In the past month over 500 people have chipped in $92,325 to help pay for the construction of new bike trails at Gateway Green — a formerly vacant plot of state-owned land (now owned by the City of Portland) at the intersection of I-84 and I-205.
Project backers aim to reach the goal of $100,000 in the next two days to match a Metro grant they’ve already received. If you haven’t donated yet, now would be a great time to do so.
With money in the bank and all the support and permissions lined up from various agencies, the Northwest Trail Alliance and Portland Parks & Recreation have already broken ground. Over the past few weeks Parks rangers have worked with an estimated 80 people who were camping on the land (who came there after being moved from the Springwater Corridor) to find shelter and other services. Fencing has now been erected around the property and heavy equipment is staging on the site.
“Can you imagine yourself at Gateway Green, standing astride your bike on the top of the southern hill, pointing your front tire down a ribbon of dirt that will flow down over whoops and around berms, a smile on your face?”
— Jocelyn Gaudi, Friends of Gateway Green
Suffice it to say, in a city where the lack of local off-road biking trails has frustrated many people for many years, this is a very big deal. Friends of Gateway Green Board Member Jocelyn Gaudi summed up why this project matters in a recent Facebook post:
Can you imagine yourself at Gateway Green, standing astride your bike on the top of the southern hill, pointing your front tire down a ribbon of dirt that will flow down over whoops and around berms, a smile on your face? A bunch of your friends are out there too – everyone, from kiddos to racers – is having a great time. On your ride home, you could stop by to get some tacos and a beer from your local spot. Pretty awesome way to spend a Tuesday evening, right?
The City of Portland is also very excited for this project. Besides creating a new public park in a part of town that sorely needs it, the Parks Bureau hopes these new trails relieve pressure on them to create off-road cycling opportunities in other — shall we say, more controversial areas. While some bike enthusiasts say the proposed trails at Gateway Green don’t come close to meeting demands, Parks is doing its best to drum up excitement.
“Portland Parks & Recreation feels that Gateway Green will be an outstanding site for off-road cycling, as well as hiking, as a place to reflect, and other uses,” the bureau wrote in a recent statement. “The site’s topography, it’s existing tree coverage and convenient location are sure to make it a coveted destination. Both soft-surface and paved multi-use trails will offer equitable and versatile access to visitors…”
The construction that will begin next week will be just the first phase of development at Gateway Green. New trails will come first and then habitat enhancements and other features will come in later phases.
As for what kind of trails we can expect, Parks is calling this “Portland’s first off-road cycling park.” As such, the “Dirt Lab” will feature singletrack and “jump trails” as well as a pump track (similar to Ventura Park but will be made out of precast concrete) and a skills area. The idea is to offer something for the full range of riders — from little ones to seasoned vets.
If you want to learn more about the project, help support it, and meet the people who have made it happen, there’s a fundraising party tonight at The Lumberyard.
Parks says they’ll need about 45 workdays to complete the first phase of trail-building. With winter weather and other issues mixed in, we’re hoping to ride in Gateway Green this coming spring! Stay tuned for updates.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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