Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

BTA: Appeals court says SK Northwest must build trail

Posted by on February 19th, 2008 at 12:25 pm

portland spirit at end of esplanade

A trail to nowhere, for now.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The BTA reports great news in the ongoing saga of SK Northwest and their battle against building a key piece of trail across their property on the Willamette Riverfront just south of OMSI.

The BTA’s Michelle Poyourow writes on their blog that the Oregon Court of Appeals has struck down SK Northwest’s latest appeal.

According to Poyourow, SK Northwest’s next move could be to try and get their case heard by the Oregon Supreme Court. But, she writes, “the Supreme Court gets to choose which appeals it hears and which it declines.”

She also writes that SK Northwest could sue the city for civil damages in federal court for money lost by the trail requirement.

“They have a lot of chutzpah,” writes Poyourow, “so while it seems unlikely that the Oregon Supreme Court would hear their appeal, or that they’d be awarded federal damages, they have repeatedly said that they’re taking this “all the way.”

[NOTE: In addition to SK Northwest, the owner of the Portland Spirit and of the parcel in question, Wayne Kingsley, is also fighting this trail. Back in April 2006 Kingsley told me his main objections to the trail were due to the adverse economic impact it would have and specific security issues it would pose.]

Read more on the BTA Blog.

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

  • DJ Hurricane February 19, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    As Nelson Muntz would say, \”Ha, ha.\” Please keep spending those legal fees on your frivilous claims and hopefully you\’ll go out of business before you impose the scourge of \”personal watercraft\” on our river. PS: Portlanders know how to have fun without an internal combustion engine.

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  • Ashley February 19, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    \”Trail, we don\’t need no stinkin\’ trails.\” -SK Northwest

    Let it be known… that SK Northwest will go down in history as an organization that fought the fight to stop an EXTREME MATTER OF INCONVENIENCE to their important lives! A TRAIL!

    A thing which would in epic proportions provide a walking/biking/running recreational LOVE to all who use it.

    Seriously SK, are you doing to \”stay the course\”? \”Hold steady\”? Protect your ego\”?

    Simmer down.

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  • Matt Picio February 19, 2008 at 2:17 pm


    Way to go, Oregon Court of Appeals!

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  • Ashley February 19, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    The Oregon Court of Appeals is so hawt right now. Thanks folks! Yay trails!

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  • Ethan February 19, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    At the end of the day, SK Northwest is better understood as a company that is out of step with the community they have chosen to business in . . . I\’ll never forget when they sent an ambassador to Earthday in Sellwood . . . on a Segway (that\’s right, in addition to \”personal watercraft\” they sell Segways, ATVs and Snowmobiles). The poor woman spent about an hour fielding complaints and criticisms of those two-wheeled tragedies . . . I don\’t think that was what she had been told to expect. They seem to specialize in all things mechanized, small and detrimental to the human-powered world. It would be hard for them to install a nice trail that banned their obnoxious vehicles.

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  • Nelson Muntz February 19, 2008 at 2:47 pm


    I\’d love to remind SK Northwest that just building the trail with a few \”Caution: Forklift Crossing\” signs would have been much cheaper than this whole ridiculous legal battle. I\’m sorry that your all-star team of shysters keeps baiting you into more billable hours for a fight you will not win.

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  • Opus the Poet February 19, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Does SK have any franchises or subsidiaries in TX? I want to make double-damn sure I avoid doing business with them.


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  • zilfondel February 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    legal costs will be higher than to construct the actual bike path…

    so much for the community, eh? these guys seem pretty bitter.

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  • DJ Hurricane February 19, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Please don\’t try to talk any sense into these fools. I am enjoying watching them waste their shareholders\’ money and bleed their corporate treasury dry on an utterly meritless legal escapade. Now let\’s hope the Oregon Supremes grant cert so they will have to pay for a whole new round of really expensive briefs and oral arguments before they get smacked down yet again.

    By the way, if you\’re reading SK Northwest shareholders: You have a pretty good shot at a derivative suit for your board/officers using your money to carry on a political fight based on personal beliefs. These endless appeals without a hope of winning can\’t possibly be spun as within the best interests of the company. Pierce the veil!!

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  • Dabby February 19, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Wasn\’t one of their original ideas for this property to have a little bay that people could actually test ride watercraft from the facility? Some sort of ride in/ride out facility?

    I seem to recall reading that.

    I could only imagine the noise and pollution, and safety issues that something such as this would add to the downtown waterfront area.

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  • dizzle February 19, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    L-O-V-E I-T-!!!

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  • Anonymous February 19, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    Think I heard the owner (or at least part owner) was an OSU grad, that may say it all!

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  • Jim Labbe February 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Way to go BTA! I am glad and grateful the BTA has prioritized and funded this legal battle. It will certainly have an impact far beyond the SK property.

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  • Andrew February 19, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    To me, the silliest thing about this is that SK is alienating a possible customer base. It sounds as if they sell equipment that is targeted at outdoor enthusiasts. Like, say, bicyclists? Instead of fighting the path, they should embrace it and create a gathering area — invite cyclists in to look at other possible ways to enjoy being outside. They could in theory then write off the expense of the path improvement. What doofuseses!

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  • Ian Clemons February 19, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Completely agree, Andrew. SK made a huge tactical blunder by pidgeon-holing all cyclists as crunchy eco-freaks who hate all things motorized (uh, like me). Many bikers are potential customers who would have been very close to a showroom window at their new facility. Many downtown professional types with disposable incomes ride that path everyday.

    Things are different in Portland. I\’ll bet the SK folks are pretty recent transplants. Hopefully, they\’ll catch on and build a great path and start selling kayaks, canoes and other motorless boats along with their jet skis.


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  • T-Bone February 19, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Kudos again to the BTA. Feel free to join me in voicing my dissatisfaction with SK Northwest\’s practices in the Customer Satisfaction Comments section of their website http://www.sknorthwest.com

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  • Jill February 19, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Nice work BTA!

    Chalk up another point for justice!

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  • Metal Cowboy February 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Yes, good work on the part of the BTA. I could never fathom why SK folks chose this battle but it couldn\’t have been a cost effective one, upfront fees or in loss of business by angering potential customers.

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  • G.A.R. February 19, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Looking at an aerial photo, the path will apparently go two blocks and then jog east on Ivon one block to hook up with the S-on-the-W path. The taxlot map given in the April 12th, 2006, BikePortland article shows the path cutting through Ross Island Sand and Gravel\’s operation. Is this for real?

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  • Matt Picio February 19, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    Yes, it\’s for real – that segment of the trail will likely never happen unless Ross Island Sand & Gravel shuts down that particular plant. (also not likely)

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  • BURR February 19, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    SKNW are backed and backrolled by the Portland Spirit owners. Boycott the Portland Spirit!

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  • BURR February 19, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    that would be \’bankrolled\’

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  • J.M. February 20, 2008 at 12:13 am


    Yeah, Isn\’t it Portland Spirit who is really taking this \”all the way\”. Seems I remember that Portland Spirit obligated SKNW to fight this in some sort of land sale/use agreement. Can you touch on this (again) Jonathan?

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  • Mike Quigley February 20, 2008 at 5:41 am

    Keep the pressure on. Maybe these guys will pack up and move to Texas where they belong.

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  • BikeR February 20, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Good Job to BTA, Chris cook, the City, and volunteers (Rick Nys, William Kabeiseman, Ben Schonberger).

    Is SK paying legal fees to this team? If not, the legal team should should certainly pursue this reimbursement.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) February 20, 2008 at 8:58 am

    \”Seems I remember that Portland Spirit obligated SKNW to fight this in some sort of land sale/use agreement\”

    I would imagine that yes, it is still Wayne Kingsley, owner of the Portland Spirit and current owner of the parcel in question that is calling the shots. I believe, although I have not confirmed officially that Kingsley has told Shawn Karambelas (SK) that he must fight the trail if he wants the property. Also important is that Kingsley has some bad blood with the City from previous dealings gone awry.

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  • SH February 20, 2008 at 9:24 am

    So, for the past day so, all the comments have been hatin\’ the wrong person for the most part…

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) February 20, 2008 at 9:47 am

    \”So, for the past day so, all the comments have been hatin\’ the wrong person for the most part…\”

    Not really SH. Back when I first broke this story, I also talked with SK owner Shawn Karambelas. You can read his thoughts on the trail here.

    While Karambelas did claim he initially wanted to work with the City, he also told me, \”It\’s cheaper to fight the trail than to build it.\” among other things…

    perhaps it\’s time to talk with both of these guys again…

    By the way, I\’ve covered this story every step of the way. You can view and read all 18 of my articles here.

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  • Lenny Anderson February 20, 2008 at 9:52 am

    Kingsley is also a vocal member of PDOT\’s Freight (they left out Advisory) Committee…which is a City staffed road advocacy group. He is also on the Planning Bureau\’s North Reach planning committee. This process involves siting the North Portland Greenway Trail. Business/industry types are pushing hard to keep it away from the river.
    All this from a guy who\’s ship docks free at Waterfront Park.

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  • Matt Picio February 20, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Not only does he dock free at Waterfront park, but that dock is closed to other traffic since Kingsley\’s operation falls under the auspices of the TSA. In other words, that dock is no longer public in the strictest sense.

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  • Matt Picio February 20, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Actually, does anyone have *proof* that the Spirit docks for free? Where are the records for that kept?

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  • SH February 20, 2008 at 10:57 am


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  • janis February 20, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hey Mike #24 why do you think they belong in Texas?

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  • Opus the Poet February 20, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I second that Janis, we have enough fools and idiots in Texas on our own. Please don\’t send us any more. And let me apologize for GW escaping. Since the mental health system cuts …


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  • Huh? February 20, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Government over stepping its bounds.

    It\’s okay for them to abuse power this way, but requiring helmet use is not?

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  • Tom February 20, 2008 at 10:57 pm


    I have a friend who works at the Portland Spirit. He says they pay Portland Parks about $50,000 a year for docking at waterfront park so you could ask them about this. They also have to pay for all dock maintainence and insurance.

    He also says the Transportation Security Agency is real. TSA is making employees get Workers Identity cards (which cost $135 each), get fingerprinted and get Federal criminal background checks just to be in security areas.

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  • Truth be Told February 20, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    Wayne Kingsley and his sidekick, Dan Yates are classic blowhards. If you\’ve ever been in a meeting with them, you know the question is not if, but when, one or both will explode with bombastic rhetoric about how about the city is destroying one\’s ability to do business in Portland in order to accommodate elitist bike riders.

    If Wayne didn\’t own property he\’d never have a seat at the table because he brings zero benefit. He and Dan are like the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone; you don\’t know exactly when, but you can always count on one or both to blow.

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  • Gail E. February 21, 2008 at 11:36 am

    Facts are definitely a good to have before publishing false information.
    \”All this from a guy who\’s ship docks free at Waterfront Park.\” Yes, Tom is right… the City charges an enormous docking fee at waterfront park.
    Also, SK is a company trying to run a business. Not everyone is going to appreciate his business, but it is his right to own and operate under any circumstance. If your looking for a fight, maybe you should try to fight the cops that are giving bicyclists tickets for illegally running stop signs down by the Opera.

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  • DJ Hurricane February 21, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Gail E, I would respectfully submit that it is SK Northwest and Wayne Kingsley who are looking for a fight.

    Regardless of their motivation, the fact is their actions have shown Portlanders that they are out of step with our community\’s values and thus ensured a whole lot of lost business.

    I\’m one of those people with \”disposable income\” and I will never patronize either business, I will tell everyone I know not to patronize those businesses, and I will ensure that my employer (a big one in PDX, by the way) never again organizes a cruise on the Spirit.

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  • Karen February 21, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Congrats to the BTA! I hope this helps to send a clear message to others along the Willamette Greenway Trail with ideas of restricting cyclist like the RiverPlace area where use of the area has been threatened and if the current attitude prevails I\’m sure will resurface again this summer. Does anyone know about the current sign \”private property\” posted along the trail in the South Waterfront develpoment area? This may seem a bit off point but I feel the bigger issue of keeping the Greenway Trail open for cyclist and all citizens is critical to future enjoyment.

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  • Heditor August 28, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    While I always enjoy riding along both sides of the river on the existing trails and applaud any opportunity to extend those trails, I am appalled by the utter disregard for property rights that exists in these comments. Yes, these particular property owners are not especially friendly or reasonable, how would you feel if you bought a piece of property with the intention of building a home on it. Subsequent to that purchase, the City decided that not only did they want to build a trail through your property, but they wanted you to pay for it. You dont\’ have to agree with the guy, but at least understand his position. I think he is someone trying to make a statement and who appears to have the money to pay lawyers in his attempt to do just that.

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