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Eastmoreland property owner blocks public access via Springwater Trail

Posted by on October 9th, 2012 at 4:16 pm

A gate now closes off a popular spur of
the Springwater Corridor Trail over Johnson Creek.
(Photo: Morrie Erickson)

The owner of the Eastmoreland Racquet Club in southeast Portland has closed a popular section of the Springwater Corridor Trail. As of about one week ago, a gate has been erected across the section of the path that leads through the Racquet Club on the west side of Johnson Creek just west of SE 37th Ave. The closure was done without notifying the City, it has led to confusion for the many bikers and walkers who rely on the route, and local residents have begun a crusade to fight it.

Portland Parks & Recreation spokesman Mark Ross says they have received several inquires about the gate. Asked about it yesterday, Ross told us, “We were not consulted or informed regarding the closure.” He added that the history of this section of the Springwater path is “a bit murky” and that, “We are currently trying to determine ownership before we make any final decisions on what to do with the trail segment.”

The segment in question veers off to the north of the main Springwater Corridor Trail at SE 37th Ave. It provides east-west access on a portion of Parks-owned path, then it transitions onto the Racquet Club’s private property before going back onto public streets at SE Berkeley Place.

Morrie Erickson lives in Racquet Club Estates on SE Berkeley Place, right across the street from the Racquet Club’s tennis courts. He tweeted a photo of the closed gate yesterday. He says the gate was erected by the club’s owner, Terry Emmert of Emmert International.

“Until a week or so ago, runners, walkers, cyclists, and the public generally could pass through the Racquet Club grounds,” Erickson wrote to us via email yesterday. Erickson says he’s dealt with Emmert and this issue before. When he first saw a gate being built a few years ago, he contacted the City of Portland about whether or not the Racquet Club had the right to restrict access. Erickson tracked down City planning documents that clearly state that the property must include a public easement.

“We were not consulted or informed regarding the closure. The history of the section of trail (bridge, path, and gate) is a bit murky.”
— Portland Parks & Recreation spokesman Mark Ross

In 1976, when the Racquet Club was first built, the City of Portland Hearings Officer issued a decision that placed several conditions on the property. One of them read:

“… the applicants shall cooperate with appropriate city departments and other public agencies… to effectuate a pedestrian and bike path from the residential area of primary service to the facility.”

The 1976 decision also established a committee the property owner had to work with to implement the bike path. Members of that committee included members of the City’s Bicycle Pathway Program and the Parks Bureau.

When the Racquet Club’s owners added new buildings to their facility in 1991, local neighborhood associations appealed their land-use permit and the hearings officer added additional conditions: “Prior to issuing building permits for the facilities proposed in this application,” reads the official decision, “the applicant/owner shall dedicate an easement for the 40-Mile Loop Trail…”

Terry Emmert bought the Racquet Club in 1995. According to a 2004 article in the Willamette Week, he was unaware of these easement conditions when he bought the property. That article, as well as one in The Oregonian a few months later detailed Emmert’s intentions to close his property to public access. At that time, Emmert said he wanted to thwart vandalism to club-goers’ cars and prevent people from camping in the wooded area near the creek.

Flyer posted by local resident.

Parks spokesman Mark Ross says Emmert, “Has had a longstanding concern that the path invites users to cross over the bridge and on to their property.” Ross adds that while Parks owns the segment of trail leading up to the Johnson Creek bridge, they might just remove this segment of the path.

“It is our experience that dead-end trails are not useful, and often frustrating to the users. Especially, as is the case in this instance, that it leads users to trespass on private property.”

Ross didn’t give any timeline for public outreach on taking this step, but did say that “We will be working with the community as we move forward making this decision.”

Meanwhile, nearby resident Dagan Wright sees Emmert’s move as, “anti-community and anti-family/pedestrian.” Wright has posted a flyer near the gate that urges the public to speak out about the closure.

Emmert’s office has not returned our calls asking for comment.

As for a detour around the Racquet Club, while east-west Springwater access remains via the three bridges route to the south, Erickson says that route is too far out of the way for many people. “If you live where I do and want to go east, you can’t get to the Springwater. Nor can others who live in Sellwood north of Tacoma — they would have to cycle several blocks south to catch the three bridges route… if you live in Eastmoreland and you’re traveling to Sellwood or Westmoreland park, it’s much faster and more convenient to pass through the Racquet Club.”

“Unless the planning conditions for the club have changed since 1991,” he says, “it seems those conditions should be enforced.”

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Comments
  • rwl1776 October 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    as for the detour: “”If you live where I do and want to go east, you can’t get to the Springwater. Nor can others who live in Sellwood north of Tacoma — they would have to cycle several blocks south to catch the three bridges route… ”

    ? You are ON A BIKE and complain about having to ride a few extra blocks?

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    • Champs October 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Seems to me that this would affect people on foot, too.

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    • annefi October 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Have you never read the complaints many cyclists make when it is suggested that they ride one block out of their way to make use of a safer bike boulevard rather than using a major street? It happens all the time. This commenter is talking about several blocks, not just one or two.

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      • Randall S. October 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

        Have you never read the complaints many motorists make when it is suggested that they reduce their speed even slightly in order to not risk the lives of cyclists?

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        • Vance Longwell October 10, 2012 at 7:36 am

          Randall S. Aside: When the BP crowd DOESN’T want to follow the rules, then the bicycle can’t cause appreciable damage. Yet when they WANT a rule, then bicycles are capable of instantaneous death. Point of fact, bicycles are not capable of, “fast”, ergo they can’t slow down.

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          • J-R October 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

            I agree that BP (British Petroleum), XOM (Exxon Mobil) and CVX (Chevron) crowd can be pretty demanding and generally ignore the traffic laws with constant speeding, talking on the phone, rolling thru stop signs. Thanks, Vance, for pointing out the failures of “the BP crowd.”

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        • Caleb October 10, 2012 at 7:56 pm

          Randall S., what do motorists’ complaints about anything have to do with this story? Yes, many of us have issues with automobiles and drivers, but no, we don’t need to let those issues interfere with focusing on an entirely different issue.

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  • Raer X October 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    Would this change affect the club’s occupancy permit (etc.) since it seems they are no longer in compliance with their land use permits, etc.? And would that then affect their insurance?

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    • Easy October 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      I’m not sure that your assertion about compliance is correct. I see two requirements: First, they need to provide access from “residential area of primary service to the facility,” and, second, they need to “dedicate an easement for the 40-Mile Loop Trail…”

      In terms of access, hat is the residential area of primary service? I am assuming it is the neighborhood to the North, which is still accessible.

      In terms of the easement – I’m not sure that the requirement is clear. the decision said issues should not be issued without a dedicated easement, but the permits were ostensibly issued, and the easement was not dedicated. What happened? I am not certain that you could retroactively enforce the requirement.

      Finally, the WW article posted above says this: “The City of Portland asked Emmert to keep the trail open until 2006, when the overpass will eliminate the need for the Racquet Club access point.” This makes it sound like the city, in some communication, basically said that one three rivers opened, Emmert would be free to close the trail, and I’m not sure that city action to prevent that at this point would be appropriate.

      Civil litigation through the State Courts, alleging a prescriptive easementis probably the best bet at this point, but my brief glance at the law just now makes that seem like a long-shot.

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      • Easy October 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm

        Proofreading…
        Para. 2 “WHAT is the residential…”
        Para. 3 ” the decision said PERMITS should not be issued “

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      • matt picio October 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

        I’d imagine it depends a lot on whether SE Berkeley Place is considered part of that. There’s now no access for those residents to the trail without having a walk a significant distance. The “trail” shown in the Google Maps image leading to SE 32nd Avenue doesn’t actually exist. It’s a dirt path that leads not to the main Springwater Trail as the map indicates, but to the closed pathway belonging to the racquet club. It’s also a significant elevation difference (at least 50′) and a good 1/2 mile to walk that from Berkeley Place.

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        • Easy October 10, 2012 at 8:20 am

          I don’t see how Berkely is relevant to the conversation. Berkely leads directly to the facility. The requirement is a pedestrian walkway from the neigborhood to the facility – not from the neighborhood to the springwater.

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  • Mele October 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This is a shame, and kind of ironic too, since I used to take this route to get to the Racquet Club as an employee several years back.

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  • Redhippie October 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    I wonder, how much of this decision is due to all the creepazoids who hang out on the Springwater after dark? Is this a good example of one problem begetting another?

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    • Rol October 9, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      From the sound of the owner’s quote above, that’s exactly the problem.

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  • Patrick October 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Is there a new route that a cyclist or walker can take connecting to SE 32nd Ave to the south? It is shown as a path in Google maps but I don’t remember one some years back when I was there. At any rate once the City figures out that there is an easement there & puts pressure on the landowner, it will be reopened. Shenanigans like this for a racquet club really highlights an aristocratic bias.

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    • Joseph E October 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      I don’t think so. I would have removed it from google maps, since I have never found this supposed path, but I am not sure enough to do so. If anyone can confirm that this path does not exist, please remove it from the map.

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    • matt picio October 9, 2012 at 5:30 pm

      Patrick – the map is wrong. The “route” is a dirt path down to the raquet club’s spur trail to the Springwater. I led some cyclists down it a few years ago on the “Hidden Routes of Milwaukie” ride.

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      • Joseph E October 9, 2012 at 6:54 pm

        Thanks! I’ll fix that

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    • Ben Guernsey October 10, 2012 at 10:51 am

      It’s also pretty steep and rocky. I tried riding my road bike up it once, it was pretty comical. If it was the least bit wet I think it would only be safely passable by hiking.

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    • Caleb October 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      Aristocratic? Maybe, but I wouldn’t consider those “shenanigans” as evidence for such a claim.

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      • Ks October 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm

        All they have done is “planted a flag” so they can claim something is theirs that should rightfully belong to the people.

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  • John Mulvey October 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    The Parks Bureau should worry a little more about enforcing the public’s right-of-way and a little less about closing the “dead end” path.

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    • matt picio October 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

      Why? It’s not owned by Parks, so their primary concern is limiting liability, not maintaining access. That’s why we have and need a city council, to make the decisions that transcend the concerns of individual city agencies.

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      • Tony Choate October 10, 2012 at 9:06 am

        Actually the location the gate was constructed is definitely in Portland Parks property, not on the private racquet ball land. The city needs to remove this gate and probably send a bill to the fellow who admitted constructions it.

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        • Caleb October 10, 2012 at 9:57 pm

          If that’s the case, matt’s comment is still relevant to the club restricting or allowing access and subsequently what the Parks Bureau “should” do; it just changes where the club allegedly can or can’t make that decision.

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  • Joe October 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    seems rather self centered.

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    • Caleb October 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Seems that way on what basis?

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  • Oliver October 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Theft and Vandalism to homes and vehicles on my block is facilitated by the street that runs in front of my house, and I’m convinced that it’s because of the homeless. I therefor would like the street gated at one end.

    Mostly I don’t like cyclists any more than my friends do, and would prefer my private property abut public parkland paid for by the taxpayers but I was access to that property restricted to my friends and customers.

    Never heard this tune before.

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    • Oliver October 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      want. I want

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    • Joe in Wilsonville October 9, 2012 at 8:46 pm

      boooooooooooooooooo

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    • Caleb October 10, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      Unless you know details about the situation that the rest of us can’t glean from this article, I think you’re simplifying the situation to a point that’s more simple than the situation itself is.

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  • annefi October 9, 2012 at 5:11 pm

    According to recent coverage in the O, this club owner has recently overhauled the purpose of the entire club, completely changing its nature and leaving many long-time members out of luck. He is a selfish _________. If he doesn’t care about his own club members, why would he care about the larger community?

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    • Indy October 9, 2012 at 5:53 pm

      If he truly didn’t care about his customers’ needs he would then lose them and their revenue, negating the need for action.

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  • Chris I October 9, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    A battery-powered sawzall with a good metal blade would make short work of this illegal barrier. Seems like a quick fix…

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  • Psyfalcon October 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Rode through here a month or two ago, exploring, and a group of people were walking pointing out all the areas homeless people had trampled the vegetation. I asked where the path ended up and they made it very clear it ended at a PRIVATE club.

    Never mentioned the easement though!

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  • bjorn October 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    This is pretty much what eminent domain is for, condemn it and pay him for it, problem solved.

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    • Joseph E October 9, 2012 at 7:00 pm

      This would be a good solution. The racket club doesn’t want or need the land next to the creek. The City should pay for that area, and make it part of the Springwater corrido, while also getting an easement to connect with the street. Unless, of course, the Club is already legally required to allow the easement, in which case we should save our tax dollars.

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    • Joe October 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      except that Portland stated policy is very restrictive on exercising eminent domain. Which I am cool with, seeing the abuses around the Nation. Except the Cement Road, which I would totally be ok with.

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      • spare_wheel October 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        the evisceration of eminent domain is another example of the way the rights of citizens have become subordinate to the unearned privilege of the rich.

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        • Morgen October 10, 2012 at 8:58 am

          Eminent domain rarely is an issue that involves the so called 1%. Consider the latest MAX lines. They supply and cross the poorest areas of town. Had the city been able to excercise a land grab those affected would have been the poor, not the rich.

          This is true because of basic economics. The city/state/federal government seeks to acheive it’s aims, such as running lightrail, in the cheapest way possible. It will likely be cheaper to buy/seize the homes of many of the poor than it would be to buy/seize the homes of even a few of the “rich” – because those houses by definition are much more expensive and in much higher end portions of town. The other factors involved (loss of tax revenue, staging areas, customer base) just reinforce those factors.

          The belief in eminent domain as a tool for social justice may or may not be accurate – but the power it wields is almost exclusively aganist the poor.

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    • tonyt October 10, 2012 at 1:13 pm

      That’s what the easement is for. Having delved into easement law recently, it seems that there are likely several easements at work here. One is the formal easement written down “to effectuate a pedestrian and bike path from the residential area of primary service to the facility.”

      The others could be “easement by implication, necessity, or prescription.” Those are 3 separate types and it seems all could be argued, necessity less so.

      I won’t go into them too much (get thee to wikipedia!) but suffice it to say that an owner cannot just take unilateral action to make them vanish. They are stubborn buggers and they hold up in court.

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  • Spiffy October 9, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    the path is so close to the Springwater that it looks like you can just cut through the trees after that little bridge to rejoin that side path…

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    • Smitty October 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm

      It is close and there are dirt paths that connect but it is steep… maybe 20-30ft elevation difference.

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  • Joe October 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Seems the crime issue is overstated if one relies on Portlandmaps.com and enters the Berkley Way and SE 37th coordinates. I’ve lived in tougher senior communities.

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    • Chris I October 9, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      I’m sure Emmert will say that most of it goes unreported…

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      • Joe Adamski October 10, 2012 at 5:55 pm

        If a tree falls in the forest…?

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  • K'Tesh October 9, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    And what is stopping someone from ripping the thing out?

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  • JJJ October 9, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    If someone put a fence up on any public street, how long would it take the city to demo it? 6 hours? 12 hours? Less? The same should be done here.

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  • mark kenseth October 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Maybe Emmert should help the homeless.

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  • 9watts October 9, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    I am inspired by Morrie Erickson’s dedication and research.

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    • Editz October 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

      He’s like Detective Lester Freamon. Nice work!

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      • A.K. October 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

        But can he build tiny furniture?

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  • crystalsprings October 10, 2012 at 12:29 am

    As a resident within two blocks of this new gate, I am extremely concerned. I do not agree with it nor do I like it. Certainly it is not the right of “The Courts” to put a barrier in the middle of a municipal bridge and I question why they did this.

    Series of questions, facts, and statements that I would hope all serious tennis players, bike riders, and community participants would entertain:

    There is a reason why the Eastmoreland Racquet Club has not attracted competitive tennis play and membership. There must be a reason why the City’s only clay tennis courts are under-utilized. There must be a reason why the club needs to transform into “The Courts”. There must be some question whether the Clackamas River Racquet Club is feeling the same pressure. Lack of community involvement?

    It is true that Portland Tennis is competitive and that other clubs have a waiting list for courts. Courts like Mountain View, Irvington, the West Hills, Portland Athletic, the MAC, etc. are all booked out. Why has the Eastmoreland Racquet Club failed? Lack of community involvement?

    The reason Eastmoreland Racquet Club has failed is because it does not rally around a community that has the potential of building a core family. Eastmoreland is the ideal community. The only access from the community of Eastmoreland to the Eastmoreland Racquet Club property is via 37th and via the discussed alternative path by the river. Without this access to 37th and via the lower river path, the entire community must drive, use cars, to get to their work out facility. Eastmoreland Racquet Club has completely severed ties to Eastmoreland community.

    If there is a good excuse for putting up a wrought iron gate on a city bridge, I’m game to hear it. If there is discussion on how to curb homelessness and trash down by the river, I’m hopeful “The Courts” will engage us in this discussion and not cut us off from future involvment.

    Let’s work together to figure out a better solution.

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  • q`Tzal October 10, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Funny thing about Emmert’s primary complaints, vandalism and camping; they occur more often when there are fewer people nearby to witness them.

    Vandalism doesn’t doesn’t occur in front of witnesses; it is called “aggravated property damage” or some such. What most of us think of as vandalism occurs when they perpetrator thinks no one is watching. It could just as easily be that club goers, and miffed at obscure social slights, and are keying cars and causing other minor damage.

    Homeless camping is usually successfully done when one finds a primo spot that few can get to to bother them. All this closure has done is to make it MORE attractive to campers because there will be less traffic and fewer witnesses.

    Ultimately, erecting this gate and locking it is a self defeating action that only assures that the problems it seeks to address get worse.

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  • Bryan Dorr October 10, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Bicycle riders will need to use the SE 28th Ave. trailhead at SE Sherret St. (SE 29th Ave. if going by foot) as a detour. Sellwood bicyclists can access Springwater Trail at SE 19th Ave. at SE Linn or Ochoco streets and via Three Bridges.

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  • Anthony Choate October 10, 2012 at 8:51 am

    The gate is located on property owned by the City of Portland. Constructing this gate on public property is clearly an act of vandalism.

    The easement or public access through the country club is an important consideration and should be maintained.

    However, in the meantime, the City needs to remove this gate and bill the property owner for the cost in doing so. Criminal charges may be warranted as well for this coordinated and systematic act of vandalism to public property. He has even confessed to doing it.

    Check a tax map, the bridge and trail at that point are clearly identified as owned by Portland Parks & Rec.

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    • Chris I October 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      Where are the meth-head metal thieves when we need them…

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  • Richard October 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

    It seems to me like the real issue here is a homeless population that is rife with mental illness and/or drug and alcohol dependency. Erecting gates here and there may make someone sleep better at night, but they do nothing to address the real issue. In fact, they most likely exacerbate the issue. So, maybe we as a community should be petitioning and working with federal, state and local government entities, as well as not-for-profit entities, to come up with real solutions so that people with mental illness can be treated rather than marginalized. So that people who are dependent upon drugs and alcohol can get help rather than being criminalized. And a healthier local economy so more people can find living-wage jobs. Springwater should be a recreation and transportation resource and not a repository for the disenfranchised. Just my opinion.

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  • Bald One October 10, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Erickson’s comments about losing access to the main part of Springwater trail by residents of Eastmoreland and Sellwood N. of Tacoma are rather inaccurate. The only loss of access to the main trail by this closed gate is to the very small group of Condos that are situated adjacent to the racquet club (on Berkeley drive). Eastmoreland and Sellwood residents would not normally use this easement and racquet club trail to access the springwater corridor trail (since there is no bridge over Johnson creek from Eastmoreland to the trail, and because Sellwood is on the other side of 99E). The closed section of trail is not the main section of the springwater corridor trail, but only a small access point and easement – the story is misleading in this way.

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    • Tigue October 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Your correct about the access to the main part of the Spring water trail.

      However crossing 99E is done via the Tacoma Street Bridge with this spur trail being open saving a 1/2 mile travel to destinations like Skavone field.

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      • Tigue October 10, 2012 at 4:45 pm

        In addition. I just realized that this path could have been used as a short cut to the Tacoma St. light rail station when built. Hmmm…maybe another reason to be concerned about it’s closure.

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    • Sunny October 10, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Think again. I came to the same conclusion with google maps until I explored streetview and realized access points are limited. Erickson is right.

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  • torridjoe October 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Man, when I lived in Eastmoreland that part of the trail was key in reducing my commute. It was faster to ride through and pick up the bus going up through Brooklyn, then wait on the Woodstock 19 that kinda winds through SE before heading downtown. I’d be mighty pissed to find a gate there one morning.

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  • Jeremy October 10, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Are there warning signs prior to reaching that gate? What if a regular user rides down the boardwalk at night and smashes into it not expecting the path to be blocked? They might not notice the small triangle in time.

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  • Tom October 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    I rode past there today ..the gate is at the very end of the bridge , at the down ramp. The ramp was obviously built by the same people as the bridge … Would CoP build the ramp on private property ? I think not.

    This last summer that was a spot where I could go down and sit on the rocks, cooling my feet on a hot day ..lots of kids playing in the water.

    IF I were considering joining the racquetball club before, I sure would not, now.

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  • Terry D October 11, 2012 at 11:25 am

    I checked this out yesterday but was blocked on the west end by the KATU van…I also remember that we went though this back in 2000 or so before the three bridges were built…..it looks the same now as it did then except for the gates.

    Several points:
    1) Emment obviously wanted to make it look like the gate had been there for years; he used a salvaged piece of railing and had it welded in place to make it look “old.”…either that or he just used salvage to save money. The gates are directly on the bridge deck itself.
    2) According to the property lines on Portlandmaps.com and Google Earth the gates are NOT on his property, it is probably publicly owned, but it may be owned by a homeowner up hill…it is difficult to tell since it is hard to actually see the bridge through the tree canopy; You can however see the Springwater and it seems that the bridge would have to be publicly owned.
    3) Even if there is no official easement, he would only have the right to fence his whole property off, not gate a path on someone else’s property
    4) The path and bridge itself was paid for with public money I believe, so why would they built it on private property without an easement?
    5) There is no alternate route for those heading in that particular direction. The secondary dirt path is just a walking path that is useless after dark and not for riding. It will become impassible soon even with the plywood laid down on it for traction.
    6) Emment’s reasons to do it…as in to prevent vandalism and theft…are total NIMBYism. He basically said in the interview that bicyclists are thieves. A nice way for an athletic club owner to look at active transportation.
    7) If he is actually trying to prevent homeless/criminals from coming into his property, then he needs a better gate. You can follow a dirt path under the bridge and if you are careful walking over the rocks, you can cross the creek and climb up the slope, thus walking right into the Athletic club property. His job would do nothing to prevent anyone if their intent was to burglarize.

    I know there is an investigation going on to determine if there is an easement or not, which will be a big deal in the long run, but for now it is obvious that he gated off a publicly built bridge that simply is not owned by him. It needs to be taken down IMMEDIATELY and if there is NOT an easement then there should be an investigation as to why the city spent money building a bridge and path without legal right to.

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    • Psyfalcon October 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

      That does seem to be the proper summary of events so far.

      Even if there is no easement and he has the right to close the path this was not the way to do it. Google shows he has a history of ignoring land use laws. Its also apparent he owns half of Clackamas and thats why no one wants to tear down the gate now.

      Google maps is wrong though (they have Tideman Johnson extending halfway though his indoor courts.) The tax maps on Portland maps are hard to read (his property is no less than 5 parcels and no one put the river on the maps). I can see how this is a bit of a mess to sort out.

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  • q`Tzal October 11, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    We’re this my problem as owner of the club I’d have a more complicated strategy with more subtle and effective results.

    My evil solution is two part.
    1st vandalism: put up a system of cheap internet home surveillance grade USB Web cameras, and both low lux and full color, covering the problem areas. I’m thinking of using a FitPC2 as a hub for every 4 USB cameras as it is a small, cheap, very low power and industrial grade computer platform. It runs around 8 watts max and averages 5 watts; plenty low enough for a small solar panel & battery. The reason I’d go for cheap is because I want to have minimum of 3 different camera angles catching every square inch of my private property. The path is public property, property damage is occurring on private property and I’ll need high quality evidence to prosecute the guilty party – be they public or club members.

    2nd campers: this is a supply and demand issue; there is a great demand for “private” squats and people looking for them. To attempt to reduce the “customer base” (homeless) is a wonderful goal and efforts to do so should be the responsibility of our society. I don’t expect that it can ever be resolved completely in a capitalist economy as someone will always lose in the game of greed. So my goal is to reduce the demand for my property as a camping ground. Now my first thought was to make the area inhospitable (noise makers like the Mosquito system or artificial skunk spray) but then it hit me: all I have to do is remove the privacy. I’d clear a little brush at the closest path adjacent spot to the camping problem and install a concrete picnic table and a faucet supplying fresh drinking water to the general public. This would increase local foot traffic to the point where camping would be unpleasant and very much not private; it would also have the secondary effect of having more live witnesses around today deter vandalism.

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  • Sunny October 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.

    Please?

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  • Easy October 12, 2012 at 10:16 am

    There was a crew on the bridge this morning, and it looked like the gate was being removed. I don’t know to what end.

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  • crystalsprings October 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    GATE REMAINS!

    I went down yesterday and the gate was removed from the bridge. Small battle won – or one (as in #1). There is now access across the bridge and down to the other side of the river.

    HOWEVER, the gate has been resurrected across the path about 50 yards up under the tree foliage. Most people on the path above passing by probably cannot see it. It looks like the same or similar gate that was on the bridge: wrought iron, no pad lock, and permanently sealed. The Gate still has the single orange triangle in the middle of the gate in the middle of the path. Still very dangerous. The orange triangle is very difficult to see even in broad daylight. The Barrier now extends from the upper bike path and southern hill, across the path and about 10 feet into the forest towards the river about 50 yards west of the bridge.

    Still no access through that path. Still no access to the club. No access through aforementioned easements.

    Please advise community.

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