View Full Version : Mount Tabor -- out of control?

04-05-2007, 08:48 AM
I live in the Montavilla neighborhood. Someone posted the following message to the Montavilla yahoo group. I didn't think much of it, but last night, this same person managed to get on the evening news talking about the "problem" of out of control cyclists. It's crazy! I live in the neighborhood and spend a lot of time on Mt Tabor both on foot and on bike. I've never seen anything like this person describes. Maybe they wandered into the middle of one of the Wednesday night races by accident?

I think the real issue is that some people living around Mount Tabor resent the fact that the park is closed to cars on Wednesday. They want car access to the park at all times. I've heard more than one person state that the fact the park is closed to motor vehicles one day a week is just another sign that cyclists are taking over the city.

All the text below is from the Yahoo Montavilla group:

Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 10:52 AM
To: 'Montavilla@yahoogroups.com'

This is regarding an ongoing problem Iíve encountered at Mt. Tabor with out of control speeding Cyclists. This problem especially bad on Wednesdayís because the park is closed to vehicles and the park is over run with Cyclists.

If any of you have had problems in the past or present with SPEEDING cyclists I urge you to contact Matthew Grumm at Commissioner Saltzmanís office...

Enclosed is my e-mail to Commission Saltzmanís office as well as to The Oregonian, Willamette Week, Portland Tribune and all the media outlets in the city.

Hi Matthew:

I originally received an e-mail from your office back on 06/09/06 regarding a problem I had last summer with Speeding Bicyclists at Mt. Tabor Park.

Last night (03/28/07 between 6:15 pm and 7:30 pm) I had several near misses in the park with out of control Speeding Bicyclists (I counted 30 cyclists in the park). I politely yelled at the cyclists to please SLOW DOWN. This went on deaf ears and they flipped me OFF. The cyclists came so close to me when they passed I could literally reach out and touch them. I injured my foot in January and have been in Physical Therapy for weeks. Because of my injury I walk slow and canít react quickly. Itís only a matter of time before I or someone else gets hit by one of these cyclists. Everyone is at their mercy when they take over the park.

I hope someone in the Parks Department can do something about this on going problem.



I did an interview with Jack Penning of KGW TV at Mt. Tabor last night regarding the problems I and others have experienced at Mt. Tabor Park with speeding Bicyclists.

It was aired last night on the 10 and 11 pm newscasts. The piece was pretty good and to the point. I hope it does some good.

04-05-2007, 01:22 PM
What strikes me about Mr. Hartsook's posting is that it's clear that he had an experience that frightened him. No, that doesn't mean that it's necessarily a pervasive problem, but we should have some empathy. Afterall, how often do we cyclists get passed too closely by a motor vehicle and get the u-no-what scared out of us? I certainly resent the fear that brings to my life. So, I can empathize with Mr. H.

Is a speed limit the solution ? I don't think so. That doesn't seem to help much in the bike-car situation so, why would it here? It's a courtesy and awareness issue. In this case, it's a good reminder to all multi-use path/trail users - bikes, peds, skateboards -to be mindful and respectful of the other uses. Cyclists can slow a bit and give pedestrians lots of berth AND pedestrians can help by staying on one side of the trail and if you swerve look behind you first AND skateboarders, well, you guys are so cool what more can you do?

04-05-2007, 04:15 PM
I ride up on Mt. Tabor all the time, usually on weekends and evenings. I have _definitely_ noticed tension from the pedestrians directed toward me, despite doing everything in my power to make everyone feel comfortable, while still having access to the park.

The simple sad truth is that many people don't like to share. That's true of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike. Pedestrians in the park very often take up the entire road, both sides. Loose dogs are a particular hazard to cyclists, and dogs on leashes are also tricky since their owners often let them take up most of the road, making them invisible trip wires. Cyclists often ride down the hill too quickly. I've had to slam on my breaks (while going uphill) to avoid cyclists passing pedestrians going downhill. Very frustrating.

When I ride up there, I very often get glared at, and I've had several conversations with people who have felt uncomfortable with my passing them too closely. (It's a difference of opinion of course, but I felt that I gave them plenty of notice and plenty of room to pass.) I stay calm, I smile, I apologize, I ride on.

Considering the conversations I've had with pedestrians, I'd say it's true that the original poster isn't the only person who is afraid of cyclists on Mt. Tabor. I don't happen to think that their fear is grounded, considering the over-reactions I see all the time, but at the same time, cyclists need to slow down going down that hill. Above all, if you see an unleashed dog, hit the breaks NOW, that dog is going to leap under your tires.

So in summary, everyone needs to learn to share.
- Cyclists should slow down on the way down the hill, pass with an audible signal, smile, and be polite. Also, don't crash into people ;)
- Pedestrians should share the road, get to the right, and keep their leashed dogs near them. There's plenty of room for everyone!
- Unleashed dog owners should try training their dogs before turning them loose. I know your dog is very friendly, that's why he ran over to say "hi" to me.



04-06-2007, 07:41 AM
here are some rules.

1 stay to the right
2 look both ways before crossing the road
3 Keep pets on a 6 ft leash or shorter
4 Dont block the gates
5 use caution descending, if you want to ride descend like a car, do it on roads with car traffic, not in a quiet park.
7. And maybe, if someone is walking up the middle of the road, inform them that it would be polite and more safe to stick to a side of the road.

i almost hit someone going UPHILL last night. the man didnt look both ways as he was crossing the street. i had to dodge him to avoid a 15 mph collision. so i guess the problem would be the biker, right?, since a collision wouldnt have happened if i wasnt there to begin with.
That line of reasoning is ridiculous. How about our concerned citizen realize that the road closure is for the benefit of all park users, and that the park is much nicer and safer without car exhaust. The park has as many cyclists as walkers on most nights so how does he propose a speed limit or ban. we are an enormous user group of that park.


04-06-2007, 07:54 AM
I found the story on KGW.... here's the link:

I really had to search for it, as more important local news kicked it down to the bottom of the heap.

As usual, the news outlet in question likes to make it sound like there's a huge problem... but from the comments on both bikeportland.org and the Mercury blog, it sounds like one guy is overreacting to what probably isn't as big a problem as it's been blown up to.

That said, yes, cyclists in a public park that hasn't been specifically closed for their sole use should be using their common sense as far as the other users of the park. But as I've noticed, not many people HAVE common sense, so maybe that's asking a lot.

:) Of course, that whole "common sense" thing should apply to peds and car drivers too, and we all know how well that happens. :)

04-23-2007, 08:34 PM
Was this a complaint for someone speeding down the road fromt he top as people (myself included) are wanton to do. if so, that's a bit ridiculous. it's a very wide road, and there should be no problems as long as people keep their dogs leashed closely (those long retractable leashes are a nightmare sometimes, completely invisible) and of course cyclists need to pay attention.

It seems like more of a problem might exist on the dirt pathways with mountain bikers (or my crazy runs down the dirt on 28 tires). There's a lot less room there, and peds may be less likely to be on the lookout for bikes there.

That said, it IS our park! On crappy days, I don't see any pedestrians out, but road and mountain bikers are common. A guy on a mountain bike asked to borrow my pump just the other day...

Just kidding about the park belonging to us.

04-25-2007, 12:03 PM
I was doing the racer's loop on Mt. T. about a week ago and had started to accelerate downhill toward the higher reservoir from the junction where a few cars can park near the top when I heard this person I thought I had passed comfortably yell out 'TOO CLOSE!' or something. I felt kind of bad but didn't turn around to apologize. On the other hand, I had see the person and thought I had passed them at a comfortable distance. But is 4-5 feet comfortable when going, I dunno, 15 mph? So either I had messed up, or they were being neurotic.
I admit that I do speed down the downhills on Mt. T. though while looking all around for people, dogs not on leashes, etc. If people are not moving out of the way, then I slow down. And I slow down a bit while going around the big curve on the racing loop just before you get to the upper reservoir. Does this make me a bad person?

04-25-2007, 07:27 PM
if you arent doing intervals, and you are just cruising around, please turn around and speak with the people.
Everyone in the world avoids confrontation and this philosophy does nothing to improve relations.
just ask what they would prefer.
and then you ask them to walk on the side facing the direction of bike/car traffic, on the shoulder.
some people are way too stuck up to actually respond, but it would do us all a little good to have that person know what is expected of THEM as well.

i was up there last week and a dog ran out and i had to slam on the brakes.
i yelled at the owner- i looked like a prick- but i found them later and apologized for yelling obscenities at them. now they know to keep their dog on a leash, and we ended up being civil.

AS for that person in your circumstance, the only reason they said anything was because they knew you wouldnt stop. so please, stop, confront "nicely" and then the person will pull the stick out of their ass.

04-26-2007, 03:52 AM
first its drivers versus cyclists, now its pedestrians versus cyclists.....sheesh...my empirical evidence would say that riding and walking at mount tabor is generally a relaxing and cohesive experience. im more worried about off leash dogs or skateboarders hitting a rock and bailing in front of me.....

04-28-2007, 01:03 AM
As to Wednesday and the gates being locked - this has been the case for over twenty-five years (yes, I've been riding there that long! There was hardly anyone there in the old days. Low traffic, no dogs. Sigh. Heck, I think back then it wasn't as steep either :rolleyes:). I also don't think it's neighborhood residents who don't want the park locked, but people coming from out of way areas to visit the park, walk their dog, etc.

I also agree that this isn't the place to zoom down hill. If you want speed, there are other hills around here that offer fast descents. Tabor's a city park.

05-04-2007, 04:18 PM
I passed some peds on one of the uphill dirt paths the other day... a couple of guys with unleashed dogs. I said "on your left," waited for them to get over, and passed slowly, with plenty of room. The second guy scowled at me and said "I don't think bikes are allowed here." I smiled back and said, "Yes, they are allowed here." But I do get a LOT of glowers and scowls for biking on basically the only trails open to bikes in the city limits... I usually try to wave or say "Good morning" or something.

05-07-2007, 10:38 AM
Aren't there a few trails in Forest Park that are part of the city limits?

Otherwise, I hear you. I don't get it either. People used to be so civil here. Maybe it's everyone that's moved here from out of state? (Or I am I just old?!)