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Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization

Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization

Portland to Stub Stewart family camping trip-30.jpg

The Banks-Vernonia trail is one of Oregon’s riding gems. Would we have more trails like it with a new advocacy approach?
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Community advocates and government agency staffers throughout Oregon are working hard to develop world-class trails. But is that work failing to reach its potential without a statewide trails advocacy organization?

Stephanie Noll is researching an important question for bike tourism in Oregon.

Stephanie Noll is researching an important question for bike tourism in Oregon.

Trail projects — many of them spurred by a demand for bicycle use — are being dreamed up, funded, and built all over Oregon right now. There’s tremendous momentum for all forms of cycling — from singletrack dirt trail riding that’s become popular at Sandy Ridge to rail-to-trail riding on paved paths like the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Trails are the backbone of Oregon’s bike tourism engine that pumps $400 million a year into the state economy.

Despite all the projects and people that make up Oregon’s outdoor trail ecosystem, there’s no statewide group that can present a united front for lobbying, promotion, fundraising, and so on.

This problem has been identified by Travel Oregon and they’ve hired a consultant to look into it. At a meeting of their Bicycle Tourism Partnership meeting in Bend today, Stephanie Noll (former deputy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, now a private consultant) shared insights from her ongoing research into the topic.

Noll has conducted 20 interviews with trails experts throughout Oregon where she posed the following question:

What hurdles does Oregon face in building and maintaining a world class network of trails, and how could we work together to address those hurdles?







The number one response was the need for a coordinated effort to get more funding (big surprise!). The other top feedback was a need to convene existing trail groups to learn from each other and creating a cohesive vision for a statewide trail network.

Noll also shared examples from Washington, where a much more evolved approach to trail advocacy exists.

Washington Trails Association website.

Washington Trails Association website.

The Washington Trails Association was started 50 years ago, has 33 full-time staffers and 13,000 members (whose donations provide most of the funding). On the biking side of things, Washington’s Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has 25 staffers and chapters all over the state. There’s also the Washington State Trails Coalition that convenes a wide variety of groups including ATV users, boaters, and equestrian advocates. It’s an enviable ecosystem that feeds off the state’s dedicated Recreation & Conservation Office — Washington’s governmental arm that does the heavy-lifting of getting federal grants, among other things.

With this advocacy ecosystem, Washington seems far ahead of Oregon when it comes to trail planning and development. It could also be one explanation for the fact that Washington has 110 officially designated rail-trails and Oregon has only 20.

Oregon has a lot to be proud of when it comes to bike trail advocacy. Travel Oregon has been a stalwart supporter of the trails for over a decade as the founder of the Oregon Bicycle Tourism Partnership (which first met in 2004), creator of the Oregon Scenic Bikeways program, funder of the RideOregonRide.com website, and much more. But they’re a government entity beholden to many other (non-bike-related) priorities.

If Oregon wants to become the premiere state for cycling on off-highway trails, it might be time for a new entity to help tie all the existing threads together and weave a more beautiful tapestry of riding opportunities.

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

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The post Travel Oregon mulls need for statewide trails advocacy organization appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Good news: Tesla agrees to build Willamette Greenway path segment

Good news: Tesla agrees to build Willamette Greenway path segment

New design drawing showing where the path will go.

Latest plan drawing shows where the new path will go (in blue, existing path is in red).

They didn’t have to do it, but they did.

I’m happy to report that Tesla Motors has decided to pave a new section of the Willamette Greenway path that runs across a parcel they plan to develop in the South Waterfront neighborhood.

(Image: Bob Cronk via South Waterfront Facebook group)

(Image: Bob Cronk via South Waterfront Facebook group)

This story started a month ago when we learned that Tesla planned to turn a vacant warehouse at 4330 SW Macadam Avenue into their new Portland showroom and repair center. We wouldn’t have noticed this project at all if the parcel didn’t happen to be smack-dab in the middle of a major (and majorly annoying) gap in the Willamette Greenway Trail. In many cases development projects like this would trigger a requirement by the business owner to pave a path if an easement exists. But in this case, due to a special exception in city zoning code that applies to the South Waterfront, Tesla wasn’t required to build the path because their project was smaller than 50,000 square feet.

The City of Portland was in a bind. They knew the value of connecting the path but they also had no legal leverage at their disposal. The only chance to capitalize on this rare and valuable opportunity to get the path built was for everyone — Tesla, the landowner, Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau — to sit down and talk it out. It also didn’t hurt that South Waterfront resident Bob Cronk posted to the South Waterfront Facebook page encouraging people to email the city and let them know who important the trail would be.

Land use application map showing "recreational trail" easement across Tesla parcel (in red).

Land use application map showing “recreational trail” easement across Tesla parcel (in red).







Dozens of people emailed the city. “It would be a huge shame if this gap remained for decades,” wrote Iain MacKenzie who runs NextPortland.com, a blog that tracks Portland development.

And on Friday they all got their answer. It came via email from Pooja Bhatt, senior policy advisor in the Office of (Parks) Commissioner Amanda Fritz:

Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I am pleased to share that I’ve been informed that Tesla has agreed to pave the Greenway trail connection on the property. This will be documented in their land use application. Thank you for your advocacy.

That’s great news.

We don’t yet know why Tesla decided to build the trail (we’ve got emails out to City of Portland staff and Tesla and will update this post when we hear back). It’s possible they weren’t aware of the trail situation at all and obliged without hesitation. Or they could have thought nobody would notice and that the trail wasn’t that big of deal. To that I’ll just say: Welcome to Portland Tesla!

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

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The post Good news: Tesla agrees to build Willamette Greenway path segment appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Here’s a chance to make East County bike touring even better

Here’s a chance to make East County bike touring even better

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-41

The Columbia Gorge is only the first stop for
“destination biking” east of Gresham.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Back in July, we wrote that a big recreational biking upgrade is in the works for east Multnomah County. A pair of public “studio workshops” next month will shape its direction.

People at the free workshops — a seven-hour one Nov. 13 at Troutale’s Edgefield McMenamin’s and a four-hour one Nov. 14 at the Corbett Fire House — will get to “identify assets, opportunities, and barriers to increasing bicycle tourism” in the region.

With a Travel Oregon study estimating that 15 percent of tourism in the Gorge/Mount Hood area is already bike-related, the area’s business leaders see big potential for improving things further.

“The growing interest in destination cycling throughout Oregon and the incredible assets in East Multnomah County demonstrate that we have a compelling opportunity to market bicycle tourism,” Alison Hart, CEO of the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release Thursday.

The chamber and Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism association, are organizing the events under their $169,000 grant-funded Bicycle Tourism Initiative. You can read more about the program on the chamber’s website.

“The East Multnomah County region already attracts a diverse bicycle travel market, including out-of-state visitors looking for must-see Oregon experiences and local and regional visitors who enjoy off-the-beaten-path locales that entice with authenticity,” the chamber’s news release said. “They are novice and casual bicyclists, event spectators, mountain bikers, road bikers, racers, triathletes, visitors staying overnight, and more.”

September meetings will help plan Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail

September meetings will help plan Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail

Vernonia Overnighter

A proposed Salmonberry trail would link to the existing
Banks-Vernonia Trail 25 miles northwest of Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A proposed 86-mile rail-to-trail project that would link Washington County to the Pacific Coast is the subject of two public meetings next month at either end of the future route.

The trail, whose cost would run into the tens of millions, has attracted early attention from touring organization Cycle Oregon and important legislators like state Sen. Betsey Johnson (D-Scappoose), who said in an interview last year that a trail through the Salmonberry River Valley would open up “some of the most beautiful land anywhere” to personal travel.

“I used to go up there before I was a legislator, when I had a life,” Johnson said.

The route would connect to the popular Banks-Vernonia trail and probably replace a handful of highways as the best way to reach the coast by bike, foot or horse.

“If I were a bicycle rider, and I’m not, but if I were a bicycle rider I would not want to be watching somebody else’s rear end along a narrow rocky shoulder,” Johnson said. “I’d rather be out in the magnificence of the coast range next to a roaring river.”

Detail of Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail Concept. (PDF)

The trail would replace a remote railroad that has been shut down by multiple bouts of flooding. Backers aim to have a master plan in place by 2014, at which point they can start piecing together funding for the trail.

“The Vernonia trail was a cakewalk compared to this,” Tillamook County Commissioner Mark Labhart, who also supports the project, said last year.

The hearings are:

— Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., in Tillamook at the Oregon Department of Forestry, 500 3rd Street.

— Sept. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., in Banks at Banks Fire Hall, 300 Main Street.

They’re the first of a series of planned meetings to advance the route and its design. You can learn more at the project’s website.

September meetings will help plan Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail

September meetings will help plan Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail

Vernonia Overnighter

A proposed Salmonberry trail would link to the existing
Banks-Vernonia Trail 25 miles northwest of Portland.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

A proposed 86-mile rail-to-trail project that would link Washington County to the Pacific Coast is the subject of two public meetings next month at either end of the future route.

The trail, whose cost would run into the tens of millions, has attracted early attention from touring organization Cycle Oregon and important legislators like state Sen. Betsey Johnson (D-Scappoose), who said in an interview last year that a trail through the Salmonberry River Valley would open up “some of the most beautiful land anywhere” to personal travel.

“I used to go up there before I was a legislator, when I had a life,” Johnson said.

The route would connect to the popular Banks-Vernonia trail and probably replace a handful of highways as the best way to reach the coast by bike, foot or horse.

“If I were a bicycle rider, and I’m not, but if I were a bicycle rider I would not want to be watching somebody else’s rear end along a narrow rocky shoulder,” Johnson said. “I’d rather be out in the magnificence of the coast range next to a roaring river.”

Detail of Salmonberry Corridor Rail Trail Concept. (PDF)

The trail would replace a remote railroad that has been shut down by multiple bouts of flooding. Backers aim to have a master plan in place by 2014, at which point they can start piecing together funding for the trail.

“The Vernonia trail was a cakewalk compared to this,” Tillamook County Commissioner Mark Labhart, who also supports the project, said last year.

The hearings are:

— Sept. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., in Tillamook at the Oregon Department of Forestry, 500 3rd Street.

— Sept. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., in Banks at Banks Fire Hall, 300 Main Street.

They’re the first of a series of planned meetings to advance the route and its design. You can learn more at the project’s website.

Why bicycling isn’t allowed on a new off-street path in Clackamas County

Why bicycling isn’t allowed on a new off-street path in Clackamas County

The newly completed Rosemont Trail, a paved path that connects downtown Lake Oswego to West Linn in Clackamas County, should be cause for celebration — except for that fact that bicycling is banned on about half of its entire length.

After The Oregonian covered this story yesterday, we got several emails from readers who were disturbed by this lack of bicycle access. The ban is especially unfortunate given that the adjacent Rosemont Road is a narrow, high-speed thoroughfare without wide shoulders for bicycling on. According to The Oregonian, many people expected the path to allow bicycling, and there is considerable consternation now that it doesn’t. Hoping to better understand the background and context of this project, we reached out to Clackamas County and the group who paid for and created the trail, The Columbia Land Trust.

According to Clackamas County Transportation Engineering Manager Mike Bezner, there was never any intention of allowing bicycles on the path. “The [Oregonian] article was misleading… It was never intended to be a bike path,” he shared in an interview this morning. Bezner, who made it clear this was not Clackamas County’s project, said the project had been planned without bike access in mind since 2006.

The reason for this is because when the Columbia Land Trust obtained the initial permits for the project in 2005, they could only afford a six-foot wide path. That’s too narrow for a shared-use path, says Bezner. “They did the project with that mutual understanding all these years.” Bezner also said that permits for the project include only “pedestrian easements” that specifically prohibit bicycle riding. “The people that live along the route didn’t want to give them easements for bicycles.”

The fact that the Columbia Land Trust ended up building this last section of the path eight feet wide (not the six that was originally planned), doesn’t sway Bezner’s decision. He said this morning that in some cases they could make eight feet work for a shared bicycling and walking path (they prefer 10 feet); but in this case, the topography of the area makes it unsafe for shared use.

“The people that live along the route didn’t want to give them easements for bicycles.”
— Mike Bezner, Clackamas County Transportation Engineering Manager

The section of the path in question is relatively steep and the main concern from the County’s perspective is safety. Bezner claims, “There’s already been a lot of reported bike and pedestrian near misses — including the reporter who wrote that article in The Oregonian. She almost got hit by a bike.”

Jill Davis, communications director for the Columbia Land Trust (CLT), agrees with the County’s safety concerns. She also concurred with Bezner’s history of the project, and said The Oregonian story was inaccurate. The Oregonian reported that the CLT “from the beginning called it an amenity for both cyclists and pedestrians. It even widened the trail from the planned 6 feet to 8 feet to accommodate bikes.”

“Columbia Land Trust never promised that it would be open to bikes,” Davis shared with us today, “This sentence in the Oregonian is factually incorrect… Allowing bikes was never a guarantee. We cannot find any outreach materials that ever promised the Rosemont Trail would be a bike trail.”

As to why her group widened the trail from six to eight feet, Davis says that was done in order to “possibly” accomodate bike access “at some point in the future.”

Both Bezner and Davis say they’d ideally like to see bicycling on the path, but they each had a different outlook on whether or not that’s likely to ever happen. Davis says her group is already collecting data and doing analysis to present to the County in hopes it will lead to solutions to the “safety issues inherent on the Trail.” “Columbia Land Trust’s goal is for the Rosemont Trail to be usable by both bikers and pedestrians, and we will continue to work toward that end.”

But Bezner, although he says bike access on the path would be ideal, sounded less hopeful. “We are trying and actively working on this, but I don’t see an immediate solution,” he said. “I can’t make it wider and the easements don’t accomodate bikes. I just don’t think we’re going to have a solution that is going to get bikes on it any time soon.”

Clackamas County’s long term plans are to install bike lanes on Rosemont Road; but Bezner says improving bicycle access on Rosemont — whether it happens on the road or on the new trail — isn’t a high priority for the County right now. “It’s one of about 400 projects on the list,” he said, referring to the current update of their Transportation System Plan. “There is a lot of competition on that list. A lot of good projects.”

While there are surely a lot of other needs and projects on the County’s list, I doubt any of them can boast of $1 million in private investment that has led to a major new piece of infrastructure already on the ground. Not to mention one that prohibits bicycle use and perpetuates a lack of a safe bicycling connection where there could easily be one. Whether or not these facts move future bike access improvements in the Rosemont corridor up the County’s official priority list remains to be seen.

Why bicycling isn’t allowed on a new off-street path in Clackamas County

Why bicycling isn’t allowed on a new off-street path in Clackamas County

The newly completed Rosemont Trail, a paved path that connects downtown Lake Oswego to West Linn in Clackamas County, should be cause for celebration — except for that fact that bicycling is banned on about half of its entire length.

After The Oregonian covered this story yesterday, we got several emails from readers who were disturbed by this lack of bicycle access. The ban is especially unfortunate given that the adjacent Rosemont Road is a narrow, high-speed thoroughfare without wide shoulders for bicycling on. According to The Oregonian, many people expected the path to allow bicycling, and there is considerable consternation now that it doesn’t. Hoping to better understand the background and context of this project, we reached out to Clackamas County and the group who paid for and created the trail, The Columbia Land Trust.

According to Clackamas County Transportation Engineering Manager Mike Bezner, there was never any intention of allowing bicycles on the path. “The [Oregonian] article was misleading… It was never intended to be a bike path,” he shared in an interview this morning. Bezner, who made it clear this was not Clackamas County’s project, said the project had been planned without bike access in mind since 2006.

The reason for this is because when the Columbia Land Trust obtained the initial permits for the project in 2005, they could only afford a six-foot wide path. That’s too narrow for a shared-use path, says Bezner. “They did the project with that mutual understanding all these years.” Bezner also said that permits for the project include only “pedestrian easements” that specifically prohibit bicycle riding. “The people that live along the route didn’t want to give them easements for bicycles.”

The fact that the Columbia Land Trust ended up building this last section of the path eight feet wide (not the six that was originally planned), doesn’t sway Bezner’s decision. He said this morning that in some cases they could make eight feet work for a shared bicycling and walking path (they prefer 10 feet); but in this case, the topography of the area makes it unsafe for shared use.

“The people that live along the route didn’t want to give them easements for bicycles.”
— Mike Bezner, Clackamas County Transportation Engineering Manager

The section of the path in question is relatively steep and the main concern from the County’s perspective is safety. Bezner claims, “There’s already been a lot of reported bike and pedestrian near misses — including the reporter who wrote that article in The Oregonian. She almost got hit by a bike.”

Jill Davis, communications director for the Columbia Land Trust (CLT), agrees with the County’s safety concerns. She also concurred with Bezner’s history of the project, and said The Oregonian story was inaccurate*. The Oregonian reported that the CLT “from the beginning called it an amenity for both cyclists and pedestrians. It even widened the trail from the planned 6 feet to 8 feet to accommodate bikes.”

“Columbia Land Trust never promised that it would be open to bikes,” Davis shared with us today, “This sentence in the Oregonian is factually incorrect… Allowing bikes was never a guarantee. We cannot find any outreach materials that ever promised the Rosemont Trail would be a bike trail.” (*UPDATE: Davis now says that CLT’s Executive Director who was quoted in The Oregonian story, “inadvertently mischaracterized the history of the trail to the reporter”.)

As to why her group widened the trail from six to eight feet, Davis says that was done in order to “possibly” accomodate bike access “at some point in the future.”

Both Bezner and Davis say they’d ideally like to see bicycling on the path, but they each had a different outlook on whether or not that’s likely to ever happen. Davis says her group plans to collect data about how the path is being used then present it to the County in hopes of finding solutions to the “safety issues inherent on the Trail.” “Columbia Land Trust’s goal is for the Rosemont Trail to be usable by both bikers and pedestrians, and we will continue to work toward that end.”

But Bezner, although he says bike access on the path would be ideal, sounded less hopeful. “We are trying and actively working on this, but I don’t see an immediate solution,” he said. “I can’t make it wider and the easements don’t accomodate bikes. I just don’t think we’re going to have a solution that is going to get bikes on it any time soon.”

Clackamas County’s long term plans are to install bike lanes on Rosemont Road; but Bezner says improving bicycle access on Rosemont — whether it happens on the road or on the new trail — isn’t a high priority for the County right now. “It’s one of about 400 projects on the list,” he said, referring to the current update of their Transportation System Plan. “There is a lot of competition on that list. A lot of good projects.”

While there are surely a lot of other needs and projects on the County’s list, I doubt any of them can boast of $1 million in private investment that has led to a major new piece of infrastructure already on the ground. Not to mention one that prohibits bicycle use and perpetuates a lack of a safe bicycling connection where there could easily be one. Whether or not these facts move future bike access improvements in the Rosemont corridor up the County’s official priority list remains to be seen.

Stars aligning for a bike tourism boom in the Mt. Hood area

Stars aligning for a bike tourism boom in the Mt. Hood area

Sandy Ridge loop-5

Riders scope out routes at Sandy Ridge, a popular trail-riding
destination built specifically for mountain biking.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Nobody in Oregon gets more of its tourist dollar from bikes than the Mount Hood region, and people in eastern Multnomah and Clackamas counties are taking notice.

Whatever happens in the controversy about a planned mountain bike park near Timberline Lodge, the area seems to be thinking more and more about biking. Consider a few elements:

— Back in May a splashy Travel Oregon study grabbed the attention of city leaders by finding that 15 percent of travel expenditures in the Mt. Hood/Gorge area are bike-related:

Mt. Hood wins big with bike-related tourism.
(Image by Dean Runyon Associates for Travel Oregon)

— As reported by KATU-TV, the Gresham Area Chamber of Commerce has now pulled together $169,000 from Metro, Travel Portland, Gresham and Troutdale for an “assessment of all the trails in the area — where do they stand, where do they have gaps, where do we see the needs, where are the connections?” The idea is to prime the area for even more bike recreation.

— As we wrote this spring, the Oregon Department of Transportation is leading a $650,000 project to fight congestion on U.S. 26 by improving shoulders, trailhead access and other bike amenities that help people get to Mount Hood on two wheels.

— A $2-to-$3-per-ride express bus that’s connected the Sandy Transit Center to Mount Hood for years is preparing to add twice-a-day service to Government Camp, Timberline Lodge and Ski Bowl, starting in October. From May through early October, it’s currently expected, the buses will haul trailers designed to accommodate between four and 10 mountain bikes up to these recreational joints.

In an email, Jae Heidenreich of Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs called that last development, funded by $460,400 from the U.S. Department of Transportation, “an exciting move in the right direction for folks wanting to get up the mountain year ’round” and mentioned that “numerous parties calling out existing/growing demand” for ways to haul mountain bike equipment up the mountain in all seasons.

I joined my first own bike trip up the Gorge last month as part of Pedalpalooza, and I could swear those views are 20 percent more beautiful when fueled by eggs and toast. It’s exciting to see bike recreation being recognized as a powerful force that can draw visitors to the Portland area’s geographic treasures — without further clogging the roads for people in cars.

Oregon’s strategic focus on bike tourism was started by a dedicated coalition of advocates, business owners, and Travel Oregon staffers back in 2006. Now it looks like years of work is really starting to pay off.

Read more of our bike tourism coverage here.

Metro to host Regional Trails Fair tomorrow

Metro to host Regional Trails Fair tomorrow

This old rail corridor deep in the Tillamook
Forest will someday be a biking and
walking path.
(Photo: Salmonberry Corridor
Preliminary Feasibility Report)

The third annual Regional Trails Fair will be held tomorrow at Metro headquarters from 1:00 to 3:30 pm. The event will bring together more than 35 trail advocacy organizations and government agencies to share the latest updates on trail projects throughout the Portland region. And there’s a lot to talk about!

Did you know there’s a major effort underway (with support from Oregon Parks & Recreation) to create a new rail-trail that would connect the town of Banks to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast? The Salmonberry Trail, which won a $100,000 planning grant from Cycle Oregon last year, would allow riders to travel 85 miles through the Tillamook Forest without ever seeing a car.

There’s also the recently renamed Ice Age Tonquin Trail which has already been partially built and has ambitious plans to connect Tualatin to Wilsonville via a 22-mile path.

As for more urban trail projects, the North Portland Greenway is in active planning and construction stages and the City of Portland is in line for a state grant that would build the first section of the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail.

Those are just a few of the dozens of trail projects in various stages of completion throughout the region. With Metro’s Intertwine continuing to gain steam and a new trail funding measure being discussed in the legislature, there has never been more momentum for these projects.

Also scheduled during the event is a presentation from Lake McTighe on how the Regional Active Transportation Plan is creating priority walking and biking routes.

‘Regional Trail Advocates Forum’ looks to spark grassroots activism

‘Regional Trail Advocates Forum’ looks to spark grassroots activism

“There are so many people interested in trail advocacy… We see this as an opportunity to help them understand they’re not alone in their cause and that all these trail projects are connected.”
— Aaron Brown, The Intertwine

Organizers of tomorrow’s Regional Trail Advocates Forum hope that the first ever event is the start of something big. With trail projects stretching from Washington to Wilsonville, the goals of our region’s many advocates and volunteer activists might seem disparate and overwhelming; but put a bunch of dedicated people in one room and amazing things are bound to happen.

The event is being put together by the venerable 40-Mile Loop Land Land Trust (founded in 1981) and the coalition of public agencies, non-profits, and private firms known as the The Intertwine Alliance.

Program coordinator for The Intertwine, Aaron Brown, said he hopes the event spurs connections among like-minded activists. “There are so many people interested in trail advocacy… We see this as an opportunity to help them understand they’re not alone in their cause and that all these trail projects are connected.”

Here’s the official event blurb (event flyer PDF here):

“Our organizations are teaming up to help develop a grassroots coalition of individual citizens from across this region who are looking to build the network of trails that make up our shared vision for a regional network of trails throughout the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area.”

Metro Regional Trail map.

Brown points to the non-profit group NPGreenway as a model of what’s possible when citizen activists work together around a common goal. NPGreenway first met nearly seven years ago this week to share a vision for a riverfront trail that would extend the Eastbank Esplanade to Cathedral Park in St. Johns. From humble beginnings, this group has established the project as a top priority for local politicians. As we speak, Portland Parks & Recreation is beginning the planning and engineering process for the project (more on that later).

Other possible outcomes of an event like this could be a new group being formed. I’ve talked for years about how it would be great to see something like a Friends of the Fanno Creek Trail come together that would maintain and advocate for improvements on that fantastic stretch of paths.

Beyond spurring connections in the community, Brown hopes the event makes trail advocates stronger and more organized. “The goal is to cultivate a bunch of activists from around the region and speak as one unified voice the next time there’s a funding conversation.”

The Regional Trail Advocates Forum is tomorrow, November 15, 6:30pm, at the Kaiser Permanente Building in the Lloyd District (500 NE Multnomah St, Ste. 100). RSVP to aaron@theintertwine.org.