As bell tolls for victims, Portlanders at ‘die-in’ call on ODOT to end ‘traffic violence’

A woman and her baby made a strong statement in front of ODOT headquarters on Wednesday.
(Photos: Alex Milan Tracy)

In a silent and powerful protest on Wednesday, parents, children, and activists came together to draw attention to unsafe streets. There was fake blood and chalk-outlined bodies. Adding to the symbolism was that it took place in the courtyard outside the front doors of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Region 1 headquarters in northwest Portland.

“We’re lying here today to make it less likely that you’ll be lying in the road in the future.”
— Ted Buehler, participant

They laid down on the cold, hard pavement while someone struck a bell 467 times — once for each person who died on Oregon roads last year.

ODOT was the clear focus of this event. Organizers chalked “#DeathByODOT” on the sidewalk and used the hashtag in social media posts. In a statement about the event, Bike Loud wrote, “ODOT can no longer ignore the violence that occurs on their streets. We will not allow them to hide any further. We call on ODOT to stop the violence.”

“We’re lying here today to make it less likely that you’ll be lying in the road in the future,” said Bike Loud PDX volunteer Ted Buehler.

Edward LeClaire was one of the volunteers with Bike Loud PDX who participated. He showed up a bit early and found himself in ODOT’s lobby. I wasn’t at the event, so I asked LeClaire to share his thoughts on how it went. Here’s what he shared via email:

“I was astounded at how willfully out-of-touch ODOT staff were with the bike community. Before the event I happened to be in the lobby and I overheard staff saying things like, ‘What do they think is going to happen anyway?’ During the event while I was on the ground, looking up at the ODOT building, I could see several staff peering out and staring at us. Meanwhile, the bell was being rung to mark every death and it was somber as hell. The sun was going down the temperature was dropping and I was starting to shiver from the cold of the ground, but I didn’t want to get up out of respect for the dead while the bell kept ringing and ringing and ringing.



Thanks for reading.
BikePortland relies on financial support from readers like you.
Please join hundreds of other readers and
subscribe for $10/month or
make a one-time payment today!



A couple of ODOT staff took the time to be outside during the event but they chose to stand apart and refused to participate. Bicyclists are obviously the ‘other’ not deserving of their respect. Given that staff were aware of the event and discussing it inside, I had sort of hoped that possibly a few ODOT staff who commute by bike might come out and at least say, ‘Hey we ride bikes too.’ But they did not. We had an open microphone to allow anybody to talk and I honestly expected ODOT’s public information officer (who was there) to take the opportunity to say bland words about how, ‘ODOT cares deeply about the safety of all road users, and we work hard every day to keep people safe, we lament the death of every person killed on our roads, etc. etc.’ But that they could not even say kind bland words when given the direct opportunity in front of the evening news crews — it really struck home just how ODOT staff view bicyclists and pedestrians not as humans but as the freakish weirdos who strangely keep choosing to die on their roads.”

See more coverage of the event from KATU News.

Images by Alex Milan Tracy

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.



The post As bell tolls for victims, Portlanders at ‘die-in’ call on ODOT to end ‘traffic violence’ appeared first on BikePortland.org.

First look at TriMet’s new Bike & Ride parking at Goose Hollow

The new facility is tucked behind the existing waiting area.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Goose Hollow MAX light rail station in southwest Portland has more cycling activity than any other one in TriMet’s system. That’s not surprising given that it’s at the bottom of a hill and along a major commuter corridor that connects downtown to the west side and Washington County.

Once it’s open, just tap your Hop card to get in.

To get a better handle on those bikes and to encourage people to not take them on crowded trains, TriMet has installed a new, state-of-the-art “Bike & Ride” station at Goose Hollow that is almost ready for use. As a TriMet bike planner shared with us in 2017, the new bike parking structure was funded with a grant from the State of Oregon.

“This station provides a critical connection for east-west trips,” a TriMet spokesperson shared with us this morning. “We’re looking forward to opening the secure areas of our new bike and rides to help broaden mobility options throughout our region. In the meantime, riders are welcome to use parking that is available outside the cages at Beaverton Creek and Goose Hollow, which is within the coverage of our security cameras.”

Advertisement






Squeezed into a tight space behind the existing waiting area for eastbound MAX trains, the new Bike & Ride at Goose Hollow has space for 30 bikes: 16 on racks inside a structure and 14 on staple racks outside. To keep bikes safe from thieves, there’s a security camera in place. What makes this parking special (along with two similar structures currently being built at Beaverton Creek and Gateway transit centers) is that users can simply tap their Hop Fastpass card on the door to gain entry.

TriMet encourages riders to keep bikes off trains during peak commute hours. As bike parking facilities get better and more secure, TriMet hopes people will start to keep a “station bike” at the Bike & Ride. “With secure parking at a Bike & Ride or in an electronic bike locker, you can park your bike overnight, then take a bus or train to the transit center and finish your commute by bike,” reads a tip on the TriMet website. “You get the fun and exercise of biking to work or school, without the hassle of hauling it back and forth on MAX every day.”

For more on using bikes on the TriMet system, check out TriMet.org/bikes.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post First look at TriMet’s new Bike & Ride parking at Goose Hollow appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Better Block’s annual request for proposals is your chance to be an urbanism superhero

It’s that time of year when Portland’s tactical urbanist group Better Block PDX considers your requests on how best to re-invent streets and public spaces.

What is Better Block? Inspired by a national nonprofit, it’s a group founded in 2013 by volunteer planners, engineers, students and activists. Among their accomplishments is lighting the fires under the Portland Bureau of Transportation that led the agency to construct the SW 3rd Ave/Ankeny Street plaza and Better Naito just to name a few. Their approach is simple, yet profound: To create temporary “pop-up projects” that re-imagine streets and public spaces to be human-centered, inviting and fun. When done correctly, these exciting pop-ups might even become permanent (as was the case with the two aforementioned examples).

The official opening date for the 2019 BBPDX RFP begins this Friday February 1st and runs through March 1st. According to BBPDX, “The projects selected will go through Portland State University’s Project Pathway program where urban planning, civil engineering, and communication students produce public engagement, traffic analysis, and design plans for the projects.” In other words, they can take your idea and vision and turn it into reality.

Advertisement


View the RFP below:

RFP-Draft-1-25.2

When you’re ready to submit your idea, you’ll need to write up an outline, demonstrate community support, have an idea of success metrics, and sketch up a rough site plan.

Projects suitable for the RFP include: community events, block parties, street seats and parklets, pedestrian plazas, bicycle facilities, open streets, pop-up crosswalks, and signane. Good pop-up projects will have a community engagement component, need limited resources for implementation, and attract attention, curiosity, and conversations.

The submission form is available online.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post Better Block’s annual request for proposals is your chance to be an urbanism superhero appeared first on BikePortland.org.

PBOT’s $2.1 million plans to tame dangerous section of N Columbia Blvd

PBOT rendering of new crossing of N Columbia Blvd at Bank, just outside George Middle School.

Prior to the start of the school year in 2016, the dangerous section of North Columbia Blvd near George Middle School in St. Johns was on the city’s radar as a “high crash corridor”; but there wasn’t any momentum or urgency to make it safer. That all changed when then 15-year-old Bradley Fortner was hit and seriously injured by a driver while walking to school.

Now, three years later, the Portland Bureau of Transportation has nearly settled a suite of updates that could slow drivers down, limit their turns, and significantly improve safety.

After the collision, we learned locals have been afraid to cross the street in front of their homes for many years. The wide and fast conditions on Columbia Blvd make it a de facto highway that has all but cutoff an entire residential area from schools, restaurants and other destinations. Fortner’s collision forced PBOT and Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek to take notice.

At Portland City Council this week, PBOT will accept a $1.5 million grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation. The funds will allow PBOT to make final design decisions and build several updates to nearby streets later this year. PBOT has already used $650,000 in System Development Charges to get the project to this point.

Since our last report in February 2018, PBOT has come up with designs based in part on feedback from the community. The project will be a mix of “access management” that will constrain driving movements from adjacent streets, and a new signal and crossing updates on Columbia. PBOT is also studying whether or not to remove or retain the existing overpass that has fallen into disrepair and gets little use.

Below is the official rendering of the access management elements of the project just east of George Middle School.

Advertisement


And here’s what PBOT says about it:

“Due to concerns from the community, PBOT is recommending the installation of two access management islands on Columbia Blvd at Midway and Oregonian. Almost half of the traffic from Columbia turns left on the local neighborhood street, Midway St. By eliminating the left turn access from Columbia to Midway and Oregonian, we will be forcing traffic to use the existing traffic signal at Macrum. By installing these two islands we also understand that we will need to modify the timing on the existing signal at Macrum.”

The main piece of the project will be another set of medians and a full traffic signal at or near the intersection of Columbia and N Bank Street. PBOT has drawn-up two options and they’re asking for community feedback before making a final decision.

Here’s Option A:

And here’s Option B:

Winton Sandino is the PBOT project manager. If you have specific feedback about the proposals, email him at winston.sandino@portlandoregon.gov.

According to a city spokesperson, PBOT is still doing some outreach and a final decision about the design should happen in the “next month or so.” Construction is scheduled to begin in fall of this year.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post PBOT’s $2.1 million plans to tame dangerous section of N Columbia Blvd appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Police stopped 34 people during a ‘crosswalk enforcement mission’: Here’s what they got cited for

East Glisan at 134th Place.

The City of Portland recently conducted one of their regularly scheduled “crosswalk enforcement missions” (a.k.a. traffic stings) on Northeast Glisan at 134th Place. Portland Police Bureau officers made about one stop every three minutes during the 90-minute mission and handed out a mix of citations and warnings for everything from careless driving to failure to wear a seatbelt.

These missions aren’t new. We’ve reported on them since 2008 (when a PBOT staffer acting as a decoy was nearly run down). As per usual, PBOT announces the location beforehand (in this case, a daunting section of Glisan that’s slated for safety updates this coming spring) and then issues a follow-up statement about how many stops where made. This time however, they shared a specific list of infractions. The list gives us a tiny window into the rampant abuse of traffic laws that happens all over our city every hour of every day.

On Wednesday, Traffic Division officers made 34 stops, issued 28 citations and gave six warnings (15 of the people stopped opted to take the driver safety education class in lieu of fines). Here’s the breakdown of violations:

Advertisement


Failure to Stop and remain stopped for a pedestrian: 12 citations and 5 warnings

Failure to Carry proof of insurance: 3 citations

Passing a vehicle stopped for a crosswalk: 1citation

Driving With a Suspended License : 5 citations

Failure to wear a seatbelt: 1 warning

Driving uninsured: 2 citations

Cell phone use: 2 citations

Switched plates: 1 citation

Failure to Register Vehicle: 1 citation

Careless Driving: 1 citation

Keep in mind that the intersection of 134th Place has a marked and signed crossing that includes a median island. Imagine how many people they would have caught if this was held at a completely unmarked crosswalk.

Thankfully PBOT has changes planned for this stretch of Glisan that should improve driver behavior and make it safer to use and cross. Learn more about the upcoming project here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post Police stopped 34 people during a ‘crosswalk enforcement mission’: Here’s what they got cited for appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bicycle rider injured in right hook collision on SE 7th at Hawthorne

Scene from the collision.
(Photo: E.S.)

Two people were involved in a collision while using Southeast 7th Avenue around 1:30 pm yesterday. One person was riding a bicycle and the other was driving a car.

The Portland Police Bureau didn’t give us many details; but they’ve confirmed it happened and they say the bicycle rider has non life-threatening injuries. Images and updates posted to Twitter show a bicycle pinned under the right front wheel of a mid-sized Volkswagen SUV. It happened on the southeast corner of Hawthorne and 7th. The auto user was going northbound on 7th and was trying to turn right on Hawthorne. Police and an ambulance responded to the scene. The bicycle rider was conscious before being taken to a local hospital.

Current conditions of SE 7th looking north at Hawthorne with an “X” marking the spot of the collision.

The current cross-section here allows auto users to drive in five lanes (two are for parking their cars). There’s a five-foot wide, unprotected bike lane with green coloring as it approaches the intersection. There’s also a bike box here (it’s unclear whether the collision happened on a green signal or a red signal).

Central City in Motion project #3. This rendering shows 7th one block north of Hawthorne.

Right hooks have plagued Portland for many years. It’s a problem that could be significantly mitigated with more protective space and material between the bike lane and the adjacent lane. And that’s exactly what the Portland Bureau of Transportation has planned for this section of SE 7th. Project #3 of the recently adopted Central City in Motion Plan calls for protected bike lanes on 7th between the Lloyd District and SE Division (at the Orange Line MAX). The project is on the first-phase implementation list that’s scheduled to be built in 1-5 years.

We’ll update this post if/when we get more details from police.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post Bicycle rider injured in right hook collision on SE 7th at Hawthorne appeared first on BikePortland.org.

A few images from a week in Baja California

Two-way protected bikeway on Calle Blvd Antonio Mijares in San Jose del Cabo.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

I’m just back from my first-ever trip to Baja California Sur. I was not there for work; but I did manage to snap a few photos of people on bikes and various infrastructure and street scenes.

My significant other Juli (the one whose grace and patience has allowed me to work on this blog for the past 13 years) and I split our week between Todos Santos and Los Cabos. The southern tip of Baja is a fantastic place and I highly recommend visiting. I can’t believe I’ve lived half of my life and am just now discovering this part of the world!

Before I jump back into the news and our other offerings, I have a few images that I thought some of you might appreciate…



The shots above are a protected bikeway on Calle Blvd Antonio Mijares, a major thoroughfare in San Jose del Cabo (which, along with Cabo San Lucas, makes up Los Cabos, or “The Capes” in English). I didn’t see too many people using them, but I wasn’t there in the evening when most people are out and about. The on-street version has a similar method of protection — plastic posts and curbs — as the City of Portland has used. It looked similar to Better Naito, but not quite as wide. The off-street version was quite nice. Biking space was visually separated from walking space with green coloring. This bikeway is about 1.75 miles long and connects to many important destinations for tourists and locals alike.

Advertisement




The scenes above are from Plaza Mijares, the main square in San Jose del Cabo. This place was a big highlight of the trip for me. I can never get enough of large, well-designed and well-used public plazas, no matter what country I’m in. At night, Plaza Mijares comes alive with artists, food vendors and locals. In one of those images you can see a father teaching his young daughter how to ride a bike. There were several couples using the plaza as a roller-skating rink, teens flying around on long skateboards, people practicing traditional dances, and so much more. Great public space is so valuable. I love seeing it used and appreciated by so many different types of people.


While walking around the neighborhoods in San Jose del Cabo I spotted this “Exclusivo” parking spot outside someone’s home. It didn’t look official; but who knows? The person even put the make, model, and license plate number of the car the space is exclusively for.


One thing I noticed throughout Los Cabos was the ample space given to people with disabilities. These spaces on Playa el Chileno (a public beach south of San Jose del Cabo) are for people using mobility devices. They are at the end of a wide and gradual boardwalk. I’ve never seen anything like this on a beach before. Major kudos to the local government for doing this.


Nicely marked spaces for parking bicycles right near the main entrance of Playa el Chileno.


This dude hanging out on Playa los Cerritos (a rustic and relatively undeveloped town near Todos Santos) had it all figured out. He rolled up with his board, chair, tent and all his other trappings strapped to his bike.


These last two are just street scenes from Todos Santos, a cool small town on the west cape that I hope to return to someday. I hear mountain biking in the nearby Sierra de la Laguna mountains is really good.

Thanks for indulging me. I have a bunch of catching up to do. Sorry for the missed emails, events, and stories these past couple days (I did manage to post a few things while away). I’m eager to get back to work!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post A few images from a week in Baja California appeared first on BikePortland.org.

River City Bicycles employee dies in kayaking accident

Kevin Neidorf, 1990-2019.
(Photo courtesy River City Bicycles)

Portland’s close-knit community of bicycle lovers is mourning the loss of Kevin Neidorf.

According to the River City Bicycles website, Neidorf’s kayak rolled over in a Class II rapid on Hood River on Saturday and attempts to revive him were not successful. He died at Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland.

Neidorf was 28 years old and worked at River City Bicycles as marketing and creative content director. Here’s more from the shop’s General Manager Hayes Kenny:

All of us at River City Bicycles are reeling from the unexpected loss of our close friend and esteemed coworker Kevin Neidorf… As we endure this hardship together as a community and as the tightly-knit family that is RCB, we strive to focus on the energy, the passion, the bravery, and the love with which Kevin lived his life.

We all know Kevin as an artist; he worked out of our Belmont shop as River City’s creative director, putting out many imaginative and often hilarious advertisements, video projects, photo features, and much of the other media content our brand has produced over the past few years. 继续阅读“River City Bicycles employee dies in kayaking accident”

Family biking profile: For the Kurtens, the right bikes helped them go carfree

One of the Kurten kids and one of the trusty family vehicles.
(Photos: Jonathan Kurten)

This week we’ll share a profile of the Kurten family.

Portlanders Jonathan and Tracy Kurten have been able to replace tricky transit trips and car trips with joyful bike trips — thanks in part to their useful new bikes.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I’ve been hearing lot of excited buzz in the family biking community about the relatively new Tern Bicycles GSD. They’re one of the few cargo bikes that fits riders short and tall, and they’re very compact. The GSD’s 20-inch wheels give it the same overall length of a regular bike; but it’s long enough to hold two kids in the back. Also, they fold! And they have a zippy mid-drive electric assist which makes them good car-replacements.

Learn more about how these bikes have helped the Kurten family go carfree below…

Tell us about yourself and your family.

We’re Jonathan and Tracy Kurten, our kiddos are Julian and Judah. I moved from South Africa with my family in 2000 at which time we lived in South Dakota. Tracy and I met during high school and moved around the midwest for a few years. After a short time living back in South Africa, we decided to return to the US and intended to relocate to the west coast. We immediately fell in love with the valley and we’ve been living in the area for the last 7 years.

A typical family outing.

Tell me about your bike.

We recently traded in our hybrid bikes for 2 Tern GSDs. The kids still each have a manual bike they ride from time to time, but they much prefer to cruise on the back of the GSDs. One GSD is set up with a clubhouse where both boys can ride and pannier bags for any kind of cargo. The other is equipped with sidekick bars and a seat pad for our older boy, when we’re traveling as a family and split the kids up.

Jonathan’s bike is outfitted to carry both children.

Is there something you wish you had known before you took your first pedal stroke as a family biker that would have made things easier?

We’re pretty lucky in Portland to have a bike shop around every corner. Even so, it’s a true bummer to get a flat in the middle of running errands or heading to an appointment. We’ve learned to keep spare tubes and gear on hand, just in case! This is especially true if your bike has less common sized tires like our bikes do.

Julian and Judah love riding on their parents’ GSDs.

Tell us about a typical trip you take on your bike.

I typically bike to work each day, weather permitting, to my office in Old Town. My route includes crossing the Broadway Bridge. We’re fairly close to the grocery store, meaning we mostly walk there, but typically make a trip with our bikes once a week to load up with larger items. Both of our boys are involved in soccer, which can mean trips to many different parks around Portland. This was a point of headache at times, timing the bus and walk time needed to arrive at the set time. Having our GSDs has allowed us the ability to pack the necessary equipment and kids and travel on our own time schedule, allowing us ease with both timing and effort.

Advertisement


Tell us about an especially memorable ride in Portland.

We have some family that live in the southern neighborhoods of Portland and have typically only been able to reach them via car or by a long transit trip. Once we had the e-bikes we were able to bike all the way down to them via the Springwater Corridor. We didn’t even know this part of the city existed! We’ve talked at length at how excited we are to discover more nooks and crannies that one can really only discover by bike. Biking in the winter doesn’t always sound appealing, but we happened across many neighborhoods and streets with holiday light displays, which felt much more magical at a bike’s pace, and bundled up.

Tracy’s bike is outfitted to carry one kid, quite comfortably.

If there was one piece of bike infrastructure (street, intersection, bike rack, etc) you use regularly that you could change to improve your life, what would it be?

More protected bike lanes! As a lone rider I typically feel pretty safe, but biking with my kids can be quite the stressful ordeal. The changes made over the last year to Rosa Parks are great. I hope the cities continue to make changes like these, giving cyclist and pedestrians priority over parked vehicles.

Seeing the city in a whole new way thanks to biking.

Have you biked in other cities and how did it compare?

While we’ve always biked in towns and cities where we’ve lived, Portland has been the first city where I’ve felt comfortable enough to go carfree. Transit and micromobility options are vibrant enough here that this is becoming and more and more reachable as a possibility for residents.

What about rain/snow/wind/extreme heat? Do you bike in less-than-ideal conditions?

Rain, yes. Snow, cautiously maybe? Wind, sure. Extreme heat, effortlessly with an e-bike.

What’s your best piece of advice to pass along to BikePortland readers?

Challenge yourself to make biking your primary mode of transportation. You just might find it easier than you thought and you’ll almost certainly find that you start to see your city in a whole new way.

Do you have a social media presence you’d like to share?

Feel free to follow me @JoKurten on Twitter.


Thank you for sharing your story Jonathan and Tracy.

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post Family biking profile: For the Kurtens, the right bikes helped them go carfree appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Adventures in Activism: Time management tips from two busy Portlanders

Catie Gould.

This post is by our activism co-editor Catie Gould, a very busy local transportation activist who has a full-time job on the side.

——

Does the New Year have you hoping to get more done?

Certainly the times demand a lot of us. How on earth can we manage everything — working, doing the laundry, spending time with loved ones — all while finding time to reform our transportation system and combat climate change in a way that doesn’t burn us out?

Often overwhelmed myself, I sought out the advice from two of my Portland heroes. I hope their stories help you stay effective and inspired!

Alison Percifield – Bike Farm (and many other things)

Alison Percifield working at Bike Farm.
(Photos: Catie Gould)

When Alison Percifield moved to Portland from Chicago three years ago her car broke down along the way and she didn’t have money to buy a new one. That’s how she became a bike commuter and found her way to Bike Farm, a nonprofit, all-volunteer collective that teaches people about bicycles. Alison recounted, “I think the best thing I ever did for my life was move to a new city because I didn’t have any friends.” She occupied her time by getting involved with different organizations and meeting people that way. “All these positive life changes happened from me deciding to be super busy.”

“All these positive life changes happened from me deciding to be super busy.”

And she is super busy. When she stepped up as the President of Bike Farm six months ago she didn’t think she would get promoted at work. “I wanted to be a leader somewhere,” she told me. But both happened. She is also starting an internship on the Board of Directors at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA) as part of course in managing non-profits and cleans a pilates studio in exchange for a free membership. “I’m doing something every weekday after work that is essentially a job.”

Alison sat down for our interview with a list she had prepared ahead of time. “I’m a huge fan of lists”. She has a notebook that she keeps just for lists and switches between them. “If I’m ever needing a break from something it’s normally with another productive task.”

Removing decision making and relying on a routine helps reduce her stress. She bikes to work every day in her workout clothes and sets her shoes out the night before. She prepares all her food for the week on Sundays while listening to her favorite CD. “Lunch is my big meal of the day so I put a lot of effort into it.” She gets a lot of recipe ideas from the vegan food blog The First Mess.

In addition to volunteering every Wednesday at Bike Farm, she spends another two to three hours a week responding to email and doing paperwork during her breaks throughout the day. On Fridays though, she clocks out. “I feel like delineating between week and weekend, creating that mental break for me is important.”

Alison has two mentors and checks in with them monthly. “It’s important for me to hear how people think I should be pushed forward and what my weaknesses are.” Things she is currently working on: slowing down enough to make sure people don’t feel like an item on her calendar. She also wants to make sure she is bringing people with her as she moves forward. Doing 90% of a task and then handing it off to someone else builds buy-in and makes sure other people can do the work in the future. “I don’t think it will always be like this. I want to live it up while I’m in this time of my life that is super productive, and in five — or one — year from now when I’m not feeling it, I’ll move on to something else.”

Advertisement


Iain MacKenzie – Architect, urbanist, and Next Portland blogger

Iain uses the Notes app to organize his posts.

Architect Iain MacKenzie moved to Portland during the depths of the recession in 2009. When new development started coming back he wanted an easier way to keep up with the information. He got the idea for the Next Portland one afternoon at the office. Later that night, it was live. “It was super easy to create, what took a lot of time was keeping it going.”

Iain spends five to ten hours a week reading through material and writing posts for the blog. In the four years he’s worked at it he’s settled into a routine.

“I’ve definitely had people make fun of me because they have caught city council meetings on my screen.”

For the weekly “Metro Reports” post he scans the Portland Bureau of Development Services website every Monday morning for a report that includes everything from simple bathroom remodels to new buildings. “I’m quite good at scanning those now.” He also saves the weekly agenda of the Design Review Commission onto his computer to archive them. Drawings for buildings going through design review are published a week ahead of time, and if he’s pretty sure it’s going to get approved he puts together a post ahead of time.

For Iain, keeping it simple is key. “I’m not trying to argue that this building is great or its terrible or anything. I’m just going to say it’s seven stories tall and it has this many units and this many parking spaces.”

Iain mostly writes in the evenings or on the weekends, but often finishes up a post during his lunch break, hitting publish around 12:45. He gets suggestions from fans about what else he could be doing with the site, but he’s busy enough right now. His general goal is to post five times a week; but the day that we talked he had only finished two.

“Honestly, if I had realized that I was going to be doing this much work for four years at this point, I probably wouldn’t have started it,” he said with a laugh. Iain has no plans on quitting. While other people listen to music or podcasts at work, Iain prefers to listen to design review or land use hearings. “I’ve definitely had people make fun of me because they have caught city council meetings on my screen.”

For others who want to make advocacy a bigger part of their lives, Iain stressed that its about consistently putting effort in every week. “It’s got to be something you care about and find interesting.”

Thank you Alison and Iain for sharing your stories. I hope you are all having a happy, healthy, and productive New Year so far!

— Catie Gould, @Citizen_Cate on Twitter

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.


The post Adventures in Activism: Time management tips from two busy Portlanders appeared first on BikePortland.org.