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A Season in Review

Photo Collage

It’s been a brilliant season filled to the brim with new routes, new parks, new partnerships and great people. Firstly, we would love to send out a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to everyone. We want to thank our sponsors, donors, vendors, volunteers, entertainers, police, flaggers and participants for making this grandest and most well attended Sunday Parkways season ever. We could not have done it without you.

It has been an amazing year for Sunday Parkways. 28,000 people came out to the last Sunday Parkways of the year, more than double the number that attended our last event in 2014! If that wasn’t big enough news, in 2014, approximately 108,900 attended Sunday Parkways. To see how many people came out this year, keep reading:

• 346 neighborhood associations, schools, community organizations, places of worship, and businesses participated as vendors and volunteer groups

• 41 physical activity and fitness-related organizations and businesses got us moving this year

• 814 individual volunteers volunteered for a collective 5,085 volunteer hours - WAY TO GO!

• And drum roll…………………… 119,000 came out to enjoy the open streets in 2015! Meaning 119,000 people came out to walk, roll, jog, dance, and bicycle along 37.5 miles of Portland's streets for Sunday Parkways. This is our biggest Sunday Parkways season yet!!

Here a few more highlights from all five of our events this year:

Woman and DogTilikum highlights – The Tilikum Sunday Parkways event was jam packed with “new factor,” for this event, making a short list of highlights is a bit challenging. There was a lot of excitement over this event, due to the opening of the bridge and the new route. In fact, 28,000 people gathered to ride/walk over Tilikum. According to TriMet’s estimates, almost 15,000 people crossed the bridge during Sunday Parkways, almost three times the amount who crossed the bridge during its opening! This new route went into the Sellwood-Westmoreland Area for the first time at Westmoreland Park whereas we collaborated with the Salmon Celebration to celebrate the return of Salmon back into the city as well as our Native American communities in Portland.

Southeast highlights – Our Southeast Sunday Parkways was almost cancelled when smoke from across Oregon and Washington swept into the Portland Metro area on Saturday. Thankfully, strong winds brought the smoke out, allowing for 21,500 to come out and enjoy Sunday Parkways SE this year. DJ Prashant drew 100’s onto the Laurelhurst Park’s grassy dance floor for Bollywood dancing once again. Additionally, the Sunday Parkways August event successfully incorporated protocol used in Latin American “Open Streets” events to control intersections.

Northeast highlights – The beautiful weather on July 26th brought people from across the city and beyond to the 8-miles of Sunday Parkways route located in Northeast Portland. Over 22,250 people joined us in celebrating a grand summer Sunday, with many bringing their bikes in tow. With such a historically high number of bike riding attendees at this event, bike safety was a focus whereas Andando en Bicicletas en Cully, also known as the ABC group, offered a bi-lingual bike and safety fair at the newly renovated park Khunamokwst Park.  The inclusion of the Khunamokwst Park unto the route, which aptly means “together” in Chinook, we were able to provide neighbors and attendees with a chance to visit this new green space, try out the new play structures or the skating park during this community event.

North highlights – The love for Sunday Parkways North continues with its yet unbroken record as the most attended of the events with this year’s Khunamokst Park attendance of approximately 31,000 people. The 9.5 mile loop provided attendees with the opportunity to bike freely across the Willamette Bluff or to weave in and out of Peninsula, Arbor Lodge, McCoy, and Kenton Parks to play with the circus, dance Zumba, or grab a yummy dish or two. One park away from the newly formed marketplace along the Willamette Bluff was the launch site of our community partners from Latino Network, who led a family bike ride to expose families and youth to this fun local event. The day also included games by the Oregon Disability Sports, group rides, and tours of the Peninsula Park Gardens.

East highlights – Our first Sunday Parkways event of the year kicked off with lots of sunshine and smiles. The event drew 16,250, our largest crowd ever for East Portland whereas families and friends gathered for a joyous Mother’s Day and spring afternoon. The day was in full bloom as families and friends swept into the Bloomington Park where Parks for New Portlanders held their second annual Portland World Cup youth soccer match for all to enjoy, along with visits to vendors, fun with the circus, or the art of hula-hooping. The Bureau of Environmental Services also hosted the Foster Flood Plain marketplace creating a fish schooling affect as attendees walked and rolled away with their “fish hats”.

Overall it’s been a grand and wonderful year. Thank you all for keeping us rolling and helping us to bring more happiness, health and community to Portland. See you in 2016!!

Keep in touch throughout the year to check for updates and news about Sunday Parkways and Active Transportation. Check us out on Twitter and Facebook!

Call out for more Female Leaders at Sunday Parkways saw Results

Sunday Parkways made it a priority this year to reach out to fill as many of its high-level volunteer leadership roles as possible with strong, engaged women from Portland's cycling community.

another photoSunday Parkways which runs in large part with the support of volunteers saw a gap in its number of female Superhero Coordinators. After all, this role, that of Superhero Coordinator, is the secret to Sunday Parkways' success as an event. It entails spending the day at Sunday Parkways teaching, organizing, distributing, supporting, and generally building rapport with volunteers, managing route logistics, and riding 15-20 miles with a partially loaded trailer.

The volunteers who perform this role are, every one of them, some of the most amazing people in the City of Portland– and many amazing women have performed this role over the years. The effort to recruit female leaders for Sunday Parkways is about much more than simply gender-balancing the Sunday Parkways volunteer base. It’s about the core mission of Sunday Parkways to build community and foster connections among the citizens of Portland, half of whom are women. It’s about maintaining the diversity of perspectives that help make any community stronger, more intelligent, more versatile and capable. It’s about fostering female leadership in a male dominated bike culture and the wider culture in which we live. It’s about fostering professional relationships among female leaders.

east volunteersThis year, Sunday Parkways’ volunteer organizers made an impassioned request through many different networks, some directly connected to Sunday Parkways, and some completely separate. The response was encouraging: the number of women volunteering for and expressing interest in the higher-level roles across the event doubled between East Sunday Parkways (May) and North Sunday Parkways (June). The attention paid in specifically engaging female volunteers continued to result in new connections throughout the season, and has put Sunday Parkways in an excellent position to begin 2016 with the strongest female volunteer leadership the event has seen so far. Stay tuned for 2016!

If you are interested in volunteering with Sunday Parkways, please contact Phil here.

Guest Writer Phil Barber

Volunteer Manager 

Sunday Parkways ends 2015 with record annual visitors

By Dylan Rivera, PBOT staff

An estimated 28,000 people participated in the Tilikum Crossing-Sellwood Sunday Parkways on Sunday, helping lift the event to an annual record turnout of 119,000 for 2015.

Sunday Parkways children on bikes near bridgeGreat weather and the landmark opening of the Tilikum Crossing: Bridge of the People provided a huge draw for the event Sunday Sept. 27.

Sunday Parkways introduces Portlanders to biking as a transportation option by opening miles of streets to biking, walking and rolling. The routes are designed to introduce new bicyclists to neighborhood greenways, the low-traffic residential streets where the Portland Bureau of Transportation has prioritized safe, comfortable access for people riding bicycles. The events also offer an opportunity for residents to connect with each other, by volunteering their time to help with traffic, distribute refreshments and spread the word about community organizations.

Sunday’s 28,000 participants marked among the largest Sunday Parkways events. Only five of the 33 events held since 2008 have had a higher turnout. The highest was 31,500 at the North Portland Parkways event in 2011.

Growth in Sunday Parkways attendance in East Portland helped produce the record turnout this year, said Linda Ginenthal, who leads Sunday Parkways for the Active Transportation Division of PBOT. Attendance there has grown from 12,000 in 2010 to more than 16,000 this year.

“As we have done more community outreach in East Portland, there are more people who are riding and coming out to enjoy it,” she said. “It has built on the investments we’re making.”

Volunteers and sponsors make Sunday Parkways possible. About a third of the budget for the event, which takes place five times a year, comes from the City of Portland. The balance is funded by sponsorships, led by presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente, as well as fees for participating organizations and businesses and donations from individuals.Sunday Parkways volunteer shows woman a map

About 300 to 400 people volunteer their time for each event. Wearing pink shirts, some direct traffic, helping neighbors access driveways along the route. Others talk with the public about community organizations. A handful of “Superhero Coordinators” ride up and down the route, passing out snacks and water to volunteers and giving them pointers as needed.

“The only way we can do this is with our strong volunteer program,” Ginenthal said.

Sunday Parkways routes are designed to introduce people to comfortable routes for people new to biking. So they focus on neighborhood greenways rather than wider, busy streets. 

“You won’t take your 8-year-old on Burnside or Sandy but you might take him on Northeast Going Street, or Southeast Ankeny or Bush Street in East Portland,” she said. “They are like Sunday Parkways every day.”


Sunday Parkways view of downtown from Sellwood

Planning for 2016 has already begun. Look for news about routes, sponsors and more in February.

For maps and more information, visit or call 503-823-7599. Follow us on Facebook at PortlandSundayParkways and on Twitter @SundayParkways.

Download photos of Sunday Parkways from Flickr:

Yummy Yummy Yummy I want food for my Tummy

Below is a list of your yummy food options for Sunday Parkways September 


Tilikum Crossing Sellwood Park Westmoreland Park Brooklyn School Park
Fuego Organic Island Snow Shaved Ice Fifty Licks Ice Cream Super Dog
Scoop Organic Ice Cream Kathmandu Cafe Big Winner Rose City Kombucha
  Dano's Dogs Fuego Village Crepery
  Via Chicago Two Wahines Shaved Ice Ruby Jewel Ice Cream
  Fuego  Caribbean Kookpot Fuego
  NE Creperie 3 Guys Grilling VooDoo Doughnuts
    Soup Cycle  
    Smart Smoothies  

Salmon Celebration and Sunday Parkways Team up for September Event

Across Portland’s diversely represented Native American communities, a unifying thread can be found swimming up the Crystal Springs Creek. In fact, according to Shawna Zierdt, member of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, it’s clear how closely the story of salmon and the first inhabitants of Portland are entwined.

Baking FishIn the words of Zierdt, “we recognize salmon as a relative,” and as a First Food. A First Food is a food or resource deeply respected for its historical role in ensuring the survival of individuals and communities by providing sustenance. These resources are not viewed as merely disposable, but instead as part of a reciprocal relationship that view humans as the caretakers of the world in which we live. This respect for nature by local tribes has been carried down through the generations for over 14,000 years.

Because of this, the return of wild salmon to the Crystal Springs Creek carries both environmental significance and cultural relevance that pays tribute to Portland’s long-standing reverence for nature. It also tells an important story of resiliency. Judy BlueHorse Skelton, (Nez Perce/Cherokee) Faculty at PSU Indigenous Nations Studies and Portland Parks Board Chair says “The return of Salmon in these waters represents the resiliency and regeneration of our Native peoples in the 21st Century. We are here, and we are all working together to ensure that future generations will be here to welcome the Salmon home.”

However, this story is as much about moving forward in time, as moving back. In old times, there were abundant opportunities to connect with nature. However, just like the lives of most Americans, Portland’s Native American community live within the city. While this provides the benefits of modern living, it has also created barriers to celebrating and practicing Native American traditions.

“It is important to have places where we can celebrate our culture and share with others…connecting in meaningful ways to the places we live is Salmon Bakingintegral to having resilient, healthy communities. The generational transmission of knowledge and culture passes on the teachings for how to live here ensuring respect and responsibility to salmon for generations to come,” said Zierdt.

This need to connect with nature in modern times revived the Salmon Celebration in Portland after a 10 year hiatus. The idea, first suggested at a Native American Community Advisory Council meeting for Portland Parks and Recreation last year, also sparked a larger discussion about ways to provide a connection to the land and to the cultural significance of Salmon in Portland. After a successful first year, the Salmon Celebration is returning to Westmoreland Park, and this time is teaming up with Sunday Parkways.

We invite you to join the Salmon Celebration during your time at Sunday Parkways. The Salmon Celebration, along with Sunday Parkways, is open from 11 am – 4 pm. The Sunday Parkways event includes four activity locations: Tilikum Bridge, Brooklyn School Park, Sellwood Park, and Westmoreland Park. The Salmon Celebration takes place solely at Westmoreland Park. The local tribal community will participate in the event and share blessings, cultural songs, dance, and food cooked in their delicious, traditional ways.



* Contributors to the piece include both Judy Bluehorse and Shawna Zierdt: Judy Bluehorse, Nez Perce/Cherokee and Shawna Zierdt, member of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua, both live in the neighborhood of Westmoreland park, serve on both the Native American Community Advisory Council to Portland Parks and Recreation and Westmoreland Salmon Celebration Planning committee.

* City of Portland Writers include Alexis Gabriel and Barbara Plummer

* Photos courtesy of OregonLive and Judy Bluehorse