2018 Weston Recap

 

Thank you for being part of another amazing Weston Awards on Friday, November 2nd. With a room full of amazing people we celebrated the passion of walkability, raised over $33,000, shared our stories, and had a night full of fun and laughter.

We were thrilled to recognize the work of advocates Elaine Friesen-Strang, Margi Bradway, WALK with Refugees and Immigrants, and Legacy Award winner Leah Treat for their continued work improving access to safe walking conditions for everyone.


We were incredibly honored to welcome Congressman Earl Blumenauer back to the Westons - he was a keynote speaker at our first ever Weston Awards back in 2011! The room erupted in cheers at Earl’s powerful and short message: “Walk, Dammit!”. He also shared his encouragement that walking is “the least expensive, most effective way to end congestion and pollution, burning calories instead of fossil fuels” and reminded guests about one very important walk to take before this evening: to the ballot box. 

Our first winner of the night was Elaine Friesen-Strang who has been advocating and bringing people together by walking for many years. She was instrumental in helping build AARP’s NeighborWalks. From testifying at the local and state level for transportation funding, pedestrian infrastructure, and Vision Zero to leading walk audits and community advocacy events, to presenting at conferences across the country, Elaine is not afraid to speak out.

Elaine put it beautifully during her speech “We need sidewalks not only to get where we need to go, but also to connect us.”

Margi Bradway has been championing active transportation for over 10 years during her time at the Oregon Department of Transportation, Portland Bureau of Transportation and currently at Metro. She shared with the audience that her victory is dedicated to the late, great Gail Achterman, who steered her into transportation advocacy back in 2007.

Margi closed by reminding everyone in the room that “here in Oregon, we do hard things”. Getting safer streets for everyone is hard work and we are glad to have a champion like Margi continuing that work.


Som Subedi accepted the Weston Award on behalf of WALK with Refugees and Immigrants. He spoke about the importance of investing in the immigrant and refugee population here in Portland. 
Partners and WALK participants were well represented in the room, by PBOT, Parks and Recreation, Parks for New Portlanders staff, Youth Ambassadors, Commissioner Amanda Fritz,  and many others in attendance. Many others who were instrumental in the success of WALK with Refugees and Immigrants weren’t able to join us on Friday but were given a shoutout by Som from the stage. We are so happy to recognize this incredible effort to show that Portland stands united with our refugee and immigrant neighbors. What a great use of walking to bring our community together during much needed times. 


Former PBOT Director Leah Treat accepted this year's Legacy Award for her years of work that have been nothing short of transformative. Her stewardship of the agency includes numerous victories towards shifting PBOT’s internal policies, external advocacies and policy priorities towards equitable investments in walkable and livable streets.

Leah shared how important it was to see the state of infrastructure in East Portland after arriving in Portland back in 2013. She put it bluntly “if you live east of 205 you're more than 2 times as likely to die on our roads as anyone in the city. That's not okay!”

Leah was a leader in Vision Zero becoming a reality in Portland and reminded everyone that the work is not done and the goal of zero deaths on our streets is something that we need to continue to work on to achieve, "it's an aspiration and a goal, and if we don't put our goals there, what are we doing? No loss of life on our road is acceptable."

Being in a room filled with our friends and colleagues who are as passionate as we are about making our city and state a better place for all who walk and roll is what makes the Weston Awards an amazing night. We are so happy to spend an evening celebrating with you all and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

 Walk on!

You can find photos of the evening here:

Weston Awards 2018 Photo Album

Weston Awards 2018 Photo Booth