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Residents hope the time has finally come for new path to Mt. Tabor Park

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 8th, 2014 at 1:03 pm

A committee formed by neighborhood residents wants the City to (finally) fund a new path that would connect neighborhoods south of Division to Mt. Tabor Park.
(Graphic: Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park)

Southeast Portland's Mt. Tabor Park is one of the most popular open spaces in the entire region — especially for the neighborhoods that border its 190 acres of wooded groves, view points, trails, roads, and picnic areas. Multiple park entrances offer easy access from the north, west, and east; but residents south of the park aren't so lucky. Now there's an effort to change that.

Allen Vogt is Chair of the Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park at 64th. The committee is made up of residents from the South Tabor and Mount Tabor Neighborhood Associations and the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park. Vogt says their goal is to, "Re-invigorate the implementation of a plan previously developed and approved by the City of Portland to build a multi-use access path to Mt Tabor Park from SE Division."

View from 64th looking south toward Division St
with Parks maintenance yard on the left.

"Although the Mt. Tabor, North Tabor, and Montavilla neighborhoods have multiple safe and accessible entrances to Mt. Tabor Park on the west, north, and east," states a flier by Vogt's group, "there is no good pedestrian or bike access to the park from the south." The proposed path would begin at SE Division and head north for 280 feet through an existing Portland Parks park maintenance facility (the Mt. Tabor Central Yard and Nursery) to connect to 64th at SE Sherman (see image below). The new path is estimated to cost $139,000 and the committee hopes the get it funded in the current Portland Parks & Recreation budget process (there's a big public input event on it tonight).

This idea for a new public path on the park's south side is nothing new. Mt. Tabor's original 1911 plan called for an entrance at 64th and neighborhood residents have pushed for it ever since. In 2009 Portland City Council adopted an amendment to the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that included the path. Vogt says the project was included in Parks' Capital Improvement Plan last year but was dropped from the list due to limited funds. Now they hope to get it added back to the list.

This drawing from the 2000 Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan Report shows the path in the lower left as an "Alternative" concept.

This drawing from a 2008 City of Portland Transportation Study shows where the path could
be built through the Parks Central Yard and Nursery.
(Note: In this view, the park is on the left and Division is on the right.)

The Portland Tribune reported on the project in 2008. They cited several advantages of a paved connection from Division into the park, but they also said some residents oppose the idea due to fears it would attract too much auto traffic and would lead to more residential development in the area. Another issue often cited as a barrier to the path is the right-of-way it would take up through an existing Parks maintenance facility. As one of the larger facilities in the city, Parks has said the 25-feet of width that the path would require is needed to store and park large trucks and other equipment.

Vogt says this project deserves funding now more than ever due to the new bike lanes on SE Division which have brought more bike traffic to the area. More biking and walking traffic is also expected in this location in the future due to PBOT's plans to install a median island at 64th as part of their Division Street High Crash Corridor Program.

At this point, Vogt and other volunteers on the committee are working to spread the word about the project. They've planned a series of public events to answer questions and hear feedback. If you'd like to learn more, email Allen at allen.vogt at gmail.com and/or attend one of the events below...

  • 1/13 at 6:30pm @ Friends of Mt Tabor Park (FMTP) Monthly Meeting – contact Mary Kinnick at mary.kinnick@gmail.com
  • 1/15 at 7:00pm @ Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5441 SE Belmont St hosted by the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA)
  • 1/16 at 7:00pm @ Trinity Fellowship, 2700 SE 67th hosted by the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA)
  • 1/28 at 6pm @ Warner Pacific, 2219 SE 68th, Egtvedt Hall Room 203 hosted by the Improving Bike/Ped Access to Mt Tabor Park Committee

Learn more about this project via the City's 2008 Mt. Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Transportation Study which was posted to Scribd.com by the Tribune.

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Comments
  • Mike January 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    Regarding Mt Tabor, are the reservoirs still slated to be decommissioned? If so I hope there is a push to use some of the space for a velodrome. It is such a great place to ride that hopefully another aspect of cycling could be brought to the park

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    • Chris I January 8, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      I really hope they keep water in the upper reservoir on the west side. The views downtown over the water are amazing. Could it be turned into a public swimming hole?

      I would also like to see more of the roads closed to motorized traffic. Wednesdays up on Mt. Tabor are amazing, but the rest of the week you have to deal with lazy people in cars trying to drive to the top. The lower reservoirs on the west side could be filled in and turned into parking, allowing the closure of the upper roads and parking lots.

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    • Terry D January 8, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Disconnected, not demolished. There is going to be a public process to decide on what to do with them.

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  • Oliver January 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    It seems to me that someone dropped the ball when reservoir # 2 was decommissioned and sold for development. Why was the path not put through then? If this entrance has really been promised/advocated for over a hundred years, such an oversight looks kind of intentional.

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  • John Liu January 8, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    The reservoirs would make great:
    - public performance spaces (stage in the deep end, grass elsewhere)
    - soccer and sports fields (fill until level)
    - skateboard park, bike park, velodrome
    - reflecting/duck pond

    It is a special place up there.

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    • MaxD January 8, 2014 at 3:09 pm

      the reservoirs could have parking (public and for Parks vehicles and staff) with soccer/performance space on top.

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      • Chris I January 9, 2014 at 7:06 am

        That is a great idea for reservoir #6. Maybe reservoir #1 could be a skate park?

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    • davemess January 10, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Mountain Bike Park!!!!!

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  • davemess January 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    "Multiple park entrances offer easy access from the north, west, and east; but residents south of the park aren't so lucky."

    Just a little correction. There are 2-3 entrances to the park from the South. They're the dead end streets off division (marked in grey on your 2000 Master Plan map). They're not car (or really bike accessible), but they are definitely access points (one get's you directly into the dog park, and another goes to a small playground).

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    • Allen January 8, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      Davemess,

      Agreed. However the southern entrances you sight are unimproved, steep, and often muddy. They are not adequate for users with mobility issues or those on a bicycle. For example, many residents of the Courtyard Senior living center adjacent to the proposed path would have a hard time using the unimproved access points you city as would those wishing to avoid the dog park. This project seeks to insure equitable access to this public space for everyone.

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      • davemess January 8, 2014 at 4:33 pm

        i get that. Just saying that there are some entrances to the south that many people can use (I get that they aren't easy access and not every can use them).

        So yes, I guess Jonathan was technically correct.

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    • Psyfalcon January 8, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      There isn't any path that really connects there however. Its through the grass of the playground or through the dog park where people might be afraid of dogs (or children ;) )

      Its also VERY steep, with the dog park requiring a long flight of steps. Its not a good way to cycle in to the park.

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      • davemess January 8, 2014 at 5:10 pm

        yep, which is why I said they aren't bike accessible.

        Alright, forget I ever brought them up.

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    • ML January 9, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      As others have posted here, those entrances are unsafe, muddy, and much too steep for either pedestrians or bikes. Besides being chased by off-leash dogs, they leave you in a steep, back door, "no-mans land" with no obvious connection to trails or roads.

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  • paikikala January 8, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Why 25 feet of right of way? PBOT's standard for shared use paths is 12 feet.
    Definately should have included a pedestrian easement from the reservoir development.

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  • resopmok January 8, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    I know there's a lot of general hate for 60th out there, but I thought a new bike line was just striped on that street heading up to salmon, am I wrong? And not saying that negates how it would be nice to have a dedicated path on 64th, but it makes the statement that there is no southern access feel a bit dishonest. I've been using that route for a long time.. What would be really nice is to replace the upper portion of the road as it leads to the top, where it instituted with potholes and in a rather bad state of detorioration.

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    • resopmok January 8, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Should read "is infested with" not "instituted," I should know better than to comment via phone by now..

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      • Alan 1.0 January 8, 2014 at 8:36 pm

        That's an important correction because with Portland streets either meaning could work.

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    • resopmok January 8, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      And also I meant up to Lincoln, not salmon.. So easily confused sometimes

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    • Terry D January 8, 2014 at 9:53 pm

      Northbound bike lane, south bound sharrows as parking was more important to leave of course. The point though is to have a carefree crossing that is direct and not a half mile detour.

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  • AM-XC- January 8, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    25' is a bit excessive for an easement! A Police Officers patrol car is not more than 9' in width, give a pedestrian in a wheel chair enough room to move to one side if a patrol car comes through, then about a foot off each side of the path for fencing, and that would roughly be about 13' width of concrete path and 2', split, for running fence. It's too bad the retirement home wants to remain gated from the path, though, I understand their need to protect their property from vandalism and theft. Maybe they could allow for path lighting to be put on their side of the fencing as to help the city-the people of Portland- from having their path lighting damaged/destroyed by vandalism, or by the heavy equipment that is constantly being moved around at the Park service Depot where the path intends to run through?

    An Auditorium with those high levies would be perfect for not disturbing the neighbors with loud music. There is however an Auditorium at the volcano that is rarely used and can hold about 200 people. The reservoir would hold more people and host bigger performances, but parking is a joke in the Tabor neighborhood. If you look around google map there is just not enough available space to make anything more than 10 more car spaces. Taking the public garden on the Southwest side of the park for parking is just not going to happen.

    The neighborhood residence would never go for a skate-bike park. Portland has gateway green coming along and I'd rather help Portland focus on that bike part initiative.

    I have no reasonable ideas that the lower reservoir areas could be turned into, my first thought was putting Portland on the map with worlds largest plastic ball pit, deepest too! Tabor is for everyone, maybe there should be ideas assembled from the community, than the community would look at those ideas and pick or combine them to make Tabor even more enjoyable, for ever!

    Paintball park!

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