Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 12th, 2013 at 11:32 am
When we last shared news about the Timberline Mountain Bike Park in November of 2012, the US Forest Service had approved a permit for the project and things were set to move forward. That permit was issued after an environmental analysis from the USFS lead to a "Finding of no significant impact" from the trails, roads and other development required to build a "world class" lift-assisted mountain bike riding area on Mt. Hood.
But after that permit was issued, two appeals were filed against the project. One came from a individual citizen and the other was a joint appeal from several outdoor and environmental groups including Friends of Mt. Hood, Bark, Mazamas, Federation of Western Outdoor Clubs, Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.
At the end of last month, the USFS affirmed their original decision and denied both appeals.
Now — as Timberline Mountain Bike Park officials prep to begin construction this summer — some of those same groups are seeking a legal injunction against the project.
One of the groups, the hiking and climbing non-profit Mazamas, is on the fence about whether or not to continue their opposition and they're hosting a public meeting in Portland tonight to help them make the decision.
In an email dated March 6th, Mazamas President Doug Couch wrote that his group has been asked by Friends of Mt. Hood to join the lawsuit to stop the project. Couch said it would be a, "significant and difficult decision" and he is urging both members and the general public to come to the Mazama Mountaineering Center (527 SE 43rd Ave) for their meeting tonight to share input about the project. "There are a multitude of issues to consider," he wrote, "as well as significant potential costs and benefits on both sides of the decision."
If you'd like to attend and speak at the meeting, arrive no later than 6:20 pm to get on the list (or your can email Mazamas Executive Director Lee Davis at email@example.com in advance). Each speaker will be given up to three minutes. After public testimony is received, the Mazamas Executive Council will make a decision at the end of the meeting.
If progress moves forward as planned, Park officials say the 17 miles of new trails and skills park area covering 20 acres of Mt. Hood would be fully operational by summer 2014.
Learn more about the project on the Timberline website and stop by their booth at the PDX Bicycle Show on March 23rd-24th at the Portland Expo Center.
UPDATE, 3/14: Mazamas has voted against joining the lawsuit. A commenter below was at the meeting and has shared a recap.