PBOT Safe Routes to School March 2024 Newsletter

Safe Routes to School in white text against an orange background with icons depicting a shoe, a scooter, a skateboard, a wheelchair, a bike and a bus.

Dear parents, caregivers, educators, and community, 

While the temperatures are dipping and we're still using winter coats, daylight savings time is less than one week away—Sunday, March 10! And for many of us, that means more time to walk, bike, and roll. As we inch closer to warmer weather, make sure to mark you calendars with these free Portland Bureau of Transportation events to help you get ready for spring:

Scroll down to learn how to celebrate Earth Month with us this April, check out our new Safe Routes to School Frequently Asked Questions, and more! 

And remember to follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and tag us in your posts and stories so we can easily re-share them.

With gratitude,
Safe Routes to School Team | Brittany, Dana, Gui, Janis, Jeri, Josh, and Meaghan

In this email

  • Get creative and celebrate Earth Month this April
  • New Safe Routes to School FAQs webpage
  • Longtime Safe Routes to School superstar, Lale, is moving on to Vision Zero
  • Safe Blocks, Ventura Park Elementary School partner for Winter Walk + Roll to School Day
  • NE Shaver Street sidewalk connection coming to Parkrose community
  • What we're reading
  • Job and volunteer postings

Get creative and celebrate Earth Month this April

A colorful illustration of a fox and robot on a hilly field with text, "Celebrate Earth Month Featuring Strider & Viv!"

Earth Day is April 22, but we can celebrate out planet all month long by walking and rolling to school!

In the spirit of reducing waste during Earth Month, Oregon Safe Routes to School will not provide physical material incentives; instead, we're encouraged to get creative about how we celebrate walking and rolling for the earth—whether it’s all month or just on Earth Day.

Below are a few resources and ideas about how to celebrate Earth Month:

  • Use this Earth Month toolkit to help spread the word and plan activities. 
  • Plant seeds at your school or around your community.
  • Write a thank you card to the Earth.
  • Create a collaborative mural at your school about walking and rolling to school.
  • Have students make posters about why they love the Earth.

If you have questions about how to organize a walk and roll event check out this webpage or send us an email.

Learn more!

 New Safe Routes to School FAQs

The lower legs and feet of five adults and children walking together on a grass-lined sidewalk.

We recently launched a new webpage that shares answers to frequently asked questions about the Portland Bureau of Transportation Safe Routes to School program.

On the new webpage, you will find answers to common questions, including:

If you have a question about Safe Routes to School that is not included on the webpage, we encourage you to reach out to us by email or call 3-1-1.

Learn more!

Longtime Safe Routes to School superstar, Lale, is moving on to Vision Zero

An adult wearing a zebra costume under a black jacket speaking into a megaphone on an autumnal street.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation Safe Routes to School team feels a bit different, and it's not just because bike ridership in Portland is rebounding. The real reason? Our beloved, longtime Safe Routes to School superstar, Lale Santelices, fully transitioned from her role on our team to one on Vision Zero. (Although, she still sits at the same desk—yay!)

In her new role, Lale is working to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on our streets by fostering relationships with community-based organization who serve populations most impacted by traffic violence, developing tools to share Vision Zero's Safe System approach, engaging community and learning about community experiences to inform Vision Zero projects, and more.

Lale's favorite memories from her time with Safe Routes to School include: 

  • Developing transportation safety curriculum in collaboration with amazing Portland Public School teachers, Kayci Murray-Balto and Kathy Smith, and former colleague, Abra McNair—who has magical technical skills!
  • Organizing outreach for Priority Investment Routes under the guidance of Dana Dickman and Janis McDonald with, again, the support of the one and only Abra McNair. 
  • Adapting Safe Routes to School programming to meet school community needs in collaboration with a multitude of caring, dedicate, and talented caregivers, administrators, and teachers.
  • Developing personal safety work into Safe Routes to School programing in collaboration with former colleague, Xao Posadas. 
  • Incorporating a racial equity lens into bike safety education in collaboration with the incredible Prescott Elementary School Principal Nichole Watson and Jordan Bailey. 
  • Promoting collaborative teamwork within the bureau and partners with the support and encouragement of Janis McDonald.
  • Baking terrible sweets and trying to make people laugh.

If you're interested in connecting with Lale to congratulate her or start a conversation, you may send her an email

Safe Blocks, Ventura Park Elementary School partner for Winter Walk + Roll to School Day

A group of four elementary school-aged students huddle around a sidewalk table where an adult serves hot beverages.

Portland Bureau of Transportation's Safe Blocks program is a community resource

Portland Bureau of Transportation's Safe Blocks program is design to help all community members feel safe and connected. The program supports Portlanders through:

  • Community safety trainings and education
  • Place-based environmental design security assessments
  • Referrals to help community members problem-solve safety issues with resources and services
  • Community building activities, e.g., community-led placemaking projects and walk and roll events
A colorful, homemade "walk and roll to school" sign attached to the front of a pop-up snack table outside on a sidewalk.

Teaming up for Winter Walk + Roll to School Day in East Portland

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Safe Routes to School staff joined Safe Blocks, David Douglas School District, and Ventura Park Elementary School for Winter Walk + Roll to School Day—the annual cold-weather tradition. Sure enough, the brisk winter air was no match for students determined to get to school and learn. 

This was just one fantastic opportunity for the local school community to come together, building connections, and celebrate getting to school in a fun and sustainable way.

If you would like Safe Block's help putting on a walk and roll event, we encourage you to contact Safe Blocks at 503-823-4064.

Learn more!

NE Shaver Street sidewalk connection coming to Parkrose community

Students walk on a street without sidewalks behind a school bus on an overcast rainy day.

PBOT teams are in the early design, planning, and scoping phases to improve a heavily used neighborhood transit route on NE Shaver Street between 102nd and 115th avenues in the Parkrose neighborhood. Once complete, this project will help connect school communities between Prescott Elementary SchoolParkrose Middle SchoolParkrose High School, and Mt. Hood Community College Maywood Park Center with sidewalks and new ADA curb ramps on the south side of NE Shaver Street.

Parkrose middle and high school students and their families helped identify this important—yet challenging—walking route connection during a Safe Routes to School outreach process held throughout 2017. 

While project completion is a few years out, the project team has been actively making progress in recent weeks:

  • TriMet and PBOT staff performed a site walk-through to confirm project locations, potential impacts to the right-of-way, and any adjustments that would be needed to make to serve transit stops.
  • PBOT staff shared a project status update with Parkrose School District leadership.

This project was made possible by $2 million in funding from the Oregon Safe Routes to School Competitive Infrastructure Grant in 2021—as well as a PBOT 20% funding match provided by Fixing Our Streets, Portland's voter-approved 10-cent citywide gas tax.

Stay up to date on the latest news and information about this project by signing up for email updates.

Learn more!

What we're reading

  • Keeping children safe: Douglas Education Service District teaches students how to bike in public (The News-Review)
  • Tactical urbanism effort improves safety around Bay farm school (Alameda Post)
  • Drivers keep passing stopped school buses, despite use of cameras to catch them (Daily Montanan)
  • Bike ridership is rebounding in Portland (Axios Portland)
  • London bike boom risks becoming a victim of its own success (Bloomberg CityLab)
  • Pedestrian deaths fell modestly last year, but there's still a safety "crisis" (NPR)
  • Why "Safe Systems" are not enough to end road violence (Streetsblog)
  • Will female crash dummies improve road safety for women? The answer is complicated (Forbes)
  • Cities can't be about moving cars (Strong Towns)
  • The Black Panther Party’s history of urban street art (Bloomberg CityLab)

Job and volunteer postings

  • Contract Analyst I: This Portland Bureau of Transportation position is responsible for performing administrative, management, program, policy, legislative, and financial analyses; assisting with budget monitoring; and preparing analytical, statistical, and operational reports. This includes critical analysis utilizing principles, concepts, and practices applicable to one or more fields of public administration and management. Closing Monday, March 11. Job posting here.
  • Coordinator I Maintenance and Construction: This Portland Bureau of Transportation Maintenance and Construction Division position will lead efforts related to coordinating and tracking work orders, utilizing multiple database systems, and standard operating procedures to coordinate the delivery of the work orders in collaboration with supervisors and program and division managers. Closing Monday, March 11. Job posting here
  • Sunday Parkways Program Manager: This Portland Bureau of Transportation position will lead and supervise staff who will implement events and communication campaigns. This position is expected to create project work plans, budget, collaborative tools, and will also perform key program functions, e.g., event design, community engagement and communication strategy, budget and contract management, and day-of problem-solving. Closing Monday, March 18. Job posting here.

The City of Portland updates it's job opportunities list weekly. Make sure to check out those new positions every Monday!