Fundraiser provides helmets to kids

by: SPOTLIGHT GRAPHIC: CHELSEA TULL  - The Bridges to Breakers routhe through Columbia County this Saturday.The Harrington Family Foundation will hold its second annual Bridges to Breakers centennial bike ride Saturday, Sept. 21, crossing through Columbia County on its route to the coast.

Cyclists will start in St. Johns between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and will ride westbound on Columbia River Highway toward Scappoose. Once through downtown Scappoose, cyclists will ride up Scappoose-Vernonia Highway to Highway 47, Highway 202 and eventually end the ride at the coast in Gearhart.

Nancy Marshall, executive director of the Harrington Family Foundation, said the ride is a fundraiser meant to provide bicycle helmets to kids. Last year, the event raised enough money to provide 150 helmets to children in need. Marshall said this year, she’s hoping to provide 200 helmets. “The money we build goes to sponsor the helmets,” she said. “The helmets will go back into the communities we ride through.”

Marshall said the fundraiser uses multiple outlets in multiple cities to distribute helmets once they’re purchased. “Last year, we went through the bicycle transportation alliance,” she said, “They actually have a program for Portland Public Schools to educate kids on the safety of riding bikes and why to wear a helmet that fits properly.”

The Harrington Family Foundation was founded after Joey Harrington, a former NFL and University of Oregon quarterback, was struck by a car while riding his bike in Portland in 2011.

“If he had not been wearing a helmet, he probably wouldn’t be here today,” Marshall said.

Marshall said she is expecting about 200 cyclists to ride through Scappoose on their way to the coast this Saturday.

Marshall said that although Scappoose-Vernonia Highway is a back-country road with no bike lanes, she anticipates light traffic on the weekend. “Signage went up last week, so the community knows it’s coming and we have all our permits to go through the three counties.”

Of the bikers participating in Bridges to Breakers, Marshall estimated 95 percent participate in a lot of century rides, noting that the bikers are experienced with riding on such winding, narrow roads.

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