By Jack Rubinger
On June 2, REACH sponsored their first bike fair for residents living in REACH’s SE Portland affordable apartment communities, hosted at 72Foster (5005 SE 72nd Ave). 40 residents left with helmets, bike skills and safer bikes with about 10 neighbors stopping by the event.
“It was a great opportunity to focus on community-building, food security, safety, and healthy living,” said Lauren Schmidt, Fundraising & Public Relations Manager
REACH. “We are thrilled with the success of the event! We hope to have a Fix-it Fair annually at 72Foster. It’s a wonderful way to kick off the summer with safety in mind! This summer, we hope to host smaller versions of this event at other REACH properties to get free bike helmets to as many youth as possible and promote health and safety while building community,” added Schmidt.
The event concept started with a resident from 72Foster who wanted to use her skills for bike repairs to help her neighbors fix their bikes and make them more usable. 72Foster Resident Services Coordinator, Peg Wolfert, worked with her on this idea, which then blossomed into a holistic bike safety event for kids and adults throughout REACH’s SE Portland housing portfolio. “As a devoted member of the Portland bike community and lover of all things that sparkle, our Resident Volunteer was thrilled to be helping so many of their neighbors be safe while also hosting the Bike Bling table at the event,” said Schmidt.
“Resident-led events at REACH are the most fulfilling, and this bike event is a wonderful example of the positive ripple effect one person can have on their community,” said Wolfert, . “This resident’s desire to share her bike repair talents with neighbors inspired a holistic bike event for the broader community. We are grateful for the collaboration with PBOT and Bikes for Humanity to extend our reach and provide bike education for safer rides for adults and kids in our communities.”
REACH is working with the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), BIKETOWN, Bikes for Humanity PDX and others to provide bike repair services, teach kids to ride, bike safety information, as well as raffle prizes and food.
Legacy Emanuel Medical Center’s “Trauma Nurses Talk Tough” program provided 91 bicycle helmets for the REACH event. “As we head into sunnier days, it’s a great opportunity to remind folks about resources in our community to support bike safety and access to alternative transportation,” said Wolfert.
“It was a great experience working at the fair!,” said Andrew from Bikes for Humanity. “Bikes for Humanity PDX has been doing free bike fix events for a dozen-plus years, but had to scale back in-person events due to COVID-19 concerns. It was wonderful to be back to support such a great community event and help folks get their bikes ready for the summer. Often all it takes to make a bike safe and rideable is 10 minutes in the stand with a trained mechanic. We’re grateful to REACH and PBOT for bringing these resources directly to the people who needed them.”
Safe Routes to School created a bike playground, an installation that will be there all summer. A resident’s booth had a bling station to decorate helmets, which looked super fun on a rare and beautiful sunny day in early June.
Pizza was brought in by Papa John’s and every station had a COVID-19 safety kit.
Raffle prizes were offered from several local businesses, including Red Castle Games, Bella’s Italian Bakery, Otto’s Pizza, Clever Cycles and Recumbent PDX, which donated U-locks.
This year marks REACH’s 40th anniversary. What began as a small group of SE Portland neighbors wanting to make a difference in their community has grown into a community development organization creating over 2,700 affordable homes across our region. While REACH has evolved over the decades, they maintain a grassroots spirit. They remain grounded in the mission of creating affordable housing and opportunities for everyone in our community to thrive.
REACH invites all of SE Portland to join them in celebrating 40 years of creating opportunities to thrive and the vision of people empowered to achieve their goals and enjoying a strong sense of community.
Photo by REACH