With a main lower in bike theft restoration and prevention work from the Portland Police Bureau in recent times, and with thieves feeling little to no resistance from authorities, volunteer activists are stepping as much as fill the void.
On a regular basis of us have at all times been prepared to sacrifice their very own time, and sometimes security, to assist snag bikes again from thieves. And nowadays with social media platforms to assist manage and inform, the potential for do-gooders to make an impression is stronger than ever. (Final month The Oregonian profiled a gaggle of volunteers who monitor down stolen vehicles.) I just lately heard a couple of native group that’s not solely ferreting out stolen bikes, however can be attempting to coach up a brand new legion of volunteers to assist them scale up operations.
The group calls themselves the Sith Lord Vader Squadron (SLVS) Timberwolves. A couple of days in the past I tracked down their chief, Royal Johnson…
BikePortland: What’s with that odd title?
Royal Johnson: SLVS stands for Sith Lord Vader Squadron, the SLVS Portland chapter is considered one of 5 chapters in 4 states. We initially began in Austin, went west to Los Angeles, then from Texas as much as Oregon after which over to Colorado. We have now been lively since June, fifth 2011. Royal Johnson (me) is Nationwide President over all 5 chapters. In Oregon the SLVS is named the Timberwolves. All 5 chapters make it their mission to recuperate bicycles and assist the biking neighborhood by managing rides and occasions.
What’s your background when it comes to driving and residing in Portland?
I’ve lived in Portland since 2014. I moved right here to go to highschool and reside by myself. I flew the nest. I like Portland very a lot and I’ve ridden my bike right here since I moved. It’s a really lovely place, it has the potential of being a modern-day utopia. I like challenges, so once I moved right here I wished to have a long-lasting impression on this metropolis.
Why’d you get into bike theft restoration?
I received into bike theft restoration as a result of somebody stole my bike very long time in the past earlier than there was a SLVS. I tracked and recovered my very own bicycle and I felt if I can do that for myself why not evolve the concept into one thing greater?
What has your group achieved thus far?
The Timberwolves have recovered many bicycles within the metropolis since 2014. We have now additionally assisted in getting camps cleared out with stolen property, primarily bikes. We’re engaged on a theft prevention tactic, and a powerful offensive that raises consciousness of how and why bike owner ought to perceive the severity of being vigilant.
You give attention to a whole lot of homeless camps. How do you be sure you don’t problem harmless folks?
We don’t to disparage or falsely accuse the homeless of motorbike theft. We deal with everybody with respect regardless of who they’re. They’re very prepared to assist us with the data and restoration of bicycles upon request. If you happen to deal with folks with dignity regardless of the place they’re in life it’s assured that you’re going to get the identical in return.
What are your occasions about?
The Overwatch Bike Restoration Workshops are the hyperlink between us recovering bikes and our neighborhood getting a full understanding of how this works and what they’ll do in a protected method to successfully report cycle theft. Additionally, we wish to be clear in our actions so we wish the neighborhood to be current as a lot as potential for accountability. We do the Overwatch workshops twice a month each month throughout the fall and winter.
How can folks observe you?
You’ll find us on Fb at S.L.V.S Timberwolves B.C. Cycle theft Restoration Methods and on Instagram at Timberwolves_cyclerecoverypdx.
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