Getting There: Break-in won’t slow Shacktown’s mission to use bikes to create positive change

Think about the chili bike.

Discover the sturdy, handmade, insulated wood field put in above the entrance wheel and designed to include as much as 5 gallons of, sure, chili at a time. That’s how a lot of the hearty dish Roger Hernandez prepares two days per week within the winter after which serves to the hungry.

The chili bike is only one of many bicycles within the fleet parked exterior Shacktown Neighborhood Cycle – there are street bikes and mountain bikes and cruisers and pedicabs, too – however the chili bike serves as maybe the strongest image of what Hernandez is as much as: utilizing self-powered mechanisms of transportation to propel self-powered change amongst downtown Spokane’s homeless inhabitants.

“So many individuals want just a little love and compassion, no matter their state of affairs,” Hernandez stated final week on the steps of Shacktown, the nonprofit bike store he runs within the 600 block of West Second Avenue. “I really feel like humanity is lengthy misplaced in society. I’m just one dude, however few of us present unconditional love on the road. It may do lots.”

Shacktown has been Hernandez’s car for demonstrating his unconditional love for these on Spokane’s streets for about 5 years, when he returned to his hometown after a decade in Portland and shortly started volunteering within the Second Avenue area.

On the time, the close by Mosiac Fellowship operated the store underneath its personal identify. After volunteering after which working on the store, Hernandez purchased it in about 2016, he stated, and renamed it after the encampments that long stood along the banks of the Spokane River.

Hernandez had operated one other unconventional and “community-oriented” bike store out of his two-car storage in Portland, so he had the instruments and expertise he wanted to take over.

However whereas Shacktown is a full-service store the place prospects should buy a used bike, Hernandez stated that’s the exception.

Shacktown operates on a “negotiable” sliding scale, charging prospects with means for repairs or a brand new experience, whereas understanding different types of cost with prospects who lack money.

Whereas he provides away a number of issues – chili on chilly days, water on sizzling days, his time to show individuals the fundamentals of motorcycle mechanics and lead neighborhood rides each Thursday night – Hernandez stated it’s essential to supply a “hand up, not a hand out” when doable.

“I simply need individuals to really feel some self-worth,” he stated. “Numerous them lose that for one cause or one other.”

So whereas he says he provides away extra bikes than he sells, Hernandez asks individuals to do one thing in trade for his or her new technique of getting round, similar to cleansing up the store, sorting components or pulling weeds. Typically, although, a motorbike is a reward for a bigger accomplishment. One 12 months, for instance, he stated he gave bikes to residents of the Crosswalk teen shelter after they graduated.

However for all Hernandez provides away, a small group of individuals felt the necessity final week to kick in Shacktown’s doorways and steal greater than $3,000 in bikes, instruments and different tools.

The early Monday morning break-in was all caught on a surveillance system put in simply final month, after vandals damaged a mural of George Floyd painted on the facet of the Shacktown constructing.

Whilst you might excuse some creeping cynicism in a man who will get robbed of issues he’s attempting to provide away, Hernandez says he stays unperturbed – and understanding.

“I’m not even upset about it,” he stated. The masked thieves, he believes, will need to have “wanted” what they stole.

“It’s survival,” Hernandez stated. “I’ve been joking currently that I’ve an unhealthy religion in humanity.”

As Hernandez was speaking, one instance of that religion being repaid rolled up within the type of a pickup with a Schwinn cruiser within the mattress and Cameron Thomson within the cab.

Thomson responded on Monday to information of the break-in by volunteering to board up the damaged doorways, and he was again once more on Wednesday to point out Hernandez the bike he’d simply scored at a Spokane Valley thrift retailer.

Hernandez and Thomson are comparatively new associates, however Thomson stated he was glad to lend Hernandez a hand.

“I’ve seen him round city doing nothing however good,” Thomson stated.

And Hernandez has no plans to cease doing good, regardless of his latest setbacks. The truth is, he stated, these setbacks are an indication of how urgently kindness is required, whether or not it’s supplied within the type of chili or water or a tuned-up outdated cruiser.

“That is simply going to worsen on this new world we dwell in,” Hernandez stated, noting the impact of the pandemic and the unrest roiling the nation. “It’s going to occur extra as individuals develop extra determined and determined.”

Hernandez doesn’t have all of the solutions, in fact, however he’s dedicated to providing the one antidote he can present: a liberating type of transportation.

“Everybody ought to be using bikes,” he stated. “You not often see anybody using a motorbike that’s not smiling.”

Work to look at for

Work begins Monday on a $2 million grind-and-overlay mission on Indian Path Street between Francis and Kathleen avenues. This mission will repave the next arterials: Indian Path Street from Francis Avenue to Kathleen Avenue; Nevada Road from Francis to Sharpsburg Avenue; and Nevada Road from Holland Avenue to Magnesium Street.

Crews can even get going Monday on a $1.7 million grind-and-overlay mission on Eagle Ridge Boulevard between Shelby Road and Meadow Lane. It’s going to repave the next arterials: Eagle Ridge Boulevard from Shelby Road to Meadow Lane; Regal Road between forty sixth and fifty fifth avenues; and twenty ninth Avenue from Excessive Drive to Grand Boulevard.

Work on a $1.1 million repaving mission continues on Longfellow Avenue from Put up Road to Division Road; on Queen Avenue from Perry to Normal Road; on Garfield Road from forty third Avenue to Thurston Avenue; and on Scott Road from forty third to Thurston Avenue. Journey is restricted to native site visitors solely.

As a result of a $1 million water and sewer set up mission, Soda Street is closed between Geiger Boulevard and Electrical Avenue, and Geiger Boulevard is closed between Electrical Avenue and Spring Street.

Hamilton Road stays diminished to at least one lane in every path as a part of a $3.3 million project. As well as, left turns should not allowed from Hamilton onto Mission Avenue. This closure will final by means of Friday, and extra Hamilton lane closures could happen for night time work between 7 p.m. to six a.m.

The next residential streets stay closed as a part of a $5.6 million mission to relocate metropolis utilities throughout development of the North Spokane Hall: Cleveland Avenue from Regal Road to Market Road and Ralph Road from Fairview Avenue to Jackson Avenue.

The intersection of Rowan Avenue and Freya Road shall be closed beginning Monday for a $3.5 million mission to relocate metropolis utilities, additionally as a part of work on NSC.

Wall Road between First Avenue and Second Avenue shall be utterly closed by means of Friday for Avista work.

Progress Street will stay closed at Forker Street by means of Sept. 30.

The Post Street Bridge shall be closed till 2022.