What single activity can improve our health, encourage connections between neighbors and help reduce air pollution in our communities? Walking! As legal representatives of pedestrians since 1981, Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton is proud to support Oregon Walks, the inspiring new incarnation of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition.
Oregon Walks unveiled its new name and exciting new vision at its annual fundraising event, the Weston Awards, on Nov. 10. The evening raised $30,000 for the organization, including a $10,000 donation from STCN. We are proud that this represents the largest business donation ever received by Oregon Walks.
Since its founding in 1991, Oregon Walks has worked to make walking an appealing, convenient and safe option throughout the Portland metropolitan area. Why? Because when more people walk, our communities benefit. As Oregon Walks points out on its website, there are multiple benefits to creating walkable streets:
- Safer neighborhoods. Improving conditions for pedestrians helps prevent automobile crashes.
- Increased social engagement. People who live in walkable neighborhoods are more likely to talk to their neighbors, get involved with politics and trust others.
- Decreased pollution. Walking is a zero-emission activity. Oregon Walks promotes walking for shorter trips – and it turns out that half the trips Americans make are less than three miles long. Such short distances are easily covered by bike or foot, yet 72 percent of those trips are made by car.
- Improved health. Walking is much healthier than driving. Studies have found, for instance, that individuals who walk to work weigh less than those who drive.
- Healthier local economies. Walking saves people money while also encouraging local shopping.
- Equal access for all. Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are more accessible for everyone – including those in wheelchairs, seniors and people who just can’t afford a car.
And some progress has been made. As guest emcee Mayor Sam Adams pointed out at the Weston Awards, 41 percent of Portland’s students walk or bike to school, compared to just 11 percent nationally. STCN is proud to support Oregon Walks in its mission to make Portland more walkable!