Blog post provided by Jasmine Zimmer-Stucky—
On Wednesday July 27th, 35 cyclists from Portland joined the annual month-long cycling festival known as Pedalpalooza to ride against proposed coal export terminals. The ride began in the urban heat of inner SE Portland where riders coalesced at the Sierra Club office to fuel up on watermelon and cookies while also adorning their bikes with spoke cards against coal exports and their backs or backpacks with red “No Coal” capes.
With matching red capes, we were a noticeable force on the streets of Portland as we rode during rush hour to the St. Johns neighborhood to the train tracks that could bring up to 8 full coal trains each day through Portland, supplying the proposed terminals at St. Helens and Coos Bay.
There was one big hill (Greeley Ave before Willamette Blvd) on the 8.5 mile route but spirits were kept high by the mobile PA system pulled by bike trailer that blared everything from M.I.A. hits to old coal mining ballads like Draglines and Which Side Are You On.
The explanation of coal export proposals were made interactive by stops and short presentations at key viewpoints along the route that actualized the direct impacts these coal trains would have Portland residents – specifically poignant to the group was the proximity of urban Greenways like the popular Peninsula Crossing Trail that parallels the rail line known as “The Cut” in North Portland, the planned route of coal trains to supply the St. Helen’s coal export terminal.
The ride ended at a local dance hall in St. Johns where cyclists were met by local residents for a one hour Assembly about community involvement to oppose coal export across the Northwest.