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Campaign seeks funds for an indoor park for skating, BMX & other bikes

Campaign seeks funds for an indoor park for skating, BMX & other bikes

Allison Waters, a Portland-based skateboarding lover, has unveiled a concept for a “family-friendly indoor skate park” within Portland city limits.

The current plan is for two days a week to be open to BMX and other bikes.

“We had all through the summer to skate and then it started to rain,” Melissa Clark says in the video for Waters’ Kickstarter campaign, which continues until next week, describing her three daughters’ falling in love with skateboarding. “We are shut down from November until — May? June?”

For $80, early Kickstarter backers can get a full year of standard membership, which includes a discount to the park sessions and shop and early access to events. For $600, they can get a full year of all-you-can-skate “unlimited” membership.

If it’s funded, Waters aims to open the park this fall, ideally in northeast Portland.







Katie Proctor, a Portland mom who co-founded Kidical Mass PDX and who is supportive of Waters’ park plan, said in an email that the working plan is for bikes to be welcome in the future Stronger Skatepark on Wednesdays and Sundays.

The campaign has set an ambitious target of $25,000. But because this is a Kicksterter, none of the pledges will be claimed unless they actually succeed in raising the money. So if you’d spend $80 or $100 for a year of membership if this park did exist, there’s no reason not to pledge now and help make it happen.

Based on the video, it sounds as if Waters may have a backup business plan if this campaign doesn’t get all the way. But if they can get the $25,000 up front, that’d ensure high quality for the ramps they aim to build.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Metro Council unanimously backs mountain biking trails north of Forest Park

Metro Council unanimously backs mountain biking trails north of Forest Park

tualatinmap

Portland’s regional government unanimously approved a plan to allow mountain biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area Thursday in a session that gushed with praise.

“This project took a lot more work than I thought it was going to,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase, whose district includes the natural area just north of Forest Park, to chuckles around the room. “We have really come to a fantastic place.”

The vote came despite organized objections from a cluster of people who live nearby, in some cases with property immediately bordering the public land. As we reported last week, some of them held a protest outside Metro’s headquarters to argue that allowing mountain biking trails in the natural area would do undue harm to local wildlife.

“Yes, any time a human being enters a natural area, that has an impact on the environment,” Chase conceded Thursday. “But by creating access, we’re also creating stewards for this natural area.”

Allowing limited development enough to let the public enjoy a natural area also helps the environment by reducing pressure for urban sprawl, Chase said: “It allows us to have a compact urban form, because instead of everybody having to have their own big backyard, we all share a big backyard.”

metro council

Metro President Tom Hughes speaks Thursday in favor of the trail plan.

Outside Metro’s council chambers after the vote, people exchanged hugs and high fives.

“I’m so proud of our members for handling this process in an adult, professional way,” said Andrew Jansky of the Northwest Trail Alliance, who was the only member of the public to testify at Thursday’s meeting.

Jansky, the mountain-bike recreation group’s advocacy chair, said Metro’s plan was a milestone in part because it’s the first time a Portland-area agency has validated “the idea that bikes and nature are compatible.”

“It’s always been thought that bikes and nature can’t coexist,” he said. “This planning effort shows that they can coexist and are not mutually exclusive.”

You can read about the possible routes planned for the area here.







Shirley Craddick, who represents East Multnomah County on the council, was the only council member to express some skepticism of the plan, which she said emerged from public testimony last week from people who oppose biking trails in the area.

“I thought all of those comments were really valid, and I have to say I left the hearing with some skepticism, saying is this really the right plan?” Craddick said. But the arguments from Metro staff that biking trails can be designed in a way that will be sensitive to wildlife habitat won her over.

“This is a master plan,” she said. “It begins the process.”

The other six Metro councilors expressed less ambivalence.

“This is a great plan,” said Kathryn Harrington, who represents western Washington County. “I am thrilled with it.”

“People are passionate about this land and they have different ideas for how to make the most of it,” said Dan Moeller, Metro’s conservation program director and the top staffer on the project. “Whether you’re a neighbor, a hiker, a cyclist, a conservation advocate or some combination of those, you’re an important part of Metro’s work going forward. Together, we will serve as stewards of the North Tualatin Mountains.”

mcnameemetro

One of the existing entrances to the North Tualatin Mountains on NW McNamee Road just up from Highway 30 in Burlington.

Jansky, the biking trail advocate, said the advocates who joined forces to support the Metro plan will be better citizens because of this debate.

“They are the future policy regulators, city staffers, planners, voters,” Jansky said. “That younger generation is going to move in with this attitude, and probably in 10 years we’re going to look back and say, ‘Why did this take so long in Portland?’”

Jansky warned that this plan will now need to be followed up with a land-use process to arrive at the details of where the trails will go. It could involve quasi-judicial review by the county government.

“This could just be the false summit,” he said. “We’re going to need members to still be engaged and still provide support for Metro through that process. There will be more public comment opportunities in the Multnomah County land use process. So we can’t quit and rest on our laurels and think that we’re going to be riding on trails in two years. I think that’s an easy mistake to make.”

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Comment of the Week: Bike trail advocates should take a lesson from dog parks

Comment of the Week: Bike trail advocates should take a lesson from dog parks

IMG_0492

No leash in Normandale Park, no problem – now.
(Photo: Michael Lin)

“When everyone breaks the rules, the rules bend.”

That was the hesitant declaration of BikePortland reader axoplasm, responding Friday morning to Thursday’s report about the organized resistance to mountain biking trails by people whose private property abuts the public land where they’d be built.

Axoplasm isn’t so much responding to this latest twist in Portland’s quest for singletrack, but more to the seeming futility of the quest itself. (As another reader, Charley, put it, “We’re not trying to build a lego tower to the moon, just open some trails to people who ride bikes.”)







Here’s the comment:

MTBers are some of the most play-by-the-rules types you will ever meet. In places with less cronyish local politics that works in our favor. But in Portland we’ve been playing by the rules for 25years and our reward is ever less singletrack.

I will return as I always to my analogy with dog owners (I am one). There is no Northwest Dog Alliance or advocacy group. We have no unified voice in demanding essentially unlimited access for dogs to every park, playground, school, and natural area within 100mi of Portland. We just take our dogs there and do whatever we please. So many people do it, so blithely and with such entitlement, that the government response has been to try to lure dog owners & our pets into abundant, well-supplied, well-distributed public dog recreation zones.

I’m one of those play-by-the-rules types so this is hard for me to say. But somehow I don’t feel conflicted letting my dog off-leash at the baseball diamond. When everyone breaks the rules, the rules bend.

Mountain biking is a legitimate recreation activity with demonstrated demand. If our public officials can’t get it together to designate some public spaces to accommodate that demand, we should not feel conflicted to use those spaces anyway. If enough of us do it, we might find ourselves actually winning these battles for a change.

Here at BikePortland, we don’t advocate rule-breaking. But axoplasm’s analogy to dog parks is worth thinking about, and not just in the context of mountain-bike singletrack.

Yes, we pay for good comments. This regular feature is sponsored by readers who’ve become BikePortland subscribers to keep our site and our community strong. We’ll be sending $5 and a little goodie bag to axoplasm in thanks for this great addition. Watch your email!

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

The post Comment of the Week: Bike trail advocates should take a lesson from dog parks appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Speaker will bring Minnesota’s mountain-biking know-how to PDX

Speaker will bring Minnesota’s mountain-biking know-how to PDX

LebHills-BermTime

A berm on the Intermediate Trail at Lebanon Hills in
Eagan, Minn.
(Photo: Dakota County Parks)

As Portland works on its Off-Road Cycling Master Plan, an expert from maybe the country’s best state for urban mountain biking is coming to town.

Joshua Rebennack, a professional environmental engineer and mountain biking trail volunteer based in central Minnesota, will discuss “Knobbies in the Neighborhood” from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16 at the Multnomah Athletic Club, 1849 SW Salmon Street.

According to the Northwest Trail Alliance, Rebennack will use “the experiences of off-­road cycling trail systems built and in other cities to distill out lessons that any municipality, including Portland, can apply to their own off­road cycling trail plans.”





“Joshua brings a unique perspective, seeing as Minnesota is the leader in the nation as regards to urban mountain biking, with 33 separate urban mountain biking trail systems comprising nearly 320 miles of singletrack trail,” the Northwest Trail Alliance writes in its event description. “Including the only 2 completely urban mountain biking trail systems recognized by the International Mountain Biking Association as being Ride Centers.”

We published a guest post from Rebennack three years ago and it’s great that he’ll continue to bring on-the-ground knowledge and ideas to town. Hopefully his talk will draw in some skeptics of urban mountain biking as well as some believers.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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The post Speaker will bring Minnesota’s mountain-biking know-how to PDX appeared first on BikePortland.org.

My opinion: Once again, propaganda is poisoning Portland’s off-road cycling debate

My opinion: Once again, propaganda is poisoning Portland’s off-road cycling debate

River View Protest Ride-13

That’s no father and son on a bike ride. They’re
part of a vast “MTB industrial complex” that’s
merely a front for “their powerful corporate sponsors.”
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

You can tell when we’re on the cusp of possible progress for off-road cycling in Portland because the misinformation campaign by someone dedicated to stopping it has begun. Hopefully, our policymakers and elected leaders won’t listen this time.

With a city council meeting this Thursday to adopt management plan for the River View Natural Area, a guest opinion article published by The Oregonian is full of scare tactics and farcical conspiracy theories.

The essay was written by John Miller, a man who lives near River View, and it follows a long and sad line of similar attempts from activists and sympathetic media in the past. The headline, “Don’t let mountain bikers overwhelm natural areas,” sounds like it could be the start of an important discussion about the need to balance trail use with conservation goals. Unfortunately, Miller is more interested in hurting that discussion than moving it forward.

Similar to the people who spread misinformation during the debate surrounding Forest Park years ago, Miller wants City Council and all Portlanders to fear the bicycling bogeyman. Or should I say “droves” of bogeymen. It’s the cycling equivalent of “Obama is coming to take my guns.” He wants members of City Council to see any improvements to off-road cycling access as a slippery-slope that will ultimately lead to a doomsday where the “them” takes over from “us”.

“There is a global invasion of nature underway,” he writes. “Will mountain bikers gain access to the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail and wilderness areas? Failing to get into the Bandon State Natural Area, will a golfer baron gain land between camps Meriwether and Clark to build a golf course? Will international bottlers be allowed to take pristine water from a sacred spring near Cascade Locks?”

In comments left here on BikePortland last November, Miller referred to the “MTB industrial complex” and wondered, “If nowhere is off limits, why not have (rogue) trails everywhere?”


Miller paints a picture of local bike advocates as being a wolf in sheep’s clothing. “If their lobbyists prevail,” he asserts, “mountain bike groups and their powerful corporate sponsors,” will run amok in our open spaces and parks. He should talk to staff at the Bureau of Land Management (about the Sandy Ridge trail system), or the Port of Cascade Locks (about the easyCLIMB trails), or Oregon State Parks (about Stub Stewart State Park), and other agencies that have worked very closely with these unsavory “mountain bike groups” with resounding success.

Amazingly, buried in his essay is one almost reasonable passage:

“We all should support a network of off-road cycling trails that interconnects towns and communities. And, of course, we’d favor facilities that provide a range of fun activities and experiences. But we must think critically about where to draw the line between protecting nature and developing new recreation. What kinds of natural areas can support active recreation?”

On this point, Miller is mostly correct. (Cycling isn’t technically any more “active” of a recreation mode than, say, trail-running with an off-leash dog, hiking on unsanctioned trails, or horesback riding.) But in general, that’s what this important debate is all about: How we do balance use and conservation? Unfortunately, because of a lack of political leadership by Commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz that has been persuaded by the exact type of misinformation Miller is peddling, we have yet to have a grown-up convesation on that topic.

During the advisory committee process for River View, the Portland Parks Bureau took the jaw-dropping step of prohibiting discussion of cycling access even though the committee was full of cycling experts. The resulting River View Management Plan does not take into account the possibility of bike access at all, even though the Parks Bureau themselves says there’s a chance for bike access in the future. It makes zero sense and they’ve completely disrespected the public and their own process.

When it comes to determining where Portland should allow off-road cycling; that’s precisely where the Off-road Cycling Master Plan comes in. Unfortunately, if City Council adopts the River View Management Plan on Thursday, there’s reason to fear that — even if the Off-road Cycling Master Plan concludes that cycling is appropriate — the trail plan for River View will be impossible to change.

We’ve heard conflicting information from the Parks Bureau (who’s in charge of the River View process) and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the agency managing the Off-road Cycling Master Plan about which plan will have policymaking power over the other.

Advocates with the Northwest Trail Alliance (who, despite what Miller wants you to believe are very new to City Hall politics) are scrambling to keep options open at River View and beyond. Let’s hope policymakers and elected leaders lend an ear to a group of volunteer advocates with a solid track record and successful partnerships who’s working in earnest to make Portland a better place to live — and who has never stooped to propoganda to make their case.

The management plan is up for adoption by City Council this Thursday at 2:00 pm. More info and background here.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post My opinion: Once again, propaganda is poisoning Portland’s off-road cycling debate appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan

Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan

NWTA Forest Park Rally and Ride-31

(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

2016 is starting off with a bang for off-road trail riding in Portland. Two major plans — one that could bring bike access to the River View Natural Area and the other that develop a blueprint for off-road bike access in parks and other spaces throughout the city — are both moving forward in significant ways.

Back in November we shared some of the uncertainty that looms over a management plan for the Portland Parks Bureau’s River View Natural Area. That plan was controversial and spurred a legal action by off-road cycling advocacy group Northwest Trail Alliance.

The River View plan was set for City Council adoption last month, but the hearing was rescheduled. Now it’s set for next Thursday January 14th at 2:00 pm.

The Advisory Committee will guide creation of a citywide vision and plan for a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities where children, adults and families can ride for fun, exercise and to experience nature in the city.
— Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The key issue on the radar of off-road advocates is that the current plan as written does not reflect any of their input or expertise. That’s because, even though they were on the committee, the Parks Bureau made a strange decision to prohibit any discussion of bicycle access on the 146-acre parcel. Advocates fear that if the plan is adopted without additional amendments it will be impossible or very difficult to retroactively add bike access in. “Our concern is with the proposed trail alignment,” said NWTA’s Andrew Jansky in an interview today. “Because mountain biking wasn’t talked about openly, it was not included in the context of the trail alignment.”

Parks has put bicycling access on an “interim prohibited” status in River View. They say the future of biking in River View will be determined through a separate plan, the Off-road Cycling Master Plan currently being developed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). If that’s the case, cycling advocates say, wouldn’t it make more sense to delay adoption of the River View plan until after the Off-road Cycling Master Plan is complete?

There’s also uncertainly whether the Off-road Cycling Master Plan would have the power to change or undo policies adopted in the River View Management Plan.

On a related note, this morning BPS released the names of people who will serve on the 16-member Off-Road Cycling Master Plan Project Advisory Committee (60 people applied in all). That committee will work with outside consultants and city staff to come up with a list of recommendations that BPS says will, “Guide creation of a citywide vision and plan for a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities where children, adults and families can ride for fun, exercise and to experience nature in the city.”

Given Portland’s past struggles with off-road bike access, the make-up of this committee is very important. They’ll essentially be voting on the future of off-road cycling in Portland (keep in mind this means not just singletrack trails in parks, but pump tracks, gravel roads, and other off-pavement opportunities). Here’s the list, with short bios from BPS:


mtb-committee

Top: Michael Whitesel (L) and Jocelyn Gaudi. Bottom: Mike Houck.

Punneh Abdolhossieni
Punneh works for Partners in Diversity, an organization partnering with Oregon and SW Washington employers to attract and retain professionals of color. Her academic focus was outdoor education and recreation and overcoming barriers to participation for communities of color. Punneh represents the Community Cycling Center and enjoys off-road cycling and racing.

Kelsey Cardwell
Kelsey is the communications director for Stand for Children Oregon, an advocacy organization focusing on preparation for and access to college for all children. She is also the President of and represents the Northwest Trail Alliance, a mountain bicycling advocacy and trail stewardship organization encompassing NW Oregon and SW Washington. Kelsey is an off-road cyclist and trail runner.

Erin Chipps
Erin is an environmental specialist for the Federal Highway Administration Western Federal Lands Division, reviewing environmental impacts of road and trail projects. She has a background in biology and a Masters in Environmental Management. Erin is an off-road cyclist and racer.

Matthew Erdman
Matthew is an attorney and manager at Legal Aid and previously worked with El Programa Hispano, supporting low-income, English as a Second Language and minority residents. His educational background is in economics with a focus on valuation of natural resources. Matthew is a road and off-road cyclist and bike racer.

Jocelyn Gaudi
Jocelyn is an active volunteer within the off-road cycling community and is a certified mountain bike instructor, with a focus on encouraging more women and youth to ride off-road. She is also a member of the Komorebi Cycling bikepacking group. Jocelyn serves on the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Friends of Gateway Green board, both of which she represents.

Mike Houck
Mike Houck has been a leader in urban park and greenspace issues since founding the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland in 1980. He helped found the Coalition for a Livable Future and now directs the Urban Greenspaces Institute. He is a member of The Intertwine Alliance’s core group and its board of directors. He is an avid hiker and urban naturalist. Mike serves on the City of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Adnan Kadir
Adnan is a professional cycling coach with Aeolus Endurance Sport and member of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership. He is on the board of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), where he works to implement programs in low-income neighborhoods and with at-risk youth. Adnan is a member of the Buckman Community Association and enjoys off-road cycling, hiking, and trail running. He represents the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).

Carrie Leonard
Carrie is a children’s bike specialist with Islabikes, Inc., a company that produces high quality bikes for children. She has a background in freshwater conservation and engineering. Carrie is a road cyclist and trail runner, and her children are off-road cyclists. Carrie is a member of the Portland Society, a group of professional women who are passionate about business and bicycling.

Torrey Lindbo
Torrey is the Water Sciences Program Manager for the City of Gresham, bike commuting daily from SW Portland on the Springwater Corridor. He is also president of the Tryon Creek Watershed Council, and has served on the Johnson Creek Watershed Council for eight years. Torrey is a hiker, trail runner, and on the board of Team Red Lizard, a Portland running club.

Kelly McBride
Kelly is an occupational therapist with Legacy Memorial Hospital and volunteers with Adaptive Sports Northwest, focusing on accessibility for people with disabilities. She is a hiker and trail runner and has begun riding off-road with her husband, who uses a handcycle.

Renee Meyers
Renee is the Director of the Forest Park Conservancy, which she represents. The Forest Park Conservancy’s mission focuses on the interdependent values of protecting Forest Park’s ecological health while encouraging responsible recreation and access. The Conservancy works directly with Portland Parks & Recreation to restore the park and build and maintain natural-surface trails.

Jim Owens
Jim is a public policy, land use planning and community engagement specialist with the Cogan Owens Greene consulting firm. He has worked on many complex environmental and recreation projects and plans, including environmental impact statements for recreational uses in Northwest Forest lands. Jim serves on and represents the Portland Parks Board. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland Parks Foundation.

Nastassja Pace
Nastassja leads Oregon bicycle tourism development efforts at Travel Oregon, with a focus on building local economies around outdoor recreation tourism. She serves on the Scenic Bikeway Advisory Committee, convenes the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership, organizes and facilitates Oregon Bicycle Tourism Studio workshops, and oversees the Oregon Bike Friendly Business program. Nastassja represents Travel Oregon.

Bob Sallinger
Bob is the Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland. He has worked on urban natural area and natural resource issues for over 20 years, serving on the Portland Parks Board and the BES Watershed Management Plan Advisory Committee, and has participated in off-road cycling planning efforts in Forest Park, Riverview and Powell Butte. Bob represents the Audubon Society of Portland and is an avid hiker and naturalist.

Evan Smith
Evan is Senior Vice President of the Conservation Fund, a national environmental organization, overseeing 200,000 acres of forestland managed for sustainable timber harvest, watershed restoration and recreation. His educational background is in geology and hydrogeology. Evan is an off-road cyclist, trail runner and bike commuter. He lives near Forest Park in the Linnton Neighborhood.

Michael Whitesel
Michael owns the Lumberyard Bike Park and located his business in an under-served area of East Portland to provide recreational programs to youth. He is also President of the Oregon Big Tent Recreation Coalition, which advocates for safe and responsible recreation in Oregon.

The first meeting of this committee is set for January 28th.

Stay tuned early next week when we’ll know more about Thursday’s council action on River View.

For full background, browse our River View Natural Area and Off-road Cycling Master Plan story archives.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan

Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan

NWTA Forest Park Rally and Ride-31

(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

2016 is starting off with a bang for off-road trail riding in Portland. Two major plans — one that could bring bike access to the River View Natural Area and the other that develop a blueprint for off-road bike access in parks and other spaces throughout the city — are both moving forward in significant ways.

Back in November we shared some of the uncertainty that looms over a management plan for the Portland Parks Bureau’s River View Natural Area. That plan was controversial and spurred a legal action by off-road cycling advocacy group Northwest Trail Alliance.

The River View plan was set for City Council adoption last month, but the hearing was rescheduled. Now it’s set for next Thursday January 14th at 2:00 pm.

The Advisory Committee will guide creation of a citywide vision and plan for a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities where children, adults and families can ride for fun, exercise and to experience nature in the city.
— Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

The key issue on the radar of off-road advocates is that the current plan as written does not reflect any of their input or expertise. That’s because, even though they were on the committee, the Parks Bureau made a strange decision to prohibit any discussion of bicycle access on the 146-acre parcel. Advocates fear that if the plan is adopted without additional amendments it will be impossible or very difficult to retroactively add bike access in. “Our concern is with the proposed trail alignment,” said NWTA’s Andrew Jansky in an interview today. “Because mountain biking wasn’t talked about openly, it was not included in the context of the trail alignment.”

Parks has put bicycling access on an “interim prohibited” status in River View. They say the future of biking in River View will be determined through a separate plan, the Off-road Cycling Master Plan currently being developed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS). If that’s the case, cycling advocates say, wouldn’t it make more sense to delay adoption of the River View plan until after the Off-road Cycling Master Plan is complete?

There’s also uncertainly whether the Off-road Cycling Master Plan would have the power to change or undo policies adopted in the River View Management Plan.

On a related note, this morning BPS released the names of people who will serve on the 16-member Off-Road Cycling Master Plan Project Advisory Committee (60 people applied in all). That committee will work with outside consultants and city staff to come up with a list of recommendations that BPS says will, “Guide creation of a citywide vision and plan for a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities where children, adults and families can ride for fun, exercise and to experience nature in the city.”

Given Portland’s past struggles with off-road bike access, the make-up of this committee is very important. They’ll essentially be voting on the future of off-road cycling in Portland (keep in mind this means not just singletrack trails in parks, but pump tracks, gravel roads, and other off-pavement opportunities). Here’s the list, with short bios from BPS:


mtb-committee

Top: Michael Whitesel (L) and Jocelyn Gaudi. Bottom: Mike Houck.

Punneh Abdolhossieni
Punneh works for Partners in Diversity, an organization partnering with Oregon and SW Washington employers to attract and retain professionals of color. Her academic focus was outdoor education and recreation and overcoming barriers to participation for communities of color. Punneh represents the Community Cycling Center and enjoys off-road cycling and racing.

Kelsey Cardwell
Kelsey is the communications director for Stand for Children Oregon, an advocacy organization focusing on preparation for and access to college for all children. She is also the President of and represents the Northwest Trail Alliance, a mountain bicycling advocacy and trail stewardship organization encompassing NW Oregon and SW Washington. Kelsey is an off-road cyclist and trail runner.

Erin Chipps
Erin is an environmental specialist for the Federal Highway Administration Western Federal Lands Division, reviewing environmental impacts of road and trail projects. She has a background in biology and a Masters in Environmental Management. Erin is an off-road cyclist and racer.

Matthew Erdman
Matthew is an attorney and manager at Legal Aid and previously worked with El Programa Hispano, supporting low-income, English as a Second Language and minority residents. His educational background is in economics with a focus on valuation of natural resources. Matthew is a road and off-road cyclist and bike racer.

Jocelyn Gaudi
Jocelyn is an active volunteer within the off-road cycling community and is a certified mountain bike instructor, with a focus on encouraging more women and youth to ride off-road. She is also a member of the Komorebi Cycling bikepacking group. Jocelyn serves on the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and the Friends of Gateway Green board, both of which she represents.

Mike Houck
Mike Houck has been a leader in urban park and greenspace issues since founding the Urban Naturalist Program at the Audubon Society of Portland in 1980. He helped found the Coalition for a Livable Future and now directs the Urban Greenspaces Institute. He is a member of The Intertwine Alliance’s core group and its board of directors. He is an avid hiker and urban naturalist. Mike serves on the City of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission.

Adnan Kadir
Adnan is a professional cycling coach with Aeolus Endurance Sport and member of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership. He is on the board of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA), where he works to implement programs in low-income neighborhoods and with at-risk youth. Adnan is a member of the Buckman Community Association and enjoys off-road cycling, hiking, and trail running. He represents the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA).

Carrie Leonard
Carrie is a children’s bike specialist with Islabikes, Inc., a company that produces high quality bikes for children. She has a background in freshwater conservation and engineering. Carrie is a road cyclist and trail runner, and her children are off-road cyclists. Carrie is a member of the Portland Society, a group of professional women who are passionate about business and bicycling.

Torrey Lindbo
Torrey is the Water Sciences Program Manager for the City of Gresham, bike commuting daily from SW Portland on the Springwater Corridor. He is also president of the Tryon Creek Watershed Council, and has served on the Johnson Creek Watershed Council for eight years. Torrey is a hiker, trail runner, and on the board of Team Red Lizard, a Portland running club.

Kelly McBride
Kelly is an occupational therapist with Legacy Memorial Hospital and volunteers with Adaptive Sports Northwest, focusing on accessibility for people with disabilities. She is a hiker and trail runner and has begun riding off-road with her husband, who uses a handcycle.

Renee Meyers
Renee is the Director of the Forest Park Conservancy, which she represents. The Forest Park Conservancy’s mission focuses on the interdependent values of protecting Forest Park’s ecological health while encouraging responsible recreation and access. The Conservancy works directly with Portland Parks & Recreation to restore the park and build and maintain natural-surface trails.

Jim Owens
Jim is a public policy, land use planning and community engagement specialist with the Cogan Owens Greene consulting firm. He has worked on many complex environmental and recreation projects and plans, including environmental impact statements for recreational uses in Northwest Forest lands. Jim serves on and represents the Portland Parks Board. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Portland Parks Foundation.

Nastassja Pace
Nastassja leads Oregon bicycle tourism development efforts at Travel Oregon, with a focus on building local economies around outdoor recreation tourism. She serves on the Scenic Bikeway Advisory Committee, convenes the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership, organizes and facilitates Oregon Bicycle Tourism Studio workshops, and oversees the Oregon Bike Friendly Business program. Nastassja represents Travel Oregon.

Bob Sallinger
Bob is the Conservation Director for the Audubon Society of Portland. He has worked on urban natural area and natural resource issues for over 20 years, serving on the Portland Parks Board and the BES Watershed Management Plan Advisory Committee, and has participated in off-road cycling planning efforts in Forest Park, Riverview and Powell Butte. Bob represents the Audubon Society of Portland and is an avid hiker and naturalist.

Evan Smith
Evan is Senior Vice President of the Conservation Fund, a national environmental organization, overseeing 200,000 acres of forestland managed for sustainable timber harvest, watershed restoration and recreation. His educational background is in geology and hydrogeology. Evan is an off-road cyclist, trail runner and bike commuter. He lives near Forest Park in the Linnton Neighborhood.

Michael Whitesel
Michael owns the Lumberyard Bike Park and located his business in an under-served area of East Portland to provide recreational programs to youth. He is also President of the Oregon Big Tent Recreation Coalition, which advocates for safe and responsible recreation in Oregon.

The first meeting of this committee is set for January 28th.

Stay tuned early next week when we’ll know more about Thursday’s council action on River View.

For full background, browse our River View Natural Area and Off-road Cycling Master Plan story archives.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Off-road update: New council date set for River View plan, committee selected for Master Plan appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Parks’ new ‘land stewardship manager’ could have big impact on off-road cycling

Parks’ new ‘land stewardship manager’ could have big impact on off-road cycling

Forest Park "No Bikes" signs-2

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A new position currently being offered by the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) bureau could have a huge impact on the future of off-road cycling.

PP&R’s new Land Stewardship Division Manager will be a senior-level manager who will make between $95,000 and $128,000 and will report directly to bureau director Mike Abbaté. Currently when Parks approaches a large policy or project they use a number of different types of planners and managers who all report to one project manager. This new position would, “bring together all land management expertise, knowledge and strategies under one manager.”

Here are the responsibilities of the new position as taken from the official job description:

Responsibilities include planning, organizing, directing and evaluating the programs, activities, and personnel of the division of approximately 150 employees who protect, maintain, restore and enhance the 11,000 acres of land managed by the Bureau that are part of a regionally ecologically significant system of open spaces, ranging from natural resource areas to highly developed parks to active recreation facilities. This position also oversees ecologists, horticultural services, community gardens, a plant nursery, turf and irrigation maintenance, environmental education, the integrated pest management program, and the recreational trails program.

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Given the ongoing tensions within PP&R around the balance between conservation and recreation and how best to manage bicycling in parks and natural areas, the person who gets this job will have to weave through some difficult issues.

While the much-anticipated Off-Road Cycling Plan is (thankfully) being managed by the Bureau of Planning & Sustainability, PP&R will ultimately be involved in conversations regarding bike access at key sites like Forest Park, River View, Powell Butte, Gateway Green, and others.

If the person who ultimately fills this roll embraces the possibility and potential of bicycling in Portland’s parks and natural spaces, he/she could have a major impact on the future.

The Land Stewardship Division Manager position closes on December 14th, so be sure to apply if you are interested and pass along the listing to friends who are qualified.

In related news, PP&R is currently hosting an important online survey to gauge “Community Budget Values.” Please take a few minutes and fill it out.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


The post Parks’ new ‘land stewardship manager’ could have big impact on off-road cycling appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Future of bike trails uncertain with release of River View management plan

Future of bike trails uncertain with release of River View management plan

riverviewfromabove

The River View parcel (foreground) is very close to downtown Portland and its trails are in demand.
(Photo from River View Natural Area Management Plan)

The Portland parks bureau has released its final management plan for the River View Natural Area and they’ve left the door cracked open — ever so slightly — for the possibility of off-road cycling access in the future. However, because the city’s process prevented a robust discussion of all potential trail uses, the plan is full of uncertainty. If it’s adopted by City Council as scheduled in mid-December it could have the unintended consequence of making it harder to allow cycling even if the city’s own planning process deems it appropriate at a later date.

riverview-lead

A trail in River View. Look, but don’t touch (at least for now).

First, some background…

The 146-acre parcel that borders Lewis & Clark College and Riverview Cemetery in southwest Portland was the subject of a bruising public process that left biking supporters scorned. After the city bought the parcel, off-road cycling advocates worked hand-in-hand with the parks bureau with an understanding that biking — which has taken place at River View for decades and is by far the most requested use of the park in the city’s own surveys — would continue to be part of the future of the site. When the unexpected and unexplained decision to prohibit cycling came down in March it led to an appeal with the State Land Use board by the Northwest Trail Alliance.

rvna-poll-openhouse1

Survey taken at the project’s first open house in September 2013.

That appeal was ultimately dismissed and the process continued toward its goal of creating a management plan that will dictate how the parcel will be developed in the future. That plan has now been released.

Planning for uncertainty?

“We have the chance to do this correctly by allowing the Master Plan process to be completed, and then making sound decisions based on that process.”
— Brian Baumann, NW Trail Alliance

At issue is a question of process and timing: The management plan itself doesn’t preclude the possibility of future cycling trails, yet it was intentionally developed without cycling in mind. Therefore, if the management plan is adopted by city council only to have the ongoing Off-Road Cycling Master Plan determine that cycling is a compatible use, the city would then have to re-open the plan and make a change. The un-sealing a plan that has already been adopted by council might prove too large of a process hoop for cycling trails to jump through.

Because of that unexpected and unexplained decision back in March by Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz to ban not only cycling itself but also any discussion of it during the planning process, the plan’s trail concepts and recommendations do not adequately reflect the valuable off-road cycling expertise and perspective that was on the project advisory committee.

The NWTA’s Brian Baumann said he thinks the management plan should not be adopted until after the master plan has assessed River View. Here’s what we heard from Baumann via email today:

“It is a ‘cart before the horse’ scenario to approve the RVNA Management Plan and begin to build trails while off-road cycling is temporarily banned. We have the chance to do this correctly by allowing the Master Plan process to be completed, and then making sound decisions based on that process… I see no harm in taking more time and not moving forward with it in it’s current form.”

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A glimmer of hope with “interim” status

The one small victory for cycling advocates is that the management plan does not shut the door entirely to future cycling.

rvna_alloweduses

In a section listing public uses that are “allowed” and “not allowed,” biking is put in a separate category: “interim prohibited.” “The use of mountain bikes will remain a prohibited use until completion of the City’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan,” the plan states, “through which RVNA [River View Natural Area] will be considered as a candidate property for cycling.”

Is that “iterim” designation a legitimate placeholder for a full consideration of cycling at River View or is it just a political stall tactic? (Both parks bureau staffers assigned to this project are currently out of the office and unavailable for comment.)

The city has promised that the main goal of the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan is to take an objective look at all parcels in the city and assess whether or not they are compatible with cycling trails. The concern from bike advocates is that the management plan is set up in such a way to essentially guarantee that the Master Plan process will not find River View as a feasible site for cycling.

When cycling at River View comes up during the master plan process, it’s likely to stir up debate yet again, which is why some people felt it should have been dealt with more thoroughly in the management plan.

The debate today and what’s to come

“I take issue with this plan not expressly prohibiting mountain bikes as a use.”
— Torrey Lindbo, Tryon Creek Watershed Council Board President

In an official comment published with the management plan, the Collins View Neighborhood Association said that the mere consideration of cycling at River View is “irresponsible” due to ecological concerns. “Why is River View Natural Area being considered [for cycling],” their statement reads, “… Collins View is wary that the report leaves the Natural area totally open to off road cycling without qualifying the site’s suitability.”

In official comments on the plan, Tryon Creek Watershed Council Board President Torrey Lindbo also said cycling should be prohibited. He wanted the city to put cycling in the “not allowed” use category. “The site does not appear to provide conditions that would support safe incorporation of mountain biking as a trail use. …I take issue with this plan not expressly prohibiting mountain bikes as a use. …I will be extremely disappointed if the city considers allowing mountain biking within RVNA as part of the Off‐Road Cycling Master Plan process.

Countering those viewpoints, another influential conservation group supports biking in River View. Audubon Society of Portland Board Member and project advisory committee member Jay Withgott said he feels the city erred in not definitively answering the cycling question during the River View planning process:

“Speaking for Portland Audubon, I will mention that others at Audubon feel strongly that the issue of mountain biking should have been addressed as part of a holistic management plan for this site at this time, and not postponed pending a larger landscape scale review. They feel that there was sufficient information to have decided this issue at Riverview as part of the current process and that there is a place for mountain biking at River View.”

The minority report

Three members of the River View project advisory committee signed a minority report to express their disappointment with the management plan process and urge the city to make cycling a higher priority. In their dissenting opinion, Baumann with the Northwest Trail Alliance, River View neighbor Chris Sautter and professional cyclist Charlie Sponsel claimed that since hiking and running are acceptable uses at River View, cycling should be too. “No credible reason has been cited for removing off-road cycling from the plan,” they wrote. Their letter claims that properly built trails can handle biking and hiking without harming the ecology.

Here’s more from their letter:

“… off-road cycling can be done in a sustainable manner on properly-built trails. Off-road cycling on trails was not considered a significant ecological impact to RVNA during the initial surveying process. Off-road cyclists bring trail building expertise to RVNA, as well as the necessary volunteer labor to maintain trails. Off-road cyclists volunteered more than 450 hours of their time, in partnership with Portland Parks, to make the multi-use trails at RVNA more sustainable, and have proven to be the best trail stewards in many projects across Oregon. As we heard from PP&R’s staff, singletrack mountain bike trails do not pose a threat to TEES Interior habitat designations and do not pose a threat to Willamette River water quality or temperature. Those are the two most important resources we are tasked with protecting at River View, and the city’s own experts do not consider trails to be a significant threat.

… the draft plan as written provides reduced recreation opportunities for all uses, including off road cyclists and pedestrians. The proposed single large loop around the perimeter of the property and smaller upper loop are significantly limiting the variety of trails and routes.”

The signees of the minority report are also still stinging from how the River View process was handled. They say City Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish circumvented the public process when they “unilaterally and arbitrarily” banned cycling and any discussion of it back in March. “Before the ban,” the statement continues, “the Technical and Public Advisory Committees were engaged in spirited debate about mountain biking and its compatibility with the environmental and recreational goals for River View.”

The plan is scheduled for a council vote on December 16th. If Baumann and other advocates get their way, that “spirited debate” will play out long before any plan is set in stone.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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First look at Metro’s plans to build new singletrack trails north of Forest Park

First look at Metro’s plans to build new singletrack trails north of Forest Park

tual-burl-detaillead

Detail of Metro’s trail plans.

We have important updates on a story we shared yesterday about a historic step forward for off-road cycling in Portland.

As you might have heard, Metro is on the verge of finalizing a plan that would develop several mountain parcels north of Forest Park. Two of the parcels are slated to include singletrack trails built specifically for mountain biking. If built, these trails would represent the largest network of off-road bike trails ever developed in Portland. In advance of a final public meeting about the plans that will be held tonight, Metro has published the meeting materials on the project website.

In addition to giving you a more detailed look at Metro’s plans, I also want to elaborate on a point I made in yesterday’s story about the people who are organizing opposition to the bike trails. A key point in their case against Metro’s inclusion of the trails in these plans is a contention that the land was purchased solely to protect habitat and that, “a mountain bike park is contrary to the terms of the levy.”

I tracked down the resolution passed by Metro Council in December 2012 that lays out the levy in detail in order to show that cycling — even in these specific parcels — was called out as a possible use from very early on.

First, let’s take a closer look at the plans Metro will present tonight…

Of the four parcels that make up the North Tualatin Mountains, Metro will only develop two of them: Burlington Creek Forest and McCarthy Creek Forest. Here’s a map to give you some context on the location of the four parcels. The two stars are where bicycling trails will be built. Multnomah Channel and Highway 30 are in the upper right and the northern boundary of Forest Park is in the lower right:

tual-starredparcels

The 339 acre Burlington parcel will be the first phase of the project and it will get most of the attention.

The Burlington Creek area is located adjacent to Highway 30 just south of McNamee Road (or Cornelius Pass Road, if you aren’t familiar with McNamee). Metro’s plans call for a fully developed trailhead south of McNamee Road that includes parking for 15 cars, a restroom, a picnic table, and so on.

As for riding a bike at Burlington, there will be a total of 6.15 miles of trails and gravel roads. The breakdown is 2.7 miles of gravel road; 1.2 miles of shared trail; and 2.25 miles of what Metro calls “off-road cycling optimized” trail.

burling-overviewmap

tual-burlingtonbreakdown

Trail breakdown for Burlington Creek Forest parcel.

The 403 acre McCarthy Creek Forest parcel is south of Burlington Creek. The main entrance will be off of NW Skyline Blvd where it intersects with McNamee Road near the Skyline Grange (there will be two additional trailheads on McNamee).

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Metro will develop McCarthy as a second phase of the project and trail alignments are flexible based on lessons they learn from Burlington. That being said, Metro’s current plans include 4.5 miles of trails and gravel roads — all of which will be open to bicycle riders. Of particular note is a 0.7 mile beginner loop near the main entrance that will be build specifically for cycling. plans to build some beginner-friendly mountain bike trails.

Here’s the map and the trail breakdown:

tual-mccarthy-overviewmap

tual-mccarthy-trailbreakdown

Trail breakdown for McCarthy Creek parcel.

Keep in mind that it will be possible to bike between these two parcels on McNamee Road (I’m not aware of a dirt connection, can anyone shed light on that possibility?).

Given the disappointments of Forest Park and more recently River View, these plans are a breath of fresh air.

However, not everyone feels this way. An opposition is organizing and they plan to tell Metro that allowing biking on these parcels goes against the terms of the 2013 levy. We looked up the resolution that endorsed the levy as passed by Metro Council on December 18th 2012. On page 16 of the resolution (PDF here), there’s a paragraph that refers to Agency Creek (former name of Burlington Creek) and McCarthy Creek.

Here’s the passage (emphases mine):

Various parcels near to but outside of Forest Park are currently or could be used by walkers or cyclists to access nature close to Portland. Access to the site is challenging and there may be opportunities to enhance use. Over the past decade the demand for single track mountain biking trails has increased. This project would explore the potential to provide quality cycling and hiking experiences for formal singletrack cycling and walking trails, and as appropriate, construct the facilities.

Andy Jansky with the Northwest Trail Alliance says his group fully supported the levy and has worked closely with Metro on these plans as a member of their advisory committee. He hopes mountain bike riders show up to the meeting tonight to show Metro that trails like this are needed and supported by the community. He also shared some advice about what to do at the meeting.

“Find a Metro staffer and tell them you story. Tell they why you’re so passionate about the outdoors. Then talk to a neighbor and have a conversation about who you are and why you love to ride your bike. This is a community event, it’s not the place to complain or pick fights.”

We’ll be watching this project very closely over the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned for more coverage. If you have support or criticisms of Metro’s plans, email Olena Turula at Olena.Turula@oregonmetro.gov.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org


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