Last month, rookie City Commissioner Nick Fish made his opinion of off-road biking clear. He told BikePortland that he was not satisfied with the current status quo of riding in the city and that he would work quickly to learn about the issue and seek more opportunities.
Now comes word from Fish’s office that on Monday of next week (4/6), he will hold an invite-only “informal roundtable discussion about off-road biking opportunities in Portland parks.” (It’s notable on the official invite that it didn’t mention Forest Park specifically, but that will surely be a hot point of conversation).
When asked about the meeting, Fish’s senior policy director Hannah Kuhn told us that, “the time seems right to have a more fundamental conversation” about off-road cycling.
Kuhn said citizen advocate Frank Selker’s idea to hasten the conversation around bike access in Forest Park led her office to contact the Parks department back in January. According to Kuhn, at that time Parks already had a “placeholder” date for a formal planning process around the issue that was to begin on July 1st (the beginning of the City of Portland’s fiscal year). Kuhn says that once Fish heard about all the public interest on the topic, “he decided rather than wait until the formal planning process, he wanted to open up the dialogue.”
With no formal strategy in place from the Parks Bureau yet, Fish’s office sees this upcoming meeting as an ideal chance to hear from the community and help shape that plan.
Kuhn says Fish is eager to learn more about off-road cycling and “its challenges and opportunities.” “This is an opportunity,” she says, “for him to learn.” One of the “challenges” he is sure to learn about sooner or later is that not everyone is supportive of more bike access in Forest Park (stay tuned for more on that topic soon).
We will attend the meeting and report on what is discussed.
[Note: This story was posted by Elly Blue from notes and reporting by Jonathan Maus.]