We hope that Congressman Earl Blumenauer, one of Congress’s most vocal champions for bicycling for years, feels like he has a little bit more company these days. Yesterday, he shared the stage with representatives from both parties, as well a republican transportation secretary working in a democratic presidential administration, all of whom are now helping lead the charge for bicycling. Today Rep. Blumenauer was visited by representatives from the Oregon delegation to the National Bike Summit to discuss transportation re-authorization and how to make Portland better for bicycling.
“It is always energizing to see the Hill flooded with over 800 bicycle advocates,” Congressman Blumenauer said after the meeting. “This year, more than ever, is a critical time to have bicycle advocates, businessmen and women, public health advocates and others here, reminding Congress why they and bikes matter.”
Mr. Blumenauer’s constituents, led by Gerick Kransky of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), awarded him with a Leadership Award from the League of American Bicyclists. It is always good to see friendly faces from home. “The Oregon group, of course, has a special place in my heart,” Blumenauer said. “Their commitment, advocacy and dedication over the years has been such an important part of the Oregon story, and has helped push forward not only Oregon, but all 50 states.”
The Portland constituents, including Jerry Norquist of Cycle Oregon and BTA board member Stephen Gomez, then sat down with Mr. Blumenauer’s staffer, Tyler Frisbee, as the Congressman rushed off to a meeting with Secretary of State Clinton. The day before, Frisbee had spoken to Summit attendees about what to expect during Hill meetings and how to frame the Congressional ask, so they quickly got down to the business of how to keep pushing Portland forward.
While the rest of the country looks to Portland as an example of what’s possible, Portland’s bicycling community is pushing forward to address the city’s remaining bicycling challenges. Once the low-hanging fruit has been picked, reaching the remaining fruit requires redoubled effort. “While most of the country is trying to get to good bicycling conditions, Portland is trying to go from good to great,” said Jonathan Maus of BikePortland. “It’s just as hard; it’s just different work.” BTA’s Gomez pointed to the large number of walking and bicycling fatalities in the state every year to show how far they still have to go before achieving their Vision Zero goal of no traffic fatalities.
Now Portland’s advocates are trying to find more pro-bicycling company for Congressman Blumenauer.
Read more about the Oregon delegation’s visit to the National Bike Summit on BikePortland.org.
League Policy Director
Flusche joined the League in April 2009 and has a B.A. in history from Syracuse University and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in public policy analysis from New York University.