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Going Green: Cargo Bikes Empower Portland Communities in Disaster Preparedness

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  Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – The winner of the Disaster Relief Trials, Willie, received several high fives from pals as he completed the “Open” class route. With a standard bicycle, Willie managed to navigate through 30+ mile route with over 100lbs of disaster supplies.
Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – The winner of the Disaster Relief Trials, Willie, received several high fives from pals as he completed the “Open” class route. With a standard bicycle, Willie managed to navigate through 30+ mile route with over 100lbs of disaster supplies.

Portland prides itself as a “green city,” of so it’s no surprise that it’s known as “America’s biking capitol.” Portland’s enthusiasm for biking goes beyond just helping the environment, however. It also helps the city prepare for emergencies.

Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) initiative is a unique effort designed to employ the use of bicycles to carry cargo in case of a disaster to maneuver people and supplies to safety without worrying about gasoline, flooding or other unpredictable conditions.  Our team, FEMA Corps Blue 5, had the opportunity to witness this when we supported the event on Saturday, July 12.

Every community is unique – even when it comes to being prepared.  That’s why as part of our effort to support the Disaster Relief Trials we spent time researching and understanding the types of tools and information we needed to help make this event a success.  As part of this process, we familiarized ourselves with Portland’s culture and residents.

Armed with this understanding, our team brought items to prepare an activity that would contribute to their already extensive knowledge of disaster preparedness. We also worked to create flyers on varying topics, including knowing what to do when an earthquake strikes, seismic retrofitting, and preparing pets for emergencies. We also brought a large seismic hazards map to help us visually demonstrate how the shaking severity of an earthquake differs depending on where you live.

  Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – FEMA Corps team Blue 5 member David Solis helped a gentleman pinpoint where he is from on the Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Map at FEMA’s booth. The map depicted shaking intensity so viewers can better understand how a major earthquake would affect them.
Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – FEMA Corps team Blue 5 member David Solis helped a gentleman pinpoint where he is from on the Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Map at FEMA’s booth. The map depicted shaking intensity so viewers can better understand how a major earthquake would affect them.

We also brought wheel spokes cards that bikers could weave into the spokes of their bikes. These cards contained information on what to do if someone finds themselves outside when an earthquake strikes, along with useful websites in the case of a disaster.

  Portland, Ore., July 12, 2014 -- A wheel spoke card which contained information on what to do if someone finds themselves outside when an earthquake strikes, along with useful websites in the case of a disaster used for the Portland Disaster Relief Trail.
Portland, Ore., July 12, 2014 -- A wheel spoke card which contained information on what to do if someone finds themselves outside when an earthquake strikes, along with useful websites in the case of a disaster used for the Portland Disaster Relief Trail.

For three years in a row, Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials have not only helped protect the environment by advocating bicycle use, but has also helped citizens prepare for the worst. Forging this relationship with Portland’s biking community has been an invaluable way to strengthen our partnership with the city of Portland.  Emergency management is a team effort, and we’re proud to have had an opportunity to support the Disaster Relief Trials and make Portland safer and stronger. 

  Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – FEMA Corps team Blue 5 with FEMA Region X supported the Portland Disaster Relief Trials, a community driven event that showcases how bikes can support the transportation of supplies in an emergency or disaster.
Portland, Ore., July 19, 2014 – FEMA Corps team Blue 5 with FEMA Region X supported the Portland Disaster Relief Trials, a community driven event that showcases how bikes can support the transportation of supplies in an emergency or disaster.
Last Updated: 
06/02/2017 - 09:20

Comments

You have the PDXDRT date listed sometimes as 7/19/2014 and other times as 7/12/2014. As a participant in the Replenish Class I can assure you that it was 7/19. Thanks for joining us and supporting this wonderful event.