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River View bike ban: NW Trail Alliance takes legal action against City of Portland – UPDATED

Posted by on March 24th, 2015 at 12:08 am

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The Portland-based non-profit Northwest Trail Alliance has decided to take legal action in response to the City of Portland’s decision to ban bicycling in the River View Natural Area. Yesterday, the group filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals (PDF).

In a letter to their 1,000 members explaining why they’ve taken this step, the Northwest Trail Alliance Board of Directors said they “strongly believe” the decision published in a March 2nd memo by Commissioner Amanda Fritz and Nick Fish was made, “in the absence of due process and without any rational basis for exclusion.”

“… the gravity of this decision, the lack of justification, and the lack of answers has led the board to believe that the next right step is to take legal action.”
– Kelsey Cardwell, Northwest Trail Alliance board president

“Citing only a vague ‘abundance of caution,'” the letter states, “the commissioners sidestepped the planning process initiated in 2013. Subsequent communications provided by the commissioners fail to address our questions and concerns.”

In a press release, NWTA Board President Kelsey Cardwell made it clear that she’d much rather work with the city and not have to file an appeal, but the way this decision has been handled by Fritz and Fish has left them no other choice. “For years we have worked with the city in good faith,” she wrote, “and we would much rather continue in that partnership to resolve this issue. However, the gravity of this decision, the lack of justification, and the lack of answers has led the board to believe that the next right step is to take legal action.”

The initial paperwork to file the intent to appeal has cost $400 so far. To help them wade through the complicated land-use appeal process, the NWTA has hired lawyer Aaron Berne of Harris Berne Christensen LLP.


River View Protest Ride-26
A protest ride in River View on March 16th drew over 300 people.
(Photo: J Maus/BikePortland)

From here, the City of Portland has 21 days to deliver “the record of local proceeding” to LUBA. This record should contain all the information the City used to inform their decision. If necessary, the NWTA would then have 14 days to question or object to the contents of the record and the City would get another 14 days to respond. Once the record has been settled and received by LUBA, the NWTA would have three weeks to submit their official petition and the City of Portland gets twice that long to file their brief. After hearing oral arguments from both sides, LUBA would then make a final decision.

The ultimate LUBA finding will take one of three forms: An approval of the city’s decision, a reversal of it, or a “remand” of the decision where they’d send it back to the city for further consideration.

It’s unlikely LUBA would issue a reversal in this case because no clear violation of law or breach of jurisdiction has taken place. A remand, or a “do-over,” makes much more sense. According to the land-use experts at 1000 Friends of Oregon, here are some situations where LUBA would remand a case:

“LUBA will also remand a decision if the local government fails to follow proper procedures to such an extent that the failure ‘prejudiced the substantial rights of the Petitioner.’

LUBA will remand a decision that is not ‘supported by substantial evidence in the whole record.’ This means that LUBA will send a decision back to the local government if (1) there was virtually no evidence to support the decision, or (2) the supporting evidence was so undermined by other evidence that it was unreasonable for the local government to decide as it did.”

In the River View case, the NWTA does seem to have had their rights violated. They were led all along to believe that bicycling would be allowed in the 146-acre parcel, only to be blindsided by the commissioners’ decision. As we’ve reported, even members of the Parks Board were unaware of the bike ban. One member, Jim Owen, was so disturbed by it that he asked Parks Director Mike Abbate if there was a way they could “re-open the conversation” about it in order to accept more feedback.

Documents we’ve obtained through a public records request show that as late as June 2014 the city planned to build bike trails at the site, only to abruptly halt the public process a few months later.

In the past few weeks, Commissioners Fritz and Fish have offered no evidence to support their decision other than vague references to conservation concerns (which have no basis in science) and what they refer to as an “active lawsuit.”

Also noteworthy as we head into this appeal process is that the NWTA’s lawyer has included the March 2nd memo from Commissioners Fritz and Fish as the official decision they plan to appeal. This is important because LUBA requires that the decision to be appealed is a “final” decision, not a temporary one. Then recall shortly after the March 2nd memo was released, when Commissioner Fritz posted a follow-up message to the River View website where she appeared to try and backpedal from the decision:

“We are not saying River View will never be used for mountain biking, rather just not now, before the citywide assessment of appropriate places for cycling is funded and completed.”

Was Fritz advised to do make that statement by city attorneys specifically in hopes of staving off a LUBA fight? This is just one of the issues that will hopefully get hashed out in the weeks to come.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 11:24 am: The NWTA has just released an open letter to members and supporters. I’ve posted it in its entirety below:

An Open Letter to Our Members and Supporters,

Yesterday, the Northwest Trail Alliance filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals regarding the recent mountain bike ban in the River View Natural Area. We did so because the Board of Directors strongly believes that the decision to ban bikes was made by City Commissioners Fritz and Fish in the absence of due process and without any rational basis for exclusion. Citing only a vague “abundance of caution,” the commissioners sidestepped the planning process initiated in 2013. Subsequent communications provided by the commissioners fail to address our questions and concerns.

We do not take this action lightly. We would much rather work in partnership with the City to resolve the issue. However, the gravity of this decision, the lack of justification, and the lack of answers has lead the board to take legal action. We simply cannot stand idle.

NWTA was first notified about the change in policy at River View in a meeting with representatives from Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) offices on March 2. Understandably, we were caught off guard by this announcement, having participated in the planning process until it was halted abruptly in August 2014.

We empathize with the community’s frustration with this decision. We have observed displays of dissatisfaction in various forms, including the recent protest ride at River View on March 16. These reactions represent frustration not only with this decision, but also the glaring lack of progress on the topic of access to natural surface trails in the City of Portland over the past decade or more. We encourage our members and supporters to continue to make their voices heard in an appropriate fashion. At the same time, we cannot condone and strongly discourage any acts which defy current regulations related to trail access. As frustrating as it has been, we are committed to working within the system.

In addition to filing this appeal, we have leveraged our collective voices to apply pressure on the City to reconsider this decision:

  • We continue to actively engage with the commissioners and their staff to maintain an open dialogue. We submitted specific questions regarding the process and justification for the ban. To date, we have not received a satisfactory explanation. (http://nw-trail.org/?q=node/7886)
  • We continue to engage with Mayor Hales’ office to encourage his direct involvement in this change in policy, and the larger issue of trail access in Portland.
  • NWTA members testified before the Parks board two days after the decision. Surprisingly, the Parks Board was not made aware of the decision beforehand and expressed concern about this abrupt change in policy.
  • NWTA also testified at a City Council meeting about what cyclists can bring to the table when allowed in our green spaces. (https://www.facebook.com/nwtrail/posts/867238923318203)
  • We are actively employing social and traditional media to build awareness and support. Encouragingly, the Oregonian and other news outlets have covered this issue, and a recent Oregonian editorial strongly criticized the City’s actions. We anticipate continued local, regional and national coverage on this issue. (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/portland_sticks_it_to_mountain.html#incart_river)
  • We worked with our parent organization, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and their partner organizations PeopleforBikes and the League of American Bicyclists to weigh in on this issue. On March 18, these organizations delivered a joint letter to the commissioners and Mayor Hales expressing their dissatisfaction with the recent decision. (http://bikeleague.org/content/league-supports-portland-mountain-bikers).
  • While not officially involved in the River View Protest Ride, many of our members and supporters were present. It was a strong show of support with over 300 people participating. We received positive response from the City and other entities regarding our right to protest, our message, and the way it played out in a mature and controlled manner. (http://www.katu.com/news/local/Mountain-bikers-test-new-ban-on-trail-riding-at-River-View-Natural-Area-296527051.html?tab=video&c=y)
  • We continue to monitor the work of the River View Technical Advisory committee. We attempted to attend the River View Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, but we were refused entry on grounds it was not a public meeting.
  • We will continue to participate as a member of the Project Advisory Committee scheduled to reconvene on April 8.

Mountain Bike Master Plan and Larger Efforts

Over the past several years, NWTA has engaged with PP&R and the City in good faith in an effort to increase access to singletrack. Previous efforts, including those of the Forest Park Singletrack Advisory Committee, haven’t resulted in any progress on the ground. In fact, the amount of singletrack trail open to cyclists within the City has decreased over the past decade. The River View ban would decrease access even further, which is why the issue is of such great importance.

The timing of the River View decision is particularly troublesome, given that NWTA is actively lobbying for the City to fund an off-road cycling master plan. NWTA initiated the funding for the proposal by presenting a petition signed by close to 3,000 supporters to the Parks Budget Advisory Committee. We continue to lobby for its funding, and are hopeful that Mayor Hales will include this funding in his final budget request. Should that happen, we are confident that we will have support from a majority of City Council.

While Commissioners Fritz and Fish did order the closure of River View, they also pledged to support funding for the off-road cycling plan. This pledge should be seen as a positive offer and we should agree to support their initiative and willingness to move forward with a larger solution.

We need a master plan because we need a roadmap for the future of off-road cycling in Portland. Without a master plan, access will continue to be limited. We anticipate it will be a lengthy process, and while we are not excited about a delay in progress, we recognize it is a critical element to protect and grow access.

As unfortunate as it is, the River View decision is another important event in our continued advocacy efforts. It has galvanized our community, and brought attention to the issue at a local and national level. We will continue to leverage this visibility to further our long-term goals of delivering a “ride to ride” experience in the City of Portland.

There are reasons to be optimistic. Our collective voice continues to get stronger. Public agencies recognize a benefit in providing cyclists access to natural surface trails, and to an active, healthy recreation. The majority understand how conservation and recreation can coexist by applying current recreation and resource management tools. They also recognize the significant enthusiasm and resources the mountain biking community brings to the table, particularly valuable in an era of constrained budgets.

Rest assured that while our focus has most recently been on River View issue and access in the City of Portland, we haven’t lost sight of the organizations’ larger mission of advocating for sustainable trails throughout the region. We’ve had numerous successes in recent history, including the development of a world class bike only network at Sandy Ridge, and the continued development of a trail system at Stub Stewart State Park. We continue to work collaboratively with our partner agencies Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Oregon State Parks, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Port of Cascade Locks, and others to expand and improve riding opportunities within the region.

We appreciate your continued support, and encourage you to follow these issues closely and make your voices heard. Together we are stronger.

Please lend your voice to this cause by sending a letter to Mayor Hales. We’ve included below a letter that you should customize with pieces of your own personal story. We have already filled in talking points about the Mayor’s priorities: “complete neighborhoods” and “equity and opportunity.”

Ride On!

Board of Directors
Northwest Trail Alliance

“Dear Mayor Hales,

As an avid cyclist, I would like to bring two issues to your attention. First, I urge you to support the off-road cycling master plan in your budget. I believe in healthy, active, livable communities and I promote the concept of “ride to your ride.”

I also want to alert you to Commissioners Fish and Fritz’s recent decision to abandon an ongoing public process, arbitrarily and with no basis in science or data. In doing so, they undermined the professional input of a technical advisory committee and devalued community involvement.

It’s clearly time for a citywide plan that identifies great places for safe, recreational cycling. It’s important to me that all communities in Portland have easy access to exercise and outdoor fun.

Thank you for your consideration,”
Sincerely,

Read all our coverage on biking at River View.

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

138 Comments
  • Mike Quiglery March 24, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Aw jeez. Do all mountain bikers think they have some kind of god given right to tear up every trail in every park? Hope the lawyer costs ’em a bundle.

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    • Jeff March 24, 2015 at 6:39 am

      Jonathan, where is the -1 button?

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    • Chris I March 24, 2015 at 6:54 am

      Please, do us the favor of listing the total number of parks in Portland. Now list the total number of parks where mountain bikers are allowed to ride the trails.

      I’ll wait.

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      • ethan March 24, 2015 at 10:23 am

        Off the top of my head, I want to say there are 273 parks and 2 of them are open to MTB. I’m not sure how accurate those numbers are.

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        • dave March 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

          3 by my count (Forest, Tabor, and Powell Butte). But once you discount Forest Park for having only a microscopic .25 mile trail, and Mt Tabor for being exclusively gravel walking paths, you’re left with Powell Butte.

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          • ethan March 24, 2015 at 10:56 am

            Thanks for the info. I wasn’t sure how to count it exactly. I didn’t count Tabor, and I would agree with your assessment. I haven’t done any singletrack riding myself, but I recently inherited a mountain bike, so why **profanity is not allowed Ethan** not, right?

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            • davemess March 24, 2015 at 12:02 pm

              Why not? Because you live in Portland “We don’t like mountain biking” Oregon!

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        • Paul Souders March 24, 2015 at 10:54 am

          Until last summer the westside natural areas were at least implicitly open to riding. (At least, there was no indication you COULDN’T). City bike maps even showed “bike routes” running through Marshall Park and a (I think) Maricara. Then without notice signs went up banning bikes from those areas. So, even less now…

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          • Brian March 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

            Bikes were banned in the last few years in the Oaks Bottom area, as well. I used to ride there quite a bit when I first moved here almost 18 yeaers ago. There were more roots in that tiny section of trail than there is in all of Powell Butte now. I also “cut my teeth” learning how to ride the switchbacks up to the top of that area. Always had great interactions with hikers, too. Never an issue.
            Mountain biking in the city of Portland is 10X worse than I moved here. Absolutely ridiculous. For example-Why not allow bikes between that barely used section of woods between the Springwater and the Willamette, just down from Oaks Bottom? The trails exist, and with little work could be a little bit of fun for commuters, kids in the neighborhood and people Riding to Their Ride. So much low hanging fruit, so little motivation to take advantage of it. Why?

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            • was carless March 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm

              Many of the Oaks Bottom trails are like gravel roads… I live here, there really isn’t anything to protect. Its not like they are unduly narrow.

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              • Granpa March 24, 2015 at 2:53 pm

                “really isn’t anything to protect”……. The Oaks Bottom natural area is small and provides a transect between a mixed oak/fir woodland to a cottonwood forested wetland down to emergent wetland. These different plant communities can and do harbor critters from each of these habitats. There are people with value systems, that are quite valid, who think there is quite a bit in the Oaks Bottom natural area. The dismissal of that value system by Mt. bikers is pivotal to the discussion regarding the River View Natural Area and ammunition to Fritz and Fish who similarly dismiss Mt. bikers.

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                • Chandra March 24, 2015 at 3:04 pm

                  Well, I used to enjoy riding that trail, and value all that’s there. It’s just that many of us are still waiting for some evidence or a rational argument as to how excluding bicycles actually protects anything.

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                • davemess March 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

                  They can value it plenty, most mountain bikers don’t agree that bikes do more harm to that ecosystem than shoes.

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                • Eric H March 24, 2015 at 5:28 pm

                  Oaks Bottom is also home to the beautiful Purple Loosestrife [/s]

                  http://emswcd.org/on-your-land/weeds/weeds-to-know/purple-loosestrife/

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                • Grandpa March 24, 2015 at 6:51 pm

                  I am totally aware that the purple loosetrife is a noxious weed that is too well represented in the mud flats of the bottoms. I know also that lots of people remember biking on those trails. I was one. I remember stopping for some hikers, and made the mistake of stopping on the down hill side of the trail and when I put my foot down next to the blackberry thicket, there was no bottom. I toppled like a bowling pin with wheels pointing skyward as I lay under my bike in the thorn briar. I had to crawl up like the brambles were a cargo net. I know also that the hillside was in a constant state of collapse with degradation greater than minor erosion.

                  I know also that at its best it was a very small off road ride that was and continues to be busy with runners, walkers and dog people. I know there are deer, raccoon, eagles, coopers hawk, osprey, waterfowl including occasionally rare species that use Oaks Bottom. The thicket of willow and cottonwood is prime for warblers which are skittish brightly colored migratory songbirds that are something of a holy grail to birders. These thickets are extremely rare near urban areas.

                  Considering that the ride was small and that the “nothing to protect” is highly regarded by a user group that can not find a reasonable alternate, I think the prohibition of off road cyclists in Oaks Bottom is well considered.

                  The prohibition of off road cyclists at the RVNA is not well considered and should be lifted.

                  The point of my original comment was to point out that the offhanded disregard of the Bottoms as having value was not well thought out, and “shooting from the hip” to disregard other people’s values is not a winning strategy. Look how it is playing out for Fritz and Fish.

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                • dug March 25, 2015 at 12:43 pm

                  Granpa, read the original comment. He was saying that there is no narrow singletrack to protect. He said nothing about not protecting a natural area. Misinformation and quick judgments are what led to Fritz and Fish to make poor decisions”. Don’t fall into the same trap.

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              • Brian March 24, 2015 at 3:36 pm

                They have changed over the years. There was a short section of fun trail that I used to ride to get to River View. Nothing awesome, just a connector that got me off of pavement and into nature for a bit. I appreciated it for what it was.

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                • davemess March 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

                  Yes, there are virtually no connector paths in Portland. Kind of sad.

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    • Alex March 24, 2015 at 7:08 am

      I think you have mountain bikers confused with hikers in Portland.

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      • Rick March 24, 2015 at 12:22 pm

        like those from SW Trails or where?

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        • Alex March 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

          Like those from anywhere in the Portland area.

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    • Spiffy March 24, 2015 at 8:30 am

      Do all mountain bikers think they have some kind of god given right to tear up every trail in every park?

      a right to tear up? not that I know of… just the opposite in fact…

      where would you even come up with that question?

      we’re talking about sustainable volunteer-led efforts to continue bicycling in a preexisting bicycling area…

      to reform your question in context: do bicyclists have the right to keep bicycling where they’ve been bicycling?

      we’ll find out…

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    • Karl Dickman March 24, 2015 at 8:53 am

      I’m not sure what you mean by tear up. Every mountain biker knows that you don’t ride on muddy trails. There’s always a few scofflaws who do anyway, but that’s why the winter is trail maintenance season.

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      • meh March 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

        Please that generalization is far from reality. Ever been to Hagg Lake. Trails rutted by mountain bikes so much that you can’t ride them.

        Most mountain bikes don’t know to stay of wet and muddy trails. If they did, they would require a lot less volunteer work to maintain them.

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        • Brian March 24, 2015 at 1:16 pm

          Good point. Let us know when the runners are having their next trail work party.

          http://paulnelson.smugmug.com/Hagg-Lake-Mud-Run-50K25K-2014/

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          • caesar March 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

            Booyaaaahhhh!!!

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          • meh March 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

            Feel free to show me the 10 inch deep 4 inch wide ruts created by the runners.

            Hagg Lake trails were not rutted by runners.

            But then again, it’s always good to justify bad behavior by holding up others bad behavior.

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            • Scott H March 24, 2015 at 3:26 pm

              You’re the only one here trying to classify activities as bad behavior. If you think a certain trail needs some love for one reason or another, you know who to call. But enough with the double standard.

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            • Brian March 24, 2015 at 3:44 pm

              Those ruts are created by water. It’s basically impossible for mountain bikers to ride down ruts like that. We flip over our handlebars. It’s not fun.
              The trails at Hagg Lake were used year after year with little maintenance, and were not built as mutli-use (mtb) trails to begin with.
              All users have an impact, especially when trails are “old school” and not designed well. Mtb’ers are the ones who do most of the work, for free, on those mutli-use trails.

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            • Alex March 24, 2015 at 6:59 pm

              Well, to be fair, you came in and put the responsibility of trail erosion solely on mountain bikers not knowing when to use the trails and he simply pointed out the fact that it isn’t only mountain bikers to blame. In fact, runners hold events that celebrate the fact the trail is muddy and use it when they really shouldn’t be. He didn’t justify the use of muddy trails by anyone.

              Mountain biking doesn’t create 4 inch wide ruts, water does. 4 inch ruts are really not fun to ride in and simply not the tread wear that is symptomatic of mountain biking. Perhaps you should quit trying to blame mountain bikes for things you simply don’t understand.

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              • gutterbunnybikes March 24, 2015 at 10:07 pm

                Off road motor cycles can make 4″ wide ruts, and have enough power to get out of 10″ deep mud too.

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          • Matt March 24, 2015 at 4:35 pm

            I don’t know about Hagg lake, but I know in Forest park, every Thursday they have trail maintenance through Forest Park Nature Conservancy. I am a runner and have volunteered a few times. I assume I’m not the only runner volunteering.

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            • Brian March 24, 2015 at 4:50 pm

              Matt, thanks for volunteering.

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            • TrailLover March 24, 2015 at 4:59 pm

              Matt’s point does a great job of pointing to the fake division among trails users that a small number of people use and perpetuate in order to serve selfish and cynical agendas. Not only is Matt not the only runner who does trail work in Forest Park, he is also joined by hikers, birders, naturalists, mountain bikers and probably even some folks who barely visit Forest Park except to help out on volunteer days.

              More importantly, many people are combinations of two or more of those things. I also volunteered recently in FP. Was I there as a mountain bikers? A hiker? A trail runner? A parent? Gosh, I don’t know and I don’t care because I enjoy all those things. If I didn’t have Amanda Fritz and a few other trouble makers constantly attempting to divide me from my fellow trail users – and even from myself – we’d all be getting along just fine.

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              • davemess March 24, 2015 at 5:24 pm

                Yes, it’s really ridiculous that Parks/City/Etc. have essentially turned groups who most times have the same goals against each other. I own a dog (two actually). I trail run. I mountain bike. I hike. I’m the same person when I’m doing all of these things.

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                • Brian March 24, 2015 at 6:03 pm

                  I’m a teacher who brought a group of middle school students to FP to pull ivy for a day. For many it was their first time in the woods. I’m a hiker, a dad, a backpacker, a mountain biker, and a couple other things.

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    • Skid March 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

      More like do hikers think they have exclusive rights to every trail in every park?

      TRAIL ACCESS NOW!

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      • Jeff March 24, 2015 at 4:19 pm

        What’s worse is that on all public lands, including those specifically designed for mt. bikes, hikers/walkers always have right of way by rule/law. You literally can’t have a facility that gives bikes any real trail rights unless it is private property. The bias against bikes is actually worse than anyone realizes.

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    • dave March 24, 2015 at 9:22 am

      I really enjoy how succinctly you’ve distilled nearly all of the dumb anti-mountain bike arguments out there into one ***insults deleted by moderator*** sentence. Next time work in something about how we’re going to start killing innocent hikers and scaring away all the birdies and you’ll have a proper hat trick.

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    • Nick March 24, 2015 at 9:34 am

      There is a unique contempt for mountain biking that fascinates me. Falls into the “othering” process that has previously been explored here on BP.org. Do the helmets, gloves, and eyewear de-personalize us enough that we are no longer considered people? Do the speeds of bikes through the forest make non-bike users uncomfortable and afraid of being hit? I’d love to know what drives this hatred against this user group.

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      • Dan March 24, 2015 at 1:10 pm

        That’s true of biking in general. I say hi to a lot of pedestrians who would likely answer back if I’m on foot, and they seem surprised that I would speak to them.

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    • Kyle March 24, 2015 at 10:01 am

      On the subject of tearing up trails… as a hiker who has been up and down the west coast, by far the worst trail trampling I’ve seen is on hiking-only trails in and around the Portland metro area. It’s mostly due to the “let’s go hiking because it’s the thing to do these days” type of people who flood the trails with terrible shoes, all kinds of scents, and music blasting from their backpacks.

      And on the subject of “fearing bikes in the forest,” as I’ve seen mentioned a few times in these comments, I’ve hiked hundreds of miles in the Bay Area on mixed-use trails and have had absolutely zero problems with mountain bikers. Every single one of them I’ve encountered has been courteous and safe. Funnily enough Californians seem to be more concerned about dogs on trails. They ban dogs on trails down there like mountain bikes in Portland. Trade one irrational fear for another…

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      • caesar March 24, 2015 at 11:41 am

        Off topic but re. irrational fears of dogs….
        I lived and rode in the California East Bay Area (Oakland, Berkeley) for six years, where there are many, many multi-use unpaved trails, most of them open to MTBers. Dogs there are mostly a scourge. They run off leash (against the clearly posted regs on most trails) and owners think nothing of either leaving the dog poop on the trail or bagging it up but then leaving the bag lying on the side of the trail – as if there were scheduled dog crap pick-ups by park personnel (obviously there are not). I’ve noticed the same behavior, albeit less of it, in Forest Park and on the river esplanades, and on the Springwater (I’ve ridden it three times full length over the past two months, was chased for 50 yards by an off leash dog near Boring last time I rode it).

        Overall, I think that dog owners in PDX feel / are way more entitled than those in the East Bay Area. I even had to sit next to a guy from Portland on an Alaska Airlines flight from HNL to PDX last month with his two “service dogs.” Turns out that he wasn’t disabled – he was simply transporting the dogs to PDX for a friend who was disabled but apparently didn’t want to pay airline kennel fees. So he lied to the airline to get the dogs in the cabin. Luckily I had the aisle seat but he and his two rather smelly huge German Shepherds would not fit on the floor and his lap and were not allowed on the extra seat by the furious flight attendants.

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    • Kenji Sugahara March 24, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Please provide empirical evidence of this happening.

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    • Rick March 24, 2015 at 10:52 am

      what about the dog poop littered on an everyday basis?

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      • oliver March 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        It’s the worst.

        Don’t imagine that just because you don’t own dogs that you’re the only person negatively impacted by irresponsible dog owners.

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    • justin March 24, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Mike, you are obviously uneducated about this subject and have no idea about the number of trails that mt bikers have access to in the metro area…

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      • gutterbunnybikes March 24, 2015 at 10:20 pm

        All of them, honestly, when was anyone busted for riding on trail that they weren’t supposed to one? And if stopped just learn a phrase in a foreign language that translates to ” Hello, do you speak…..” Stops them every time, as long as you pick a language that isn’t spoken by very many….like Swedish, Sanskrit, or Navajo.

        Funny 20+ years ago every week end was pretty much a single file line of mt. bikers heading up to FP from Fat Tire Farm to ride the fire lanes. At times the traffic made the Hawthorn bridge at rush hour look pathetic. Those were good times.

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    • Aaron March 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Due to the crummy ski season my wife and I have been hiking more this winter. The hiking trails that are only open to foot traffic are very muddy and in terrible condition. Why does the anti mtb crowd not see this during these conversations? Seems to be a little of “Do as I say, not as I do”.

      And a big hell yes to NWTA!!!

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  • Eric H March 24, 2015 at 6:17 am

    Yes! Now we’re talking.

    Now, where can I donate to the legal fund?

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  • MNBikeLuv March 24, 2015 at 6:35 am

    “Documents we’ve obtained through a public records request show that as late as June 2014 the city planned to build bike trails at the site…”

    Is there hope of those documents seeing the light of the day here at BikeProtland.org?

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  • davemess March 24, 2015 at 7:28 am

    Good job NWTA. This is what leadership looks like!

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  • Kyle March 24, 2015 at 7:46 am

    The next election can’t come soon enough…

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  • Barney March 24, 2015 at 7:53 am

    We are lucky to have a group like the NWTA looking out for the interests of mountain bikers. Show your support and send them a couple of bucks!

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  • Brian March 24, 2015 at 7:54 am

    This is not going away for them. There will be great trails for kids of all ages in this city someday. The City can continue to fight this inevitability, or they can do the right thing and become partners with their constituents.

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  • Eric March 24, 2015 at 8:00 am

    Lawyers are expensive. Lets all pitch in and help out NWTA.

    http://nw-trail.org/ to donate.

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    • Barney March 24, 2015 at 8:12 am

      BAM!!! $100 to NWTA

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      • Eric H March 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

        Add another $100 from me.

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      • Jeff M March 24, 2015 at 11:29 am

        +$50

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        • Fred March 24, 2015 at 1:32 pm

          +$50

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      • Seth Alford March 25, 2015 at 12:36 pm

        +$45

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  • Khal Spencer March 24, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Filing this appeal was a good idea. The NWTA has gotten the support of the League of American Bicyclists, International Mountain Bicycle Association, and People for Bikes. The lack of any intelligent rationale for this ban, and the lack of due process, have to be challenged.

    “…the citywide assessment of appropriate places for cycling is funded and completed…”. Since when does the city decide where it is appropriate to ride a bike, and that riding a bicycle requires a special city appropriation? Bicycling should be done wherever someone wants to ride a bike. If there are ecological reasons to restrict bicycling (and as a former president of the Hawaii Bicycling League, I agreed with well thought out seasonal ecology-based restrictions in the Puu Ualakaa State Park), or reasons having to do with heavy multimodal use, these should be pointed out. Otherwise, the city’s ban looks like so much baloney, and not fitting for a Platinum level BFC. Perhaps that platinum award needs to be reconsidered, as recently discussed on the LAB web site.

    Good luck.

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    • Terry D-M March 24, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Platinum is NOT the way I would describe this city right now….more on the way to sliver.

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      • was carless March 24, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        More of a rusty iron, if you ask me. I’ve been to platinum (Amsterdam). We’re light years from where they are.

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        • Alex March 25, 2015 at 8:25 am

          I was just in Brisbane and the cycling/pedestrian infrastructure there was so good. They have a path along both sides of the river that run through the city and it is clearly marked for peds and bikes with signs that address both cyclists and pedestrians clearly. They warn peds not to clog/block the path and cyclists to slow down. I feel like Portland in general just defaults to blaming the cyclists and puts no burden on the peds, when in my experience, the peds are often then ones not paying attention to what is going on around them and creating a dangerous environment.

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    • Paul Souders March 24, 2015 at 10:39 am

      “Bicycling should be done wherever someone wants to ride a bike.”

      I just found my epitaph.

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    • MaxD March 24, 2015 at 11:31 am

      Excellent point about seasonal trail closures (to everyone!) during sensitive times of the year!)

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  • Jolly Dodger March 24, 2015 at 8:54 am

    The funding issue seems to keep rearing its tell-tail head. With the new-ish mayor appearing to lean away from things like Sunday parkways and investing in vision zero, … One has to wonder if the council members are acting at the behest of mr. Hales? I only mention it as an aside, but if there were no budget interests at stake (i.e.-road tax dilemma implementation), might this issue be less abrasive to our gracious leaders? A mandatory license program for cyclists would make a revenue flow for them, and then they’d let us ride again? Not sayin we’re getting punished, but it sure feels like it sometimes.

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  • Charley March 24, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Yeah NWTA! My membership is meaning so much to me right now. If you haven’t joined, then join soon to support the cause!

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  • wsbob March 24, 2015 at 9:11 am

    An appeal to LUBA is the right way for mountain bike enthusiasts to possibly get clarification as to why the city, and its commissioners have proceeded with deciding appropriate use of the Riverview parcel as it has.

    It’s incorrect to term the suspension of mountain biking in the park, “a ban”. Fritz called it a curtailment. In other words, ‘not final’. And this is where the people submitting the appeal may have made some wrong assumptions.

    So far, the city has backed up its commissioners Fish and Fritz on their decision to suspend use of the park for mountain biking. It’s doubtful, but not impossible that the city has done so, if the commissioners really have “…sidestepped the planning process initiated in 2013. …” without justification.

    Either way, the appeal, despite the length of time it takes to run, should help get closer to the commissioners reasoning. And it’s also possible that the active lawsuit Fritz alluded to, will be resolved before the appeal runs it’s course.

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    • Alex March 24, 2015 at 9:48 am

      A ban doesn’t mean “final” and is a fine word for describing it. Curtailment usually is used for cutting down on the use of something – which it literally does, but it goes beyond that – it cuts it out completely – which is more commonly referred to as a ban than a curtailment.

      So much pedantry, such little content.

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      • Charlie Sponsel March 24, 2015 at 11:44 am

        For all purposes the ban is final. There is no end date. The city identified the Off-Road Cycle Plan as the path to reversing the ban, but at this point Off-Road Cycle Plan has not been begun, approved, or even funded.

        For the foreseeable future, the ban is permanent.

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      • wsbob March 24, 2015 at 6:37 pm

        “A ban doesn’t mean “final” …” Alex

        Fine, call it a ban if you like the word better than curtailment. I think the latter is, at least, less inflammatory, which bikeportland used it instead, would have helped some mountain bike enthusiasts keep their heads about the issues associated with Riverview.

        Important point both words make, is that the decision isn’t final. That the decision isn’t final, seems to be what mountain bike enthusiasts are concerned with.

        By the way. Some people with more legal knowledge than my informal citizen’s knowledge, are having doubts that the LUBA route is the way to go. Read joebobpdx’s, gary’s, and Ryan Marquardt’s comments, starting with this one:

        http://bikeportland.org/2015/03/24/river-view-bike-ban-nw-trail-alliance-takes-legal-action-city-portland-136002#comment-6299641

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        • wsbob March 24, 2015 at 6:39 pm

          Correction: “…which, had bikeportland used it instead, may have helped some mountain bike enthusiasts keep a clearer head on the issues associated with Riverview. …”

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    • Fivefrud March 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      For someone who makes up their own terminology because it better suits their extreme bias, you have a lot of gal to criticize ‘ban’ or ANY other word usage.

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    • davemess March 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/ban
      to prohibit, forbid, or bar; interdict:
      noun
      3. the act of prohibiting by law; interdiction.

      Sounds like a “ban” to me. Don’t see any mention of any kind of timeframe in the definition.

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  • Nick March 24, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Fish and Fritz cited the prior lawsuit as one reason for banning mtn bikes. Looks like they traded one legal action for another. They also lost the trust and good faith of their electorate in the process. Bad move.

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    • Paul Souders March 24, 2015 at 10:48 am

      I’m not sure they “traded” legal actions either. If anything the ban made ratepayer action look shadier. If the RVNA purchase were an appropriate use of ratepayer funds under the umbrella of watershed maintenance, then biking should always have been compatible. The hasty way the ban was announced made it look like the city was trying to cover its tracks — like when a child suddenly puts their hands behind their back. The smarter tack would have been no change, or a statement that “of course MTB use is consistent with the purchase agreement, that’s why we are developing XYZ plan for bikes on the property.”

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      • davemess March 24, 2015 at 12:10 pm

        Or just banning EVERYONE from the park. At least stay consistent.

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  • Dave W March 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

    I have a question to Bike Portland readership – where does the “mountain bikers tear up stuff” mentality come from? Is it because mtb’ers tend to drink RedBull or Monster drinks? Is it because they can sometimes wear flashy mtb jerseys? Or did someone watch too many Youtube videos of the RedBull Rampage or Pinkbike.com’s VOD’s? I understand where people who comment on cyclist who violate the running through lights and stop signs. Anybody who drives a car in Portland has most likely witnessed someone pushing the boundaries of the law (or crossing the line). But I don’t see where the comments come from those that feel mountain bikers are these destructive anti-environmentalist.

    I have lived in Portland my entire life I don’t think there is a huge presence of mountain bike activity within the city. Mountain bike trails really have not started to appear on the scene until around 20 years ago, and mainly on the outskirts of town. I would even say that most of the mtb crowd don’t ride in Portland due to the lack of anything remotely enjoyable. Most people head out of town to Sandy Ridge, Browns Camp, Post Canyon, or Bend. I have ridden Forest Park and River view, but the trails available are too short and under developed to create a crowd of riders that would cultivate opposition to mtbr’s.

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    • Gary March 24, 2015 at 9:51 am

      I have the same question. I’m fairly new to mountain biking, but until recently never realized there was this strong sentiment out there. Prior to my own involvement, I never perceived biking trails as environmentally destructive, and I certainly haven’t observed it as such since.

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      • dan March 24, 2015 at 10:57 am

        In all fairness, the gonzo riders on full suspension bikes who shuttle the trails out towards Scapoose in their lifted pickups probably do tend to contribute to that sentiment. Those guys are kind of distinct from the commuters / lifestyle cyclists and road weenies (of which I am one) that hang out here.

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        • Brian March 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm

          I ride downhill with full armor, XC/trails, dirtjump, and I commute and ride for fun on a road bike. What does that make me?

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          • davemess March 24, 2015 at 1:21 pm

            an anomaly in Portland apparently.

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          • Scott H March 24, 2015 at 5:28 pm

            It makes you a lot like me, and at least a dozen of my good friends.

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            • Brian March 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm

              Cheers to ya!

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          • dan March 25, 2015 at 9:21 am

            If you hang out here and think about trail etiquette, I’m going to say that sets you apart from my (admittedly preconceived) perceptions of these riders.

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        • Chris I March 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm

          Yep. I work with people like this. They won’t ride up a hill taller than about 50ft. They seek out big long descents with shuttle options so they can just bomb downhill all day and then drink beer before driving home.

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          • Brian March 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

            I know people like that, too. Great people who work their @ss off on the trails they ride, and encourage others to join them in on the fun.

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        • Matt March 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

          I think you nailed it with this comment. People opposing development are worried about this user group, even if they are a small subgroup of the overall riders. Personal anecdote– hikers do not want built up trails, they don’t want log rides, teater-toters (spelling), built banked curves, shuttlers, and etc.. To get MTB trails developed in the surrounding area, we are going to have to fight this stereotype and as of now I don’t think we are doing a very good job at easy the fears of the hiking community.

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          • davemess March 24, 2015 at 5:27 pm

            I don’t know if I would throw “banked curves” in there with the rest. You can make a really minimal berm that drastically improves the feel and fun of a trail.

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            • Opus the Poet March 25, 2015 at 8:14 pm

              And a properly built berm reduces erosion by redirecting water and reducing its energy.

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    • Psyfalcon March 24, 2015 at 11:00 am

      All of the above and more.

      I did a google video search in incognito mode: DH, DH, DH, North Shore, Whistler, and a parody.

      A tire track does stand out more than a footprint, and we (bikes) do make different noises.

      I think MTB has always been seen as “extreme.” There have always been trail conflicts, and closures, if you go back 10 years on bike forums or something you’ll find tips on etiquette and so on.

      Portland seems worse though.

      We have a really strong environmentalist streak. They might allow walking in the woods, but anything that seems more risky to nature than that is out. (even if some studies show snowmobiles bother moose less than XC skiers).

      We have a lot of people who see the woods as their “church.” They don’t like bike noises in their church. (Forgetting that park block street preachers don’t get to ban delivery trucks…)

      A lack of mountain bikers. FP is closed (mostly). No real riding in the gorge. Quite a bit of Mount Hood is wilderness, very close to the trailheads. People don’t have a lot of experience sharing with bikes. If they don’t have to at Mount Hood, why should they in Portland?

      The trails we have are either inaccessible to beginners and steep, or shared with motorcycles. We have a lot of big tired FS bikes on cars, leading us back to the google problem. Shared lands may also make people think mtb = dirt bike.

      How many mountain bikers were actually born in Portland? From the homeowners groups perspective, are we the ultimate outsider? Literally not from here while riding these “other” contraptions?

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      • Dan M. March 24, 2015 at 6:34 pm

        This guy’s never been to Syncline, then. No riding in the Gorge? Please.

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        • Psyfalcon March 24, 2015 at 7:23 pm

          70 miles from Portland.

          I’d guess most hikers don’t go that far out.

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    • MaxD March 24, 2015 at 11:37 am

      I support mt biking on shared and separated trails, however, I have had some bad experiences in Camas, on Powell Butte and in Forest Park

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    • davemess March 24, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      I think some of it stems from the type of riding that has evolved in the PNW. The area is more known for DH and free ride riding, versus the more “tame” cross country-style riding that many associate with the Rockies.

      Personally I just think it is a cultural thing, much of which may have been driven by the lack or trails in and close to Portland. Mountain biking in the area hasn’t picked up many casual or beginner cyclists. If you’re a bike commuter or road rider, or even a cyclocross rider, I just don’t see as much cross over to mountain biking here as I did when I lived in Colorado. The easier, more beginner trails are not very easily accessible to Portland, and thus many newbies are not going to invest in the time and money to travel further to trails (and the investment in full suspension or downhill bikes to ride many of the more free ride oriented trails).

      In Colorado, there are so many “part time” mountain bikers. Riders who have a mountain bike in there garage and get out there even just a few times a year. I just haven’t met many people like there here in Portland. People are either REALLY into mountain biking or they don’t mountain bike at all. I think the lack of local access is a major factor into this.

      So really it’s a chicken and egg scenario. There aren’t more trails because there aren’t more riders (although I think there are plenty of riders to warrant more trails), but there aren’t more riders because there aren’t more trails.

      I’ve said many times that the way to win over some of the stereotypes of mountain bikers that are out there is to promote cross country riding. Only show pictures of kids and older people on mountain bikes having fun on the trails and exercising. You have to make it accessible to a vast majority of the public. Make them envision themselves, their kids, their friends, their parents out riding some nice, easy trails and enjoying nature. The way to gain broad public support (not that we don’t have it already) is not to try to promote the slice of mountain biking that is DH/Free Ride, which really only appeals to a very small slice of the general public. Eventually when that support is built up enough and we actually have to motion on trails being built, then is the time to start to diversify and get a wide variety of trails.

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      • Psyfalcon March 24, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        A few of us part timers exist, but where do I ride?

        I have an old hardtail. If I don’t ride weekly, or even monthly, can I justify over 1k on a new bike?

        I went to Sandy Ridge, and got my butt kicked. Powell Butte is fine, though its pretty much up and down. Hagg, Stubb? Thats a long drive so I don’t do it.

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        • Dave W March 24, 2015 at 1:18 pm

          That is the point exactly-where do you ride locally? You have around a 45 min to 1.5 hour commute to get to good riding. The trails at Powell Butte and Stubb are nice additions, but far from being a city center mtb trail. I love the idea of Gateway Green and even River View, but to be honest, both of those are going to be short and really a small taste to anything compared to the trails systems mentioned around an hour from town.

          My hope is that both Gateway Green and River View could be developed as it would encourage people to bring young and new riders (of all ages) to the sport of off road cycling. It doesn’t need to be an extreme sport system, but one that could be fun and safe from cars (something like Easy Climb in Cascade locks). The thing that mountain biking really has to offer is getting to see the wonderful nature that the NW has to offer while riding your bike – it’s just plain fun.

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    • dave March 24, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      Simple – people see videos of professional mountain bikers truly tearing down a World Cup downhill course, or riding huge features at a mountain bike Park-with-a-capital-P like Whistler, and assume that’s what mountain biking is. It would be like forming an opinion of drivers by watching World Rally Championship races, or if your only exposure to hiking was watching Touching the Void.

      Combine that with the special brand of lefty conservatism that Portland is infected with, and you get some coots with an ossified perspective of what is or isn’t an acceptable way to experience the great outdoors, and an irrational fear of sharing with anybody who has a different perspective.

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    • wsbob March 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      “I have a question to Bike Portland readership – where does the “mountain bikers tear up stuff” mentality come from? …” Dave W

      I think a big part the negative image mountain biking has acquired, may be due to the bad demeanor and attitude of some of the people mountain biking. Some of which you can see for yourself in reading comments to this discussion. If mountain bikers really believe they are decent, considerate, mellow people, by all means, take advantage of the opportunity that bikeportland story comments sections offer, to show exactly that positive face to the public.

      On the trail, on bike or foot, but especially if on a bike, because they’re vehicles with a whole different set of dynamics than does a person simply on foot, the best approach is to be friendly and considerate. Whether or not the other person responds in kind.

      It does seem to be true than developments in mountain bike design, have them looking more and more like motocross bikes. I’d be interested in hearing from people that aren’t mountain bike enthusiasts, but that are open to considering the idea of land being acquired within city limits for mountain biking, about what they think would be appropriate land or parkland, for the use of these type mountain bikes.

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  • Gary March 24, 2015 at 9:55 am

    I’m surprised this issue is within LUBA’s jurisdiction. I know little of the Oregon Land Use process, but I would have guessed that LUBA’s jurisdiction was limited to cases involving the city’s decisions over private property. Here the city is deciding how to use its own property (yes, its held on behalf of the public, but I’m talking the legal property owner here).

    I would have thought an administrative procedure type of claim would be the most likely avenue (but I also know little of state/local admin procedure rules). Hope it proves fruitful.

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  • George H. March 24, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I also would like to see NWTA organize opposition to Amanda Fritz’s re-election. They could field a an electable, strong, and pro-bike candidate. Either that or finance advertising that emphasizes her total hostility towards cycling of all types.

    Amanda Fritz needs to be removed from office in 2016. We need a Parks Commissioner who does more than pander to anti-bike NIMBYs and homeless campers.

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    • Khal Spencer March 24, 2015 at 10:34 am

      According to their web site, “…Northwest Trail Alliance is a 501(3)(c) non-profit corporation…”

      As a 501c3, they cannot directly endorse or advertise in a partisan manner. They could most definitely engage in issue advocacy but cannot endorse an opponent or directly attack a candidate without losing their non profit status.

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      • George H. March 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        Thanks for telling me this – I wasn’t aware.

        If they can do issue advocacy, it was be easy enough to simply publicize her very anti-bike quotes, like when she voted against bike share (complaining about how so many cyclists are a nuisance and the private sector should do bike share).

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    • Fred March 24, 2015 at 10:46 am

      I think NWTA’s non-profit status prevents them from backing political candidates.

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  • Geoff Grummon March 24, 2015 at 10:10 am

    This is great news. Portland mountain bikers need to keep pressure on the City on all fronts.

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  • Scott H March 24, 2015 at 10:37 am

    Take note BTA.

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    • Psyfalcon March 24, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Speaking of the BTA, have they said anything?

      No, its not traditional transportation cycling, but how many of us started riding on BMX dirt jumpers or mountain bikes? The first step to transportation riding is… riding a bike.

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      • Brian March 24, 2015 at 11:45 am

        It is “transportation cycling” when there are fun trails parallel to the MUP’s. Springwater, Hwy 205, etc. Get more people on dirt, have less conflict on the pavement.

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  • Rick March 24, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Fight back

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  • spencer March 24, 2015 at 10:55 am

    you gotta fight, your your right! Way to go NWTA!!!! I couldn’t be happier with the groups responses and leadership. Keep it coming! I’m proud to call myself a conservationist and a NWTA member.

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  • wkw March 24, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I don’t even MTB, but I support the right!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 24, 2015 at 11:28 am

    The NWTA has just published the following open letter to members and supporters…

    An Open Letter to Our Members and Supporters,

    Yesterday, the Northwest Trail Alliance filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal with the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals regarding the recent mountain bike ban in the River View Natural Area. We did so because the Board of Directors strongly believes that the decision to ban bikes was made by City Commissioners Fritz and Fish in the absence of due process and without any rational basis for exclusion. Citing only a vague “abundance of caution,” the commissioners sidestepped the planning process initiated in 2013. Subsequent communications provided by the commissioners fail to address our questions and concerns.

    We do not take this action lightly. We would much rather work in partnership with the City to resolve the issue. However, the gravity of this decision, the lack of justification, and the lack of answers has lead the board to take legal action. We simply cannot stand idle.

    NWTA was first notified about the change in policy at River View in a meeting with representatives from Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) offices on March 2. Understandably, we were caught off guard by this announcement, having participated in the planning process until it was halted abruptly in August 2014.

    We empathize with the community’s frustration with this decision. We have observed displays of dissatisfaction in various forms, including the recent protest ride at River View on March 16. These reactions represent frustration not only with this decision, but also the glaring lack of progress on the topic of access to natural surface trails in the City of Portland over the past decade or more. We encourage our members and supporters to continue to make their voices heard in an appropriate fashion. At the same time, we cannot condone and strongly discourage any acts which defy current regulations related to trail access. As frustrating as it has been, we are committed to working within the system.

    In addition to filing this appeal, we have leveraged our collective voices to apply pressure on the City to reconsider this decision:

    • We continue to actively engage with the commissioners and their staff to maintain an open dialogue. We submitted specific questions regarding the process and justification for the ban. To date, we have not received a satisfactory explanation. (http://nw-trail.org/?q=node/7886)
    • We continue to engage with Mayor Hales’ office to encourage his direct involvement in this change in policy, and the larger issue of trail access in Portland.
    • NWTA members testified before the Parks board two days after the decision. Surprisingly, the Parks Board was not made aware of the decision beforehand and expressed concern about this abrupt change in policy.
    • NWTA also testified at a City Council meeting about what cyclists can bring to the table when allowed in our green spaces. (https://www.facebook.com/nwtrail/posts/867238923318203)
    • We are actively employing social and traditional media to build awareness and support. Encouragingly, the Oregonian and other news outlets have covered this issue, and a recent Oregonian editorial strongly criticized the City’s actions. We anticipate continued local, regional and national coverage on this issue. (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/03/portland_sticks_it_to_mountain.html#incart_river)
    • We worked with our parent organization, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), and their partner organizations PeopleforBikes and the League of American Bicyclists to weigh in on this issue. On March 18, these organizations delivered a joint letter to the commissioners and Mayor Hales expressing their dissatisfaction with the recent decision. (http://bikeleague.org/content/league-supports-portland-mountain-bikers).
    • While not officially involved in the River View Protest Ride, many of our members and supporters were present. It was a strong show of support with over 300 people participating. We received positive response from the City and other entities regarding our right to protest, our message, and the way it played out in a mature and controlled manner. (http://www.katu.com/news/local/Mountain-bikers-test-new-ban-on-trail-riding-at-River-View-Natural-Area-296527051.html?tab=video&c=y)
    • We continue to monitor the work of the River View Technical Advisory committee. We attempted to attend the River View Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting, but we were refused entry on grounds it was not a public meeting.
    • We will continue to participate as a member of the Project Advisory Committee scheduled to reconvene on April 8.

    Mountain Bike Master Plan and Larger Efforts

    Over the past several years, NWTA has engaged with PP&R and the City in good faith in an effort to increase access to singletrack. Previous efforts, including those of the Forest Park Singletrack Advisory Committee, haven’t resulted in any progress on the ground. In fact, the amount of singletrack trail open to cyclists within the City has decreased over the past decade. The River View ban would decrease access even further, which is why the issue is of such great importance.

    The timing of the River View decision is particularly troublesome, given that NWTA is actively lobbying for the City to fund an off-road cycling master plan. NWTA initiated the funding for the proposal by presenting a petition signed by close to 3,000 supporters to the Parks Budget Advisory Committee. We continue to lobby for its funding, and are hopeful that Mayor Hales will include this funding in his final budget request. Should that happen, we are confident that we will have support from a majority of City Council.

    While Commissioners Fritz and Fish did order the closure of River View, they also pledged to support funding for the off-road cycling plan. This pledge should be seen as a positive offer and we should agree to support their initiative and willingness to move forward with a larger solution.

    We need a master plan because we need a roadmap for the future of off-road cycling in Portland. Without a master plan, access will continue to be limited. We anticipate it will be a lengthy process, and while we are not excited about a delay in progress, we recognize it is a critical element to protect and grow access.

    As unfortunate as it is, the River View decision is another important event in our continued advocacy efforts. It has galvanized our community, and brought attention to the issue at a local and national level. We will continue to leverage this visibility to further our long-term goals of delivering a “ride to ride” experience in the City of Portland.

    There are reasons to be optimistic. Our collective voice continues to get stronger. Public agencies recognize a benefit in providing cyclists access to natural surface trails, and to an active, healthy recreation. The majority understand how conservation and recreation can coexist by applying current recreation and resource management tools. They also recognize the significant enthusiasm and resources the mountain biking community brings to the table, particularly valuable in an era of constrained budgets.

    Rest assured that while our focus has most recently been on River View issue and access in the City of Portland, we haven’t lost sight of the organizations’ larger mission of advocating for sustainable trails throughout the region. We’ve had numerous successes in recent history, including the development of a world class bike only network at Sandy Ridge, and the continued development of a trail system at Stub Stewart State Park. We continue to work collaboratively with our partner agencies Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Oregon State Parks, Washington Department of Natural Resources, Port of Cascade Locks, and others to expand and improve riding opportunities within the region.

    We appreciate your continued support, and encourage you to follow these issues closely and make your voices heard. Together we are stronger.

    Please lend your voice to this cause by sending a letter to Mayor Hales. We’ve included below a letter that you should customize with pieces of your own personal story. We have already filled in talking points about the Mayor’s priorities: “complete neighborhoods” and “equity and opportunity.”

    Ride On!

    Board of Directors
    Northwest Trail Alliance

    “Dear Mayor Hales,

    As an avid cyclist, I would like to bring two issues to your attention. First, I urge you to support the off-road cycling master plan in your budget. I believe in healthy, active, livable communities and I promote the concept of “ride to your ride.”

    I also want to alert you to Commissioners Fish and Fritz’s recent decision to abandon an ongoing public process, arbitrarily and with no basis in science or data. In doing so, they undermined the professional input of a technical advisory committee and devalued community involvement.

    It’s clearly time for a citywide plan that identifies great places for safe, recreational cycling. It’s important to me that all communities in Portland have easy access to exercise and outdoor fun.

    Thank you for your consideration,”
    Sincerely,

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    • Todd Boulanger March 24, 2015 at 11:54 am

      This must be a new record…for the longest post on an article…longer than some BP articles. [Perhaps for purposes of archiving it might be better to start it as a new article.] etc.

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  • bb March 24, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Thank you, NWTA! The city definitely violated our rights with this process, they need to be held accountable.

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  • Ted Buehler March 24, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    I’ve never been a member of NW Trails Alliance.

    I am now. I just joined.

    For $30, you can too.

    http://nw-trail.org/join

    Support a Portland-area bicycle advocacy group that will fearlessly advocate for improved bicycling conditions. Join the NWTA.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Brian March 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Thank you, Ted. IMO, people underestimate how reinforcing it is to have people say something simple like “nice job” and sign up to become a member. The Board for the NWTA is a hard working bunch who give up time from family, time from riding, etc. so that we can all have a better place to ride in the future. Lets thank them by signing up, donating $ to the cause, speaking positively of their efforts, spreading the word, and volunteering when we can. In the end, we all benefit.
      Cheers!

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  • Eric March 24, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Lets all pitch in and buy Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz new mountain bikes! And present the bikes to them at a public press conference… Then tell them they can’t ride them anywhere.
    Ha ha ha haaa….

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    • bb March 24, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      Well they can ride them on 8 ft gravel roads!

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  • Champs March 24, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    If NWTA wins and the city responds by making the park off-limits to everyone, who will be blamed?

    If NWTA wins and the city responds by restoring bike access, who will be blamed for the ratepayer challenge?

    And let’s not think of all the scenarios if the city loses that challenge. I’m just not sure the city has the resolve and strength of hand to win it.

    NWTA might be in the right, but they got played.

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    • Champs March 24, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      To be clear, I’m speaking of *political* blame, not the real thing.

      The prudent thing would’ve been a comprehensive ban from the outset, but that would anger even more people. Longer term, the general fund needs to get that property transferred to the city.

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    • davemess March 24, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      I actually consider the park being closed to everyone a “win”. Consistency and rationality is a “win”. Bikes are already out now anyway, it would be nice for them to actually back up their supposed “environmental” reasons.

      I’d welcome some outrage from hikers over closing River View completely and it’s about time that we are standing in line (and solidarity) with hikers and other outdoors people. We all wan the same things. We shouldn’t have to be fighting each other like this.

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      • Champs March 24, 2015 at 4:06 pm

        I agree that consistency is the biggest issue. It felt controversial to make that point, which would then overshadow the other, but apparently there’s some agreement.

        So I’ll rephrase: NWTA is giving our spineless City Hall the political cover to make the unpopular decision they didn’t want to. Free of charge!

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  • TrailLover March 24, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    The most important thing that may come from the LUBA action is not the potential restoration of cycling (or the uniform exclusion of public access) at River View, but instead a potential shock wave that will pass through the city and the Parks Bureau that will make it less likely that cyclists will be ignored, marginalized or lied to in the future regarding trail-related issues on ANY city lands. This positive outcome might materialize whether or not the LUBA action is actually upheld.

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    • Scott H March 24, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      This ^

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    • Paul Souders March 24, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Yes.

      I think Fritz, Fish and the BES actors thought the MTB community would just take this lying down, a la Forest Park, or the other Natural Area closures.

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  • Harry Dalgaard March 24, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    If Commissioner Fritz posted the following message to ward off a LUBA dispute by ensuring that it isn’t a final decision, then doesn’t that make the initial decision to ban cycling in River View invalid?

    What weight does the initial official decree actually carry?

    “We are not saying River View will never be used for mountain biking, rather just not now, before the citywide assessment of appropriate places for cycling is funded and completed.”

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  • joebobpdx March 24, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Nowhere in any of this (that I saw) is a discussion of how the no-MTB decision by CoP is a land use decision in the precise sense that LUBA normally reviews. Is there a link to the filing? If so, I missed it.

    Parks sets up, moves and closes dog run areas; they build and decommission trails. PBOT regularly develops, implements and revises motor vehicle, pedestrian and bike traffic patterns. I have never heard of this class of activity being considered a land use action. Seems dubious.

    Is there a land use lawyer or a LUBA-savvy planner in the house? Let uys hear from you. And, fwiw, the law firm involved cites zero LUBA experience on their website. Them’s deep waters.

    Nothing against lawyers, but it’s never a good sign when they get involved in this kind of thing. And, for the record, I’m agnostic on the outcome here – no agenda.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) March 24, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      joebobpdx,

      Here’s the PDF of the filing – http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/LT-LUBA-NOI-Appeal-Ex-A-B-3-23-15.pdf

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    • Gary March 24, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      That was exactly my comment above. Just looking quickly at the ORS, I don’t see how this decision could possibly be within the scope of “land use decision” for which LUBA has jurisdiction. Because the filing is simply a notice o intent to appeal, it doesn’t seek to establish jurisdiction. It’ll be interesting to see the actual appeal petition.

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    • Ryan Marquardt March 24, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      I agree with joebob and Gary that this seems a long shot for a LUBA appeal. The City has issued a decision about recreation activity on park land. It seems more like a public body making an administrative decision about what is allowed on publicly owned land than a land use decision as defined by the ORS. There hasn’t been a land use or development permit application, and no one had identified specific rules or criteria that the City either erred in addressing or failed to address when the Fritz/Fish letter was issued. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

      If it really is just a city parks decision, it seems like Portland City Code Chapter 20.04.040 might be a route to explore. It authorizes the parks commissioner (Fritz) to make rules and regulations for parks, and allows any person who feels aggrieved (all of BP?) to appeal to City Council for amendment or repeal of the rule.

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      • joebobpdx March 24, 2015 at 7:14 pm

        Sometimes I wonder if all of BP doesn’t feel aggrieved all of the time . . .

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  • Dwaine Dibbly March 24, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I’m trying to be an optimist and hope that this entire incident is simply the result of some politicians out of touch with their constituency and everything will be ok once they come to their senses…. (I’m staying in my fantasy world until further notice.)

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  • Adam March 25, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    The ironic thing is, I had never even HEARD of Riverview before.

    Now, all this bad publicity has made a LOT more people aware of its existence, including me.

    That’s a LOT more people that want to go check it out, hike it, and perhaps ride it.

    Can the City Commissioners say, whoops!

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