A Community Celebrates the New Columbia Bike Repair Hub
By Melinda Musser, Communications & Marketing Manager
In just 10 quick days, students from Oregon College of Art & Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art transformed a vacant lot into a beautiful bike repair space at New Columbia. Made possible with support from Bikes Belong, the Coon Family Foundation, the Portland Development Commission, the Bike Gallery, and dozens of other businesses and individual supporters, the project’s construction culminated in a ribbon-cutting celebration on Wednesday, September 5th.
The entire Hub design and construction process was inspiring to watch. Members of We All Can Ride, the resident-led bike committee, were the driving force behind the project, and provided inspiration and feedback during the design process. They were so excited to finally open it up to the public on Wednesday and share in the joy of the beautiful space.
Community members showed up in droves to the event with their bicycles, many needing flat tires repaired. Excitement filled the air as everyone admired the new Bike Repair Hub. Families worked together, learning how to patch flats and other basic bike maintenance lessons. Residents demonstrated a clear need for bike repair and a strong desire to learn more about bikes in order to continue riding with their friends and families.
“This is about three things: health, community, and empowerment,” said Charles Robertson, We All Can Ride leader. Charles is a community health worker and he believes there is a strong connection between the work at Village Market, Village Gardens, The Charles Jordan Community Center, and now the new Bike Repair Hub – each organization shares a similar vision of building a healthy community at New Columbia. “If you need fuel, you can go to the Market. If your bike breaks down, you can come over here so that we all can ride.”
“It’s going to be a great meeting point for the kids,” said Michelle Hanna, a ride leader from We All Can Ride who had the honor of cutting the bike chain ribbon at the celebration. “It will encourage biking, which of course leads to better health! Hopefully it will show the community how much we all care and want the best for all of us.”
Our work isn’t done yet. We’ll be working with We All Can Ride to design curriculum for the upcoming repair workshops in October, and next summer we’ll collaborate with Home Forward to build a bike skills park on the same lot as the Bike Repair Hub.
Thank you to everyone who came out to make this event so special. Here’s to many more years of community-led bike rides, repair workshops, and fun!
For more great photos of the ribbon-cutting celebration, please check out our Flickr Page.
Photos by Ben Latterell and Craig Kerbow