Pamplin Media Group – WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemic

Hillsboro-based WashCo Bikes obtained an outpouring of help after a latest housebreaking, however the want continues.


Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemicWhen Joe Kurmaskie obtained a name from a police officer late at evening on Sept. 14, his first thought was, “Which grownup child are you calling about?” stated Kurmaskie, the daddy of 4 sons.

Fortunately, his children weren’t in bother.

When the officer stated he was from the Hillsboro Police Division, Kurmaskie instantly knew somebody had damaged into WashCo Bikes Group Bike Heart, the nonprofit bike store based mostly in Hillsboro, which Kurmaskie runs.

“I stated inform me if there are any bikes nonetheless within the store,” Kurmaskie stated, including that the glass door on the entrance had been smashed.

Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemicIn truth, the one factor that was stolen was the costliest merchandise within the store — a brand-new, $2,000 electrical bicycle that had been introduced within the day earlier than.

To Kurmaskie’s amazement, after posting in regards to the housebreaking on social media, neighborhood members donated sufficient to cowl prices associated to the incident inside 24 hours. Nike even stepped in to donate two electrical bikes, Kurmaskie stated.

“It was superb to me,” Kurmaskie stated.

He says the neighborhood response after the housebreaking is one more instance of how individuals have stepped as much as hold the group, which depends on donations, afloat in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. However he says WashCo Bikes remains to be in want of help, and the group remains to be adapting its packages for the pandemic.

“We nonetheless have a necessity as a result of we’re getting the bikes out to children and households and other people which are on their third shifts, and even the individuals on the primary and second shifts, who simply aren’t driving (TriMet),” Kurmaskie stated.

The nonprofit promotes bicycling by schooling, advocacy and neighborhood occasions throughout Washington County. It organizes bike security packages akin to bike rodeos and summer time camps for youth. It additionally donates bikes to kids and adults in want by its Undertake-a-Bike program. Donated bikes and bike elements are refurbished, and bikes that are not used for its core packages are offered at discounted charges on the store, situated at 137 N.E. Third St.

Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemicKurmaskie stated a speedy improve in demand for bikes, which occurred throughout the nation within the early months of the pandemic, additionally affected WashCo Bikes, as individuals shifted away from public transit. The scarcity of bikes and bike elements he normally experiences throughout peak summer time bike driving season occurred in April and Could, Kurmaskie stated, and it has continued into late September.

That is why Kurmaskie remains to be asking individuals to think about donating any bikes, bike elements or biking gear they will not use. He stated every thing is required besides bike helmets — OHSU Doernbecher Kids’s Hospital, an everyday WashCo Bikes accomplice for bike security occasions, already donated greater than 700 helmets.

Like most nonprofits, WashCo Bikes has tailored its packages for social distancing, retaining the store filled with exercise.

Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemicKurmaskie has rearranged the store to permit volunteers who restore bikes to be at a distance. Interns who in earlier years would have solely labored on the store in the course of the summer time have been in a position to retaining working into the autumn as a result of a lot of them are school college students who have not returned to their campuses.

WashCo Bikes has additionally tailored its Undertake-a-Bike program.

“It was very COVID-non-friendly,” Kurmaskie stated. “We would pack an auditorium full of children. All of my workers and volunteers can be adjusting and repairing bikes and becoming helmets.”

WashCo Bikes has produced movies for individuals to study the identical information they might hear at an Undertake-a-Bike faculty occasion. Kurmaskie additionally coordinates with lecturers and counselors who suppose a scholar is in want of a motorcycle, and so they discover instances to ship the tools.

“As an alternative of folding our arms and saying, ‘Nicely, we will not do this anymore,’ we have tailored,” Kurmaskie stated, including that WashCo Bikes remains to be offering comparable numbers of bikes by this system to what it did earlier than the pandemic.

Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemicHe is additionally planning to host some smaller, socially-distanced bike rodeos this fall.

Kurmaskie stated the pandemic has compelled individuals inside extra, which has solely elevated individuals’s have to get out of the home and keep lively, particularly when children do not have their regular bodily schooling courses.

“If I may also help increase bodily exercise by biking proper now, we’ll discover a strategy to do it,” Kurmaskie stated.


Pamplin Media Group - WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemic

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