Safety vest donations help vulnerable communities

“Fall back” one hour on Nov. 7 – but make sure you are visible!

Middle school student picks up safety vest from swag table at an event in event.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation took 1,000 safety vests and sashes, donated by ODOT’s Transportation Options program, for handing out at special events and to members of vulnerable communities.

When the days get shorter, it gets even harder to see people walking and bicycling. So someone that wants to support those who use these transportation modes might want to make it safer for them. Enter Stephanie Millar and the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Options Program.

“The Transportation Options Program purchased and made available some reflective items to support visibility, especially among vulnerable populations,” said Millar, who manages the program. “The Portland Bureau of Transportation took advantage of the free items to do some outreach.”

After just a short time, almost all of the 500 safety vests and 500 safety sashes were distributed, according to Sharon White, Pedestrian Safety Outreach and Education coordinator for PBOT.

“The safety sashes are a great item for both kids and adults!” White said. “Thank you so much for providing PBOT with these items to pass along to vulnerable community members.”

Approximately 400 safety vests were dropped off at the distribution center for the city of Portland/Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services, said White. Organizations that do direct outreach to community members experiencing houselessness picked up the safety vests and handed them out directly to vulnerable community members. The remaining safety vests were distributed to Play Grow Learn, Guerreras Latinas, Urban League PDX, Immigrant Refugee Community Organization, and other organizations interested in sharing them with community members.

White and her team also distributed the items at special events, including a pedestrian/bike safety walk and ride event, Rosewood’s Saturday Celebrations, Immigrant Refugee Community Organization senior programs and the Slavic Heritage Festival.

“I have two additional outreach events scheduled where the remaining 100 safety sashes will be distributed,” White told Millar in early September. “Both the vests and the sashes have been very appreciated and well received by community members!”

Millar said the city of Eugene took some of the items for a similar effort in the vulnerable communities located there.

A perfect fit, so to speak, for Oregon’s Transportation Options program