We abhor the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others. These murders reveal the systemic racism prevalent within our communities. 2020 has also proven the structural racism that is embedded in our country, as we have learned that COVID-19 is harming Black and brown people at a disproportional rate. Black Lives Matter and we are committed to bring about change through our work and through those with whom we work.
The 40-Mile Loop Land Trust is a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to help acquire or access land for non-motorized trails and connect the most heavily used parks in the metropolitan region. These connections provide invaluable opportunities for recreation, community, and safe routes to jobs for all users, users in the neighborhood as well as visitors. This nexus of trails is called the 40-Mile Loop, and the Land Trust is working to complete the Loop.
We recognize that Black and brown people often do not feel safe using trail systems, and the Land Trust aims to figure out how to mitigate these barriers. Our first step is to recognize the past as we pledge to encourage positive reformation to systemic challenges and make certain the 40-Mile Loop is open and accessible to all.
The 40-Mile Loop Land Trust will
- Work with local non-profits on collaborative approaches to close gaps in the Loop and secure access for all (e.g., Oregon Wild, Coalition of Communities of Color, and The Intertwine).
- Continue to advocate for connections to the 40-Mile Loop and trails in high-risk communities in our metro region.
- Continue to work with communities to remove barriers to safe trail use and listen to our communities to understand those barriers through events, conferences, and special learning opportunities.
The 40-Mile Loop Land Trust will learn from the past via resources available to all such as
- City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability’s History of Racist Planning in Portland
- Portland Bureau of Transportation News Blog PedPDX: Walking While Black
- Walking While Black: Racial Bias at the Crosswalk, by Kimberly Kahn Associate Professor of Social Psychology at Portland State University
- A Hidden History: The stories and struggles of Oregon’s African American communities from Oregon Humanities, by Walidah Imarisha
- The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America from The Atlantic, by Alana Semuels
Black lives matter. The safety of our children and their families matter. Safe and convenient access to trails matter.
40-Mile Loop Land Trust Board of Directors
Bob Akers, President