(Aug. 17, 2016) - This weekend Portland will host visitors from across the globe for the 2016 International Open Streets Summit and other events throughout the city opening the streets for people to walk, bike, dance, play, and connect. Over 200 guests will be arriving from Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Mexico and all across North America to learn, share and experience Portland at its best.
Hosted by the Portland State University (PSU) Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation and sponsored by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), The Open Street Project’s 2016 International Open Streets Summit will open with a plenary featuring U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Transportation Director Leah Treat and PBOT’s Transportation and Safety Programs Manager - and founder of Portland Sunday Parkways - Linda Ginenthal. The three-day Summit will feature sessions focused on the following themes: “Inspiring Community Resilience” for health and physical activity professionals and advocates, “Making the Case” for policymakers and researchers, “Building a Movement” for practitioners and technicians of Open Streets events, and “Open Streets and Tactical Urbanism: Complementary approaches to reimagining our streets”. While already popular and established in Portland, open streets events are increasingly common in cities all over the world seeking innovative ways to achieve environmental, social, economic, and public health goals.
At noon on Saturday, Aug. 20, the summit will host a noontime public keynote session at Portland State University’s Smith Memorial Hall titled “Imagining our Streets for Healthy, Active, Happy People.” This free session will focus on reimagining and opening up city streets to help people be happy, healthy, and socially and physically more active. The public is invited to attend.
Two additional PBOT-sponsored open streets events will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20: Oregon Walkways: Connect the Park Blocks on ‘the Green Loop’ and the Jade International Night Market. Oregon Walkways: Connect the Park Blocks is a one-day event connecting the North and South Park Blocks from NW Hoyt to SW Market through the creation of a comfortable walking route with minimal motor vehicle traffic interruption. People interested in attending the public keynote session can join a kick-off walk from Ankeny Pedestrian Plaza by Bailey’s Tap Room to the International Open Street Summit at PSU at 11 a.m. The Oregon Walkways event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a variety of children’s activities as well as music and food carts along the route.
The third annual Jade International Night Market kicks off on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. at SE 82nd Avenue and Division Street. Portland’s multicultural communities come out in full force each August to celebrate one of East Portland's biggest events. The Night Market features international cuisine from local businesses, cultural performances, and a celebration and recognition of the vibrant community that resides in the Jade District neighborhood and in East Portland. Last year the night market drew nearly 20,000 people to support small businesses, community organizations, and cultural groups.
Portland’s open streets weekend will culminate with Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways on Sunday, August 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The 7-mile loop will take participants on a tour of Laurelhurst, Sewallcrest, Colonel Summers and Ivon Parks where they can grab a bite to eat, listen to tunes, and join activities like hula-hooping, rock-climbing, and live concerts, including a performance by Portland’s The Slants - the first and only all-Asian American dance rock band in the world.
“Streets are for people – and Portland has made a name for itself by embracing this notion. Our passionate and vibrant arts and culture scene around biking and walking is contagious,” said U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer. “The International Open Streets Summit will be a unique opportunity for celebration, reflection, and movement-building.”
“Our livable streets make walking, biking, and transit convenient and safe. Not only are our streets multi-modal, they also promote neighborhood placemaking and support our goal of reducing local carbon emissions 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050,” said Mayor Charlie Hales. “We are honored to host the International Open Streets Summit in Portland and to be recognized as a world leader in innovative transportation.”
“It is a unique emotional experience to see people of all ages and abilities out in the streets, enjoying themselves and bringing a new level of energy and enthusiasm to the neighborhood during events like Portland Sunday Parkways. As a transportation official, I love seeing folks participate who normally are less confident about being in the street if they are outside of a vehicle,” said Transportation Director Leah Treat. “It is tremendously gratifying that we can deliver this very rich experience and do it in partnership with so many community organizations, businesses and open streets stakeholders.”
“Showing people the secret streets hidden from most city maps that hold that Sunday Parkways-like experience is what Open Streets does for Portland,” said PBOT’s Active Transportation and Safety Programs Manager, Linda Ginenthal. “It is not enough to have 20,000 people out riding on a Sunday afternoon. It is our obligation to get back to a place where kids and families can open their doors and stream out into the longest public space we have – our streets.”
Portlanders interested in organizing a street fair, block party, community barbecue, marathon, parade or other event in Portland's streets can get additional information at: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/66077
An interactive map that includes street fairs, farmers markets, BIKETOWN, Ankeny Plaza and other activities in Portland’s streets can be viewed at: www.portlandinthestreets.com