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City releases Forest Park cycling actions: No new bike access

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 30th, 2010 at 9:59 am

PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
Riding in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As we hinted at yesterday, City Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Parks and Recreation Director Zari Santner have released their much-anticipated set of actions they'll take to address off-road cycling in Forest Park.

The decision includes no new or improved access to existing singletrack trails and no commitment to build new ones.

In their announcement today, Commissioner Fish and Director Santner wrote, "Further restoration and maintenance work is needed in the park before recreational use can be expanded." With that being said, they have committed to move forward with the following within the next year:

  • The design and implementation of a new vegetation monitoring program
  • Development of a new outreach and education plan to increase knowledge of trail etiquette and safety

"My interest is not in studying this to death, it’s seeing what we can actually do... I am committed to finding ways to significantly expand our current inventory of single track trails."
— Commissioner Nick Fish in February 2010

Within the next two years, Portland Parks will:

  • Expand the Recreation User Study
  • Secure funding to develop, implement and complete a wildlife study
  • Work with partners to improve one to two fire lanes or utility corridors that are currently open to cyclists ("The bureau will work with partners to improve the cycling experience on existing fire lanes, including adding switchbacks, re-greening the lanes, and enhancing existing loops.")
  • Proceed with permitting applications for additional trail recommendations based on the outcome of completed studies

Missing from these lists are shared or outright access to existing singletrack trails or construction of new ones — which is something Commissioner Fish promised to off-road cycling advocates at the outset of this process one year ago. Fish told OPB today that Portland is "not ready" for new bike trails in Forest Park. That statement comes despite the fact that two recent surveys show that a majority of people want new trails and improved bike access.

The "actions" announced by Commissioner Fish put the completion of studies front and center. These decisions are in stark contrast to what Fish said back in February:

"My interest is not in studying this to death, it’s seeing what we can actually do... I am committed to finding ways to significantly expand our current inventory of single track trails."

In a prepared statement in today's announcement, Commissioner Fish said:

“We recognize that off-road cycling is a popular recreational sport. People who enjoy singletrack riding also care about the environment and are committed to being good stewards of our natural areas... The decisions we reached are based upon what we agreed is best for Portland’s largest natural area.”

"We agree" actually means what Commissioner Fish, Director Santner, and those who opposed improved bicycling in the park agreed to. There are many people in Portland who understand that it is possible to improve bike access by sharing existing trails and creating new ones, without harming the ecology of the park.

In an effort to make this disappointing news a bit easier to swallow, today's announcement also included "a commitment to expanding off-road cycling access throughout the Portland metropolitan area." Here's a list of those commitments as expressed by Parks Director Zari Santner (emphasis mine):

  • With the support of Mayor Sam Adams, PP&R will take the lead role in managing Gateway Green and prioritizing singletrack cycling in this new park [More on that here]
  • PP&R will work in partnership with the NW Trail Alliance to construct two new temporary skills parks.
  • With the support of Commissioner Randy Leonard, PP&R and the Portland Water Bureau will improve the recreational experience for pedestrians, equestrians, and bikers, while also increasing natural area protections at Powell Butte Natural Area
  • The City will continue to work with Metro and Intertwine partners to provide more single track cycling opportunities in the Portland region

These other efforts are certainly appreciated, but this entire process was based around improving bicycling opportunities in Forest Park. There is currently only 1/3 of a mile of singletrack trail that is open to bikes in the entire, 5,000 acre park.

I'll have more on this story, including an interview with Commissioner Fish, later today.

For more background on this issue, browse our extensive coverage here.

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Comments
  • Zaphod September 30, 2010 at 10:07 am

    The frustration here is that this mirrors similar issues with mode split on our streets. We get a smaller piece of the pie than our numbers would naturally dictate. But instead of getting say ~6% of funding or X% of trails, we get comparatively little.

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  • Malex September 30, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I think this is a new headline, and I like it! It expresses the (frustrating) bottom line of Fish's announcement.

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  • Singlespeeeeeeeeeed September 30, 2010 at 10:23 am

    This is sadly what I expected. Much to the detriment of the park in my opinion. Alienating a large user group, who would be happy to jump in and help maintain is bad business. I guess we'll just have to keep riding on the firelanes dodging loose dogs. Awesome!

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  • single track September 30, 2010 at 10:24 am

    this is an example of spineless pols. i'll just continue to ride where i see fit, and I wont be hurting anyone's "former clear cut".

    ***portion of comment deleted - I will not tolerate even veiled threats of violence. thank you ***

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Gotta preserve something.

    Wanna ride dangerously? Ride the freeways.

    I don't place making trails in Forest Park on par with advocacy for bike infrastructure/bike lanes. The former is for fun, and the latter is for transportation. If they were really looking for exercise, they'd run through the park which is almost as fun and less dangerous to other users. One can get some pretty good speeds running downhill.

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  • Eric September 30, 2010 at 10:32 am

    All that work for this? Seriously?

    I'll make sure to get my email removed from the Forest Park Conservancy email list since I don't plan on providing any more of my time to help them pull ivy, repair the walking trails or anything else they request help with. I did that in good faith and hopes that this process would lead to a better outcome for mountain bikers, but I guess not.

    Just glad that Parks will be doing so much to support singletrack elsewhere, temporary skills parks, improving the experience at Powell Butte, and working to find other singletrack opportunities. Whoops, forgot to turn on my sarcasm tag.

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  • Bjorn September 30, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Hey, please try to interview Frank Selker as well. I have a feeling I know what he might say but considering the amount of time and money he put into this it would be nice to see what he thinks.

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  • dirt_merchant September 30, 2010 at 10:36 am

    no surprise here. maybe turn our collective focus to the Greenway project, and perhaps get a trail or two there before I am infirm?

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  • Steve September 30, 2010 at 10:38 am

    So the poaching will
    continue/increase...good luck with that PP&R.
    Short-sighted and a definite loss of a vote.

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  • Howdy-Doodoo September 30, 2010 at 10:43 am

    See what you did? Now my mountain bike is crying.

    This process is painfully drawn out. I get it but geez. We could only ride on it a few months a year anyway due to rain...it's all yours the rest of the time. Throw me a friggin bone here.

    The trail etiquette and safety campaign MUST include how bikes fit in the mix a la IMBA (yield to everyone) even if bikes are still currently regarded somewhere below dogs.

    Temporary skills park? Guess I'll drive to Sisters.

    Thanks for not sharing a resource I pay for. Knotheads.

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  • Jason September 30, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Assuming the Commissioner and Director are elected positions, I think that the cycling community would do well to support new individuals for these positions in the future.

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  • doper September 30, 2010 at 10:49 am

    Ugh.

    Not unexpected, but entirely disappointing.

    so...when's the first monthly FOREST PARK CRITICAL MASS ride? sign me up!

    Voting is cool.

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 10:51 am

    guys guys guys guys

    they make big bright lights for this at night

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  • f5 September 30, 2010 at 10:52 am

    I'm looking forward to seeing the NWTA's response to this and what type of renewed efforts for public outreach and education come about.

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  • single track September 30, 2010 at 10:55 am

    That was not a veiled threat of violence. I apologize for the lack of foresight before i hit send. my intent was to highlight the great number of off leash dogs in the park and that bikes and bikers create no more of a problem than off leash unruly dogs.

    for the record, I've run (on foot)into belligerent dogs as well.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 30, 2010 at 10:58 am

    thanks single track. we all know that if dogs were human they would have been outlawed from the park long ago. too bad bikes are as quite and fluffy.

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  • Matt F September 30, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Very disappointing.

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  • single track September 30, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Nick Fish-

    You can wear your silly ball cap under your helmet for photo ops all you want but you just lost my vote.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I am just going to start riding wildwood, during the day and when I feel like it. At this point I am convinced I am not doing any more harm than the hikers, no one is out there enforcing anything and their is really no relationship worth fostering with people who are against it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

      Alex (and others),

      While I understand and share the frustration and disappointment, I would absolutely not recommend poaching trails. It's illegal, it will make progress even more difficult, and it will just be bad all-around if/when you get caught. Also, you might want to know that Parks has already hired a full-time park ranger who is just waiting to catch you. I think the best use of energy is by calling Commissioner Fish and his Council colleagues and letting them know how you feel about the decision.

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  • k_t_w September 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I'm done. Let's poach.

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  • DK September 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Hey Nick, nice work by you and your committee. A ton of time and talk for little-to-no tangible result.

    WEAK!!!

    Did the biking demographic help elect you to your current seat? Wonder how that will work out for you over the long-term.

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  • DK September 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

    #19
    #20
    Agreed.

    Let the civil disobedience begin. After all, this is our city too and we've already excercised our patience and good faith in waiting for the committee's results.

    Now that we see said results, I think NWTA should do an organized group ride on Wildwood in protest of the city's in-action to address their dirt-loving constituents. It should take place in the daytime, on the weekend, during prime-hiking hours, with a press release! Perhaps once a week, until the committee amends their recommendation? Ownership is 9/10ths after all.

    So disappointing.

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  • Dave September 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

    If cyclists can't get their fix in FP and have to drive to Browns Camp, or Hood River, or even further, that means more cars on the road, and more pollution. Which has an environmental impact on the entirety of FP, not just the areas with trails. Wonder if that will be included in the new studies?

    What saddens me is the number of people who seem to want to manage FP as though it were some pristine wilderness - the implication being that perhaps it's as close to wilderness as they've ever been. It's not even remotely so. It's second growth former clearcut, full of joggers and dog crap, in the middle of a huge metropolitan area. It's not the Amazon, it's not Opal Creek, it's not even Mt Hood National Forest. It's a city park, and the citizens who pay for it have a right to use it. If you want to save the earth, go work on brownfields in Oregon City, or river restoration out at T5. Unfortunately, those things aren't pretty, and don't give crabby old hippies a place to pretend they're getting back to nature without getting to far from the Volvo.

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  • BigRedBike September 30, 2010 at 11:26 am

    How does someone get elected to Commissioner? Public land is for the public, Not just the whiners on the council. I won't preach to the choir any more than that, but honestly I'm going to ride where I want. I won't hurt anyone, litter or cause unwarranted erosion. A knobby tire track in the forest park single track is the only voice I have with deaf political figureheads like Fish. Nick Fish is a

    On a completely different topic. The building at L.L. Stub Stewart and proposed improvements there are looking wonderful for the local cycling community. It's probably 20-ish minutes from P-town and going to be a great addition to Oregon's trails. Visit http://www.nw-trail.org

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  • BURR September 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

    this just means that there will be continued poaching of the existing hiking trails by cyclists.

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  • DK September 30, 2010 at 11:28 am

    #22
    I humbly disagree Jonathan.

    I think it is time for the mt. biking community to stand up and be counted. Traditional channels have been slow and the results less-than-desirable. Why waste more time calling Nick? He already knows what we want and hasn't been able to deliver even a sliver of it. We need visible numbers of constituents, with a clear objective, to state publicly that we are unhappy with these results and the powers to be need to come back to us with something more paletable. ...In short order.

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  • Scott September 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

    I guess this means Portland is loosing it's Platinum status? 2 miles of singletrack on 35 acres(2 years from now) at Gateway Green isn't going to cut it.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Jon,

    I appreciate your concern. I am willing to pay the fine if I get caught. I disagree with how this whole thing has been handled and I don't believe I am setting anything back. There is nothing to set back at this point, it is at its lowest point; the hole isn't getting any deeper.

    I just recently got back from a 10 day trip to California trip where I spent time mountain biking from Santa Barbara all the way north to Shasta Lake area. Most of the single track I rode was accessible from downtown, very heavily used and the trails were in good condition and children weren't dying from mountain bikers running them over. Cyclists/hikers/horseback riders were all friendly to each other. On top of that, I think I saw more wildlife in those parks than I have ever seen in Forest Park and I have lived directly across the street from the park for years at a time (not currently).

    When I came back to Portland, my frustrations were heightened by my experiences just south of us. This update was definitely the tipping point. I guess the pipeline that is going through Forest Park also struck a wrong chord with me. Trail sharing works, the only thing that needs to change is attitude.

    Expanding access could have been handled in a way as to not overburden the park and cost effectively. Putting things off for 2 more years means that nothing will get done for another 10. By that time I will be in my 40s. I am not going to sit idle for another 10 years only to be told no again. I want to be happy with my life here in Portland and this is a big part of it. Their plan is no plan and my plan is to ride my bike.

    This is eerily reminiscent of how skateboarding was treated in the 1980s, and probably by the same people. I think we should give it the burnside treatment and just start using it without permission. It is part of our city's history.

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  • Scott September 30, 2010 at 11:38 am

    It's interesting that now Zari Santer wants to work with mountain bikers at Powell Butte. After this back in June http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?p=7073499&postcount=6

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  • Joe Rowe September 30, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Critical Knobby Mass - You know what pisses off the oppressor the most? Let's ride bikes on the legal trails. Or.. Imagine 100 pedestrians walking their bike on a trail just for hikers and horses.

    The NWTA has some spine, but the BTA is more of a lap dog than watch dog, more of raise funds, not a fuss.

    A new group of active transportation folks is forming in Portland. Join us. We're having a social party, having a beer and sharing ideas as we fill out our ballots. A voting party.

    http://www.activerightofway.org/
    mailing list on the right.

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  • Jessica Roberts September 30, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Just sent this message to Fish:

    Dear Commissioner Fish,

    I was very disappointed to hear that you announced today that there would be no new mountain biking access in Forest Park.

    I am not a mountain biker and frankly it doesn't affect my life one bit that Portland lacks good in-city mountain biking opportunities. Nevertheless, I think this is an important issue for our city. We cannot truly be a platinum-level cycling community if we continue to ignore the demand for mountain biking opportunities that do not require a car and a long drive. Mountain biking is a green, healthy activity and one that the City should embrace and promote.

    It is frustrating to so many Portland residents that hikers (including ones with dogs) have unlimited access to the amazing community asset that is Forest Park, while mountain bikers have no singletrack access. If you are serious about balancing access and restoration, why not talk about banning dogs and limiting the amount of hiking in the park?

    Creating a singletrack access implementation plan would have opened up a tremendously positive and motivated group of volunteers who could help build and maintain trails, address habitat and invasive species issues, and provide positive peer leadership about responsible use. Mountain biking facilities can be designed to promote responsible use by cyclists. Continuing to refuse to allow access to responsible users means that only irresponsible and/or angry users will poach trails in the park.

    I felt like your statements in the past on this issue showed true leadership and vision, and I thought the outcome would be a breakthrough on this historically difficult issue. I feel you have gone back on your commitment to providing a solution to this issue, caved to certain special interests that do not represent the whole city, and wasted the goodwill and time of responsible cycling advocates who participated in your process.

    Yours,
    Jessica Roberts

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 30, 2010 at 11:41 am

    DK,

    I absolutely agree that a more direct and clear show of numbers is in order... i just have some reservations about doing that illegally by riding trails where bikes are not currently allowed. I think just as big of an impact can be had with a huge group ride and related activism at trailheads and on existing fire roads and trails.

    I should have a statement from NWTA president Tom Archer shortly.

    thanks for keep this discussion productive.

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  • Stig September 30, 2010 at 11:42 am

    1. Provoke.
    2. Get the reaction you need (the poaching).
    3. Free to continue to marginalize the group with the evidence and media coverage you need as they argue and fragment.

    This isn't a movie. The bad guys win again.

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  • Sasquatch September 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

    Good decision. I'm an avid cyclists and love biking on FP's designated bike trails. No disappointment here, as I also love to enjoy the natural beauty of the park as a runner and walker.

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  • Jason September 30, 2010 at 11:53 am

    A number of us have discussed this in the past, and I personally like the suggestion of a "Critical Mass," independent of any of the official advocacy groups, with the intent of walking bikes down the length of the trails.

    My suggestion was to remove the front wheels of the bikes, and strap them to our hydration packs. Then it would be clear what the intent was. My concern would be attempting to control the frustrated masses with a "f*ck it" attitude, and trying to keep the statement political, and not emotional. Perhaps Portland's media would actually cover an event like this.

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  • Patrick September 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

    So when's the first CRITICAL MESS RIDE???

    Let's get dirty!

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  • Ao September 30, 2010 at 11:54 am

    critical mass on leif

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  • SkidMark September 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Why did I see this coming a mile away?

    Thanks for nothing.

    Time for better lights on my singlespeed mountain bike.

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 11:56 am

    We gotta go to city hall in full riot gear(mtb gear). Who's gonna pay attention to us up in Forest Park? We need reps from local mtb sellers. We need big redbull and mountain dew signs, blaring music, and painted sponsor vehicles at the trail-head. We can make this work guys! It's a party, come one come all! We can take over Forest Park if we try hard enough and not get pushed around. Let's set some things on fire(our cigarettes) and cut down some trees(weeds and invasive ivy).

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  • Patrick September 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    October 16, Forest Park Day of Stewardship:

    http://forestparkconservancy.org/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=91555

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  • Jessica Roberts September 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    re: trail abuser #40, "We need big redbull and mountain dew signs, blaring music, and painted sponsor vehicles at the trail-head." Is this a joke?

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  • ColoradoMtBiker September 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I doubt that the new Forest Ranger rides a mtn bike or he would empathize with the mt bike community. That said, he is going to have a hell of time trying to catch 'real' riders to ticket them. Illinois hired 10+ rangers to patrol Palos only to have a judge throw out nearly all citations that were issued.

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  • Eric September 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    re: Patrick #41

    Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that. I spent my entire "Forest Park Day of Stewardship" back in '08 utilizing my 10+ years of building sustainable mountain bike and multi-use trails to fix a horribly designed, built and "maintained" hiker only trail to help build goodwill for the mountain bike community. A lot of good that did.

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    How else are we to attract attention for our plight? Cry softly in the corner? Look at how MTB parks have been implemented throughout the country. Big names, big sponsors, big attention. Who's gonna back us up when the other side brings guns to a fist fight? We need big guns, and that's corporate attention/sponsorship. Trek/Specialized/Monster Energy Subaru WRx's, not nerds in fluorescent clothing. We'll get bulldozed if we appear too weak. It don't work if we don't have money.

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  • Mike September 30, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    Write the League of American Bicyclists and tell them to remove our platinum status. That will get the city moving.

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  • spazdance September 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    There are definitely trails in FP which bikes would not mix well with hikers. "Poaching" these trails will only lead to situations where people might get hurt and tempers will flare.

    Personally, if I were on a trail with my family and I knew bikes were not allowed, there would be no expectation of mixed-use right-of-way politeness.

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  • MtnTom3005 September 30, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I say we all just poach the trails. Time for some Civil Disobedience.

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  • shannon September 30, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    So disheartening....and so disappointing.

    Please note that like Jessica@32, we should ALL be writing Comm. Fish to express our disappointment on this unfortunate decision.

    Our vocalization is important.

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  • jered September 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Critical Mass in forest park.

    ooooh is it right or is it wrong...

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  • Malex September 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Nick Fish's email is nick.fish@ci.Portland.or.us

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  • q`Tzal September 30, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Cyclists, and pedestrians, are a lot like lightning in this regard: collectively they will always follow the path of least resistance.
    Enviromental and conservation arguments aside there are no insurmountable barriers to cyclists in FP.
    Selfish land owners adjactent to FP seem to think that a dictate will stop cyclists.
    There is a definative demand.
    You can't stop lightning from striking a building by yelling "HEY! NO LIGHTNING ALLOWED HERE!!!" You have to install a lightning rod. Will a lightning rod prevent all damage: no. Not installing one insures that the resultant damage will be much worse.
    So it will be with the lack of MB trails in FP: we are a force of nature and you can not stop all of us.

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  • Patrick September 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    re: Eric #44

    I mean, that would be a good day to ride in FP.

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  • Cychosis September 30, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    I think this decision is correct and I fully support it .

    Forest park gets heavy use by hiking families with children, and too many mountain bikers (not all, just too many) either don't know the rules of multi-use trails, or more often choose to ignore them. I have been nearly run off the trail, while on my mountain bike, by other bikers out there. My family while hiking without me have had similar experiences.

    I think the several calls for poaching the trails highlights the attitude of many mountain bikers, sadly. There are other more appropriate areas like the newer Sandy trails, Stub Stewart, Tillamook Forest, etc to develop and use.

    I am sorry for people's disappointment, but I think given the history of use in Forest park, and the unfortunate attitudes of a few, this was the right decision.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    @Cychosis #54
    Forest park gets much less use by families in the areas they were talking about opening up to cyclists.

    I will also say that it is not just mountain bikers, but people as a whole, don't know the rules of multi-use trails, or more often choose to ignore them. I frequently almost hit runners going down the wrong side of leif who refuse to move.

    I think the calls for poaching stem from an attitude of a small group of people not wanting mountain bikers in their back yards.

    I apologize about poaching the trails in advance, but it really is the only viable option. When you see me on the trail I will be friendly and hope you are the same.

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  • Lisa September 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Good decision! I just emailed Commissioner Fish to tell him so.

    Whatever the fines are for bikers poaching trails will most likely be equal to the off leash dog violation: $150. Could get spendy to be a poacher.

    If I am hiking on a single track trail and I encounter a biker, I'll be snapping a pic of the poacher with my phone faster than you can say "Platinum Status" and I'll be sending the pic to the Parks and Rec West Side Supervisor.

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  • Michaewh September 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    re: Patrick #41

    October 16, Forest Park Day of Stewardship: Critical Mess

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  • boneshaker September 30, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Does anyone know what the fine is if you get caught poaching?

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Does anyone remember what happened to that father-daughter that was living in Forest Park? They were discovered by a runner that was running through the trees off trail. It's sad that 2 innocents(the daughter's maturity and intelligence were well ahead of her age) were ran out of Portland because of these greedy selfish park hoggers. Perhaps affordable housing was the problem, or maybe they just preferred living in nature.

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    #55

    A female runner ran from her side into our path on the right of Leif while we were climbing up on our MTB's. It's as if they want to get hit so they can place blame on cyclists for accidents then use that to bar them from the park. Good thing I have a helmet cam. HA! Youtube ready.

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  • david haines September 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Imagining a long, slow, wall-to-wall procession of bikes up Leif Erikson on a sunny weekend day. Nothing illegal there.

    Maybe a mile-long snake of bells and blinkies on a nice fall evening, from Thurman gate to the top of Saltzman and back. Totally legal.

    Maybe some ambassadors to hand out info to the joggers and dog-walkers.

    If it's announced, TV will show up for a sound bite of the "controversy," and their websites will fill up with thoughtful comments.

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  • ecohuman September 30, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I'm a biker, and I agree wholeheartedly with the decision. So far, I know six other bicyclists who feel the same.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 30, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I'd like to hear from people who agree with this decision. I am still trying to understand it and I am yet to hear a compelling reason for not finding new ways to add singletrack bicycling opportunities in Forest Park. Seriously. What is your reason for thinking that should happen?

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  • Cychosis September 30, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    To those pointing out that runners are a problem as well, I'll just say that while colliding with a running going 8mph isn't particularly pleasant, having a mountain bike hit you at 20-30mph can be life altering, especially if it's a child who is hit.

    I agree with the decision Jonathan, for the reasons I've stated in this and my previous comment.

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  • Daily Bike Commuter September 30, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Let the daylight poaching begin!

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  • Paul Souders September 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I have two dogs in this fight. So I've spent a few hours thinking about my reaction and writing it down. I apologize in advance for the length.

    Beginning in the late 90s I was a long-time member of Friends of Forest Park and spent every Saturday clearing ivy with the late Sandy Diedrich's awesome No Ivy League. I met a few times with the board in a consultative capacity when they were redesigning their website in the early 2000s. But in 2002 I realized my touring bike saw more of the park than my mountain bike. I quit FFP and sold the MTB and never looked back. My wife and I still run and hike and take our dog and kids to the park. So I know exactly what it's like to have MTBers bearing down on my toddlers or (leashed) dog, thankyouverymuch. I still ride my road bikes down Leif and Saltzman.

    (Ironic aside:: I moved to Oregon in the mid-90s from Lincoln, Nebraska, where dang-near every weekend I rode legal singletrack in the city's "Wilderness Park." I thought Oregon, having actual MOUNTAINS would be better for front-door MTBing. Shamefully: no. You need a car to ride a bike on dirt in Portland.)

    In 2008 Frank Selker announced a push to get cyclists to join Forest Park Conservancy with $100 donations, which would show that cyclists would put some skin in the game so to speak. Despite not even having a mountain bike any more I re-upped my years-lapsed membership. A few months later Eric Tonkin contacted me: he was offering a sweet Kona Caldera in a raffle coincident with Frank Selker's membership drive. And had I won it.

    Well I collected my cool new bike and wrote another check to FFP (and IMBA and PUMP for good measure) and started pulling ivy again for their stewardship days. I was back riding on fat tires in the park, where like a Good Boy I stuck to Leif Erickson, Saltzman & the fire lanes. I'm a married guy and a dad now and I finally own a car, so realistically I can put that Caldera on much sweeter dirt than the ivy-choked mud chutes on FL 3. But I wanted to make a point: see, the system's working, right?

    I put my faith in Nick Fish and this process even though every report I heard made my stomach turn a little. First trail sharing was off the table, then trail BUILDING was off the table, even in compromised land like fire lanes or utility R-O-W.

    Now this.

    Well, first things first, I'm writing FPC and Nick Fish and the LAB some letters. For all the good that'll do. I sure won't pull any more ivy or build any more questionable hiking trails, and I won't be writing any more three digit checks for FPC. I've waited 10 years and followed the rules and played nice, never once (in my life!) rode on illicit singletrack.

    And geez do I ever feel like a sucker.

    Law-breaking, it should be obvious, isn't in my nature. I never cared for Critical Mass or suchlike. So I can't tell anyone what they should do, or what would create some actual change. But I can tell you what WON'T work: writing checks, writing letters, playing by the rules, being a Good Boy/Girl. We've tried that for a LONG time -- at least a decade in my personal case -- and got a palm in the face for it.

    Personally, I love the idea of a FP CM. It needn't include poaching -- in fact, 100+ folks walking our bikes sloooowly, single file, up Wildwood would send a much stronger message IMO. Nice and legal and a royal PITA. What are you going to ticket us for, WALKING?. Do it on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Maybe October 16. Invite the press and politicos and rangers to not-ride along. And we could take pictures of all the unleashed dogs while we're at it.

    "Disappointed" doesn't even begin to describe how I feel.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    @63 Cychosis

    The point is not that getting hit by a cyclist or a runner being unpleasant, the point is that all user groups are guilty of what you are singling out cyclists for. Also, I don't think mountain bikers running people over is much of a problem, more of a straw man.

    My other question to your original post - how are these other areas more appropriate? I frequently see families in tillamook forest, etc.

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  • davemess September 30, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    abuser:

    I think part of the problem is the perception of mountain biking in Portland. By doing all you say, you're just perpetuating the myth that all mtn bikers are knuckle-dragging DH neanderthals who just want to Huck some sweet drops.

    While some are "neon spandex weenies", the cross country rider is the type we need to be peddaling to the public. The kind of rider who LIKES or at least doesn't mind riding uphill. Who isn't wearing a fullface helmet, who won't run over their dogs or children. The kind of rider that people can relate to and see that they aren't that dangerous or scary.

    And I challenge if any of you who claim to be "bikers" and approve of this decision, are in fact cyclists. You may be a commuter, but you don't really love your bike. Where is the solidarity, if one of us is bleeding, others need to step in and help out.

    What is argument for it being a good decision? It's already been proven oh here that FP is not "wilderness" area, and most of the proposed trail building was pretty far from where the vast majority of pedestrians would be in FP. And they would be bike only trails? So, pratel, what is the problem with that? Let's here your argument.

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  • Cychosis September 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    @67 Alex -- the other areas I mention are either specifically allocated for mountain biking only, or in the case of Tillamook, a much, much larger resource with a far smaller density of use. I have mountain biked out there numerous times and almost never come across hikers. Forest Park is an urban resource and relatively highly populated with multi-mode use throughout the year.

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  • davemess September 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    so Cychosis, what is your problem with building bike only trails in the North end of the park, where the is little foot traffic to begin with?

    And how do you explain the thousands of municipalities around the country who "manage" to facilitate cyclists and pedestrians on the same trails?

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  • Daily Bike Commuter September 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Email Nick Fish:

    nick.fish@ci.Portland.or.us

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    @69 Cychosis (if that is your real name;) - You can hike any of the other trails you mentioned. Hiking is not off limits on any of those trails. I have seen a number of hikers on Sandy Ridge. It made no sense to me, but they were there. Regarding Tillamook, I often see people hiking the trails out there when I am biking.

    As I noted above, trail sharing is done all over and there are almost no incidents. A prime example is in Santa Rosa, CA which has a state park called Annandale located in the city. There were more people there than I have ever seen in forest park and there was no conflicts that I witnessed. They have many miles of shared trails and I saw numerous runners, hikers, equestrians and cyclists. All of them were happy and smiled at each other.

    It seems a bit wrongheaded to think that it wouldn't work in Forest Park. I really think it would. I hope to see you out there enjoying yourself and hope you can find it in yourself to share some of it with me. It sounds like it might be opportunity for me to get my picture taken as well.

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  • Cychosis September 30, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    I guess I feel like it hasn't been demonstrated to me that the current multi-mode use is managed very well. People can dismiss my concerns all they like, but it's a fact that both myself and my family have had very close calls with mountain bikers. And yes non-cyclists have also failed to obey the rules -- and I don't condone anyone doing so, but the consequences of lapse of judgement by a mountain biker are far more serious than those of a jogger, and I would seek to mitigate that increased risk when possible.

    Also, I have to add, I love the commenter who maintains that if one claims they are a cyclist but don't support this effort, they're not really a cyclist. Well, maybe they could be a commuter. But not a real cyclist. Oh and we don't really love our bikes. I guess I would simply retort that I believe my annual mileage on my three bikes (road, mountain and single speed) would stack well against any of his.

    I'll finish by saying I am not particularly emotional about this situation. I agree with the decision, but if the decision had gone the other way I wouldn't be out protesting or writing my council members. I see valid arguments for either decision, but I am not going to blindly take the side of the "real cyclists" just because I happen to ride my bikes as a primary mode of transportation well in excess of 10K miles a year.

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  • trail abuser September 30, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    No the problem is a few vocal minority afraid the park will turn into a circus of mountain bikers taking over the park. Not in MY back yard he says. His backyard is in the northern part of the park. Let's have a rave!

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  • Cychosis September 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Alex, I already share the space with you. Both as a hiker and a mountain biker. I've done both many times. And during the De Ronde I ride through on my road bike.

    I can live with the way it is now, for the most part. But the idea of a 5 or 10x increase in mountain bike use causes me some consternation, unless some reasonable attitude change comes along.

    With the increased potential for causing damage (to people, animals, trails) comes an increased responsibility, and thus far, in my experience (which may be different than your's, or you over there), I don't see that taken seriously enough by the current mountain biker population in FP. Perhaps I am just unlucky.

    In any case, count me in on the sharing part, regardless of the future decisions for the park. I might chase down the next mountain biker who nearly runs me or my family off the trail and do some poaching of my own -- but from what it sounds like, that will almost certainly not be you.

    So cheers to that! :)

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  • Sasquatch September 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Real cyclists don't car-top.

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  • davemess September 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    If you want to go there, my seven bikes and I would gladly meet you in the coliseum of battle.

    Show me some data on the prevalence of mountain bike collision injuries. I'm sorry you and your family have had some "close calls". I would venture to guess that with more trails open to bikes (and just bikes) these few incidents you would have would be even rarer.

    But you didn't answer my question of what problem you have with bike only trails being built in Forrest Park, which was one of the more supported options on the table.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    @73 Cychosis - What management techniques would make you more comfortable for multi-mode use? I am being serious.

    To me, it takes time to get people educated and used to sharing trails. It isn't going to be a smooth transition, but it needs to start somewhere. It seems to me that the only way people get comfortable with situations is by exposing themselves to those situations that they are uncomfortable with.

    I agree about mitigating risk, it still feels like a straw man with little truth in reality.

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  • beth h September 30, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    I think it would be interesting to hear from folks who organize and promote mountain bike races and other events in our area, to see what they think some kind of "Critical Poach" action would do for the future of their events, or the sport in general. What would it do to their access to facilities for turure events? Would these people support such an action, or not?

    I understand the angst on the part of those who paid their dues and went to meetings and helped pull ivy and now say they feel like suckers -- hell, I feel similarly about the BTA these days and have yet to renew my membership there -- but a flash mob on the trails is likely to be perceived as a bad thing by those people who, sadly, have way more control over the land in question than you and I do.

    I'd love to hear from some folks who have taken a leadership role in this process and find out what's next, if anything.

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  • KWW September 30, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Jonathan, in your interview with Fish, you would do well to press home the issue of how the City Club report on Forest Park influenced this outcome.

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  • Sean September 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Quit being babies. We lost. We never had a chance. This whole process was set up to fail.
    I've been living here for 10 years and it seems that Portland has always had a history of having weak and obtuse leadership. It is no different from the actions that led up to today.

    I say bike away...

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  • JF September 30, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    I feel like I am missing something here. Building a bike only area would be safer and also help preserve the park more! No joggers, children, and dogs in the way of bikers (and vice-versa).

    Bikers would maintain the bike area and help preserve the vegetation surrounding the bike area.

    This almost reminds me of the time when ski areas were afraid of snowboarders. Maybe forest park should follow by example of X-country, downhill skiers and snowboards living happily together at the same area while still preserving nature's beauty. Mixed use trails and designated biking only, hikers only, and no pet zones.

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  • jim September 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Don't forget- Portland parks has 800+ new bioswales to take care of now. watering, spraying, weeding, mulching, removing silt build-up, pruning.

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  • ovrdbrs September 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    I am moving out of Portland.

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  • voline September 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I bike almost every day: work, groceries, errands, socializing. I have for 15 years. I don't own a car, and hope to never own one again.

    I support this decision. Forest Park is already straining from over-use. Personally, I want to be able to hike the park trails without dodging mountain bikes. I don't understand why some people can't enjoy the outdoors without the mediation of a machine. I feel the same way when out cross country skiing in the woods and run into snowmobilers. Put down the Red Bull, take out your ear-phones and go for a hike.

    Some species of animals require a certain minimum area of undisturbed habitat to live. Reducing the largest trail-less section of the park might have a deleterious effect on the diversity of species in the park. I'd like to see a study on that before we open up the North part of the park to bike-only trails.

    Yeah, Forest Park isn't a Wilderness Area. But that's exactly the same talk that the Forest Service and timber companies use to justify logging Mt Hood.

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  • Alex September 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    @83 Voline

    Congratulations on biking everyday for 15 years and not owning a car. You are a modern day martyr.

    Equating snowmobiles to mountain bikes is a bit offensive. It is like me equating cars to bicycles which totally negates your first paragraph.

    Under the proposed plans you would still be able to hike almost all of the trails without dodging mountain bikes. The proposals were never to completely open up the park without bounds. Also, I enjoy hiking and silence, don't enjoy red bull and think mountain biking is a lot of fun without headphones. Your stereotypes don't add to the conversation, only detract from the overall impact of any valid points you may make.

    What species are you referring to that live in forest park in the proposed area?

    The plans wouldn't be reducing the largest trail-less section of the park. The largest trail-less section of the park would remain off limits to bicycles. In fact, some of the proposed area is the most overrun with Ivy and borders industrial areas that are very neglected. I am sure it would benefit from having a concerned group of people frequent it.

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  • voline September 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Alex,

    "You are a modern day martyr."

    Thank you for the Sainthood, I promise not to abuse it.

    "What species are you referring to that live in forest park in the proposed area?"

    I wasn't referring to any specific species, because I don't know if there are any in the park that have minimum territory requirements that would be affected by the proposal. Which is why I called for a study. If there aren't any such sensitive species in the area, then I'm fine with a bike-only trail.

    Sorry if my generalizations don't apply to you. I'm not the one who brought up Red Bull and Mountain Dew and sponsorships, etc. But you must admit that MTB seems to attract folks like Trailabuser, here, and the meatheads who cut the illegal bike trails through Forest Park. They make me and others skeptical that off-roaders can use the park and respect it and other users.

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  • Sasquatch September 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    Forest Park may not be a wilderness area, but it is a unique wildlife corridor. "There are over 112 species of birds and mammals. This assemblage of species ... is very similar to that noted by William Clark in 1806." More info at:
    http://forestparkconservancy.org/forest-park/portland-landscape.html
    I care more about what's good for the park, not what's good for bicycling in it.

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  • spare_wheel September 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    sasquatch and violine:
    do you think dogs should be banned?
    picnic and multi-use areas?
    trail running?

    in particular, its hypocritical to say that forest park is not ready for cyclists while not fighting to ban canine access.

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  • Brian September 30, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Sasquatch,
    What data do you have to show that those 112 species and cycling cannot happily coexist? Please don't naively assume that those who want more access to current, and yet to created, trails do not want the same things as yourself.
    Brian

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  • voline September 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    This is the first that I've heard that dogs are a problem.

    I've never had a picnic nearly run me down while hiking in the Park.

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  • Puma Devi September 30, 2010 at 8:09 pm

    Hello homicide? I'd like to report a murder. The City of Portland just killed my hopes for more singletrack access in Forest Park. I have never poached trails on principle—because I wanted to work with the system and do the right thing. But they killed my principles too, so if you need to find me to file an official report, you can find me out poaching trails in Forest Park. Thanks.

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  • Charlie B September 30, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

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  • Patrick September 30, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    @voline 90:

    If you haven't heard that dogs are a problem in Forest Park, you haven't been paying much attention to the issues. Read the city club report, or just take a walk along leif erickson!

    I saw two off leash dogs tonight (out of about 60 people over a period of 2 hours - including about 10 dogs, 25 bikers, the rest hikers and joggers). The dogs weren't any trouble, but I've had problems with off leash dogs running in front of me in the past.

    The city club report describes water contamination and wildlife disruption by dogs, without citing any studies or nor meaningful data.

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  • Anonymous September 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Voline- I have had off-leash dogs knock me down, twice, while running in the park. Aww, but they are cute and furry and their behavior in the park has been normalized so we don't even register it as a potentially negative impact, both on other park users and, more importantly, on wildlife in the park.
    I've also felt like I was going to get run over by packs of UofP runners. Those guys haul and they are not slowing down to pass you. Guess we need to keep runners and dogs out.

    But seriously, we can't close the gates and limit the number of users. There is no one limiting the number of hikers, runners, dog walkers, or cyclists entering the park. But we can make the trail experiences for those users better, while creating more stewards for the park. Shutting out a group who has demonstrated its willingness to donate time and money is foolish. Mountain bikers are valuable members of the non-motorized trail community - cities all over the country make it work. Why can't we?

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  • Bryan September 30, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    #86 Violine - Please dont generalize all MTBers together. i saw 50+ runners tearing through FP this summer running off trail with their dogs and beers. and i dont mean a small section of trail but fall lines over many areas of saltzman. the hash house harriers is what they go by and i know not all runners are like them.

    Paul #66 what you wrote...i can relate almost freakishly.

    I dont have to much more to say on this subject since the talk (and positive actions) has gotten MTBers no where. i will ride where i see fit, i will ride safe and in control, i will be polite to other users and if i run into the 1 ranger in the 5000 acres, i will see how fast he really is.

    this decision actually makes me physically sick.

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  • spare_wheel September 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    "I've never had a picnic nearly run me down while hiking in the Park."

    Yup. Just another uninformed bike hater.

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  • Shawn September 30, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    I had to spend $40+ to drive out to some MTB trails today, not to mention that I burned threw 16gals of gas doing this. WE NEED MTB TRAILS IN THE CITY! Even Cleveland Ohio, OHIO! Has a MTB trail with in the city! And a indoor park too, no wonder Portland has lost it's "crown" as the most bike friendly city in the U.S. Someone needs to wake up.

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  • Grat September 30, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I'll keep poaching, lets start a fund to pay each other's fines if we get them instead of giving to orgs. who can't get things done. I never really expected to get to ride any REAL trail in there anyway.

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  • Joe October 1, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I can relate to all the riders comments here, coming from Norcal, first time I rode FP it was like hmm do they want us here. vibes! ppl,joggers,dogs,just a zoo but it seems the packs off runners have no clue, when they are out there,dogs another story.

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  • Realist October 1, 2010 at 9:20 am

    The real insult here is the false hope created by the Fishster that this 'process' had a purpose. He could have saved everyone a lot of grief, time, money and resources had he and Tsarry - oops, Zari - said been honest and said no from the beginning.

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  • Sean October 1, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Grow up people!! There are plenty of cities around the country where hikers, bikers, dog- walkers, soccer moms and equestrians all coexist in a happy- grown-up manner.

    It would seem logical that some creative sharing of trails could be facilitated here. For example, mountain bikers could share some the lesser traveled trails on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Open up Wildwood once per week

    It should be noted that some of the logic that people are using seems quite absurd. There have been no studies that indicate that mountain biking causes more erosion than an over weight hiker or soccer mom. What should also be noted is this, there has be no study or scientific evidence showing how mountain biking disrupts fragile vegetation or wildlife. If you use that logic than you could also safely assume that off leash dogs also threaten our fragile environment by trampling on plants, dog owner's leaving happy bags of poo on the sides of the trails...and dogs chasing wildlife: squirrels, deer and soccer moms.

    At the end of the day... whether we are mountain bikers, hikers, walkers, runners, equestrians or soccer moms we all share a love for the park and we should share it in an adult manner. I think that our obtuse city leadership has shown poor judgment in this matter.

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  • Tom October 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Looking at the advisory committee report yesterday, with hindsight being 20/20, the announcement is not really a surprise. What was announced yesterday is mostly what had the strongest committee support in the report.

    Looking at the meeting minutes (I did not attend any of the meetings), after the illegal trail was discovered, the tone appears to have changed and some people's views moved further towards more study and more education, enforcement, etc. being needed before more mountain bike trails.

    The timing could be coincidence, but I am inclined to think that the illegal trail did sway some committee members towards more preconditions for mountain bike trails.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 1, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Tom,

    the illegal trail absolutely influenced this decision... despite what Commissioner Fish says (he says it didn't). The timing of its discovery was heaven-sent to people who don't want more bike trails/access in the park.

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  • Grat October 1, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I will ride where I want from now on. I'm over trying to be an ambassador. let the poaching begin.....you won't catch me.

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  • jj October 1, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Re #98 Shawn

    I guess you must live in some other Portland because Portland OR does have MB trails within the city limits.

    Oh, I get it, you mean in Forest Park, because everything else doesn't count.

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  • Puma Devi October 1, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    "the number of people who seem to want to manage FP as though it were some pristine wilderness - the implication being that perhaps it's as close to wilderness as they've ever been. It's not even remotely so. It's second growth former clearcut, full of joggers and dog crap, in the middle of a huge metropolitan area. It's not the Amazon, it's not Opal Creek, it's not even Mt Hood National Forest. It's a city park, and the citizens who pay for it have a right to use it. If you want to save the earth, go work on brownfields in Oregon City, or river restoration out at T5. Unfortunately, those things aren't pretty, and don't give crabby old hippies a place to pretend they're getting back to nature without getting to far from the Volvo."

    That pretty much sums it up. Where's the poaching fine fund? I'll contribute to it.

    I also agree with Stig who proposed this was a well-executed strategy on the council's part:
    1. Provoke (after giving them hope)
    2. Get the reaction you need (the poaching).
    3. Marginalize (and I'd add demonize) the group with the evidence and media coverage you need as they argue and fragment.

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  • Ex portlander October 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Um, just one question. When might Portlanders figure out that political action is an oxymoron?

    a hundred or two hundred years?

    I watched you march against wars, murdering cops etc etc by the tens of thousands. Like, duh. . .war is wrong.

    What has changed?

    I watched you all turn out and vote for a darker bush. You did so with enthusiasm

    Again, what has changed?

    Bet you're all lined up like good lil' libby ducklings to vote for the K. uhgin

    Yup, exactly what I mean, go ahead prove it!

    What will the good doc do for you?

    Zip Zilch Nada yada, unless of course you're a wealthy banker class um person.

    And when that turns to the s word. .

    Stick your head in the sand, or whine.

    Just like the liberalism implant subroutine has you programmed to.

    Over and over for how many generations now?

    Me, I moved to the hills

    I'm just a dumb hick now. I'll think of you tomorrow morning as we glide through the forest on pristine trails you don't even know exist. With no stupid dogs or what they leave behind.

    Yes kids, Stoopid dogs. Great mascot for FP.

    Rise above it. Ride as thou whilst. . .

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  • kgb October 4, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    "I'm just a dumb hick now. "
    Even a broken clock is correct twice a day.

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  • GlowBoy October 5, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    Once again, participating in "the process" has gotten us nowhere. The hiking lobby is just too powerful to fight head-on. They're used to playing morally superior, since environmental protection is usually also good for the interests of their base. But for them, environmental and user-group advocacy have been intertwined for so many decades that they can't see the difference.

    This is a USER CONFLICT, nothing more and nothing less. The bike haters can keep pretending it's an environmental issue, but it's not.

    Unfortunately we are grossly outnumbered -- much as transportation cyclists were (and are) grossly outnumbered by motorists. As with transportation cycling advocacy, critical mass-esque demonstrations of civil disobedience are just going to turn the public further against us.

    I'm still trying to figure out what I plan to do about this (other than either throwing in the towel and MOVING to a more bike-friendly [and less racist] city, or keep DRIVING to the mountains to ride), but here's what comes to mind so far:

    - Write to the LAB and urge them to revoke Portland's Platinum status. Sorry, but we don't deserve it if we have to DRIVE an hour, unlike most of the other Silver and Gold (let alone Platinum) rated cities. The current situation here is patently absurd. I'm all for public shaming at this point, and the black eye of a Gold downgrade is EXACTLY the kind of negative media attention we need.

    - Write to Bicycling and urge a repeat of this year's rating of Minneapolis as more bike friendly than Portland. This is one of the areas where my native MSP kick's PDX's ass to the curb, and this year's failures in achieving progress ought to downrate us further. Sure to make exactly the kind of headlines we need.

    - Write to the BTA. Not exactly what I'm going to say here yet, but my membership is coming up for renewal, and I intend to let them know I need them to start playing SOME kind of role. Yeah, I know, I know it's the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, not the Bicycle Recreation Alliance. Point 1: I don't give a ****. If the BTA is supposed to be advocating for bicycling (and seems to have a near-monopoly on that), then they can darn well advocate for bicycling. Point 2: OK, fine, transportation. Err ... I have to cross the West Hills daily on my commute to and from Beaverton. There are darned few safe routes over the hills, and Forest Park contains half of them. I do occasionally take an extra hour or two to commute home through the park. Improved trail access would make my commute much better. There. Now it's about transportation. Satisified?

    Listen, I don't want to make this BTA's core mission or anything, but would it kill them to at least acknowledge that part of being a "bike-friendly" community might include advocating for local access to an eco-friendly bicycling sport so we don't have to get in CARS and drive an hour to do it? And no offense to Jessica Roberts who has done a lot of awesome things, but her POV is sadly typical of the cycling advocacy in Portland: "I'm not a mountain biker, but ..." Well, I do appreciate the support, honestly, but why is it that it seems no one in our advocacy community (outside PUMP/NWTA) IS a mountain biker or has any passion about it? ARE there any mountain bikers on their board? And if not, WHY not?

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  • ninjacougar October 6, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    It would be really nice if people would stop referring to Leif Erickson as a "trail". It's a road. Mountain biking happens on trails, otherwise it's road biking.

    @GlowBoy: Alongside your identification of Forest Park as a commute option, perhaps we should impress upon BTA that we're actually NOT mountain bikers, and therefore outside their domain (since all we have to ride in Forest Park are gravel roads and fire roads).

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  • Accosted by Runner May 29, 2011 at 10:55 am

    I'm new to "bike friendly" Portland, and was more than surprised to see no quality mountain biking within 1.5 hours from town.

    So I took my bike to Forest Park, to explore the approved bike trails, and became outright depressed. You can only bike on dirt roads? Seriously?

    During my ride, I ended up on a smaller trail that was decent riding, and was honestly unaware of my "sin".
    When I saw a runner on the same trail, I slowed down and stopped to let him pass. Much to my surprise, I was outright accosted as he ran by. The man acted as if he owned the place, and I will note - did not slow down for me!

    Is this the kind of situation we have here? Runners feel entitled to the trails alone? What if I were an elderly walker and he bumped me off the trail with his aggressive tush-waving running style?

    Runners should have no more right to enjoy the park than anyone else.

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