The Community Cycling Center has many reasons to be grateful as we head into this holiday season. 616 of them to be exact. That’s the total square footage of the massive billboard that debuted this morning on Northeast Sandy Boulevard just east of 22nd.
“It’s one of the most transformative and creative partnerships we’ve been offered in the history of our organization,” said CCC Development Director Brittany Morris as she and a few dozen other staff and supporters braved biting cold winds to celebrate the installation of the billboard . The message, “Moving Forward, Together!” below a seven-person tandem and the CCC’s logo, shop address, and website will now be seen by thousands of people every day.
Space for the billboard was donated by ReRack, the company that owns the building it hangs on. Rerack owner and founder Bo Grayzel was among the crowd this morning. “We’ve been trying to partner with the Community Cycling Center and we just said, ‘Hey, we got this billboard wall, you want to take advantage of it?’ so here we are. It’s a good fit.”
Morris estimates her “scrappy” nonprofit has saved about $25,000 in marketing expenses thanks to ReRack and other donations from the artists who created the image. Portland-based billboard company Outfront Media added sponsorship support.
CCC Community Programs Manager Nissy Cobb did the colorization and background art. I asked them what they hope people think when they look at the image. “I want them to see community. I want them to see themselves in the riders,” they said. “Because these are people that you don’t often get to see riding a bike. And that was the whole goal, to show people that you too can be on a bike and you can get there together.”
The tandem riders range from a child with a backpack, a Black person with their fist in the air, an amputee, and someone wearing a headscarf under their helmet.
“All the people we serve are represented on this bike,” Morris added. “Every single person we serve is at or below the poverty line, and the majority of them are people of color. So we really wanted that to come through. And also that all bodies belong on bikes, all people belong on bikes.”
CCC Executive Director Momoko Saunders called it, “A visual representation of our organization.” She especially likes the “Moving Forward, Together!” part. “We’re going to get there,” Saunders said, staring at the billboard through the early morning sun, “There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re going to move and we’re going to do it together. I think that really encapsulates how we feel right now about our community and our vision for what a bikeable and walkable Portland looks like.”
The billboard will run about 1-2 times per year for up to 4-6 weeks at a time, so get over there and check it out! It’s pretty low, so selfies are easy!
- Jonathan Scarborough: illustrator who donated his labor. Used to own Cat 6 Cycles and now is a professional counselor specializing in creative blocks.
- Nissy Cobb: Digital colorization & background artist, also CCC Community Programs manager.
- David Kurushima: Digital colorization, also CCC Board Secretary who volunteered his labor.