“Walk it Forward” in Support of Oregon Walks

Kecia Welt’s reflection on her greatest walking accomplishment of 2015 and how it led her to support Oregon Walks and its mission to promote safe, convenient walking in Portland and across the state of Oregon.

It is no secret… I love to walk!  Almost every day you will find me walking around Portland, Oregon, with KEENs on my feet and a Fitbit around my wrist. This love affair began in 2005 after I laced up my first pair of KEENs and began pushing my son’s stroller for hours each day.

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My son, my husband, my first pair of KEENs and me in 2005.

Nowadays, I walk nearly 50 miles a week, clocking in two or more hours each day. In the future, I’d love to lead a 100% car-free existence, but as I work my way there, I’ll continue to seek joy in exploring—by foot—all that Portland has to offer. I’m happiest when I’m out walking, and I’m thankful for existing safe walking routes.

The Walk that Inspired it All

Last April, my husband and I decided it might be fun to see if we could walk 50,000 steps—22 miles—in just one day. Our son was away at an overnight camp and the weather cooperated. It was a warm spring day with blue skies and sunshine and we had 12 hours to accomplish this mission. We put on our KEENs and set off from our house around 8 AM for an extended walk north along the Willamette River, stopping at one of our favorite brunch spots, Broder Nord, to fuel up on baked eggs and abelskivers. We continued north on Mississippi Avenue to browse the shops before walking east to visit a friend in the Irvington neighborhood. We continued onto NE Alberta for a quick snack at a food cart pod before turning south to meet up with friends in Sellwood. After evening cocktails and a wonderful pasta dinner at Gino’s, we walked home, completing the final 3 miles needed to reach our goal. All 12 hours and 22 miles were full of wonderful conversations. As we walked forward, we reflected on the path that brought us together and we talked about upcoming plans and hopes and dreams for the future.

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In gratitude for this day, and the many safe days of walking I enjoy, I’ve decided to “Walk it Forward” by making a donation to Oregon Walks, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to promoting walking and making the conditions for walking safe, convenient and attractive for everyone. Without the safe crossings, sidewalks and urban trails, memorable walks like mine simply would not be possible. I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to an organization whose work gives me so much joy.

Have you gone out for a walk today?  It’s so refreshing!  It also might inspire you to “Walking it Forward” and support an organization like Oregon Walks with a meaningful financial contribution this holiday season.

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For years we had limited options to safely walk in and out of our neighborhood, an old Portland neighborhood sandwiched between I-5 and Naito Parkway, just south of downtown. Thanks to the advocacy work of Oregon Walks, our neighborhood has improved and benefited with wonderful improvements like this pedestrian bridge over I-5, and this crosswalk across U.S. Highway 26 connecting the Lair Hill neighborhood to the South Waterfront and Willamette River offering a tremendous wealth of new walking and cycling options.