The Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee has selected the 2012 Big Chainring Award recipients. Gary Guttormsen, Tom Holt, Brian Potwin, Erin Borla, and Lieutenant Chris Carney will be recognized on June 18 for their contributions to pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly environments in Deschutes County.
The awards will be presented at the Deschutes County Board of Commissioners Business Meeting on Monday, June 18 at 10:00 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Barnes and Sawyer rooms of the Deschutes County Services Center at 1300 NW Wall Street in Bend.
Since 1996, the Big Chainring Awards have been awarded annually to honor individuals, businesses, and public agencies that have made significant contributions in support of better bicycling and walking in Central Oregon.
This year?s winners include:
Peter Hanson Memorial Award-Gary Guttormsen
Gary is the quintessential volunteer. When Gary moved over the hill from the valley three years ago, he brought his passion for promoting biking and walking opportunities for people of all ages. He has given so much of his time and energy to the Sisters Trails Alliance, that even a partial list of his work might seem exhausting to most community volunteers. Currently, Gary is the vice-chairperson and trails coordinator for the Sisters Trail Alliance (STA). He assists in producing trail maps for free distribution, helping to lay out new trails, and working on grant applications, environmental assessments, and public outreach. A popular task STA and Gary are currently working on is developing and promoting a seven-mile paved bike path between Sisters and Black Butte Ranch, as well as an improved commuter bike trail from Tollgate to the Sisters High and Middle Schools. Devoted to the concept of developing safe ways for kids to ride their bikes to school, Gary laid out and practically singlehandedly built a trail connecting Crossroads to the Sisters High School. In addition, when Gary got involved with organizing the first-ever Sisters Mountain Bike Festival, he made sure that the now-annual event would include a kids? camp designed to teach mountain bike techniques and safety. Gary has also worked closely with Erin Borla of the Sisters Chamber of Commerce and the State Highway Department to create and promote three new scenic bikeways for the area. Simply listing Gary?s volunteer efforts will not capture the underlying spirit. He brings no ego to the table ? endless enthusiasm, cooperation, and dedication. When someone is needed to get something done, Gary is there. He has such a unique capacity to volunteer for so much, and to take so much leadership in each, and yet to leave so much space for others to join with him as an equal. When the going gets tough, Gary provides counsel, wisdom, and humor. He is instinctively inclusive ? welcoming everyone, praising their efforts, making sure their efforts are appreciated and recognized. It would be hard to imagine the kind of qualities one would like to see in a volunteer that Gary does not possess and demonstrate daily. Few persons would honor the memory of Peter Hanson as thoroughly and as graciously as Gary.
Among Gary?s past state and national recognitions are The Alice B ToeClips Award for his work on the Springfield Bicycle Advisory Committee (SBAC) and for promoting bike transportation (SBAC was instrumental in getting the Oregon bicycle helmet law enacted and in getting Giro and Bell to donate helmets for needy kids). In 2001 he was named Volunteer of the Year by the then Chief of the National Forest, Mike Dombeck.
Big Chainring Award for an Individual-Tom Holt
Tom Holt first noticed a 2005 trail plan on the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District?s (RAPRD) website. Tom started asking questions, doing some research, and receiving support from Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA) regarding establishing the newest trail network in Redmond. The Radlands, also known as the East Redmond Trail Complex at the High Desert Sports Complex in Redmond, started to take shape. Tom enlisted support from the local bike shop and other businesses and community members. The first bike trails has been completed and more trails are expected all because of Tom Holt?s passion to make the 2005 trail plan a reality.
Big Chainring Award for a Non-Profit Organization:
Brian Potwin, COMMUTE OPTIONS
Brian Potwin, Safe Routes to School Coordinator and Lead Instructor for Commute Options, loves to teach. In 2011, Deschutes County court system, police agencies, Commute Options, and BPAC established a bicycle diversion program option for those cyclists cited for traffic violations. Brian, a League of American Bicyclist Certified Instructor, is the lead instructor for the diversion program for the City of Bend and Redmond. Regardless if there is one student or several, Brian takes the time to teach every one of them. Some individuals enter the class disgruntled but everyone leaves with a better attitude indicating that it was worth his or her time and money. It is because of Brian?s passion and desire to teach that the bicycle diversion program has become a great educational program.
Big Chainring Award for Advocacy/Group:
Erin Borla, SISTERS AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
In 2010-2011, Erin took on the task of coordinating the proposal for three Oregon State Scenic Bikeways near Sisters. She enlisted volunteers in the community to document, market, and maintain the proposed routes. She coordinated a wide and disparate variety of agencies and organizations, including the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests; ODOT Region 2 and 4; Deschutes, Jefferson, and Lane Counties; City of Sisters and the communities of Terrebonne and Camp Sherman; and several local and regional destination marketing associations. She understood from the very beginning that these bikeway designations would be a tremendous asset to bicycling and to tourism in Sisters Country. Erin brought enormous and infectious enthusiasm to the project ? all the more impressive as she is not even, herself, a cyclist. In the end, on the strength and skill of her management efforts, and on the power of her enthusiasm, everyone climbed on board and the State designated all the routes proposed by the Sisters group, virtually unchanged. In 2012, her enthusiasm continued putting in place the local management plan required of all Scenic Bikeways, working closely with all the community partners, while taking on key activities herself, under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce. Erin Borla and the Sisters Chamber of Commerce have clearly demonstrated the kind of leadership and advocacy needed to improve bicycling in Deschutes County.
Big Chainring Award for a Public Agency
Lt. Chris Carney, CITY OF BEND POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Bend Police Department, and particularly the efforts of Lt. Carney, have provided extensive coordination efforts with multiple agencies and court systems to establish the Bicycle Diversion Program in Deschutes County, making ours the second county in the state with such a program. After meeting with several stakeholders in the community, a plan was put in place to combine driver and bicyclist education with increased enforcement. The Bicycle Diversion program allows local law enforcement officers to issue citations without feeling that it will disproportionately affect lower-income individuals. Chris Carney was also instrumental in the development of several educational components including BPAC?s, ?Know the Rules, Share the Road.? campaign and the City of Bend Road User Safety Task Force (RUSTF) campaign, focused on drunk driving/riding, bicycle wrong way riding, as well as ?see and be seen.? An avid cyclist himself, Chris?s efforts on behalf of the Bend Police Department may very well benefit The City of Bend in ways that contribute greatly to the positive economic impact of cycling in the community.
For more information about the annual Big Chainring Awards, please contact Deschutes County Associate Planner Cynthia Smidt at (541) 317-3150.