Mission Statement

Our Mission Statement:
The Equity in Active Transportation Committee is focused on collaborative approaches to providing culturally competent and relevant transportation related programming in low income communities of color in the Portland Metro area. The Committee is comprised of program level staff from various agencies who are engaged in transportation program design, implementation and delivery.

The Equity in Active Transportation Committee was founded by the Community Cycling Center in 2010, and continues to be moderated and facilitated by them.


The goals of the Equity in Active Transportation Committee are:
1. To effectively collaborate as transportation focused agencies with our partner organizations that serve low income and communities of color in Portland, Oregon.
2. To share resources and challenges in providing culturally competent outreach, community engagement, leadership empowerment and program delivery in low income and communities of color.
3. To share resources and connections with our partner organizations to better provide ongoing support in a manner that best suits the needs of each specific community.

Monday, November 28, 2011

OPAL Holiday Party - Dec. 21st

OPAL Community Holiday Party
Wednesday Dec 21st | 7:00-9:00 PM

Come celebrate another year of Environmental Justice grassroots organizing and advocacy with OPAL at our annual Holiday Party Dec 21.  Join members of Bus Riders Unite, leaders of our Campaign for a Fair Transfer, East Portland Bus Stops activists, coalition partners, board, staff, family and friends for an evening of socializing, sharing, and building community together.

Dinner and drinks provided.  RSVP by Mon Dec 19th with OPAL Office (971) 340-4866 or info@opalpdx.org

People Of Color Potluck!

OPAL People of Color Community Potluck
Friday Dec 16th | 5:30-8:30 PM

OPAL is committed to building a space and political power for People of Color to address environmental racism, and welcomes members and community partners who self-identify as People of Color to join us for a community potluck Dec 16.  Enjoy great food, music, and an opportunity to give input into the future of People of Color leadership in OPAL’s work.  Hear about our current Transit Justice work, and meet other great people working for environmental justice.  We hope you will join us, and if you’re interested but can’t attend this one, please let us know so we can invite you to future gatherings.  White Allies are respectfully asked to reserve this space for self-identified People of Color.

Please bring a side dish to share for 4 people.  Main dishes, drinks and desert will be provided.  RSVP by Thu Dec 15th with Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons (971) 340-4866 or joseph@opalpdx.org

Bus Stop Workshop! Dec. 12th 2011

Bus Stop Workshop: Action Meeting for the EPBS Project
Monday Dec 12th | 6:00-8:00 PM
OPAL Office 2407 SE 49th Ave, Portland OR 97206

We are hosting a Bus Stop Workshop for community members interested in the East Portland Bus Stop (EPBS) Project Dec 12.  This meeting will be a chance for folks to learn more about the project and start getting involved right away.  The goal of this project is to increase the number of transit rides and walking by residents of low-income communities and communities of color in East Portland, while decreasing the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips by advocating for much needed transit stop improvements. EPBS Project also aims to increase ownership of bus stops by the people who use them and to transform our bus stops into community spaces where people gather and connect.

Are you interested in the direct and dynamic action of our upcoming Bus Stop POP events?  Getting out in the community to educate folks about bus stop improvements? Or is working with a team to assess the bus stops we use daily for accessibility and improvements more your thing? We need your skills and enthusiasm in these areas and more!

We’ll be providing food and childcare so please bring the family! We’ll also be able to provide folks with a single trip bus ticket to help offset traveling costs.

Looking forward to seeing you December 12th  from 6 – 8pm at OPAL!  RSVP with Myrna Andrade (971) 340-4866 or myrna@opalpdx.org

Monday, May 2, 2011

Williams Avenue Updates from AROW

A Better Williams for Everyone, if we ask for it

Originally posted on: 
Posted by Steve on April 15th, 2011
It is critical that everyone email their preference for the best biking and walking conditions on Williams to PBOT Project Manager Ellen Vanderslice: Ellen.Vanderslice@portlandoregon.gov

PBOT is currently conducting a public design process for improving conditions on N Williams Avenue between Weidler and Killingsworth.  There are welcome improvements proposed for the corridor, but there are some problems with the approach that all active transportation advocates should pay close attention to.  Here’s a run down of the situation.


  • About 35% of all trips on Williams are made by bicycle, making it the second busiest bikeway in the city.
  • Williams serves about 100 less daily trips than its one-lane southbound counterpart, Vancouver Avenue (see graph)
  • Williams is designated a neighborhood collector, meaning traffic destined for points outside of the neighborhood is not the type of trips the street should accommodate (i.e. bypassing I-5 or MLK traffic)
  • Despite the existing mode-share split, cyclists are only given 15% of the available roadway space.  The other 4 lanes including vehicle parking, make up the other 85% of the roadway.
  • Williams is home to the city’s first bicycle-oriented development, featuring dozens of bike-based and bike-friendly businesses.
  • Because of a thriving retail corridor, parking demand on Williams is high, especially on weekend evenings. As a result, parking removal seems to be a non-starter.
The Barrier to a Better Williams - 2 hours of evening commute SOV traffic.  This also is the most congested time for cyclists too, but note that is not as strong of a consideration in the revisioning process.

The Barrier to a Better Williams - 2 hours of evening commute SOV traffic.
This also is the most congested time for cyclists too, but this is not as
strong of a consideration in the re-visioning process. 

Based on PBOT’s survey of local residents and businesses, some priorities were developed and here is what can be culled from the first 3 Stakeholder Advisory Meetings:
  1. Eliminating the Bus/Bike “leap frogging” interaction
  2. Increasing Crosswalk compliance
  3. Reducing traffic speeds
  4. Handling bike congestion
  5. Getting bikes out of the “door zone’


The City and its consultants are still working with the SAC and neighborhood to decide on
1.) number of car lanes,
2.) presence/absence of on-street parking,
3.) type of bike facility (i.e., cycle track, regular bike lane, etc.), and
4.) placement of bike facility relative to car and on-street parking lanes.

The SAC already voted to have the bike lane on the right side rather than the left.  I believe the Open House this weekend is intended to get the general public’s input on which floorplan to use, with the specifics of crosswalks, transit stops, and turning lanes to be resolved after they make that decision.  If you want that connected cycletrack, it’s not too late to fight for it.

The City folks and the designer/planners are going to be giving a presentation to the Pedestrian Advisory Committee next month (May 17), when presumably they’ll have their floorplan established.  It will be an opportunity to comment on the pedestrian aspects of the design, including transit stop placement which may affect the “leapfrogging” issue along this corridor.

Free Bike rides and Bike clinics offered by Portland By Cycle

Portland By Cycle logo
Portland By Cycle Rides and Classes offer information and a supportive setting for adults new to cycling or just getting back on the bike. 
This series encourages you to use a bike more often - for fun, exercise, shopping, or even commuting to work. 

For more information, contact Timo Forsberg at 503-823-7699 or timo.forsberg@portlandoregon.gov

Classes in Spring and Fall cover topics that everyone on a bike can appreciate, from the basics of starting out to maintenance, shopping by bike, riding through the rainy seasons and more. Classes are held at Peninsula Park Community Center and Bethany Lutheran Church.

Guided bike rides show you the best of Portland's neighborhoods and how to ride safely and confidently.  The Tuesday evening rides start at Unthank Park; Wednesday evening rides start at Wellington Park. Check the sidebar for special rides at other times.Click here to go to the SmartTrips North-Northeast homepage.

Also check out the Women on Bikes program, a series of rides and clinics specifically designed to encourage more women to ride.

Friday, April 15, 2011

East Portland in Motion: Spreading the Active Transportation Love

East Portland in Motion: Spreading the Active Transportation Love

The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is developing a five-year implementation strategy for active transportation projects east of 82nd Avenue. Entitled East Portland in Motion, the strategy will identify and prioritize pedestrian, bicycle and access-to-transit projects that are most beneficial from a safety and accessibility standpoint, are supported by the community, and can be feasibly built over the next five years with available funding.

East Portland Needs Help

While much of inner Portland could be considered “active transportation utopia,” most would agree that this is not the case east of 82nd Avenue, home to more than 160,000 people and nearly 40% of the city’s children. Even with three light rail lines, two regional multi-use trails and more bike lanes than the remainder of the city, East Portland remains quite difficult to navigate as a pedestrian, bicyclist or transit rider. Five-lane arterial roads – many with spotty sidewalk coverage – are the primary corridors of activity of East Portland, interspersed with residential streets that are often poorly connected and sometimes unpaved. Perhaps due to these deficiencies, use of active modes of transportation is lower in East Portland than in the city as a whole. Still, many people who depend on active travel – lower income families, immigrants, those without cars – choose to live in East Portland for its lower housing costs, and bravely walk, bike or wait for the bus in substandard conditions.

These challenges have been well documented in recent planning documents, news stories and community forums. But until now, there has not been a single, overarching strategy to guide PBOT in prioritizing transportation investments in East Portland (the City’s Transportation System Plan was last updated in 2007, prior to the East Portland Action Plan and Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030). East Portland in Motion builds on the momentum of recent planning work and community dialogue, channeling identified projects (as well as newly identified ones) into a one-stop source for implementation guidance.

Types of Projects

PBOT has developed lists and maps of potential active transportation projects in East Portland from a variety of sources, including:

·        Requests from the neighborhood associations and school districts of East Portland, compiled and organized by the East Portland Neighborhood Office Land Use and Transportation Committee.
·        East Portland Action Plan (Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, 2009)
·        122nd Avenue Pilot Project (Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, 2010)
·        Portland Bicycle Plan for 2030 (PBOT, 2010)
·        Transportation System Plan (PBOT, 2007)
·        TriMet Pedestrian Network Analysis (2011)
·        Safe Routes to School engineering reports (PBOT, 2008-2010)
·        Traffic safety requests to 823-SAFE.

Projects focus primarily on sidewalk infill, crossing improvements on busy streets, and neighborhood greenways.


After some initial filtering (such as focusing only on PBOT-controlled streets), PBOT identified more than 50 potential sidewalk infill projects in East Portland. Soon, a distinction emerged: Many candidate projects are on streets where curb already exists, allowing for easier and more cost-efficient construction. Other projects are on streets that just have gravel shoulders and no curb, necessitating a costly rebuild of the entire street profile or some other creative solution. We classified the sidewalk candidate projects accordingly:

·        Type 1 Sidewalk Candidate Projects fill in missing sidewalks on streets with existing curb. Many of these projects are on busy, 5-lane roadways like SE Division Street, SE 122nd Avenue and NE Halsey Street. On these roadways there is typically seven feet from curb to property line, leaving room for a six-foot, curb-tight sidewalk. While not perfect, these projects are relatively economical – about $1 million per mile – because curbs and stormwater facilities are already installed. PBOT recently built this type of sidewalk on NE Glisan Street between 122nd and 148th Avenues using federal stimulus dollars (picture below).

·        Type 2 Sidewalk Candidate Projects build new sidewalks on streets without curbs. These streets have gravel shoulders or sometimes just dirt, grass or other vegetation. Examples include SE 136th Avenue and NE Prescott Street. These projects are relatively expensive – about $5-7 million per mile – because in most cases the street must be completely rebuilt due to substandard pavement and road base, in addition to adding sidewalks, curbs, bike lanes and stormwater facilities. An example of an existing Type 2 sidewalk is SE 92nd Avenue between Holgate and Powell (pictured below)

Crossing Improvements

Crossing improvements are another critical component of the pedestrian network and particularly important on East Portland’s busy, five-lane arterial streets. On some stretches of busy streets like Division (shown below), there are literally thousands of feet between safe crossing locations. PBOT has identified nearly 100 potential crossing improvement locations that would help fill these gaps. We are currently prioritizing crossing candidates based on nearby transit patronage, surrounding land uses and crash data. Resulting crossings may range from median refuge islands to full traffic signals.


Bikeway Facilities

Bicycle improvements in East Portland will focus on establishing neighborhood greenways – low traffic, low speed streets where cyclists and pedestrians are given priority, safety is improved, and the natural environment is enhanced, all while maintaining automobile access to all properties. Efforts were made to identify routes that connect schools and parks, and are parallel to East Portland’s busy, wide streets, offering lower-stress alternatives to access businesses. Two neighborhood greenways projects have received significant support from the community and will likely be among the first “out the door”:

  • The 130’s Greenway (pictured below), a north-south spine along 128th, 129th, 130th and 132nd Avenues, extending from the Russell neighborhood (near the Western States Chiropractic College) southward to the Springwater Corridor and Foster Road in the Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhood.

  • The Market/Mill/Main Greenway, an east-west route through the heart of East Portland that will complete a greenway route all the way from Gresham to the Willamette River.

Public Involvement

PBOT has been collaborating with the community on East Portland in Motion for about one year, including close coordination with the East Portland Neighborhood Office Land Use and Transportation Committee, the East Portland Action Plan Bike Subcommittee and other community stakeholders. PBOT has also held several public workshops on the project. To maximize attendance, workshops have “piggybacked” on larger events including the Mayor’s Transportation Safety Summit, a Portland Plan open house, and the Outer Powell Conceptual Design Plan open house. Participants conversed with PBOT staff, voted for their favorite sidewalk projects and completed surveys (which are also available online).

Public input will continue into May, with appearances at the Parkrose Farmers Market on Sunday, May 7, from 9am to 3pm, the Gateway Fun-o-Rama on Saturday, May 21 from 1 to 4pm, and at the East Portland Sunday Parkways on Sunday, May 22.

PBOT hopes to have a first draft of the East Portland in Motion report by the end of June, with City Council approval during the summer.

In the mean time, please visit the East Portland in Motion website, where you can download maps, take the survey and hear about upcoming events. For questions about the project, feel free to contact me or Ellen Vanderslice at the contact information below.

Steve Szigethy
Community Service Aide
Portland Bureau of Transportation

Ellen Vanderslice
Project Manager
Portland Bureau of Transportation

Thursday, March 31, 2011

OPAL Seeking Transportation Justice Organizers!

Summer Organizing with OPAL!

OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon (Organizing People-Activating Leaders) is seeking two to four Summer Organizers-in-Training to work on our Transit Justice and Health Equity base-building campaign. OPAL works with low-income and communities of color in East Portland around public transportation and health concerns.  Strong candidates will have an understanding of social, economic and environmental justice, an interest in multiracial, intergenerational community building, and a demonstrated commitment to rigorous grassroots organizing, outreach and education.  OPAL is a 501c3 intercultural grassroots nonprofit empowering working class communities and people of color to promote environmental and social justice.
Position is a 40 hour/week internship with a stipend of $1000 per month for work beginning June 27 and ending September 2, 2011.  The position also includes a bus pass.
OPAL’s Organizer-in-Training is an internship program with the goal of:
  • Teaching principles of environmental, economic, racial and social justice
  • Training for grassroots community organizing and leadership development
  • Providing hands on field experience to engage with community members
Organizer-in-Training Activities:
  • Classroom leadership development 6-8 hours/week focused on building knowledge and skills for social justice community organizing and community development
  • Field experience working alongside OPAL community organizers and Bus Rider Unite member leaders doing direct organizing with transit riders, including surveying, phone banking, follow-up meetings, community presentations
  • Administrative duties including databasing, record-keeping
Organizer-in-Training Qualifications:
  • Bicultural experience, understanding, cross-cultural vision
  • Bilingual, ability to speak English and any one of the following languages: Spanish, Russian, Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, Somali
  • Demonstrated interest in grassroots community based organizing
  • Strong verbal communication skills
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment managing various timelines
People of Color, women, and low-income residents of East Portland are strongly encouraged to apply!
Please submit a cover letter, resume and two references by email only to jobs@opalpdx.org by April 29th, 2011
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Co-Director
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon 2407 SE 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97206  (503)512-0490

Oregon Active Transportation Summit recap

Oregon Active Transportation Summit recap

DSC_0661-17We’re so proud to share that two of our staff, Laura Koch and Mychal Tetteh, presented this week at the Oregon Active Transportation summit. The Summit, previously known as the Oregon Bike Summit, is an annual statewide gathering of active transportation advocates. This year the organizers have increased the focus to include walking as well as cycling, acknowledging that active transportation is a broadening movement.
The Summit is modeled after the National Bike Summit, bringing together advocates from all over the state. Over the course of two days in Salem, they share best practices, network, connect on successful strategies, and work together to build a strong movement. On the first day, advocates attend information sharing sessions, and on the second day advocates meet with our state legislators. The Community Cycling Center staff attended to discuss equity in the active transportation movement, sharing what we’ve learned, and working to elevate the conversation around equity.
Alison Graves-23Mychal Tetteh, our Shop Director, provided the community and advocacy frame for a panel addressing transportation health equity. He covered basic information about the barriers that prevent certain communities from choosing cycling. He also put out a call to action for planners and policy makers to recognize that they will see the greatest return on investments when they work with groups that are most disproportionately affected by health disparities.
Laura Koch, our Program Director, presented strategies for promoting cycling in underserved communities. The examples she discussed include working in partnership with pre-existing social groups and networks, designing workshops where participants learn by doing, and using images and messages that are relevant for communities of color.
It was an incredible day of sharing our successes and learning about the great work of our allies around the state, followed by meeting with our representatives. It is inspiring to see how the movement has grown each year. We really can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for active transportation in Oregon.
For a full recap of Mychal’s session, check out the great coverage on BikePortland.org.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Who Gets Access? Transportation Equity Event in Portland!

Transportation is crucial to ensuring opportunity for all – connecting us to jobs, schools, housing, healthcare, and grocery stores. But millions of working families and people of color live in communities where quality transportation options are unaffordable, unreliable, or nonexistent.
The type of transportation system we build, where we put it, who builds it, and how we operate it have an enormous impact on our economy, our climate and our
health. To learn more about these issues and what we can do about it, we invite you to a box lunch event:
*Who Gets Access?*
Transportation Equity from the National to the Local
A box-lunch event and conversation with:
Radhika Fox, Federal Policy Director – PolicyLink and Executive Committee Member – Transportation For America
Lillian Shirley, President-elect – National Association of City and County Health Officials and Director – Multnomah County Health Department
Alejandro Queral, Healthy Communities Program Director – Multnomah County Health Department
Ron Ruggiero, Executive Director – Service Employees International Union Local 49
SEIU Local 49 Hall
3536 SE 26th Ave. (at Powell Blvd.)
Portland, OR
on bus lines 9 and 10
Wednesday, April 6
11:30 am – 2:00 pm
Be on time and eat! A limited number of box lunches will be available starting at 11:30 am.
Presentations will start promptly at 12:00 pm. Q&A with the panel will be from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm.
RSVP to chris.rall@t4america.org. Reservations are encouraged.
This event sponsored by:
1,000 Friends of Oregon
Bicycle Transportation Alliance
Coalition for a Livable Future
Community Cycling Center
Josiah Hill III Clinic
Northwest Health Foundation
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Oregon Public Health Institute
Oregon Tradeswomen, Inc.
Upstream Public Health
SEIU Local 49
Transportation For America
Urban League of Portland
Willamette Pedestrian Coalition
*Heidi Guenin* Transportation Policy Coordinator at Upstream Public
heidi@upstreampublichealth.org | office 503-284-6390 | mobile 503-841-7936 
Also check out these related websites for more interesting information:
Upstream Public Health Transportation Action

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bureau of Transportation distributes walk/bike maps in five new languages

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Bureau of Transportation attended a pre-employment training class at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization today to give students walk/bike maps in five new languages as a part of its SmartTrips program. The additional languages for the popular maps were Burmese, Nepali, Somali, Russian and Arabic. IRCO informed PBOT that these languages would cover the most New Portlanders and help to get them to job interviews if they didn’t own a car.

“For New Portlanders, getting to that first job interview or first day on the job can be a monumental task, especially if English isn’t a first language,” said Marni Glick of PBOT. “Handing out walk/bike maps in other languages shows those new to our area that low-cost and free transportation choices are right around the corner. Plus, choosing to walk, bike, take transit, and carpool increases fitness, saves money, and reduces traffic congestion and pollution.”

The new languages were cost-effectively made by adding stickers to existing maps on top of map key and titles. These maps are currently available in both English and Spanish and show the locations of schools, community centers, transit lines, parks and grocery stores.

SmartTrips is the name for Transportation Options' programs that encourage alternative transportation choices. Bike and walk maps and ordering information can be found at www.gettingaroundportland.org.

According to its website, IRCO’s mission is to “promote the integration of refugees, immigrants, and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy, and inclusive multiethnic society.” More information is available at www.irco.org.