This July, a reporter from one of South Korea's largest newspapers, Dong-A Ilbo, toured the city with First Stop Portland to learn more about Portland's approach to environmental conservation through innovations in transportation. Seoul is currently working on a bicycle strategy to deal with environmental issues, although, according to Soojun Shin, lead reporter for the story, it's still a pretty scary place to cycle.
In addition to meeting with folks from Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainable Development (to talk about the city's Climate Action Plan) and Bureau of Transportation (to learn more about the 2030 Bicycle Plan), we stopped by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance's (BTA) new digs in Old Town to meet with their director, Rob Sadowsky, who shared some of the lessons he's learned as an advocate in Portland's efforts to become a more bike-friendly city.
As we hear time and again from the experts we encounter, Portland's commitment to transparency in local politics and development of partnerships between the public sector, business, NGOs, and citizens is key. "We've learned to praise loudly and criticize softly," says Sadowsky of Portland's democratic culture and effective advocacy groups. "Then we get inside and effect change from the inside out."