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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

Westmoreland Park: The Return of Wild Salmon to Portland

The city is abuzz with the talk of the recent opening of the new Tilikum Bridge, however, the buzz should not stop there. This year, through a collaboration between the Crystal Springs Partnership, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and supported by local Native American groups, Sunday Parkways is jointly presenting the 2nd Annual Salmon Celebration.

Beautiful OutdoorsThe Salmon Celebration will celebrate the significance of the creek restoration work that has helped foster the return of the wild Coho salmon back into the city for the first time in recent memory. The road to recovery for the Westmoreland Park and the reemergence of the Salmon Celebration have long been in the making.

The master plan from which recent renovations for the Westmoreland Park have been based were developed in 2004 according to an Oregonian article. The park and creek renovation work was accomplished through the collaboration of local environmental and Tribal nonprofits, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Portland Bureaus of Parks and Recreation and Environmental Services, and neighbors.

The scope of the project included converting a duck pond into a wetland, removing nine culverts, adding walkways, planting nearly 2000 native plants and trees, and more. The restoration also included the addition of new features outside of the revived salmon habitat, including a new expanded play area for kids as well as raised walkways over the newly reconstructed wetland.

Last year, in order to highlight the significance of the finished restoration and shed light on the historical and cultural importance of this place, a Lets Playpartnership between local Tribes, Portland Parks & Recreation, and the Portland Parks & Recreation office decided to revive an popular salmon festival from years long past. The partners were happy to find there was much to celebrate. Within six months of the completion of the project salmon returned to the creek.

Admittedly, the salmon are the stars of this show. However, they are also symbolic of a wider healthy ecosystem that is now better able to support the variety of life that the Crystal Spring Creek holds, which includes an array of about 100 various plants, birds, mammals and amphibians. The creek is also a major tributary of Johnson Creek, which feeds into the Willamette River, meaning the benefits of this healthy natural space expand far beyond this stretch of creek.

As the Salmon Celebration enters its second year, it decided to join forces with the final Sunday Parkways event of the year, which highlights the Westmoreland Park. This partnership is monumental for not only serving as a forum to highlight Portland’s outer Southeast communities and new transportation infrastructure through Sunday Parkways, but also its green spaces and cultural history through the Salmon Celebration.

Come celebrate the second year of this amazing celebration as well as our new Sunday Parkways route.

WHAT: 2nd Annual Salmon Celebration at Westmoreland Park

WHERE: PP&R’s Westmoreland Park, SE MacLoughlin and Bybee

WHEN: Sunday, September 27, 11am-4pm.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Circus Cascadia, a Native American blessing, tours of the rejuvenated park, games, crafts, and inter-tribal activities.

Want to get involved? Join Crystal Spring Creek’s monthly stewardship events:

*All Photos courtesy of OregonLive