Transportation as Liberation

What if we completely reimagined transportation? What if we thought of it not as a daily chore, the means to get from home to school, from work to home, from meeting to meeting, from A to B, but as a way to move freely throughout our community on our own terms? On April 9, during Design Week Portland, BBPDX convened more than 200 business leaders to think bigger about Transportation as Liberation.

The event included dialog boards that asked participants to provide input on topics including their own commutes, their transit gripes, and which points in the region need better transportation options. A panel moderated by Adam Davis of Oregon Humanities featured timely input on transportation changes from Jillian Detweiler of The Street Trust, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, Doug Kelsey, Trimet’s General Manager, Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, and Portland Bureau of Transportation Interim Director Chris Warner.

With the public right of way comprising 30% of the real estate of the city and economic vitality dependent on efficient and equitable mobility, the time is now for the business community to take an active role in advocating for smart transportation investments.

Members who attended had time to meaningfully connect on the topic (check out these snapshots from the evening) and walked away with a better understanding of the Portland region’s transportation challenges and opportunities. Some were galvanized by the topic enough to join a 30-person work group that convened a couple months later where they went deeper on opportunities to have a voice on upcoming transportation policy development. (If you’re interested in learning about our policy workgroups open to all members, contact

Coverage of the event in the Portland Tribune highlighted a new focus emerging from the forum on transportation options that get people out of their cars — and the need for the “big thinking” it will take to get the Portland region there. BBPDX intends to remain an active participant in the pursuit of those new ideas.