Socializing and Membership
One of the most successful WPC socializing events was an annual meeting held in February 1994 at the Benson Hotel with the WPC Advisory Board, which included Earl Blumenauer, Bill Naito, Mike Houck, and Terry Moore. 'It really helped bring people together," says Dotterrer. "We also got a lot of good advice--for example, that the purpose of the WPC should be to promote pedestrians, not oppose the automobile."
Attracting more members has been an ongoing challenge for the WPC. During its heydey in the mid 1990s, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition had 228 members, grant money, and a part time staff person. Since then, the all volunteer organization has been high on passion and policy, but less savvy about capacity building. Increasing membership, launching fundraising drives, and building coalitions with other non-profits remain key issues.
In 2003-2004, WPC took a big step in this direction by forming a partnership with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance on several projects: a Portland Department of Transportation police training grant, an Oregon Department of Transportation pedestrian safety enforcement grant, and a $20,000 Nike grant to expand statewide walk to school efforts. In Spring 2004, the BTA and WPC also hired a joint staff person, Robert Ping, as a Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator.
"Our constituency is everybody," says Nancy Christie. "If we can hang in there, there are a lot more people to be tapped. Then we could really take off."