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Riders rally at River View, urge city to reverse biking ban

Posted by on March 16th, 2015 at 8:09 pm

River View Protest Ride-25
“Raise your hand if you think we’re compatible with the resource goals at River View!”
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

69-year old Hillsboro resident Roger Lynn just found out about the bike trails at River View Natural Area a few weeks ago. “I’ve been looking for a place like this, so I’ve been here three times in the past week. It’s just such a shame that the trails are closed now.”

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Roger Lynn rode out from Hillsboro.

The over 300 people who showed up at River View on the first day of the new ban agree with Lynn. They wore shirts emblazed with “Portland Hates Me,” “Mountain biking is not a crime,” and “Free Forest Park.” One man held up a sign that read: “Bureau of Evasive Sycophants” (a play on BES, Bureau of Environmental Services) on one side and “Fish is rotten” on the other (a reference to BES Commissioner Nick Fish). There were men and women and people of all ages. They gathered among River View’s tall trees and under sunny skies just off SW Palatine Hill Road to protest the recent decision by Commissioners Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish to ban biking in the 146 acre parcel.

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Chris Daniel came from Vancouver because he’s afraid of this type of policy-making might creep up to his local urban trail riding area in Camas. “This is about sticking up for a political process. If we let this happen here, more politicians might think, ‘They did this in Portland and no one seemed to mind.'”

As the crowd filled in at today’s ride, organizers passed around a petition that read: “I support ending the River View bike ban.”

This issue has galvanized the community in an unprecedented way. Ride organizer Charlie Sponsel, a member of the River View Natural Area Technical Advisory Committee who thinks the way this decision was made is “totally unacceptable,” told a TV news crew at today’s event that he feels it’s “the best thing that could have happened.” Why? “Because it shows the commissioners’ true opinion about mountain biking.”

In Sponsel’s view, the River View bike ban comes down to one thing: “Antipathy from City Hall toward mountain biking.”

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Event organizer Charlie Sponsel
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Several TV stations showed up.
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Frank Selker, the citizen activist who tried to improve bike trail access at Forest Park seven years ago, knows that antipathy all too well. Selker was at today’s protest.

“It’s discouraging,” Selker said as he looked over the large crowd, “People are really upset by this because they’ve been riding here forever just fine while it was under private ownership. The irony is, the public finally took it over (it was purchased by City of Portland in 2011) and now the public is being excluded.”

Another veteran of Portland’s struggle to embrace mountain biking was at the event. Chris DiStefano, who gave an impassioned speech about the need for more local singletrack to a meeting of the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee way back in May of 2007, showed up to support the protest. When I asked him about that speech today, he said, “Eight years later and we’ve still got nothing to show for it.”

Before the ride began, Sponsel grabbed a megaphone and stepped up on a log to address the crowd.

Sponsel shared a personal story and pointed out the potential of a riding area like this for kids.

“I started mountain biking when I was seven years old and it was one of the most positive forces in my life. It has made me the person I am now. The city of Portland doesn’t want to give kids a place to ride, and I can’t figure out what that’s all about. With all of the couches and video games available to kids these days, why does the City of Portland not want kids recreating and getting into nature on bikes? It’s mind boggling.”

Feeling like he and other advocates were “kicked out” and “abandoned” by Commissioners Fritz and Fish, Sponsel now says he plans to fight until he’s let back in. “We want to be back at the table and we want to be stewards of River View… We’re not going to let Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish forget about the mountain bikers of Portland,” he said, “we’re going to keep the pressure on.”

— In related news, I was a guest on OPB’s Think Out Loud radio program that covered the River View issue today. The audio from the segment is below…

UPDATE: Check out this excellent short video from the protest ride, accompanied with audio of Charlie Sponsel speaking at the event:

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Zimmerman March 16, 2015 at 8:31 pm


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  • Gabriel Amadeus March 16, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for all the great coverage, it was great to see so many good-naturedly angry folks out there today!

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  • Eric H March 16, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Great to see everyone out there today, but it looks like we have some really heavy lifting still to do.

    I found it Interesting, but not surprising, to read in the O’s coverage that the City Budget Office released their analysis on March 9th that recommends against funding both the Gateway Green Match Funding and the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.

    You can read it here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/cbo/article/522065

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    • Dan March 17, 2015 at 7:15 am

      “It is estimated that an off‐road cycling master plan may identify four to six miles of new trails.”

      “The estimated costs of four to six miles is $120,000 to $300,000 per mile…”

      $350K just to identify places they can MAYBE put 4 to 6 miles of trails, which apparently they would pay to have built as well. This sounds like a lack of creativity to me.

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      • davemess March 17, 2015 at 7:26 am

        I think it sounds more like a lack of will and a stall tactic.

        We all know where the trails could/would be already. We don’t have to pay an overpriced planner to tell us that.

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        • Dan March 17, 2015 at 8:39 am

          Especially when they would not need to actually build the trails.

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          • forest March 17, 2015 at 9:10 am

            which goes to show how broken the process is. we could probably get the money together through advocacy means for all the signage and bridges they could ever want, and save them the $300k, to the benefit of all recreational users.

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    • dave March 17, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Pathetic. A move to Bend sounds better and better every year.

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      • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:26 am

        If Bend actually had jobs think of how much bigger its population would be!

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  • Frank March 16, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    I will vote against Fish and Fritz unless/until they represent all citizens. I will also encourage others to do so, and encourage good people to run against them.

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  • velograph March 16, 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Thanks for the coverage Jonathan. I was quite proud to be a Portlander today. This is the first time I have felt like we have something attainable to rally around. Let’s get our trails back!

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  • Curtis Roth March 16, 2015 at 10:10 pm


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  • Trail Rat March 16, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    It was such a great vibe out there today. I was proud to be a part of it.

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  • Amy March 16, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Really nice work on OPB today for us, Jonathan. Thank you. And thanks for the continuing coverage!

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  • Bella Bici March 16, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I relocated here from Colorado. Mountain biked almost everywhere in beautiful Colorado. (and other Rocky Mountain states)

    Jefferson County (on the eastern border of Denver) has an exemplary park service that allows ALL users to share the resources. This has included mountain bikes for over two decades now.

    Portland is simply abysmal when it comes to mountain biking options. And, this is not a result of lack of resources. It is because of backward thinking policy makers.

    Listening to Amanda Fritz’s effete rational for excluding biking from River View demonstrates this.

    When I am told that Lief Erikson offers mountain biking options in Forest Park and Portland I cringe.

    Look at the example other cities invest in here: Jeffco Open Space Parks and Trails

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 7:29 am

      This was my same experience when I move here from Colorado. “Sweet there is this giant urban park, I’ll go ride my mountain bike there!” That first ride in my first week here was pretty sad and a harbinger for the next five years.

      I just get so frustrated with the “We’re so different” attitude that some in Portland have. We’ve not that different! As you point out, cities across the country figured this out decades ago. About time we caught up and got with the times.

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    • Paul Souders March 17, 2015 at 9:26 am

      Heck this was my experience moving here from *Nebraska.* Lincoln has more singletrack than Portland! http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=BGM019-047

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  • Rick March 17, 2015 at 6:36 am

    very rad

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  • Snowden March 17, 2015 at 6:43 am

    It was an impressive showing of solidarity yesterday. The fact that the commissioners are avoiding the press here is telling. Fish’ response last week was laughable, as were Fritz’ remarks in the TV coverage. I thnk both have terribly underestimated the will and collective power of our constituency.

    Word is that both the Technical Advisory Comittee and the PAC are reconvening. We’ll all be very interested in to watch how that develops. I’m not at all confident that the process will be any more transparent than it has been up to this point. Look at the Riverview project website. Notice anything missing? None of the work of the City’s project consultant Vigil Agrimis, nor the work of the TAC is included. Heck, not even the names of the TAC members are listed. Think that’s a coincidence?

    Maus, if you haven’t already, reach out to Jane Bachieri and Paul Ketchum at BES. Oh, and have you seen Mike Houck’s recent testimony before the Planning and Sustainability Commission? He seems very committed and confident in his statement about “keeping mountain bikers out of Riverview”. Does he know something we don’t?

    This whole thing stinks.

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    • Snowden March 17, 2015 at 7:12 am

      I stand corrected, some of Vigil’s work is shown on the RVNA website, but mostly just background information, and none of the draft concept plans that were reportedly generated prior to the process being shut down.

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    • wsbob March 18, 2015 at 9:01 am

      “…Oh, and have you seen Mike Houck’s recent testimony before the Planning and Sustainability Commission? He seems very committed and confident in his statement about “keeping mountain bikers out of Riverview”. Does he know something we don’t? …” Snowden

      If you could, post your brief summary of what Houck said. He’s a long time naturalist that has worked with the city, so it’s very possible he knows some things a lot of us reading here, don’t know.

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      • Snowden March 19, 2015 at 8:49 am

        “…Oh, and have you seen Mike Houck’s recent testimony before the Planning and Sustainability Commission? He seems very committed…

        He basically said that the conservation goals trumped any other activities and that even though mountain bikers were trying to get access, “we’re going to keep them out” I believe this was the Feb 10th, Planning & Sustainability Commission. This is interesting timing, given this was weeks before the ban was announced.

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        • davemess March 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

          So shouldn’t he want to ban ALL users than?
          I’m fine with the extreme environmental view. Just be consistent with it!

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  • Lester Burnham March 17, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Please people…vote these people out of city council.

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  • Granpa March 17, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Very cool

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  • m March 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

    I am not a mountain biker but this seems like a no-brainer to me. Great location for an under-served population in the area.

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    • So... March 17, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      River View is in zip code 97219. Looking at the demographics of that zip-code (http://www.city-data.com/zips/97219.html), I’m not sure how those people in the area are under-served. It’s an area that has a median household income above state average, most are white, almost half are married, more people own their place than rent. I guess there is the 4.4% of the population in the area with an income 50% below the poverty level that might be under-served.

      I noticed the majority of people in the photo’s are male, funny how 52% of that area are females.

      I guess people of color are no longer considered under-served in this city anymore.

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      • forest March 18, 2015 at 6:15 am

        Which is why it makes sense for the city legalize trails that are already built there on the property, and allow the numerous area volunteers to work with the city to ensure that they allow multimodal recreational access, meet the conservancy goals that they have, and free up all that proposed money to be invested elsewhere in the community. If Longview trail advocates can get 130 individuals to volunteer to build and maitain infrastructure on the same day, then certainly Portland can. http://writeteknorthwest.com/archives/15853/massive-crew-kills-it-at-growlers-mega-build

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      • TrailLover March 18, 2015 at 7:15 am

        River View is within 2 miles of downtown Portland and vast areas of SE and SW Portland. And if there were legal singletrack bicycle trails there, it would be one of the only places withing 45 miles.

        It’s not easy to know how well a public facility will serve underserved residents – especially in a city that has never even attempted to accommodate them. Do the city’s tennis courts, pools, golf courses and ball fields serve a perfectly balanced demographic?

        As for who can show up ready to protest at 4pm on a Monday afternoon, it should be no wonder that some people couldn’t make it. I gather from your comment that skin color alone revealed something about the economics of who was and who wasn’t present. Maybe so. Maybe less wealthy residents of Portland would be involved in this healthy form of nature-based recreation if it didn’t take a car, half a tank of gas and a day off work to participate, as it does currently.

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  • Frank March 17, 2015 at 9:44 am

    I was looking around at the amazing equipment there and thought:

    250 people x $100 each* = $25,000 for someone to run against Fritz or Fish.

    *Amount a couple can give a political candidate and get 100% of it back from Oregon on your taxes.

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    • Amy March 17, 2015 at 9:55 am

      Plus more. Instead of raising money for plans to sit unfunded on the shelf, let’s start raising some money for a candidate to run in 2016.

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      • wsbob March 18, 2015 at 9:33 am

        “…Instead of raising money for plans to sit unfunded on the shelf, let’s start raising some money for a candidate to run in 2016.” Amy

        Better yet, if mountain bike enthusiasts might can raise money, and attract the interest of donors, they could possibly buy land specifically for mountain biking within Portland. I haven’t read much about organizations such as The Trust for Public Land, but have been seeing some commercials on television lately. That approach is one way it’s possible for an interest group to get a lot of support and money to help accomplish their objectives.

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        • davemess March 18, 2015 at 1:04 pm

          You mean like this?

          The trouble is that the city (Parks) can often buy land substantially cheaper than the general public. (Gateway Green was bought for a very cheap price by the city).

          You might also be interested in this part (which the City Budget office is now balking at):

          “2. How will you pay for the rest of the park – construction, operations, ongoing maintenance?

          The City of Portland has already committed to operate and maintain the park once we come together to raise the funds to build it. We’ll leverage public, private, and philanthropic funds to fully develop and construct the park – and we’re grateful for the number of folks who’ve already stepped forward to say they’re ready to volunteer their time!”

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          • wsbob March 18, 2015 at 11:33 pm

            Crowdfunding may be one way to build purchasing capital. A recent idea borne out of the web. To TrailLover: this story is not about hundreds or thousands of acres, but a parcel of land around just 140 acres in size. The Riverview land was up for sale, so the city figured out a way to buy it. If mountain bike enthusiasts would have had a foundation, or a trust with the money, they could have bought the land.

            Broad based support for widely regarded values, is I think how organizations such as I mentioned earlier, get money for the lands they acquire. And from what I remember reading quite some time ago, they come by huge amounts of money for acquisitions. People also donate land parcels to the trust. There may be people with available land in the Portland area, that would be interested in donating it to be used for mountain biking, if they believed that form of recreation embodied values that were worthy of their support.

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            • TrailLover March 19, 2015 at 8:56 am

              I think you may be missing the broader context here. This story very much IS about many hundreds or thousands of acres. The cyclists are trying to advance a much broader vision of recreational and conservation lands management than simply River View. The cyclists have always had a more holistic view than the city – actively extending throughout the region of NW Oregon and SW Washington. Only now is Portland beginning to pretend to catch up in any way with the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan idea.

              Nobody believes that local demand for off-road cycling can be satisfied with anything less than several hundreds or thousands of acres of land. The 150 acres at River View may be critical, but they are a fairly small piece of the puzzle. Hence the reason that a series of necessarily disconnected, small-scale, private land purchases would be very unlikely to address the issue.

              Plus, cyclists don’t seem to be interested in hoarding land into private ownership for their exclusive use. Generally, the only times we see private mountain bike trails development is when the public system has failed or when there is demand for certain types of cycling that may preclude other users, which is not the case in general and is apparently not the case here in Portland.

              It may be true in Portland that the public solution has been failing for years, but I’m glad to see that the cyclists are trying to fix what’s broken (i.e., the city’s decision making process) rather than simply abandoning it in favor of the privatization of something that other communities have successfully embraced as a public good.

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              • wsbob March 20, 2015 at 11:38 pm

                Mountain bike enthusiasts, or ‘cyclists’ as you’ve spoken in your comment, apparently are not effectively projecting a holistic view as you describe, even if mountain biking in general, projects such a view…which is debatable. Certainly not so in Portland. If they did hold and project such a view, that would be closer to interests and values appreciated and supported by a wide range of the population.

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            • Psyfalcon March 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm

              Riverview was purchased for 11.25 Million dollars.

              There is zero chance crowdfunding would meet that. 77,000 dollars per acre. Only 5 crowdfunding campaigns have ever received $10M, and they’re all for for consumer devices that you can mail to people.

              Furthermore, the city, or metro could pretty easily outbid a kickstarter on any large tracts. They get a lower interest rate than we can.

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              • wsbob March 21, 2015 at 11:19 pm

                Some conservation organizations, for many decades, have been able to raise for conservation and acquisition, extraordinary amounts of money, without resorting to the rather new, hi-tech based, crowdfunding approach. Why, and how do you think they’ve been able to do this?

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                • TrailLover March 22, 2015 at 8:09 am

                  Land acquisition by private organizations generally occurs when the cost of acquisitions are above and beyond what publicly funded budgets can support. The problem here is that the cyclists assert that public demand for some accommodation of off-road cycling – above zero – is well within the amount that the public is happy to pay for but is being thwarted by special interest, misinformation and mismanagement.

                  Are all jungle gyms located on private lands? Tennis courts? Picnic spots? Water fountains? Swimming pools? Baseball fields? No. Does everyone in the community participate in those activities or benefit directly from those facilities? The answer there may be yes if those facilities improve the overall livability of their communities and get their neighbors active, outdoors, healthy and building an appreciation for public facilities. Cycling should be no different. And, in fact, it IS no different in communities all over the country where off-road cycling is increasingly and successfully integrated into recreational planning. Except in Portland, of course.

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          • bjorn March 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm

            Except that the same groups who are trying to stop riding in town work against private funding too. Just look at the Sierra Club and Timberline.

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        • TrailLover March 18, 2015 at 2:16 pm

          Yes, private land acquisition is sometimes a good strategy or supplement when government cannot or will not meet public demand for one thing or another. It’s typically a supplement rather than a replacement as would be the case for off-road cycling here in Portland. But I suppose it may come to that here if the city continues to flounder as it has. Meanwhile I think it’s commendable that the cyclists are doing all they can to force the city to fulfill its mission, conduct transparent policy making, consult the public and rely on science when acquiring or managing public land. If the city can’t do those things, Portland has much bigger problems than just failing to provide adequate recreational trail opportunities for its citizens.

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        • TrailLover March 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

          Oops, I neglected to highlight something obvious. Exactly where in the city of Portland do you think anybody is going to find several hundred or several thousand acres for purchase?

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          • Brian March 19, 2015 at 8:24 am

            No need. We already pay for the current natural areas in the city. I doubt there is a single acre of natural area available within Portland that could ever be purchased at this point.

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            • Dan March 19, 2015 at 8:33 am

              There is plenty of Forest Park to go around.

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              • Brian March 19, 2015 at 9:10 am

                Yep, it’s *our* park too.

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              • wsbob March 19, 2015 at 9:28 am

                Seeking to use the land for mountain biking, that is, vehicular recreation, is the big hitch. Mountain biking enthusiasts need a lot more broadbased support than they currently have, to accomplish this.

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                • Zimmerman March 19, 2015 at 12:26 pm

                  Imagines the sound of a record no one listens to skipping, skipping, skipping.

                  vehicular recreation, vehicular recreation, vehicular recreation, vehicular recreation.

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                • TrailLover March 19, 2015 at 12:31 pm

                  Ignoring his self-made matra of “vehicular recreation,” WSBOB writes: “Mountain biking enthusiasts need a lot more broadbased support than they currently have, to accomplish this.” That’s one possible interpretation of what’s going on. The other is that all we need is stop playing along nicely as we have for 20 years and instead focus on exposing and removing the small number of elitist, special-interest, anti-bicycle, anti-science activists who have perverted the public will for these many years.

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                • Dan March 19, 2015 at 8:44 pm

                  *boop beep boop*

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  • Jon March 17, 2015 at 9:47 am

    The odds of a sitting Portland city council member losing an election is nearly zero. In the last 22 years not a single incumbent city council member has lost an election. We are better off building support with the general public and working with the existing council. Most likely a different councilor will be in charge of Parks and BES after the next election because they are shuffled around every couple of years.

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    • Psyfalcon March 17, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      How about a ballot measure to go to district based voting?

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    • Amy March 17, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      I think this will change after the street fee debacle. Hales is running from Novick as fast as he can.

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  • Matt March 17, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Now imagine the turnout if they held the rally sometime outside of business hours.

    As much as I like mountain biking, I have to work first.

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:27 am

      yeah, does anyone have any idea why they had it at 4PM?
      I’m lucky that I am on salary and have somewhat flexible hours, but having the rally at such an early time seemed like they were completely limiting how many people would show up.

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    • dave March 17, 2015 at 11:44 am

      Same here. Kind of ironic to schedule a demonstration over an area that could and should serve working stiffs at a time most working stiffs can’t be there.

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  • Zimmerman March 17, 2015 at 10:11 am

    It seems Amanda Fritz has been asking everyone to be patient and participate in planning for a fraudulent Off-Road cycling master plan she never intended to fund or complete. Hher budget office recommendation is to NOT fund either the plan or Gateway Green because they need to focus on other underserved user groups…

    The woman has no qualms about lying to and trying to game us. Keep up the pressure. Keep making the issue public and get River View reopened.

    Currently the CBO of the City of Portland is not recommending funding the off-road master plan. “Off‐Road Cycling Master Plan, PK_17, $350,000, 0.00 FTE.
    The bureau requests $350,000 of General Fund one‐time resources to develop a master plan for off‐road
    cycling at several sites in Portland. Specific sites have not been identified, although prime areas for
    feasibility analysis include Forest Park, River View property, and East Buttes properties (south of Powell
    Butte). It is estimated that an off‐road cycling master plan may identify four to six miles of new trails.
    Metro will also contribute resources in FY 2015‐16 to identify additional potential sites outside Portland
    city limits, which would potentially improve connectivity between City and non‐City owned sites.
    The City provides few options for off‐road cycling in Forest Park and Powell Butte; for the options within
    Forest Park, cyclists share trail use with pedestrians. Current estimated cyclist usage of Forest Park and
    Powell Butte Park is unknown. Stub Stewart State Park (34 miles west of Portland) receives approximately
    20,000 annual (non‐unique) bike visits for its six miles of bike trails. Neither the bureau’s five‐year capital
    plan nor its 20‐year capital includes off‐road cycling projects. The estimated costs of four to six miles is
    $120,000 to $300,000 per mile, depending on steepness of topography, soil conditions, and the amount
    of trees and tree removals involved.
    The cycling community has expressed strong interest in expanding off‐road cycling options; however, the
    current focus of the bureau’s current capital plan reflects its most pressing needs: maintaining assets and
    expanding access to underserved resident. Because this project is not included in capital plans and the
    bureau has other, higher priority capital needs, CBO does not recommend funding this project.
    CBO Recommendation: $0.”

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

      It’s not like Gateway Green is in an underserved part of the city……

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    • TrailLover March 17, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Where does CBO get its (mis)information? If they rely on Commissioner Fritz and her Parks Bureau then this would seem to be more evidence of the commissioner’s incompetence.

      Where does this statement come from? “It is estimated that an off‐road cycling master plan may identify four to six miles of new trails.” What does it even mean? New trail construction? Is that even what we’re talking about? Or are we talking about some combination of new trail and existing trail newly designated as shared use? And where in the cost estimate is CBO accounting for the fact that the trails community is offering to design, build and maintain the trails we’re talking about? Poor information, poor communication, poor leadership, poor outcomes.

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:33 am

      “Current estimated cyclist usage of Forest Park and
      Powell Butte Park is unknown.”

      What a joke. Pay some intern to sit up there for a few days, or just put down a rubber counter.
      That would cost them maybe hundreds of dollars.

      Why are they trying to reinvent the wheel, the trails are already there!?!??!

      Funny we just had a parks rep meeting with a land use group last night, and he mentioned that frankly they are swimming in money right now from System Development fees ($24M just from last year alone). That is money earmarked for new parks and new-type park improvements. (add onto that the public just voted in a maintenance bond last year, which had over half of its totals unaccounted for). I’m not an advocate for frivolous spending (which I think this “plan” would be), but our parks dept. is NOT hurting for money right now.

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  • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Jonathan. Good coverage and good OPB interview. But I would remind you that there actually have been scientific studies showing that MTB and hiking have same impact on trails. That would have been a good point to make on the radio show.


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 17, 2015 at 11:41 am

      thanks davemess,

      I realize I could have made several other important points. I also bungled the bit about bike tires and mud. Could have been more clear.

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      • davemess March 17, 2015 at 11:58 am

        Yeah, tough on the spot. Overall I thought you did very well. The one other thing I would have brought up is that other user groups don’t have to jump through these hoops or deal with this kind of pushback. Could you imagine if tennis players had to have a protest stroke? It really shouldn’t matter if we have huge numbers or not. There is a current need not being met by the parks dept (who clearly has the capabilities to (cheaply) meet it).

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  • Mike March 17, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    Has anyone considered a recall initiative against these two?
    Approximately 35k signatures would be required. 90 days to gather them.

    If we truly believe they are not acting in our best interest, or even flat out lying to us, why wait until 2016 when they will probably just get reelected?

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      If the street fee wasn’t sufficient to recall Hales or Novick, I’m positive that this issue won’t be enough to recall Fritz and Fish.

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    • TrailLover March 17, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      We don’t necessarily need a recall. It would be a much lower hurdle just to get the mayor to pull the Parks Bureau away from Fritz (as a first step). There’s no guarantee that the next commissioner in charge of Parks would initially be any more competent on MTB issues but they would certainly have mountain bikes prominently on their radar. We should all be asking the mayor’s office to take direct control of the Parks Bureau or at least assign it to someone else.

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      • davemess March 17, 2015 at 1:57 pm

        Who would he give it to though? Novick (who seems even more disingenuous and incompetent) or back to Fish? That pretty much leaves Saltzman.

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        • TrailLover March 17, 2015 at 2:16 pm

          Ideally the mayor might keep Parks for himself at least long enough to get this issue back on track and restore some level of public confidence. After that, I’m not sure it matters who he would give the bureau to. In a sense, all the commissioners are all equally unqualified on the MTB issue. Whoever it is will need to be educated about modern land management standards and practices. Thus far, no commissioner who has had responsibility for Parks has bothered to learn anything about recreational trails management and bicycles because, frankly, why would they bother? But, in the wake of this River View debacle, trails and MTBs will be firmly on the plate of whoever gets the hot potato. THAT is the threshold we need to cross.

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          • davemess March 17, 2015 at 4:35 pm

            I think you have a lot more faith in the mayor (and council) than I do.

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            • TrailLover March 17, 2015 at 4:58 pm

              No no. I’m a doubter just like you. But that’s exactly why I think we have to force the only tools we have available to us. Demanding a shuffle at city hall ain’t easy but it’s easier than trying to vote people in/out of office or suing somebody (over what, exactly?).

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      • wsbob March 18, 2015 at 9:23 am

        “…It would be a much lower hurdle just to get the mayor to pull the Parks Bureau away from Fritz (as a first step). …” TrailLover

        Mayor Hales won’t pull the parks bureau from Fritz, especially based only on this single issue, unless he’s got very good reason to believe her handling of the various issues associated with planning for present and future use of this newly acquired land, has been unacceptable. So far, no reasons of that sort seem to have cropped up.

        Check the city code. If Hales really thinks Fritz and Fish have made a bad decision in suspending use of the land for mountain biking, Hales may as top city executive, be able to reverse their decision. If he really believes their decision is wrong. He may have information leading him to believe that’s not the case. Or vice versa. We’ll have to wait and see.

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  • Eric March 17, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Maybe Nick and Amanda need to go on a field trip to see how it can work.

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    • Granpa March 17, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Good idea, however that was not the first place where I thought they should go……

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Duthie is awesome, but way out in the suburbs.

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  • phreadi March 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    while I haven’t been do Duthie, it’s pretty freeride-centric, yeah? I could be wrong, but I don’t think anyone involved wants such bike-specific trail planning as a free-ride network with stunts for river view, and getting parks to buy off on something like Duthie might get us no where when they’re trying to prove the case for trailsharing in a highly-contested natural area.

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      I got on there just fine on a SS rigid years ago (probably 2010 or so?). And I am definitely not a jump or free ride kind of guy. I remember them having some good variety.

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    • Zimmerman March 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      I’ve ridden Duthie on a singlespeed, trail bike, dirt jumper and cyclocross bike. There’s something for everyone there. In fact there’s a 5.5 mile shared use trail called Grand Ridge that leads into Duthie from I-90.

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  • Eric March 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Davemess, agreed Duthie is a little out of the way, unless you live and work on that side of Lake Washington. I just think Nick and Amanda would appreciate, the trail building, the different kinds of riding, how the riders co-exisit with the neighbors, and the relationship between Evergreen and Parks and Rec.
    I haven’t ridden at River View, but can you imagine a Duthie type system there? I think it seems reasonable

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    • davemess March 17, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I think it might be harder with the topography. There isn’t a ton of flat land at River View. But it does have the same climate at least, so that would help.

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  • Joe March 17, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    hey thanks to everyone! lets keep mountain biking free, seems we are not really understood as nature lovers I feel.. :/ reason I ride on the trails get away from cars..

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  • spencer March 17, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Thanks everyone! I ride to get out in the woods to enjoy nature. Lets get some woods to ride in IN Portland!

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  • Adam March 17, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Loving the photographs. They really opened my eyes to what the mountain biker demographic actually looks like. It’s basically everyone! Dads, moms, kids, old dudes, young dudes… etc!

    I feel it’s a darn shame that mountain bikers seem to have a reputation that precedes them – a bad one – that doesn’t really seem to be warranted. It’s like having to fight a fight, before you’ve even fought the fought.

    I feel like so much of this ban is really about the City seeing mountain bikers as a bunch of stoner dudes, or hippies, or…. something! Scofflaws in any case.

    They don’t seem to have a problem with hikers.

    Or dogwalkers.

    Or runners.

    All of whom cause equal amounts of damage to our urban forest spaces. Dogs in particular spread invasive species (English Ivy, Garlic Mustard in particular) in Forest Park like wildfire. It gets caught in their coats as they brush against the vegetation, particularly if they are off-leash, which, basically, they ALL are.

    The whole Riverview affair seems fraught with hypocrisy more than anything.

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    • Dan March 17, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      The general suspicion I keep hearing brought up here is that there are influential neighbors who want the trails all to themselves. Having seen how this has been handled, it makes more sense than any other rationalization I’ve heard.

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    • davemess March 18, 2015 at 8:40 am

      “I feel it’s a darn shame that mountain bikers seem to have a reputation that precedes them – a bad one – that doesn’t really seem to be warranted.”

      That seems to be very location-specific. Other places I’ve lived don’t have the problem at all, and mountain biking is mostly viewed like hiking or running (with a broad base). You knew plenty of other people of all ages that mountain biked at least occasionally.
      The perception problem is there in Portland though, and that’s one that needs to be worked on. It should be all about kids and older people. Literally they should only be showing pictures of kids and older people at this point.

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  • James March 18, 2015 at 12:21 am

    The off road master plan won’t be funded. Fritz and Fish know this. Here’s what’s happening: fear of another lawsuit from the anti-government nuts who brought the first suit about proper use of ratepayer funds, or pressure from influential types like Mike Houck and his cronies, including his friends in BES. Perhaps some combination thereof. At this point it may not matter, but either way, the process has been rigged, the answers haven’t been genuine, and the disappointment in our elected leaders should be profound. It’s too bad. I think Houck and his Ilk have done a lot of good. They do seem to have a pathological fear or dislike of the idea of people riding bicycles on trails, though. As a conservationist and trail runner who’s also a bike rider, I really don’t get it. They’re just bicycles, folks, not some alien “other.” They seem to see it that way, though. Still hoping the elected officials show some courage and demonstrate that Portland, like so many other places, can do this the right way. Right now, they’re reactionary, timid, and way behind the rest of the country.

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    • Dan March 18, 2015 at 9:47 am

      In my job, when we don’t want to meet a customer request, we say “okay, we can do that, it will cost “.

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      • Dan March 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

        (twice as much as we think they will want to spend)

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    • Lee McAlester March 18, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Not bad, factor in NIMBYism (trails as WE imagine them, not as other Portlanders have been using them) from wealthy/vocal people, and drop the jab at “reactionary” which offers no substance to mention. It’s not about “reactionary” anything. It’s about elitism and gentrification urges, pure and simple. The sooner interested people realize that, and take it as seriously as NIMBYist vocal & influential people do, the sooner you have a minor chance at reversing things. But most likely this is tied to property values, NIMBYism, and “process” dodges by City officials and the NIMBYists who prompt them.

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  • Jessica March 18, 2015 at 11:49 am

    Did you see the article in today’s O, page A8? I thought it was favorable toward our wish to keep River View open to the public – including mountain bikers. It is also wonderful to see so much community spirit in favor of our cause. My 12-year-old son’s favorite after-school activity is mountain biking in River View, which also happens to be the only activity that allows him to be engaged and challenged physically, and connected to nature. How ironic that the City is taking the opportunity away from him, and from all the other kids that enjoy riding in River View!

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    • rick March 18, 2015 at 8:47 pm

      very lame. kids needs to be outside and in nature.

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  • bjorn March 19, 2015 at 8:42 am

    As a comparison to Multnomah County, Benton County managed to add 5 miles of new trails last year: http://www.gazettetimes.com/news/local/team-dirt-launches-funding-push/article_a8851eb7-b3ad-5574-8f9c-9fa231e4f798.html

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  • wsbob April 25, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Big discussion amongst bikeportland readers this week, may be the group mountain bike enthusiast guest editorial appearing in tomorrow’s Sunday the 26th Oregonian. The writers seek Mayor Hales help towards having the city provide mountain biking opportunity within city limits.

    Of course, Forest Park, the city’s largest natural land park: from it’s conception and by generations of Portland residents ever since, regarded as an immediate to the city, nature-wilderness park, could be on mountain bike enthusiasts’ list of parks to acquire the use of for mountain biking.

    The guest editorial may help raise the question to the attention of a broader range of Portland residents than past efforts have, hopefully something approaching a majority, of what they consider is the park’s function to the city and its residents. Also, as to whether they feel the use of this park or some part of it, for mountain biking, is compatible with that function.

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  • TrailLover April 27, 2015 at 9:59 am