonight they host a Bike Advocacy Clinic that aims to give people with bike-related concerns and issues the tools they need to fix them.

The BTA has done free bike legal clinics for many years, but this is the first time they’ve offered a clinic on advocacy. The group’s engagement manager Carl Larson said today that they recognize there’s, “A need for informed advocates in our community and we can’t tackle every little problem.” “With some basic tools and and tactics,” he added, “our members and the public can make biking better.”

It’s sort of like getting to tap into the BTA’s 25-years of lessons and expertise. Topics that will be covered at tonight’s clinic will include messaging, defining success, figuring out who holds influence on your issue, finding allies, and the difference between pressure and persuasion.

Here’s more from the BTA’s event description:

– There’s no place to park your bike at the grocery store.
– Your kid can’t bike to school because of one dangerous road crossing.
– Your neighborhood association is fighting a bike-friendly project.

The problem is clear. The solution might even be obvious to you but how do you get others on board? How do you get the problem solved?

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance has been advocating for better safer streets since 1990. In this free one-hour clinic, a BTA advocate will share some of the lessons we’ve learned about how to get your voice heard — how to get your community’s problems solved.

Larson said this clinic is a way for the BTA to help be a part of bike-friendly changes, without having to be directly involved with every little effort. “We get called about a lot of legitimate problems, like a dangerous intersection, but if we’re going to be an effective advocacy organization we just have to say no to some things.”

With some basic knowledge and guidance, the BTA hopes to create an army of community advocates to help usher in a bike-friendly future.

The clinic starts at 6:00 pm tonight at the BTA office (618 NW Glisan St., Suite 401). Learn more about the event here (FB).

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In letter to PBOT, BTA says Williams Ave work zone has led to injuries

In letter to PBOT, BTA says Williams Ave work zone has led to injuries


Current conditions on Williams Ave.
(Photo by Carl Larson/BTA)

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is fed up with the dangerous work zone conditions on Williams Avenue. Claiming that bicycle riders have been injured and put in danger due to misplaced construction materials and a poorly implemented traffic control plan, the Portland-based non-profit group penned a letter today to the Bureau of Transportation with a laundry list of demands to improve the situation.

While the BTA supports the city’s North Williams Avenue Safety Project and says they are excited to see the finished product, the letter (written by BTA Engagement Manager Carl Larson) points out several specific and ongoing safety concerns — some of which have led directly to injuries.

“We are concerned about high-risk hazards that our office has reported to your bureau,” reads the letter, “We do not believe that they were adequately addressed in a timely manner, and as a result, people have been injured.”

This is not a new problem for PBOT. From the outset of the project over a month ago, people who ride on the road have expressed confusion and concern about how the project is being phased in. After we reported on those concerns, PBOT Director Leah Treat told us via a comment that she too was “experiencing some difficulties.”

There have been a litany of issues with Williams’ bike access ever since the work began. At first it was a lack of signage about how to navigate a bike lane that was moved from left to right. Now that people are accustomed to that change, the big issues have to do with navigated through the street’s many work zones — both from PBOT and private construction firms (there are several major projects along the street).

Larson, in his letter to PBOT, said that both he and the BTA board chair saw a bicycle rider go down on a new median installed on Williams at Mason. Larson says that a man who crashed on Tuesday suffered a broken collarbone. After Larson reported the issue, PBOT placed one orange cone in front of the new median. “This morning,” Larson wrote in the letter, “The cone had been flattened and the new curb has scrapes across the top of it and chunks taken out of it, presumably the result of getting hit by motor vehicles.”

Larson says PBOT’s response thus far has been to blame contractors and equipment delays while urging the public to be patience.

The larger context with the BTA’s concerns about Williams is that this is far from an isolated issue. On October 20th, after seeing an unacceptable work zone on NW Broadway, we published a story saying that the city needs stronger construction zone standards (or should actually enforce ones already in place). In the weeks since our story we’ve heard of other ongoing hazards on the Burnside Bridge, SW Multnomah Blvd, and elsewhere.

Reader Seth Alford sent us photos of two construction zones in southwest Portland that were completely blocking the bike lane: one on Multnomah and one on Capitol Hwy:



And reader Kyle Rohr sent us photos of signs blocking the bike lanes on the Burnside Bridge:


Beyond Williams and these other recent examples of what seems like a lax approach to work zone bicycle access by PBOT, the BTA has been working on a research project for over a year to examine the city’s approach to construction zones. Back in August, we reported that the BTA was working on a project (headed up by Larson) to find, “ways the city can better design construction zones to work for active transportation.”

The BTA’s letter makes it clear that PBOT is still coming up very short when it comes to keeping road users safe during construction projects.

Here’s the non-profits list of things they want to see PBOT do now:

  • Review the traffic control plan with the contractor and agree upon standards for its implementation.
  • Review traffic control plans made by developers on Williams and insure that they are appropriate and are being followed.
  • Make routine checks of the street after dark (its peak time of usage by people on bikes) to identify and immediately address potential hazards.
  • Install physical separation between Weidler and Broadway as soon as possible.
  • Prioritize sweeping of leaves in the new Williams bike lane.
  • Immediately close the dangerously narrow bike lane on the block approaching Cook and turn the left travel lane into a bike lane.
  • Install signage advertising NE Rodney as a bike-friendly alternate route.

Back on November 6th, in light of a dangerous work zone on NW Broadway, I asked PBOT to clarify their approach to traffic management during construction projects. “Our permits process is intended to ensure public safety while also minimizing inconvenience,” PBOT spokesman Dylan Rivera said, “We try to accommodate all users of the right of way as best we can. That includes people driving, bicycling, walking, operating trucks and doing maintenance and construction work in the right of way.”

So far, PBOT hasn’t responded to Larson’s letter about Williams.

UPDATE, 2:15 pm: Yesterday I emailed Williams Avenue project manager Rich Newlands to get a clarification on the timeline for completing the signage and striping. Here’s his response:

The [construction] contract end is December 15. Because the delivery of signal poles for Cook and Broadway have been significantly delayed, we will be granting additional time to complete that work, but only that part of the overall contract.The amount of additional time has not yet been negotiated. At today’s weekly construction meeting the contractor indicated that he was still on track to substantially complete the non-signal work by the original end date.

Regarding signing and striping, they are very close to having everything in place per the plans. For striping there is some touch up work and the crosswalks at the new curb extensions, which are waiting for the civil work and paving to be completed. Hope to have the forced left-turn signs at mounted on the islands between Beech and Mason the week after next — after the work at Failing is scheduled to be completed. That includes the one missing median, which has not been done yet because the contractor wants to pour the curb extensions at the same time. At Stanton [Dawson Park], we are reviewing options for additional pavement markings, signage, and/or physical barriers to address the compliance problem there with traffic not turning left.

After much delay, the paving around the curb extensions that have been built is finally happening today, so construction choke points, such as the one at Cook will be removed.

The post In letter to PBOT, BTA says Williams Ave work zone has led to injuries appeared first on

BTA announces 2014 Alice Award winners and ‘People’s Choice’ finalists

BTA announces 2014 Alice Award winners and ‘People’s Choice’ finalists

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) has announced this year’s crop of Alice Award winners. The awards, which debuted in 1995, are meant to put a spotlight on people and organizations “who have worked to make bicycling better in Oregon.” And new this year are a crop of ‘People’s Choice’ candidates that will be chosen online via the BTA’s Facebook page.

The Alice Award winners are: Kristin Dahl, Jenna Stanke, and the Regence Bike Commute Team. This year’s Emerging Leader Award goes to Briana Orr and the Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award has been given to Mike Cosgrove. According to the BTA each winner has, ” truly made an investment here in Oregon for healthier communities, for economic development, and for making Oregon a better place to live and ride.” (The theme of this year’s Alice Awards are “Investing in the Movement.”)

The People’s Choice Award will got to one of these three businesses: Hopworks Urban Brewery, New Relic, or VeloCult Bike Shop & Tavern.

The big awards celebration and fundraising gala won’t happen until May 31st, but the BTA announces the winners prior to the event in order to encourage more attendance (a practice they started with the 2011 edition).

Here’s more about each of the winners:

Kristin Dahl at the 2013 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Kristin Dahl
Kristin’s name and work should be familiar to regular readers of BikePortland. We’ve been covering her tireless dedication to Oregon’s bicycle tourism efforts for many years. Kristin is in charge of Sustainable Tourism Development for Travel Oregon and as such, she’s been instrumental in Oregon’s efforts to be the premier state for bicycle tourism. From the creation and launch of to the recent bicycle tourism economic impact study, Kristin has been a constant presence. Through her work in leading Rural Tourism Studios, she has rallied enthusiasm for cycling in many smaller, rural Oregon towns. She’s even made several trips to Washington D.C. to participate in the National Bike Summit where she has shared Oregon’s example with advocates from across the country and informed our elected officials about the importance of bike tourism.

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Jenna Stanke at the 2013 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Jenna Stanke
Jenna Stanke is a dedicated bike advocate in the Rogue Valley and southern Oregon. She has been a leader in the development of the Bear Creek Greenway and is the recently appointed chair of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Here’s more about Jenna from the BTA:

In a region not traditionally know for being supportive of bicycling, she has been extremely successful in forging partnerships between organizations, governments and agencies around the area to develop active transportation facilities. As a dedicated bicyclist herself, she “rides the talk” and frequently commutes the 45 minutes from Medford to White City for work. Jenna has become the go-to resource for all things bicycling in the Rogue Valley region…

Regence Bike Commute Team
From the BTA:

While the Regence Bike Commute Team’s work to support coworkers in riding to work and make their company’s facilities, policies, and culture increasingly bike-friendly is valuable in its own right, their work to create and host the Portland Employers Bike Summit has had phenomenal impact on the larger community. The Regence Bike Commute Team has poured the lion’s share of time and talent into the development of the event, as well as positioned Regence as a company that believes in bicycling through their full sponsorship of the event and related costs and the participation in the event by executive staff. Partners at the BTA, the City of Portland, and local Transportation Management Associations have all played roles in the coalition delivering the Summit, but having this business engagement effort led by a prominent company in the Portland-Metro area’s business community is immensely valuable.

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Briana Orr at the 2012 Oregon Active Transportation Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Briana Orr, Emerging Leader Award winner
Briana Orr is definitely a rising star in Oregon bike advocacy circles. She first made a name for herself by creating the Bike Loan Program while a student at the University of Oregon. We profiled that program in 2008 and it won her an award a year later. This past January, Orr found her way onto BikePortland again as the person leading the charge for a full-fledged bike sharing system on the UO campus. Here’s more about Briana from the BTA:

Bicycling has been a large piece of transportation to and around the U of O, but until Briana’s leadership, there was no organized entity that served and spoke on behalf of the campus. Briana’s work is incredible, and although only a few years out of undergraduate school, she is a major player in our region and is already connected with many bicycle professionals across the country. She is the epitome of an emerging leader in our field.

Mike Cosgrove at Bike Summit

Mike Cosgrove at the 2014 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Mike Cosgrove, Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award
Mike Cosgrove has almost single-handedly put Grant County and the community of John Day on the cycling map. In addition to starting a youth bike education program, he has dedicated himself to establishing John Day as a gateway to many excellent riding opportunities. He’s created maps and brochures about riding in the area and he’s been a one-man bicycle tourism promotion machine. During the National Bike Summit back in March he was one of the most outspoken and effective members of Oregon’s delegation of advocates during the lobbying day on Capitol Hill. Mike is also a valued member of Travel Oregon’s Gravel Road Working Group.

Back in May 2012, we reported on how Mike brought in 50 people to a meeting about bicycle tourism in Grant County, making it, “as far as anyone remembered, the largest meeting to talk about bicycling Grant County has ever seen.”

You can learn more about the Alice Awards and about each winner at And don’t forget to vote the People’s Choice award via the BTA’s Facebook page.

Council agenda doesn’t include Barbur; BTA will rally – UPDATED

Council agenda doesn’t include Barbur; BTA will rally – UPDATED

UPDATE, 10/8: The BTA is no longer holding a rally, but they still encourage folks to show up and testify. More on their blog here.

Next week’s Portland City Council agenda has been published and it doesn’t include a key amendment on the SW Corridor Plan resolution that the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) was hoping to see.

As we reported earlier this week, the BTA had made a very public request to Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and the rest of City Council. They wanted a vote on a resolution supporting the SW Corridor Plan to be amended to include the following:

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Council directs staff to initiate a transparent and collaborative process with Metro and ODOT to study the Barbur lane diet option on SW Barbur Blvd. from Terwilliger to Hamilton. (SW Corridor Plan Projects #5006 & #1019)

But the SW Corridor Plan agenda item that was just published on the City’s website doesn’t include that language. In response, the BTA plans to hold a rally at City Hall prior to the vote on Wednesday. Here’s more from a BTA blog post that just went up:

“Unfortunately, the City of Portland is not planning to study safety of SW Barbur when they adopt the SW Corridor Plan on October 9th.

If ODOT is going to make safety improvements on SW Barbur, they need to know it’s a local priority. If Portland City Council won’t speak up for safety, it’s time for us to speak up for ourselves.”

The BTA is urging everyone who cares about this issue to show up and testify in support of the amendment. The rally is scheduled for City Hall at 1:30 pm on Wednesday October 9th. More details here.

In other Barbur road diet news, noted citizen activist and Portland Planning Commissioner Chris Smith published an ‘Open Letter to City Council’ about the issue. Smith is strongly in favor of the Barbur road diet and traffic study. “The proposed road diet,” he writes, “would be a great first step in the series of changes needed to make Barbur a place that delivers on the Portland Plan ‘healthy connected city’ promise.” Read Smith’s letter here.

Stay tuned. Next week is likely to bring some key developments.

Bike stars shine at BTA Alice Awards

Bike stars shine at BTA Alice Awards

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Alice Award winners Kristen Warren (L) and Alison
Hill Graves with former Bike Gallery owner
Jay Graves and the BTA’s Rob Sadowsky.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

On Saturday night, the stars of bike advocacy from around the region aligned in northwest Portland for the 18th annual Alice Awards benefit auction. Known as “Alice,” it’s the largest fundraising event of the year for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). With hundreds of people in attendance (each of whom paid $125 to be there), the night is full of fun, socializing, and shopping for a good cause.

With a nod toward celebrating the 50,000th grade school student to receive the BTA’s Bicycle Safety Education program, this year’s theme was “Tomorrow’s riders start today.” The main events of the night were the live auction, the crowning of award winners, and a nod to one very special bike advocate.

Winning the Alice Award this year were former Community Cycling Center Executive Director Alison Hill Graves and Gresham High School health teacher Kristen Warren. Warren was recognized for her work in incorporating bike safety education into her curriculum. Graves won her award for her work in bringing bicycling to underserved communities. Under her guidance, the CCC “ushered in a new way of thinking around equity and inclusion for the bicycle movement.”

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Alison Hill Graves
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Kristen Warren

Continuing with the theme of the evening, U.S. Congressman Peter DeFazio was awarded the Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award for his “stalwart support of Safe Routes to Schools.” Rep. DeFazio wasn’t able to make the event, so he beamed in his acceptance speech via video.

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DeFazio on the big screen.

While DeFazio wasn’t there, I noticed plenty of elected officials on hand. They included: Oregon State Senator Jackie Dingfelder, Portland City Commissioner Steve Novick, Metro Councilors Kathryn Harrington and Bob Stacey, and Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten.

Former Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves was also on hand to receive a special thank you from the BTA for his years of advocacy and financial support of the organization. Prior to his speech, Graves teared up as he got a rousing standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.

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Portland Mayor Charlie Hales made his presence felt at the event. He was there to show his support for bicycling and to help encourage the crowd to donate to the BTA. In a confident and relaxed tone, he said that Portland is a place where, “The bicycle is a legitimate, everyday and wonderful means of transportation.” Hales added that advocacy as displayed by the BTA is a key part of what makes Portland work. “We’re that place where activism turns into policy that turns into trails and bike projects and a better city.”

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2013 BTA Alice Awards-34

Scroll down for more photos and notes from the event…

Former BikePortland contributor and now BTA Communications Manager Will Vanlue looked quite dapper!

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Uber-volunteer Lois Moss (L) and ODOT Community Affairs staffer Shelli Romero…

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Outside the venue, the entire street was a sea of bicycles!

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The silent auction was full of cool stuff… The steal of the night was a Portland-made Kinn bike that had a retail of over $2,000 but sold to a lucky bidder for just $800…

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Everyone looked fabulous: Here’s BTA Advocacy Director Gerik Kransky (L), Political Director for the Bus Project Henry Kraemer, and BTA member Katie Shuler…

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Lawyer and Portland bike advocacy veteran Mark Ginsberg won the prize for best jacket…

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This is Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill. He broke his arm/shoulder a few weeks while racing his road bike at the Rose Garden Circuit Race…

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Alice is a great place to connect with friends; as riding buddies Richard Lorenz (L), Scott Kocher, and Frank Selker demonstrate…

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And here’s Vanilla Bicycles owner Sacha White enjoying time with friends Tina Brubaker, Jenn Levo, and Sarah LoGiudice…

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PureSpace is a very nice venue…

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BTA Development Manager Chris Knott and volunteer Michelle DePass model a tandem during the live auction…

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BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky rides FOX12 weatherman Andy Carson on the Bullitt cargo bike…

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And here’s Sadowsky on stage doing his best to stay serious while standing in front of a huge kids bike complete with tassles and a sparkly banana seat…

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I don’t recall who said it (sorry, I mix my reporting duties with a lot of socializing and fun myself at this event), but someone told a story on Saturday night about the first (unofficial) Alice Awards held at Kell’s Irish Pub. That was 22 years ago and only 17 people showed up. All the glitz and glam of the Alice Awards these days brings to mind just how much the bicycle advocacy movement in Portland has grown up over the years. Kudos to the BTA and the amazing community that helps support them!

Read the BTA’s recap of the event here.