Elaine Wells Champions Access to Transportation

Elaine 1

For 25 years, Elaine Wells, Executive Director of Ride Connection, has devoted her life to helping create safe, reliable transportation options that meet the needs of older adults, people with disabilities and others.

A self-proclaimed “transportation nerd,” Wells believes that transportation is a civil right. “Access to transportation promotes independence,” explains Wells. “It allows people to stay mobile and connect with the community, go to work, shop for food, get to a meal site – and much more.”

In 1990, Wells started her Ride Connection career with the organization that was then named Volunteer Transportation, Inc. as the Risk Manager and Training Coordinator. In 1994 when she became the Executive Director she was the sole employee of the organization; Ride Connection. Her passion, vision, and holistic approach to transportation helped grow the organization to its current size of nearly 90 staff. Ride Connection and its partners primarily serve older adults (aged 60 and over) and individuals with disabilities in Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties.

Ride Connection is a non-profit organization that works with a network of more than 30 community partners, such as Elders in Action (EIA), to provide and coordinate transportation options at no cost to clients. These options, tailored to an individual’s needs, range from providing rides, transit fare support, travel training or transportation information.

In fiscal year 2014, Ride Connection provided more than 435,000 trips and 225 travel trainings. “The number of people we serve has rapidly increased, but there are not enough resources to respond to everyone,” laments Wells. “Last year we had to turn down 28,000 trips.” She adds that donor and volunteer support go a long way in helping Ride Connection respond to community members’ needs.

“We depend on Elders in Action a lot,” says Wells. “There is a great deal of common ground around our services and we’re looking for more avenues for collaboration.” Because EIA has expertise in advocacy and protecting the rights of older adults and people with disabilities, Wells believes that EIA can help educate public officials about the increase in transportation needs and that Ride Connection can build on EIA’s skills in advocacy and civic engagement.

With Wells at the helm, Ride Connection is in extremely capable hands. She was recognized as Transit Manager of the Year by the Community Transportation Association of American (CTAA) and as Outstanding Executive Director by Portland Monthly Magazine’s “Light a Fire” award. Wells is currently a member of the Oregon Transit Association (OTA) Board of Directors, a CTAA Board member and serves on various other transportation advocacy and service committees and commissions.

To get more information on Ride Connection and its transportation services, visit www.rideconnection.org or call 503-528-1720. To find out how you can personally support the gift of mobility, check out www.rideconnection.org/Ride/SupportUs.aspx

by Barbara Schuetze

July 30th, 2015 – Medicare Turns 50

Medicare-50th-PIE-logoJuly 30th, 2015 – Medicare Turns 50!

This year marks a half-century of Medicare: America’s universal, public health plan for seniors age 65 and up! Patients like Medicare better than private health insurance, Medicare provides better financial security than private health insurance,  and it’s cheaper and more sustainable for society.

Join us on Thursday, July 30th from 11:30-2:00pm at Terry Shrunk Plaza (SW Madison St, Portland, OR 97204) to celebrate.

  • Enjoy music by the Raging Grannies 
  • Hear from:
    • Senator Michael Dembrow
    • Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler
    • City Commissioner Nick Fish
  • Refreshments will be available.

Elders in Action is partnering with AFSCME, HCA-O and SEIU retirees to coordinate this Medicare Birthday celebration


Elders in Action’s New Executive Director – Barbara Bernstein

Barbara Bernstein Executive Director

Barbara Bernstein
Executive Director

I am excited to have accepted the position of Executive Director of Elders in Action offered to me by the Board of Directors last Thursday. I will officially begin my position May 18th. I feel privileged to have been offered this position for many reasons, among them:

  • I will continue to work with a small team of dedicated professionals who care deeply about older adults and are thinking creatively about how to serve this growing population.
  • Elders in Action has a Board that describes itself as a working Board -and it is! From fundraising to elevating the discussion of equity to the top of the priority list, our Board is dedicated to moving this organization forward.
  • I work with amazing volunteers (135) who last year contributed 12,175 hours of service providing for the needs and interests of older adults through four key programs: the Civic Involvement & the Elders in Action Commission, Personal Advocacy, Age Friendly Business Program and Community Engagement & Education. Our staff provides the framework for these programs but our volunteers are doing the work!
  • I can engage community partners and with them, puzzle through the challenge of ensuring our programs are inclusive and welcoming to a more diverse population.

I am ready to build on the 45 years of experience Elders in Action has in advocacy on behalf of older adults in our community. Since its inception Elders in Action has had a solid financial foundation through contracts with the City of Portland and Multnomah County. Our growth has been slow but steady but this trajectory is no longer adequate. The Board is committed to expanding our network of supporters and as we approach our 50th birthday (in three years), I look forward to all we can do together -volunteers, staff and Board!


Role Models Matter

Message from Elders in Action Blog Editor, Barbara Schuetze

I was fortunate to have grown up with a mother who was vibrant, loving and engaged with her family, friends and community. Couldn’t have asked for a better role model.

My mother, Miriam Friedlander, lived life to its fullest until the last week of her life in 2010, when she passed away at the age of 86. She overcame many obstacles, experienced much joy and had many interests and passions including social action, politics, education, the arts, cooking, writing poetry, volunteering and travel.

My interest in being fully engaged in life and in the community — and my affinity for writing was inspired by my mother. And so was my positive attitude about aging. When I decided to devote more time to volunteering, I searched for an organization in the community that would be a good match. Elders in Action was a natural. After meeting with staff, I realized that one way I could contribute was by collaborating with the Elders in Action team to help write and edit their blog.

To keep the content in our blog interesting and relevant, we’ve added new forums, including personal essays, poetry, etc. (500 words or less) by older adults. We look forward to receiving personal writing from you that speaks to personal, community and societal issues facing older adults.

Please send us feedback so we can provide you with the type of information you want. We encourage you to email us at info@eldersinaction.org or call Mark Noonan at 503-235-5474. Our mailing address is: Elders in Action, 1411 SW Morrison St., Suite 290, Portland, OR 97205

To launch our new “personal writing” feature, we’re including a poem written by my mother that expresses her positive attitude on aging.


Barbara Schuetze

Miriam and Barbara circa 1984

Miriam and Barbara circa 1984

Vintage People Unite

I’m a woman who has lived 60 years. My hair is gray, almost white.

I have liver spots and some wrinkles and I don’t care. I’m not buying that Madison Avenue “garbage”.

I’ve been working from within. Aging is not a disease — it is a natural process. I have found that I am unique, authentic and rare, as we all are.

I am not an old, elderly, senior citizen, over-the-hill, retired, aged, menopausal, decrepit, crotchety, senile, sundowner person — as some people like to refer to “vintage people.”

Just think, I have lived through being born breach, two older sisters, two marriages, the death of both parents, birthing three children, one hurricane, an earthquake, the depression, two operations, one heart attack, some awful teachers, driving on freeways, thousands of miles of air travel, the flu, some enemies and as Yul Brenner would say, “Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.”

I have been going through my tape. You know, the one in my brain, that plays back all I’ve ever learned, and I’m making erasures of negative attitudes toward “vintage people.”

I realize that people will pay $150 for a vintage bottle of wine to be guzzled in one hour. Travel miles to find antiques, vintage clothing, rare vintage books. Go to the corners of the earth for cheese that has ripened, perhaps even molded, and sigh with ecstasy upon eating it.

Going through important attitudinal changes is important. I’m going through my third stage of life and am grateful that nature has afforded me this time. Nature has been good and plentiful to me. I’m reaping my harvest. I have helped nurture the seeds by fertilizing them with love and watering them with tears of sadness and joy.

I’m grateful for my harvest of loving family and friends.

I invite you, vintage and prospective vintage people, to join me.

Listen to you internal tapes. Become aware!

© Miriam Friedlander 1984

Have You Ever Gotten Something and Thought “That’s Unusual”?

Have you ever received a letter, an email or a phone call and thought  “that’s unusual”?
If you have, then you have taken the first step towards protecting yourself from financial fraud. And here is how you can learn more:
Tuesday, February 24th
2:00 – 3:30 pm
(in the US Bank room)
801 SW 10th Ave Portland, OR
 Come join our panel of experts from the:
+ Department of Justice,

+ Multnomah County Fraud Specialist Team 

+ Elders in Action 

Learn how you can avoid the latest scam, what to do if you see something suspicious and how you can stop future abuse in your community.

Our panel will discuss current trends and what is being done to go after the perpetrators. You have the Power to Protect yourself and your loved ones. Come join us and learn from the experts.

Power to Protect is    sponsored by Umpqua Bank. 

TriMet Proposal to Increase Honor Citizen Fares

TriMet is proposing to increase Honored Citizen fares by $0.25 for single tickets and $2 for monthly passes beginning September 1, 2015. This is the first increase for Honored Citizens since 2010, despite increases to fares for other riders.
TriMet is inviting interested community stakeholders to a public forum on March 5, 2015 from 1:00-2:00 pm at the TriMet Transit Mobility Center, 515 NW Davis Street in downtown Portland. Your participation will help shape TriMet’s strategy to make this fare increase as painless as possible for Honored Citizen riders.   Please RSVP to Nina Jones or 503-962-2337 if you would like to attend this discussion.
 For those interested in testifying on this proposed increase, TriMet Board meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month at 9 am. The hearings on the proposed Honored Citizen increase will be held on April 22 and May 27. For meeting locations and details on giving testimony click here.


Elders in Action is Seeking an Executive Director


Executive Director:

 Founded in 1968 as the Portland Multnomah Commission on Aging and incorporated in 1997 as a private nonprofit, Elders in Action, fulfills its mission to assure a vibrant community through the active involvement of older adults through its four unique programs. Our vision is to create a community that promotes opportunities for all older adults to be active and engaged and to contribute in meaningful ways to the health and vitality of our community.

We are currently seeking a visionary Executive Director to lead a well-established organization.

 Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Works in conjunction with the Board of Directors to set the vision and goals of this growing organization that advocates for the rights of older adults and serves older adults and people with disabilities through a variety of programs.
  • Serves as the key development officer, including oversight of individual and major donors, as well as corporate, government and foundation support.
  • Responsible for building and maintaining effective relationships with government agencies, community and business partners, and the general public to ensure successful partnerships.
  • Provides overall agency administration including human resource management, direction for internal structures and facilities oversight.
  • Spearheads the annual and strategic planning with staff and Board of Directors.
  • Monitors revenues and expenditures, fiscal controls, financial forecasts, independent audit process of an organizational budget of $540,000.
  • Serves as Development Director to create and implement a development plan that details how the organization solicits donors and identifies funding sources such as grants, in-kind donations, charitable events and marketing opportunities.
  • Develops and articulates organizational updates, results and proposals to the Board of Directors. Assigns and tracks cases and the accompanying administrative duties.
  • Leads grant-writing and fundraising efforts from all sources including government contracts, foundations, corporate and individuals.
  • Executes, manages and monitors contracts and agreements on behalf of Elders in Action.
  • Serves as the primary spokesperson for the organization in media, press and public hearings


  • 5-7 years of experience in non-profit management.
  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Service field and related field that includes extensive work experience with vulnerable populations.
  • Proven track record of established non-profit fundraising experience.
  • Ability to build and maintain collaborative partnership with government officials, community and business leaders.
  • Demonstrated experience and skill in working with Board of Directors, Commissions, Advisory groups and volunteers.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication and management skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to problem solve, to be proactive; and to prioritize and handle a variety of projects simultaneously.
  • Ability to inspire and support a productive, professional and collaborative staff.
  • Experience in special event planning, coordination and implementation.
  • Experience in creating and implementing strategic plans that address the agencies mission and public and private interests.
  • Effective skills using media and computer technology skills, including Microsoft Excel, Word and Webmail.

Compensation and Benefits: Elders in Action offers competitive salary and comprehensive benefits package.

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please submit to edsearch@eldersinaction.org a cover letter, resume and salary requirement and a 500 word response to one of the following questions

  1. What excites you about working on behalf of older adults?
  2. What do you think are key components of an environment attractive to highly skilled volunteers
  3. What would you wish to create to enrich the lives of older adults?





Be part of making the Lloyd Center more Age-Friendly!

Microsoft Word - AFC Resident-Volunteer Flyer-Feb 2015.docx

We need your help to make the Lloyd Center more Age-Friendly!

Join us on February 5th and 12th.

WHAT:   Residents of the Lloyd District are invited to join the Lloyd Center Age-Friendly
Business Campaign and help make businesses in our community more Age-Friendly.

WHEN:  Thursday, February 5th 10am – 1pm: Attend a free Elders in Action training
and learn more about great service for customers of all ages. A light lunch will be provided
by Holladay Park Plaza.

Thursday, February 12th 10am – 1:30pm: Visit 2-3 stores in the Lloyd Center and
share your new knowledge by providing in-store evaluations and feedback. All volunteers
will work in teams & be accompanied by an Elders in Action volunteer. After the
evaluations, we will meet back in the Community Room for a brief discussion and lunch,
provided by Holladay Park Plaza.

WHERE: Join us both days at the Lloyd Center Community Room located on the first
floor near Ross Dress for Less and the Children’s Play Zone.

HOW: Email alison@ecolloyd.org or call (888) 574-5507 to sign up by January 30!

The Lloyd Age-Friendly Business Campaign is brought to you by:  Elders in Action, GoLloyd, LloydEcoDistrict, Lloyd District Community Association, and the Lloyd Center.
Microsoft Word - AFC Resident-Volunteer Flyer-Feb 2015.docx