'Big Chainring Award' winners named

BEND, Ore. - The Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee has selected the 2013 Big Chainring Award recipients.

Rick Root with the City of Bend, Andy Barram, Ken Cardwell, Paul Bertanga with the City of Sisters, Jeff Schuler with Bicycle Re-Source, Katie Hammer and RARPD Board, and West Bend Property Company will be recognized on June 24 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 24 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:

Lifetime Achievement Award: Rick Root, City of Bend

Rick Root has offered the citizens of Bend a 19-year career focus on creating a transportation system that is safe and multimodal.  He has championed many small and large projects, key policy changes, and bike-ped master plans that will forever change the fabric of our community's transportation system.  Rick's strong voice ensured the multimodal choice in the community.  Here are just a few of the highlights from this long career:

• Rick Root's groundbreaking efforts on roundabouts have allowed the city to develop policies requiring that roundabouts be considered first when assessing intersection control alternatives. 

• Promoted Context Sensitive Design as a key feature of roadway design.  The strongest example of this was for the Southern River Crossing, now known as Reed Market Road.  The design included roundabouts, wide sidewalks, medians with landscaping, trail crossing elements, and built-in speed reduction (raised curbs for a secure bike ride) that became the first Cycle Track in the state of Oregon. 

• Achieved design and construction of the undercrossing of Highway 20 at Pilot Butte State Park.  He was the stalwart champion with ODOT and city administration to include this feature in the project.

• Ensured that there is a Trail Master Plan Developed and adopted by the city and park and recreation district. 

• No widening policies on minor arterials.  This "Policy 21" effort was developed by Rick Root to ensure that these roadways are now and forever walkable and crossable by both people on foot and bike.

• Landscaped medians.  This policy has allowed median refuges to exist at most crossings of arterial and collector roadways.

• The "Skinny Streets" policy.  Rick Root worked with the community and the fire department to reduce the city's local residential street width requirement.  The skinner streets allow parking, contained speeds, fire department circulation, and enhanced pedestrian and bicycle safety in residential areas.

• Championed and ensured that developers created connections between neighborhoods.

• Ensured that a walking network of planned connections was adopted into the Transportation System Plan.

• SDC funding of sidewalks and bicycle facilities.  Mr. Root worked to ensure that capacity enhancements in Bend could be defined to allow the inclusion of walking and biking facilities. 

The BPAC dedicates this award to Rick Root so that his strong and ever-present efforts to improve walking and bicycling conditions do not go unnoticed.  May we may each intensify our own efforts to ensure his rich legacy is carried out into the future, achieving a walkable and bikeable town for people of all ages and abilities.

Peter Hanson Memorial Award: Andy Barram

Andy Barram has always had a love for cycling and a long history of volunteering.  In recent years, his impact on promoting cycling in the Deschutes County area has grown so far and so fast, the BPAC believes he deserves recognition.  Mr. Barram's long history of volunteering includes groups and events such as Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), Tour Des Chutes, Cascade Cycling Classic, Pole Pedal Paddle, USACycling events/championships, Horse Butte 10 Miler, Dirty Half, Peterson Ridge Rumble, Thrilla Cyclocross Series, World Bicycle Relief, and more.  Mr. Barram launched from simply recreational and commuter cycling to volunteering as team manager for one of the largest cycling teams in the region, Boneyard Cycling.  Boneyard Cycling, started in 2010, is a social club to encourage fun on bikes and support the local community through promoting sponsors and volunteering time to local charities.  Mr. Barram infuses cycling in all that he does, whether by the tattoo of a chainring on his calf, making a custom bike rack for a motorcycle, or welding 90 trophies out of bike parts for the upcoming Chainbreaker race.  Through his passion, you will always find Andy Barram promoting bicycling and walking in Deschutes County.

Big Chainring Award for an Individual: Ken Cardwell

Ken Cardwell is passionate about providing well-maintained bicycles to area students and the homeless community.  Mr. Cardwell spends countless hours fixing bikes for students.  Not only will he fix and repair the bikes, he will then deliver them to the Family Access Network (FAN) advocates so the students can get the bikes sooner.  Additionally, he provides and repairs bicycles for the homeless community so they have a form of transportation.  Providing bikes to this community allows individuals to come in for a hot meal at the Redmond Senior Center or into a warm shelter for the night.  Mr. Cardwell's passion serves the community daily and faithfully by keeping it rolling with happy bicycles. 

Big Chainring Award for a Project: Paul Bertagna, City of Sisters

Paul Bertagna, City of Sisters Director of Public Works, was a driving force behind the planning, design, and construction of the Santiam Multi Use Path, a 2000 foot long bicycle and pedestrian hard surface path connecting Sisters' downtown and residential areas to the City's major shopping center on the west side of town.  This roadway-separated path provides a comfortable and safe route for residents and visitors to Sisters.  This project is an excellent example of the effectiveness, usefulness, and safety of a wide hard surface path separated from the highway.  The path has received outstanding response from the community and it would not have happened without Mr. Bertagna's efforts.

Big Chainring Award for Nonprofit Organization: Jeff Schuler, Bicycle Re-Source of Bend

Jeff Schuler is the co-founder of the nonprofit bicycle organization, Bicycle Re-Source of Bend (BRoB).  Mr. Schuler organized BRoB in 2011 as a result of the needs within the community for free or low-cost bicycles.  As a longtime collector of used bikes of all types and sizes, he has responded to requests from both individuals and organizations with needs for safe, refurbished, and functional bicycles.  Mr. Schuler is currently the president of the BRoB board of directors and is responsible for coordinating volunteers, accepting bike donations, delivering bikes, and providing as much energy as necessary to keep the organization going strong.  The BRoB has provided bicycles to Central Oregon Veterans Outreach, The Loft, CASA, local churches, Bend Elks Kids Night, Family Access Network, Neighbor Impact, The Shepherd's House, and many others.  Mr. Shuler has a strong commitment to help people with need for a bike for basic transportation and healthy exercise.  He has committed hundreds of volunteer hours and money to the advancement of bicycling in Deschutes County.

Big Chainring Award for Commercial Business: West Bend Property Company

West Bend Property Company has long understood the value of encouraging bicycle and pedestrian travel within the NorthWest Crossing development.  The latest example of their continued "bicycle-pedestrian-friendly" design is when the extension of Lemhi Pass Drive was constructed; a grade-separated crossing of the existing trail on the north side of Skyliners Road was also established.  The improvement has provided an "undercrossing" with the new roadway where trail users can continue to have unimpeded use of the trail with no safety conflicts.  This particular improvement is just one example of how the developer has sought to build complete neighborhoods.

Big Chainring Award for Public Agency: Katie Hammer and Board of Directors, Redmond Area Parks and Recreation District (RAPRD)

The RAPRD Board and their executive director, Katie Hammer, have encouraged the development of the Radlands Trail Complex, a hiking and mountain biking trail system with 10 miles of natural surface trail at present and plans for more great terrain.  Today, the Radlands has novice, intermediate, and advanced trails with trail views of the Three Sisters.  Ms. Hammer brought the fledging idea to the District Board.  Together they guided the idea through the requirements of Deschutes County, owner of the adjacent vacant land, and created an operating agreement between the two agencies.  Central Oregon Trails Alliance and local volunteers have been instrumental in establishing the trails on the ground while the RAPRD Board adopted COTA trail standards for safer trail framework.  The RAPRD Board has the intention for different user groups (mountain bikers, walkers, and equestrians) to work with each other and create solutions for any problems.  The Central Oregon recreational community benefits from the work of the RAPRD Board and Ms. Hammer. 

For more information about the annual Big Chainring Awards, please contact Deschutes County Associate Planner Cynthia Smidt at (541) 317-3150.

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