Residents, community groups help shape Metro’s new ¡Vámonos! maps

Metro worked closely with partners and residents to develop the bilingual ¡Vámonos! maps that help residents discover safe, interesting walking and biking routes in Cornelius, Forest Grove and Hillsboro.

“People come to Oregon and they really appreciate the green and open spaces but don’t always feel like they know how to access those spaces,” said Bridget Cooke, executive director and co-founder of Adelante Mujeres, the Forest Grove nonprofit that works to educate and empower low-income Latina women and their families.

Metro’s new, bilingual ¡Vámonos! maps—one each for Cornelius, Forest Grove and Hillsboro—were designed to overcome this hesitation to get out and explore on foot or by bike.

The free, colorful maps show residents safe and interesting pathways on quiet neighborhood streets. Along the way are schools, parks, shopping, services, entertainment, churches and transit stops. The map also shows longer excursions just outside of town, such as the Banks-Vernonia Trail and trails at Hagg Lake.

The maps are available at Metro’s ¡Vámonos! events and through project partners beginning mid July. The colorful maps are geared to kids and families. They are pocket-sized, easy-to-use and show interesting, safe and expert-tested routes for walking and biking.

This summer and fall, the community will learn where the maps can take them at eight bike events, four walks and two community celebrations. Metro staff will offer bilingual walks. Bike rides will be led, in English and Spanish, by Metro and the WashCoBTC.  Laura Foster, local author and editor of Metro’s popular Walk There! book, will join Metro staff to co-lead two walks. For more information about the free events, visit www.oregonmetro.gov/vamonos.

Kaiser Permanente and Metro funded the project, and the maps were produced by Metro. Partners, such as Virigina Garcia, City of Forest Grove, Cornelius and Hillsboro, Adelante Mujeres, Centro Cultural and the City of Hillsboro’s Latino Outreach Advisory Committee, to name a few, helped develop the maps by facilitating and arranging surveys and conversations between Metro’s bilingual project staff and their constituents.

Adelante Mujeres held bilingual listening sessions with students in one of its adult education classes. Cooke said, “It was helpful for the students; they got excited about how to use the map and to provide their input.”

That input, she notes, is critical. “When people feel like they’ve had a say in something that’s being created for their use, they’re much more likely to share it with others and participate in activities when we roll those activities out.”

Centro Cultural in Cornelius, another project partner, helped develop the map in early focus sessions and through surveys. José Rivera, Centro’s executive director, said of the maps, “They actually show people were routes exist; a lot of people don’t know [good walking and biking routes] are there, even though they live in the area.”

The maps, Rivera noted, alleviate some of the barriers people may feel about getting around on foot or by bike by helping them get more familiar with good routes.

Walking and biking are easy and fun, once you know where to go. Adelante’s Cooke said, “The maps reach the diversity of the community and encourage people to get out and enjoy the beautiful region we live in.”

With the October opening of its new Cornelius Wellness Center, Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation is holding a fundraising event, the Walk for Wellness, using the ¡Vámonos! maps. Metro and Kaiser Permanente are title sponsors of this event and will be distributing maps and fun giveaways to promote health and safety.

Participants who attend the Wellness Walk will receive a string backpack with a reflective slap bracelet, a bike light, a Kaiser Permanente pedometer and ¡Vámonos! maps.

Come to Metro’s biking and walking events this summer to get your free maps. Find event details and learn more about the project by visiting www.oregonmetro.gov/vamonos.

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