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

Pamplin Media Group – WashCo Bikes pedals on after burglary, adapts to pandemic 2020-10-01Leave a comment

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

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


PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Joe Kurmaskie is the director of WashCo Bikes Community Bike Center in Hillsboro.When Joe Kurmaskie acquired a name from a police officer late at evening on Sept. 14, his first thought was, “Which grownup child are you calling about?” mentioned Kurmaskie, the daddy of 4 sons.

Fortunately, his children weren’t in hassle.

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

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

COURTESY PHOTO: HILLSBORO POLICE DEPARTMENT - A smashed door at WashCo Bikes Community Bike Center in Hillsboro after a recent burglary.The truth is, the one factor that was stolen was the most costly 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 concerning the housebreaking on social media, group members donated sufficient to cowl prices associated to the incident inside 24 hours. Nike even stepped in to donate two electrical bikes, Kurmaskie mentioned.

“It was wonderful to me,” Kurmaskie mentioned.

He says the group response after the housebreaking is one more instance of how individuals have stepped as much as preserve the group, which depends on donations, afloat in the course of the coronavirus pandemic. However he says WashCo Bikes continues to be in want of assist, and the group continues 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 folks which might be on their third shifts, and even the individuals on the primary and second shifts, who simply aren’t driving (TriMet),” Kurmaskie mentioned.

The nonprofit promotes bicycling by schooling, advocacy and group occasions throughout Washington County. It organizes bike security packages comparable to bike rodeos and summer time camps for youth. It additionally donates bikes to youngsters 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.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Joe Kurmaskie, director of WashCo Bikes Community Bike Center, shows where an electric bike was stolen recently.Kurmaskie mentioned a fast 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 often experiences throughout peak summer time bike driving season occurred in April and Could, Kurmaskie mentioned, and it has continued into late September.

That is why Kurmaskie continues to be asking individuals to contemplate donating any bikes, bike elements or biking gear they will not use. He mentioned the whole lot is required besides bike helmets — OHSU Doernbecher Kids’s Hospital, a daily WashCo Bikes associate for bike security occasions, already donated greater than 700 helmets.

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

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Dirk Pauwels, a mechanic at WashCo Bikes Community Bike Center, started WashCo Bikes in 2010 and owned Kissler's Cyclery.Kurmaskie 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 holding 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 mentioned. “We might pack an auditorium full of youngsters. All of my workers and volunteers could be adjusting and repairing bikes and becoming helmets.”

WashCo Bikes has produced movies for individuals to be taught the identical data they’d 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 gear.

“As a substitute of folding our arms and saying, ‘Effectively, we will not try this anymore,’ we have tailored,” Kurmaskie mentioned, including that WashCo Bikes continues to be offering comparable numbers of bikes by this system to what it did earlier than the pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Joe Kurmaskie, director of WashCo Bikes Community Bike Center, and the staff; Mike Patnude, manager, Julianna Galian, mechanic/sales, and Dirk Pauwels, mechanic.He is additionally planning to host some smaller, socially-distanced bike rodeos this fall.

Kurmaskie mentioned the pandemic has pressured 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 might help increase bodily exercise by biking proper now, we will discover a approach to do it,” Kurmaskie mentioned.


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