Skip to content

Offset Indulgences: Portland

November 28, 2012

After the gratifying success in giving away the rough equivalents of carbon offsets to those who attended the lectures that I flew some distance to give (Cairns, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand), I thought I’d do the same for the annual lecture I give on transportation and land-use for the City of Portland/PSU Transportation Class – even though the amount was only $50.  (Actually, the cost of an offset is about $1.64 – but I consolidated all the trips I’ve taken there in the past.)
Got two interesting responses:
From Karl Lisle, Senior Planner – Central City Team, at the City of Portland – Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
High-density urban living is great if you have some experience with it.  It can be pretty scary if you don’t.  It’s a big, expensive, risky experiment to dive in and try it if your whole history is in single-family settings. 
Mission-driven, foundation/public funded short-term high density experimental housing opportunities.  Let suburbanites try on the walking city for size with limited financial or cultural risk.  Offer affordable 3 month stays for households who are interested in living in the high-density, high-amenity (car-free or partially free) urban core.  Let them keep their existing homes and experiment with the the post-motordom world.  I would guess a significant percentage would end up liking it and making a shift to permanent post-motordom lifestyles.
Intriguing idea, but I didn’t think $50 would be quite enough to pull it off.   So the recepient is – Patrick Loftus:
In that lecture you offered $50 transportation guilt money to the person who could best spend it on real incremental change.  Giving me $50 won’t make that change, but, as I suggested in class, donating it to Portland’s Community Cycling Center will.  This December the Community Cycling Center will hold its 17th annual Holiday Bike Drive where 400+ kids from families living on low income get to pick their first bike.  Check out this short videoto see what one bike did for one Portland family.


These bikes are donated throughout the year, fully cleaned, and overhauled by hundreds of volunteers.  Despite all that amazing volunteer work, each bike still costs the Cycling Center $50.
This is just a part of what the Community Cycling Center does to broaden access to bicycling and its benefits to everyone.  I believe in the mission so much that I sponsored a child by donating $50 through the Give Guide just before class.  If you know how $50 can make a bigger change than getting a kid their first bike, please let me know.  I’ll donate $50 too.
The cheque is on its way.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rebecca permalink
    November 28, 2012 11:41 am

    Great choice! The cycling center does amazing work for our community. And, Patrick gets more people on bikes than anyone else I know (10 anyones, in fact)!

  2. December 4, 2012 8:37 am

    For anyone looking for a local (Vancouver) organization that performs a similar service, please consider a donation to P.E.D.A.L. — the charitable organization that runs Our Community Bikes, the Pedal Depot, Our Community Bike Club, and other ongoing workshops and services. From womyn-only bike maintenance classes, to working with a variety of other non-profit groups, the organization fills an important niched in the local cycling community, by making affordable bikes and D-I-Y repair training accessible to anyone, regardless of income or other barriers.

    (full disclosure – I am a member of the board of P.E.D.A.L)



  1. Offset Indulgences Update: Portland – 2 « Price Tags

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,910 other followers

%d bloggers like this: