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Portland Active Senior Programs Earn Recognition

Release Date: 02/18/2009
Contact Information: Judy Smith, EPA Public Affairs, 503-326-6994 / smith.judy@epa.gov Donna Green, City of Portland, 503-823-6114, donna.green@pdxtrans.org

(Portland, Oregon -- February 17, 2009) The City of Portland has been recognized for their efforts to integrate older adults into community activities, by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging award program.

“We are delighted to recognize and heighten awareness of this Portland program that combines smart growth with active aging,” said Michelle Pirzadeh, Region 10 Acting Administrator. “The City’s action merits national recognition because it improves the health and well-being of the community and its older citizens.”

Donna Green, City of Portland, Bureau of Transportation, accepted the Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Achievement Award from EPA during a recent national Smart Growth conference. According to Green, the results are striking.

“Portland’s program to build strength and confidence in older adults through walking and cycling is working,” Green declared. “Of the 300 people who have participated in the Senior Strolls program since 2005, a majority say they walk more and have replaced at least one driving trip with a walking trip. The biking classes are consistently full!”

To encourage older adults to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle, Portland’s Bureaus of Transportation and Parks & Recreation developed the Senior Strolls and Senior Bike programs. The bike program trains seniors on the use of comfortable, stable recumbent tricycles, providing cycles and helmets for all participants. The walking program offers several levels of walking and hiking programs for a wide range of abilities.

Portland was selected as a community that is demonstrating the best and most inclusive overall implementation of smart growth and active aging at the neighborhood and municipal levels. EPA’s award applicants were evaluated based on the overall effectiveness of their programs, the level of community involvement and outreach, the use of innovative approaches and the overall environmental health benefits of the project.

Portland is already known for many environmentally-friendly innovations such as building compact neighborhoods and placing homes, businesses, services, and recreational opportunities within walking distance. Neighborhood centers are connected by nearly 2,500 miles of sidewalks, a sophisticated transit system, and a bike network of more than 270 miles of lanes, paths, and boulevards.

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For more about the EPA Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging Initiative: http://www.epa.gov/aging/bhc/about.htm

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Donna Green, of the City of Portland, Office of Transportation (middle) accepting the Achievement Award from Kathy Sykes, EPA Senior Advisor for the Aging Initiative, and Martha Shimkin, EPA Director for Children and Aging Health Protection Division

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