A fatal crash on North Willamette was fueled by reckless and drunk driving

Just a few yards beyond this sign is where Calum Breitenberg lost control of his car and killed someone.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Just after 11:00 pm on midnight on November 15th, 23-year-old Calum Breitenberg got into his Volvo sedan and drove northwest on Willamette Boulevard toward St. Johns. He had been drinking. A lot.

Red “X” marks where Breitenberg and his car left the roadway and came to a stop.

As he approached North Burr Avenue, witnesses say Breitenberg was in the wrong lane going an estimated 80 mph in the 30 mph zone. As the road curved just after Burr Ave., Breitenberg lost control, swerved into a parked car, then careened up onto the sidewalk before finally coming to a stop near a utility pole at the intersection of Willamette and Buchanan — nearly 300 feet from where he left the roadway.

According to court documents filed by Multnomah County, Breitenberg was going so fast that his car cut down a tree and completely dislodged a 300-pound landscaping boulder.

Jason Barns, 32, was standing somewhere near the sidewalk on that same block. Police say he was looking through for bottles and cans in recycling containers when Breitenberg struck him. Barns died from his injuries at a nearby hospital shortly thereafter.

Breitenberg told a responding officer he’d been drinking with friends and “got smashed.” “I’m too drunk to be driving,” he admitted at the scene.

Breitenberg now faces three charges: Manslaughter in the Second Degree (a Class B felony), Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants, and Reckless Driving (both Class A misdemeanors).

Advertise with BikePortland.

I rode by the scene last week. You could easily see the marks on the sidewalk from Breitenberg’s tires — right behind one of those popular reds signs that read, “Drive Like Your Kids Live Here”.
A stuffed teddy bear wearing a hi-viz safety vest is now draped over the sign. There are flowers too. The bear is holding another sign that’s been written on by Barns’ family and friends.



*Marks in the grass and on the sidewalk show the path of Breitenberg’s tires.




*Two memorials have been erected.

One of them named Justin wrote: “There are no words as can express the sadness and pain in my heart since I learned you were gone. I will always remember you as a fucking awesome person and a loyal friend and you’ll always be alive in my memory.”

Further north at the corner of Buchanan a sign posted on the utility pole reads, “Jason Barns Memorial” and there are candles, flowers, and a painted rock with the date inscribed on it.

Willamette Blvd in this section is a neighborhood collector street that has gotten much busier over the years as more people moved to the St. Johns area for more affordable housing (but still drive to their jobs in other parts of town) and as infill development has taken root. Because there are so few through streets in this part of Portland (the busy state arterial of North Lombard being the other) Willamette Blvd has become a much more important street.

On weekends it seems like there are more people using Willamette outside of a car than inside one.

I’m on Willamette all the time. My daughter goes to school at Roosevelt High, so I drive on it several times a month. And since it’s the gateway to most of my training rides (Forest Park, Kelley Point, West Hills, and beyond), I ride on it several times a week.

The street has changed a lot over the years. It’s much busier with everything: runners, walkers, bikers, and drivers. Updates are desperately needed to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Would a different street design have impacted Breitenberg’s behavior? Would a physically protected curbside lane with concrete curbs or bollards have muted the impact of his recklessness? Given his state of mind, it’s not likely.

Breitenberg entered a not guilty plea this morning and his next court date is January 7th.

Jason Barns was the 32nd person to die in a Portland traffic crash this year and the fifth person in the past month to die while on foot. His family will host a memorial service on December 29th at 1 pm at the Unity of Beaverton Church in Beaverton. Everyone is welcome.

— 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.

Greenfield Health

The post A fatal crash on North Willamette was fueled by reckless and drunk driving appeared first on BikePortland.org.

A cyclocross season through the lens of Drew Coleman






*Photos and words by Drew Coleman

I love bike racing. Last year I got hurt and had to stop, so I picked up my camera and experienced cyclocross through the lens of a camera rather than from the seat of a bike.

This season, I have been fortunate enough to be given access and opportunity to photograph cyclocross outside of Oregon. It was the first time I stepped outside the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) cyclocross bubble and I could finally put it all into context. What I have come to realize is that, while there are vibrant cyclocross scenes in pockets around the country, what we have in Oregon is special.

Cyclocross Crusade staffer Sherry Schwenderlauf at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.


Race announcer Luciano Bailey at Blind Date at the Dairy.

We have passionate promoters who create wonderfully organized races and series. From the venerable Cyclocross Crusade to the Zone 5 Promotions Gran Prix series to our twin Portland mid-week races (the PDX Trophy Cup and the Blind Date at the Dairy) as well as those in communities in Bend, Eugene, Medford, Salem and others. Here in Oregon we have an embarrassment of cyclocross riches.

The Oregon scene is defined by rider participation. The size of our races is something that is easy to take for granted. One needs to look no further than the singlespeed category. At RenoCross this year, which is a very important early-season event, 20 male riders started the race (including the defending National Champion) and there were only four women. In an average Cyclocross Crusade singlespeed race this year, one would see close to 70-80 male riders and enough women to have a separate category. I go to races outside of Oregon and wonder where everyone is.

Stephen Hartzell (Breadwinner Cycles) at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.

Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.

Stopping to hydrate mid-race during the Cyclocross Crusade event in Bend.

Michael Saviers in a fully brakeless descent (note his right foot on the tire) while racing the Cyclocross Crusade Cascade Locks.

Seth Patla (PDX Ti) must have forgotten his racing kit.

Tackling the run-up at Cascade Locks.

Ivy Audrain (Speedvagen/Bike Flights) warming up at Cyclocross Crusade Heron Lakes.

Additionally, in Oregon, the quality of racing is very high. In other words, to be fast in Oregon, is to be fast nationally. When one combines this with the size of the fields, you get races that are very deep and fast. This is great for developing top riders. Our men and women riders go on and do very well in major races and even World Cup events. As I type this, the newly-minted Pan-American Under-23 champion Clara Honsinger, a Portland resident and mechanic at Sellwood Cycles, is representing the United States in Tabor, Czech Republic at a World Cup event.

Clara Honsinger (Team S&M) at West Sac CX Grand Prix.

In terms of what goes on outside the tape, there’s a tangible difference in the way we appear to enjoy our racing as well. In Bend, I saw fans lined up at the tape for most of the course and in some places 3-4 deep. If I had to guess, it was as well attended as Nationals last year in Reno. A visit to “Tent City” at a Crusade race is to really get the flavor of the Oregon fan. The cyclocross fan in Oregon knows the sport and the riders well. The heckling is (usually) creative, fun and supportive.

And then it all ends. Suddenly. Perhaps prematurely. As the rest of the world begins its 2nd half of the season, we pull the plug. And that’s perhaps a good thing. We pack in a lot of racing. Our scene burns hot and if it kept going, I wonder if it would just fade and lose its value.

When one documents through a camera one is forced to really look at the scene and evaluate. When I created my film “State of Cyclocross,” it became apparent to me that at the national level cross is at a bit of a crossroads in terms of its own identity, but I see the state of cyclocross in Oregon as a vibrant, fun, wonderful and very accessible phenomenon.

Thanks for checking out some of my favorite images. I hope to see you at the races in 2019.

— Drew Coleman (catdcxracer@gmail.com) is a cycling and action photographer, writer and filmmaker based in Sellwood. He is the Director of the film, State of Cyclocross which is currently screening at various venues in the United States. Follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

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

BikePortland needs your support.

Greenfield Health

The post A cyclocross season through the lens of Drew Coleman appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Family Biking: Come join us at Cranksgiving

I don’t like grocery shopping with kids, but I love Cranksgiving shopping with kids.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Cranksgiving is a bike-based food-and-supplies drive, treasure hunt, costume contest, and bike race. This is the sixth year for the event in Portland, but it started back in 1999 in New York City. It’s fun for participants fast and slow, and whether you’re equipped to carry a lot or a little, it’s definitely something to bring the kids to.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

This year’s edition is on Saturday, November 25th from 12:00-5:00 pm at Nomad Cycles PDX (5820 NE Sandy Blvd). Here’s the blurb from the event page, “Cranksgiving is a tradition. You come, you ride, or volunteer. We provide a manifesto of locations, supplies, and tasks that must be completed. You make it happen with your team.”

This year’s beneficiary is Portland Street Medicine — whose donated bike fleet we featured here on the Front Page two weeks ago.

In addition to purchasing items to donate (expect to spend $20), teams are eligible for prizes in several categories:
➤ Fastest
➤ Most donated
➤ Best costume
➤ DFL (dead…uh…festively last)
Form your team (of any size this year) ahead of time or find teammates on race day.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Seattle Cranksgiving 2014 stop to purchase a Real Change street newspaper.

The first five Portland Cranksgivings were hosted by Puddlecycle and reading through the history I was most excited to see a shorter option was added for families in 2015! We’ve participated in four Seattle Cranksgivings and never once made it to the finish line in time, even with abridging things on our own increasingly as the years went by.

Manifest from 2014 Seattle Cranksgiving.

This will be my kids’ first time riding their own bike for a Cranksgiving so we’ll probably take our bikes on the MAX to minimize extra pedaling. Our shortened Seattle events were always over 20 hilly miles (that includes getting back home at the end) so I’m really looking forward to having a different experience this year.

A cool thing about this year’s event is that Cranksgivings typically happen the weekend before Thanksgiving so I’ve already drawn inspired from other Pacific Northwest events: Seattle had 150 riders bring over 1500 pounds of food to the Rainier Valley Food Bank last weekend and Tacoma had a big turnout for their 4th annual Kidical Mass Cranksgiving for families.

We don’t plan to ride competitively, and probably won’t be able to agree on costumes, but we’re happy to team up with other families, so come out and find us there!

Have you participated in Cranksgiving before? Do you want to share any tips in the comments? Thanks for reading.

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.

Greenfield Health

The post Family Biking: Come join us at Cranksgiving appeared first on BikePortland.org.

BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Kristina Wayte, Doug Walsh, Deb Winkelman

It’s time once again to get excited for BikeCraft, Portland’s bike-inspired holiday gift fair.

Our friends at Microcosm Publishing have assembled a stellar lineup of vendors. From artists to authors, makers of all kinds will share their wares on December 15th and 16th at Taborspace in southeast Portland. All this week we’ll feature spotlights of the vendors here on the Front Page.

Here’s the first batch…

Kristina WayteSketchy Trails


Kristina Wayte came to last year’s BikeCraft for the first time with her beautiful mountain bike line-art, emblazoned on any number of useful, decorative, and/or wearable items. This year she’s bringing back her greatest hits (holiday ornaments!) plus some rad new stuff to inspire your dreams of summer bike adventures.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
This year I will be selling prints, ornaments, mudguards and tshirts! The most important thing people should know is that my business developed in the PNW and is my main source of inspiration! (note that I will not be selling pint glasses, so you can omit that on the website)

Tell us about yourself: Wwhat events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I moved up to Washington in 2014 after working in San Francisco at a gaming company for 4 years. I was a daily bike commuter and mountain biked on the weekends. After moving to Washington and pedaling in the beautiful forests, my bike hobby turned into a life passion. After riding with my visiting twin sister, I started drawing bikes. Then drew more bikes. I thought I would run out of ideas but they kept flowing! I developed a personal style I never had before and I love exploring what Sketchy Trails can be.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
My favorite memory is meeting and hanging out with the other vendors who also love getting crafty about bikes!


Doug Walsh – Snoke Valley Books/DougWalsh.com

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing signed paperback copies of my novel Tailwinds Past Florence, a road-tripping love story with a magical twist, inspired by the two years I spent traveling from Seattle to Singapore by bicycle and ship. Digital download codes will also be available. The novel was a prizewinner in the Mainstream Fiction category of the PNWA Literary Contest.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’ve been writing officially licensed video game strategy guides my entire adult life and decided, back in 2008, that I wanted an adventure of my own, in real life. So, my wife and I set off in 2014 to bicycle around the world. I embarked on the trip fully expecting to write a travel memoir, but seven thousand miles later, somewhere in the Pyrenees Mountains, an idea popped into my mind. It was the seed that eventually grew into the novel I’m now happy to share.

What are you most excited about at the event?
This will be my first time at BikeCraft, but I can’t wait to be surrounded by so much creativity on display.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Deb Winkelman – Deb’s Upcycled Designs (Facebook)


Deb Winkelman is traveling the farthest to attend BikeCraft — from her home in Alaska!

Here’s what she says about her work:
Deb’s Upcycled Designs recycles bicycle inner tubes and bicycle chain link into cool designs that are water resistant, durable, and stylish! Purses, hip packs, pouches, dog collars, toiletry bags, earrings, and necklaces. As an avid cyclist and former bicycle tour owner, I have access to many bicycle parts that I recycled and upcycled into cool creations! Based in Alaska, I’m passionate about keeping our state green!

For a full list of vendors and more details, check out the official BikeCraft website. And stay tuned for more vendor spotlights.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

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

BikePortland needs your support.

Greenfield Health

The post BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Kristina Wayte, Doug Walsh, Deb Winkelman appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Portland’s e-scooter pilot ends tomorrow (and that’s too bad)

The sun is about to set on scooters.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It was fun while it lasted.

The end of the line has come for Portland’s electric scooters. The pilot started back in July and — judging from comments by Bureau of Transportation staff in a Willamette Week story published yesterday — PBOT seems likely to keep their promise of officially ending it sometime this week.

The scooters hit the streets on July 23rd. For the most part, the program has been a huge success. It’s really a shame it has to end like this.

Remember before they launched? There were all manner of crazy predictions about how terrible it would be. One of our local weeklies published a story that referenced the “zombie apocalypse” and likened the presence of scooters to an “invasion,” peppering the story with anecdotes about crashes and cluttered sidewalks that were all but unusable.

None of that stuff really came true.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Better Naito worked; but we ended it. The scooter program has been a success; but we plan to end that too.

While there are definitely kinks to work out (that’s what a pilot is for), with nearly 700,000 trips in just four months, the 2,000 scooters have changed mobility in Portland for the better. A survey of more than 4,500 scooter users showed them to be wildly popular and used in a way that aligns with nearly all of the City of Portland’s adopted transportation goals.

The scooter companies (not surprisingly) are begging PBOT to extend the pilot. Scooters have been very controversial in Long Beach, California; but officials there decided to prolong the test period for three months while they address how best to regulate them.

As we saw with strong support from City Council for the Central City in Motion plan last week, the City of Portland wants people to drive less and use more efficient, climate-friendly, and safer ways to move around. The scooters tick all those boxes. And now, just as people have begun to integrate them into their lives, the scooters will disappear. That doesn’t make sense.

If only we held cars and their drivers to the same standard.

For more on the end of the pilot and what happens next, check out the story in the Willamette Week.

— 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.

Greenfield Health

The post Portland’s e-scooter pilot ends tomorrow (and that’s too bad) appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Guest opinion: Central City in Motion passage a historic moment for Portland

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

[This essay is by Go By Bike owner and Portland transportation activist Kiel Johnson, who was in City Hall when council passed the Central City in Motion plan on Thursday.]

Thursday’s passage of the Central City in Motion plan will be remembered as a crucial moment in Portland’s history. I was sitting in the back of council chambers on Thursday with Ryan Hashagen from Better Block and during the testimony we both reflected on the passage of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan eight years ago.

In 2010, I was fresh out of college and having given up on finding a job had started interning at PBOT. On the day of the passage I wore a shirt with a bicycle and the words “revolutionary” under it, which a PBOT employee told me to change for fear of setting the wrong optics. His concern reflected how anxious PBOT was about the plan and what council would say about it.

After the 5-0 vote it was like someone had won the lottery. The mood throughout the office was elated. You couldn’t walk down the hall without a high five. The Bicycle Master Plan was important not just for the policy it created but how it raised the morale of the many people working within PBOT to achieve that same goal.

The passage of the Central City in Motion plan feels just as good — and it comes with the emergence of a new champion for transportation reform.

The long halls of Portland’s bureaucracy can be isolating and complex. Bureaucracy does not embrace change. That is why it is so important to have elected officials in city government who are advocates for change. On Thursday, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly very clearly said that we need to change how our streets are designed so more people can walk, take transit, and ride a bike.

In her remarks before the vote, Commissioner Eudaly thanked walking and cycling advocates before giving the most eloquent, truthful, forceful, and thoughtful speeches on transportation I have ever heard.

She said,

“For too long we have only been addressing one end of the spectrum, which are car drivers, while neglecting the other end. So if it seems like we are dedicating a lot of resources to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, we are, and it is completely warranted.”

She went on illuminating the history of our cities,

“It’s only been about a 100 years since streets were thought of as strictly conduits for cars. But for a millennia before the invention of the combustible engine streets were used for a variety of uses and by many different users.”

If that wasn’t enough I nearly fell out of my seat in excitement when she started talking about critical mass. She quoted the “We are the streets” motto and ended my saying her motto towards single occupancy drivers who complain about congestion is, “you are the congestion”.

She closed by saying how it is imperative for climate change, public health and safety, equity, and collective quality of life that we make improvements for biking and walking.

Since the passage of the Bicycle Master Plan, Portland has been waiting for a leader to embrace the goals and values in that plan. If Commissioner Eudaly continues the tone she set on Thursday she will be remembered as one of Portland’s greatest public servants. If anything I feel PBOT has failed to sell the Central City in Motion plan. Once all these projects are built it will fundamentally change how people think about getting around in the central city.

Thank you for your leadership Commissioner Eudaly. Portland’s transportation advocates heard you last week and we are ready to spend our time and passion to turn the vision you laid out into reality. And to the PBOT employees sitting in your cubicle: Get to work, we finally have a commissioner who is ready to lead.

— Kiel Johnson @go_by_bike on Twitter

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

BikePortland needs your support.

Greenfield Health

The post Guest opinion: Central City in Motion passage a historic moment for Portland appeared first on BikePortland.org.

The Monday Roundup: the plaza problem, 3D helmet, farewell Faraday, and more

Here are the most notable stories we came across in the past week…

Fewer cars = more business: New research from London (once again) proves that businesses on streets with bikeways do better than those located on streets dominated by auto users.

Plazas for whom?: Public plazas are sought-after amenities, but cities that have them are struggling to manage the presence of homeless people who sleep in them and sometimes make others feel uncomfortable. (You can bet this is one reason why Portland hasn’t created more of them.)

Bike shop closures: Nearly half (40) of Performance stores across the country are going to close because its parent company has filed for bankruptcy. There’s one Performance store in Portland (Mall 205) and one in Beaverton and Tualatin as well, but no final list of closures has been published.

Cars are over: Young adults don’t love cars as much as automakers want you to believe, making them ripe for the mobility revolution we all know is coming.

The truth about driving: Recent wildfires where thousands of people tried to flee on car-choked streets inspired this amazingly candid assessment of what it’s like to drive in Los Angeles in 2018.

Pink tax: A new study found that women spend more on transportation than men, largely because of the behavior of men.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Lime cars: Not satisfied with just scooters and bikes, Lime is poised to drop 500 cars on the streets of Seattle.

Cool helmet: The new Hexo is a 3D printed, customizable helmet made from a new type of aerospace industry material.

Anti-driving leadership spreads: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has an unlikely endorsement of her strong policies against driving in the city: Mayors from suburban cities who have agreed to ban the use of diesel cars in the name of better air quality.

UCI’s new sock regs: Looking to stem the scourge of long socks, pro cycling’s governing body now says they can only go half way up your lower leg.

Ayesha McGowan: She wants to be the first black female professional road racer; but she’ll gladly accept merely inspiring other people of color to take up the sport.

Farewell Faraday?: Makers of one of coolest e-bikes on the market, Faraday, appears to be shutting down.

— 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.

Greenfield Health

The post The Monday Roundup: the plaza problem, 3D helmet, farewell Faraday, and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Jobs of the Week: Urban Land Institute, Velotech, Community Cycling Center, p:ear

Need a change of pace? Or maybe looking to get your foot in the door? Check out our freshest job listings.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Senior Associate – Urban Planning & Sustainability – Urban Land Institute

–> Bike Works Program Coordinator – p:ear

–> Used Inventory Coordinator – Community Cycling Center

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

Never miss an opportunity. Sign up for our Job Listings email.

BikePortland needs your support.

Greenfield Health

The post Jobs of the Week: Urban Land Institute, Velotech, Community Cycling Center, p:ear appeared first on BikePortland.org.

‘Betties360’ program teaches girls more than riding a BMX bike






*Students from St. Andrews Nativity School at The Lumberyard. Photos by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland

Eighth grade is not an easy time for many young girls. As a father of one of them, I can vouch for that. Getting them to challenge themselves, try something new, and make themselves vulnerable is often like harder than pulling teeth.

“After you do it you’ll feel excited.”

On Wednesday I hung out with a dozen eighth-graders who challenged not only themselves, but my assumptions about them.

The girls were part of an afterschool enrichment program run by Betties360, a Portland nonprofit founded in 2005 by April Snyder and Kristen Wright. This is the fourth year they’ve partnered with The Lumberyard, an indoor bike park on NE 82nd Avenue.

Lumberyard Guest Instructor Elaine Bothe has worked with the girls this year, helping them gain confidence on the ramps and other features of the park. Things were calm and quiet when I arrived, but Elaine said once the girls show up, the energy in the room would spike. She was right.

Getting the helmet situation sorted is the first order of business.

As soon as they came in, there was much giggling and jumping around — just what you’d expect when eighth-grade friends are together. The girls were from St. Andrews Nativity, a small, tuition-free Catholic middle school located at NE 9th and Alberta in the heart of Portland’s Soul District.

The first order of business was to get hair and helmets in order. Then they chose their bikes from a fleet of rentals. The Lumberyard’s features lend themselves well to “BMX” bikes with 18 or 20-inch wheels, upright bars, and relatively small frames which make them easy to handle.

Advertise with BikePortland.

Along with Bothe, the girls were helped by volunteer Sarah Umberhandt and Betties360 staffers Na’ama Schweitzer and Kelsey Ellis. There wasn’t much instruction. Once atop their bikes the girls just wanted to ride.

They had different riding backgrounds and some looked much more comfortable than others. I loved how supportive they were of each other. I watched them tackle the pump track and the “railroad tracks” lines — and even the girls who were still learning how to ride smoothly seemed to love it. Some would bump into walls, others would get their bars all twisted, there were a few crashes. But they persisted.

“This can be an intimidating environment for anybody,” said Bothe, the instructor.

I asked one of them what she’d tell another girl who’s afraid to try it. “I’d tell her don’t worry,” the girl said. “After you do it you’ll feel excited because, like, you grow up and progress and do something you’ve never done before.”

Was that you before you did this class? I asked.

“Yep,” she replied.

As they waited for their turn on the track, one of them told me her favorite thing was, “Coming down the ramp with the feeling of wind on your face.”

If these girls — caught on that tricky precipice of becoming young women — had forgotten how fun bicycling was, I’m pretty sure this class has been a firm reminder that it’s still fun, and it always will be.

— 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.

Greenfield Health

The post ‘Betties360’ program teaches girls more than riding a BMX bike appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Momentum builds for carfree river ferry service between Portland and Vancouver

Susan Bladholm, president of Frog Ferry, at the Oregon Transportation Commission this morning.

The ‘Frog Ferry’ has taken a major leap forward this week. The passenger ferry concept is making its first major public debut with media coverage and a spot on the agenda at today’s meeting of the Oregon Transportation Commission (the governor-appointed body that sets transportation policy for the State of Oregon).

Spearheading the effort is Susan Bladholm, a former director of Cycle Oregon and corporate marketing professional who spent 10 years each with Business Oregon and the Portland of Portland. Bladholm has spent two years researching and building support for her plan to establish a ferry service on the Willamette River that would shuttle customers between Lake Oswego and Vancouver.

Flanked by Portland Spirit Owner Dan Yates and Metro Project Manager Chris Ford (fresh of his win as project manager for the SW Corridor, which was approved by Metro Council last night), Bladholm said, “It’s time for a new mode of transportation to be introduced.”

From a presentation by Frog Ferry.

Potential stops.

“The heavy lift is bringing in the infrastructure and changing the culture,” she continued. “Just like cycling. Now we have cyclists all over the place; but way back when our shoulders weren’t all that wide or very clean, and we didn’t have cyclists. Infrastructure was needed.”

Far from just a pie-in-the-sky idea, Bladholm (whose bio says, “she has staffed five governors”) can boast of having 450 supporters lined up behind her. She’s met with dozens of agency staff and was personally introduced to ODOT management by Director Matt Garrett. The Frog Ferry has support from major power brokers in Portland politics and river interests including the Port of Portland, Port of Vancouver, Zidell Companies, Working Waterfront Coalition, Vigor Industrial, Travel Oregon, City of Portland (Mayor Ted Wheeler), Portland Business Alliance, Central Eastside Industrial Council, and Daimler Trucks North America.

Advertise with BikePortland.

The name and logo artwork comes from Chinook myth.

Metro likes the idea too. Ford told commissioners today that, “We’re encouraged to see the private sector exploring climate-friendly transportation options that recognize a sense of place.” (The
“Frog” part of the name is based on Chinook mythology.) Ford said the 2018 Metro Regional Transportation Plan includes the ferry concept, which gives it, “A hall pass for further study.”

The idea of a water ferry was also the subject of a 2006 City of Portland study as part of the River Renaissance initiative. One key barrier cited back then was the lack of terminals and dock facilities and the high cost to built them. That’s why strong private sector interest makes the Frog Ferry concept different.

According to Frog Ferry documents, the concept would include seven stops between Vancouver and Lake Oswego, with future plans that could add more stops and extend the service to Camas, Troutdale, and St. Helens. The service would target commuters, errand-runners, tourists, and people in emergencies. “When and if the big earthquake happens we’ll have more vessels to move people around when all the bridges come crumbling down,” Yates said today.

Estimates of use and trip times are still approximate, but a presentation shows the trip between Rose Quarter and Vancouver taking 25 minutes. Lake Oswego to Vancouver would be 41 minutes. To drive the 20 miles between Lake Oswego or the Rose Quarter to Vancouver would take around an hour or 30 minutes respectively during typical commute traffic.

The ferries themselves would fit about 149 people and would have room for bikes. Bladholm told the OTC today that that equates to taking 500 cars off the roads, based on Columbia River Crossing project research that found 67% of I-5 auto traffic that crosses the Columbia River is single-occupancy.

To further understand the costs and benefits of the project, Frog Ferry backers are asking the State of Oregon to help fund a $650,000 feasibility study.

From Frog Ferry presentation.

“Rather than saying it’s too hard or too expensive,” Bladholm said today, “let’s be informed. let’s be curious, rather than say we simply can’t do it.” And Portland Spirit owner Dan Yates put it bluntly after expressing his dislike of government delays and regulations. “I’m willing to buy the first boat, but you guys have to do the study.”

Yates added that he envisions a system of 16 electric ferries that would ideally be have to be tightly integrated into the TriMet and Streetcar systems.

When commissioners had a chance to respond, OTC Chair Tammy Baney said, “I am floored by the passion behind it.”

Commissioner Alando Simpson also expressed support of the project, saying, “I think it’s a very realistic and practical concept.” Simpson also said he was concerned he didn’t see any representation from environmental justice advocates in Frog Ferry documents. “You’re going to have to figure out how you tap into those constituent bases,” he advised.

Frog Ferry’s timeline says they want to launch in 2020. That doesn’t seem likely, but I wouldn’t doubt Bladholm. She has the experience, skills, and connections to make this work. “We’re doing our part,” she told the OTC this morning, “Now we’re asking agencies to step up and help us.”

Learn more at FrogFerry.com.

— 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.

Greenfield Health

The post Momentum builds for carfree river ferry service between Portland and Vancouver appeared first on BikePortland.org.