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Op-Ed: Northwest Trail Alliance responds to Forest Park decisions

Friday, October 1st, 2010

[Portland-based off-road cycling advocacy group, the Northwest Trail Alliance, has a long legacy in Forest Park. In fact, they came onto the scene over 20 years ago (as PUMP, the Portland United Mountain Pedalers) in order to make sure cycling wasn't completely prohibited from the park.

That history gives you some idea of how long and how hard local advocates have worked to improve access for bikes in Forest Park. Several members of the NWTA were on the Forest Park Single Track Cycling Advisory Committee whose recommendations influenced the big decision yesterday by Commissioner Fish and Parks Director Santner. Below is an op-ed from the Board of the NWTA.]


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Interview with Commissioner Fish about Forest Park decisions

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
City Council candidate Nick Fish-2.jpg
Nick Fish
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City Commissioner in charge of Parks, Nick Fish, announced a set of “actions” earlier today about off-road cycling in Forest Park. I spoke to him on the phone from his office in City Hall about that announcement…

You told Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) today that Forest Park isn’t ready for new bike trails. Why not?

“I don’t think the park is ready to have an expansion in bike trails right now for two reasons. Number one is that we don’t have all the data that we need to make thoughtful decisions; data about who uses our parks, the health of our park, and so on. This was a significant problem I discovered through this process. The second part is that anything I propose for the future is going to be subject to a Type II or Type III land use review, so if we don’t have the science ironed out than nothing gets through land use review. Nothing would be more cynical for me than to announce a breakthrough today that I know will be stalled in litigation tomorrow.”

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League of American Bicyclists President says Forest Park decision “disappointing”

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
National Bike Summit 07
League President Andy Clarke.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Reactions are starting to come in from this morning’s big announcement by City Commissioner Nick Fish that there are no plans to improve singletrack bicycling opportunities in Forest Park. The President of the League of American Bicyclists, Andy Clarke, has expressed his disappointment in the decision. Here’s a statement from Clarke: (more…)

City releases Forest Park cycling actions: No new bike access

Thursday, September 30th, 2010
PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
Riding in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As we hinted at yesterday, City Commissioner Nick Fish and Portland Parks and Recreation Director Zari Santner have released their much-anticipated set of actions they’ll take to address off-road cycling in Forest Park.

The decision includes no new or improved access to existing singletrack trails and no commitment to build new ones.

In their announcement today, Commissioner Fish and Director Santner wrote, “Further restoration and maintenance work is needed in the park before recreational use can be expanded.” With that being said, they have committed to move forward with the following within the next year: (more…)

With recommendations due soon, a recap of Forest Park saga

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
Tour of Tomorrow
Director of Portland Parks
Zari Santner.
Sunday Parkways NE-68
City Commissioner Nick Fish.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and the Director of Portland Parks Zari Santner are due to release their recommendations on bicycling in Forest Park sometime in the next week or so. The announcement will come 19 months after the issue of how to improve bicycling in the 5,000 acre park was first put on Fish’s radar. The journey to this point has been messy and difficult for people on all sides of the issue. In the interest of bringing you up to speed on the issue, here’s my recap and thoughts about how we got to where we are today… (more…)

How does bicycling fare in Forest Park Recreational Survey?

Thursday, September 16th, 2010
PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
Bicycling in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland Parks & Recreation has released results of their 2010 Forest Park Recreation Survey (PDF download). With the fate of bicycling improvements in the 5,000 acre urban park hanging in the balance, I thought I’d take a look at how two-wheeled recreation fared.
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Forest Park committee to present recommendations tonight

Monday, June 14th, 2010
Forest Park Singletrack Cycling Open House-15
Committee member Les Blaize at a recent
open house.
(Photo © J. Maus)

After nine months of meetings, the 15-member Forest Park Single Track Cycling Advisory Committee will present their recommendations to Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and Parks Director Zari Santner tonight.

According to a statement put out by Portland Parks & Recreation, the report, “will represent the diversity of perspectives of the committee members, and they will each have the opportunity to share their opinions about the recommendations and the report directly with Commissioner Fish and Director Santner.” (more…)

Advocate cries foul at City Club’s Forest Park report

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
Cover of Forest Park: A Call to Action.

A recent report on the health of Forest Park published by the City Club of Portland has a noted off-road biking advocate crying foul. Frank Selker, the man who launched an effort to improve biking opportunities in the park back in December 2008 and who sits on the City of Portland’s Forest Park Single Track Cycling Committee says the report contains false, potentially libelous statements and he wants City Club to make several edits before it is officially adopted tomorrow.

The 65-page report, Forest Park: A Call to Action is an in-depth look at all the issues surrounding the park, outlining the urgent need to devote more resources to its care and management. The report touches on mountain biking in several sections and recommends that no new bike access is granted until several studies can be done on the park. (For more analysis of the report, see our story published on May 24th.) (more…)

City Club report, Parks survey see different future for Forest Park – UPDATED

Monday, May 24th, 2010
Cover of City Club’s Forest Park:
A Call to Action
.
-Download PDF here-

Deciding how to move forward with improved and expanded biking opportunities in Forest Park got a lot more complicated last week.

On Thursday, the City Club of Portland released a 65-page report on Forest Park that, among other things, states unequivocally that there should be no additional bike trails or access of any kind until various studies are completed. But just a few days before that, the results of a Portland Parks survey on biking in Forest Park found that a majority of respondents favored more bike access (on new and existing trails) and funding for more trails was rated the #1 priority among a list of “management actions” while completing studies ranked at the very bottom of the list.

How Parks Commissioner Nick Fish and Parks Director Zari Santner interpret the scope of these studies and how they balance the City Club report with the survey findings, will be key to the future of biking in Forest Park. (more…)

Reminder: Fill out the Forest Park Cycling survey and comment form

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010
PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
Enjoying the 1/3 mile of single track in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

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