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Portlanders enjoy tour of local worker-run businesses on "World without Bosses" bike ride

On Sunday, August 15, over 50 folks showed up for the "World without Bosses" bike tour, which was organized by the recently-formed Portland Alliance of Worker Collectives (PAWC). The event started with a delicious and energy-building vegan brunch at the City Bikes Annex (SE 8th & Ankeny) cooked by people from two PAWC cafes, Redwing (SE 6th & Market) and the Red & Black (SE 22nd & Division). Local musicians Schicky Gnarowitz and the Transparent Wings of Joy entertained the crowd at the Back to Back Cafe (6th & Burnside) with their vibrant, klezmer-infused sound. Riders got to inspect the presses at Stumptown Printers (SE 11th & Morrison), and ride through the labyrinth of Free Geek (SE 10th & Mill). The newest business on the ride was Gallery CO7 (7th & Harrison), which is an art gallery and performance space. Pictured here, the riders are enjoying lemonade and vegan cookies at the Red & Black . The riders also took 3-4 turns around Ladd's Circle. Much of the time, it felt like a Critical Mass ride. Looking behind me, i would see the street full of riders from curb to curb!
the crowd outside the Red and Black
the crowd outside the Red and Black
Other stops included Laughing Horse Books (SE Division & 37th) and record store Q is for Choir (SE 26th & Clinton). The worker-owners of Magpie Messenger Service were also along for the ride. They don't have an office, but presented to the group about what they do. The last stop on the ride was People's Food Co-op (SE 21st & Tibbets), where riders enjoyed strawberry popsicles in the hot sun, and participated in a drawing for prizes from the different businesses. (Riders had cards with them showing all the businesses on a map. People who visited each location and had their card marked were eligible for the drawing.)

Each business presented about its practices and certains themes recurred: sustainability, localization, gender equity, among others. The Red & Black, Back to Back and Redwing cafes seek out local, organic, in-season ingredients for their food. The People's building contains many "green features" including recycled wood for siding, cob infill walls, eco-roofs, and a passive heating/cooling system that draws water from underground. City Bikes and Free Geek make great efforts to attain gender balance in industry sectores (bike repair and computer work) that are typically dominated by males. In other words, the business in PAWC are not only successful traditionally (that is, they are staying afloat and providing people with jobs and Portland residents with goods and services), but they are showing that you can do business in creative ways that seek to do less harm to the earth and address social problems like sexism. If you want to make a positive contribution to your community here in Portland, choosing to support these businesses (and other collectives in town) over their traditional corporate and hierarchal equivalents is a great place to start.

Organizers and participants alike declared the event a fabulous success, and the "World without Bosses" bike tour is likely to become an annual event!

Three videographers were also along for the ride, so hopefully we'll see something at an upcoming Videos from the Resistance showing.

homepage: homepage: http://www.pawc.net