BMX riders rally to save jump trails near The Grotto

Posted by on March 24th, 2010 at 8:30 am

Local rider Ben Kaufmann riding
on trails near The Grotto.
(Photo: Andrew Callaci)

Local BMX riders are hoping to stop what they say are plans to bulldoze a popular network of trails and jumps located in a forested area near The Grotto in outer Northeast Portland.

Shad Johnson, owner of Goods BMX shop, told us that Portland Police approached people at the site yesterday to announce that due to a complaint by a nearby homeowner, the trails and jumps will be “plowed within two weeks.”

“This is really big deal,” says Johnson, “these trails have been a staple to Portland BMXers for 16 years. In the past few years with BMX growing stronger in Portland there has been a lot of work been put into them.”

Red circle shows location of jumps and trails. They are at the northern base of a hill just west of I-205. The Grotto is to the south.

The trails are well-known by local BMX riders and mountain bikers. According to Johnson, the trails and jumps have been around since 1994 and, after being neglected for years, have enjoyed a resurgence of late. In July 2009, ESPN created a video about them and likened the trails to “Oregon’s BMX sanctuary in the woods.”

A “sanctuary” of trails and jumps.
(Photo: Megulon5/Flickr)

Johnson hopes to rally support for the trails. “I really feel like they’re a big positive influence on BMX, and cycling in general, in Portland.”

In addition to being a popular place to ride, Johnson says the presence of riders in the area has helped decrease drug dealing and prostitution. “The police have always told us that the trails being there has helped make there job easier.”

But today, the police showed up to tell riders that a woman in a nearby house had complained to Grotto management and threatened to sue. According to Johnson, the woman is concerned that trail builders have moved too much dirt and she’s worried a tree will fall on her house. Johnson says he’s aware of the tree in question but that it’s so far away that it would be “impossible” for it to fall on her house.

Goods BMX shop

Shad Johnson, owner of Goods BMX.
(Photo © J. Maus)

I asked East Portland parks advocate and Chair of Friends of Gateway Green Linda Robinson, if she knew anything about this. She said the BMX trails are unsanctioned and that they are on property owned by both The Grotto and ODOT. Robinson says she’s aware that the Grotto management and ODOT are “displeased that the facility was built without permission, and that it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

Robinson added that when she saw the site last summer during a tour of Rocky Butte, she was concerned that some of the jumps were built by piling up and packing down soil several feet deep against the Douglas fir trees. “The problem with doing that,” she says, “is that it changes the amount of air and water that can get to the roots… and adding more than a few inches of dirt over the roots of these trees can kill them — not immediately, but slowly over several years.”

Johnson hopes to connect with others in the community for advice on how to move forward. Today he plans to meet with Grotto management to find a solution that allows the trails to remain in tact. “We’d love to move forward and make it a legal and sanctioned spot to ride.”

Stay tuned for updates and developments.

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57 Comments
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    Nick V March 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

    I tend to think that these guys should get permission first before they plow a trail wherever it will fit. They had to know that they were on land that wasn’t “public”. If it’s wrong at Forest Park, then it’s wrong here. The Grotto of all places seems like a VERY odd location for a BMX trail.

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    Jackattak March 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    It’s nice that ODOT and the Grotto management are attempting to make this a viable spot for everyone, concerned homeowner included.

    Based on the facts presented, neither party needs to be sympathetic to the BMXers, but they are, and I think that shows some good support for cycling in general in Portland.

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    Patrick March 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    From what I have seen of the area, these trails were not built on virgin land but over a network of foot paths that meander around the butte. Think of an urban forest edge where kids play. The impact of the trails on the ecosystem is minor. However, the fact of dirt piled up on the side of the Douglas Fir trees is something I also wondered about. “El Grotto Loco” (as I’ve heard it called) is an out of the way place that ODOT or The Grotto cannot effectively use; having a BMX jump park there is an excellent use. Without the BMXers there I imagine the area would just be a trashy area for underage drinking, prostitution and other nefarious activities.

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    Jackattak March 24, 2010 at 8:51 am

    @ Patrick –

    I’d agree with that. The same thing happened with Pier Park in St. John’s. Years ago it was a haven for crazies, drug users, prostitution, and drunken teens/transients. Then they built a disc golf course in there (one of the best in the area, if not the best) and it’s really cleaned-up the place.

    I’ve spoken to many cops out there in the past few years and they’re always happy with the changes that the disc golfers have made to the area. Of course, if some of the golfers could remember to use the garbage cans a little more often it probably wouldn’t hurt. 😉

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    Patrick March 24, 2010 at 8:51 am

    My guess about the homeowner is that they object to the kids making noise and leaving trash. But this may be a situation where you need to be careful what you wish for because ejecting the BMXers may just replace them with a prostitution parking lot & drug users.

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    Coaster March 24, 2010 at 9:30 am

    If they do decide to plow it in, they should allow the BMXer’s to start building on the nearby ‘Gateway Green’ area. That area is slated for a bike park anyways, right? It’s only a block or two away….

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    Bjorn March 24, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I wonder how many years this homeowner has lived there? Sounds to me like another case of someone buying a house right next to something that is already there and then getting all high and mighty about it.

    This reminds me of when the yuppies moved into the pearl and started complaining about the mail trucks making noise early in the morning, like it was some new thing that was’t there when they bought their loft.

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    Bob_M March 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

    The contention that a tree cab be killed by soil compaction and covering the root crown is true. If the trails had been built with permission and with knowledge of the potential impacts, then the BMXrs would be considered good neighbors. They didn’t and they arn’t.

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    RyNO Dan March 24, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The grotto is an amazing Portland resource and it would be a tragedy if it was completely removed. I really hope they can work it out.

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    matt picio March 24, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Bob_M – It depends on the amount of soil compaction. Most likely, the trees will see die-back of foliage on the side that is compacted, but continue to live – hard to tell until it happens, unfortunately. As for being good neighbors – well, if the Grotto and ODOT did not post “no tresspassing” signs or put an orange blaze to signify to stay out, then recreational use of the property is perfectly legal. The Grotto and ODOT can legally sue those who built the ramps / jumps, etc for the cost of any damages to the property, but they have to choose to enforce their property rights in order to do so. Failure to enforce their rights can be viewed by the courts as tacit approval.

    References:
    ORS 105.672 (5) “Recreational purposes” includes, but is not limited to, outdoor activities …

    ORS 105.676 Public policy. The Legislative Assembly hereby declares it is the public policy of the State of Oregon to encourage owners of land to make their land available to the public for recreational purposes…

    105.700 Prohibiting public access to private land; notice requirements; damages. (contains the specifics on what constitutes notice)

    Additionally, there are sections that limit the liability of the property owner(s).

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    matt picio March 24, 2010 at 10:57 am

    postscript to my post #10 – although failure to enforce their rights can be construed as tacit (indirect) approval, that does not create a presumption of a right to continued use. The property owner can revoke the right to use at any time, and close off the property. See ORS 105.692.

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    dan March 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The Burnside skate park is an internationally-known Portland destination, and like these BMX trails, was built without the landowner’s permission. The skaters who built/use the park did eventually work with the city to establish rules that would allow it to stay.

    Could that model work here? No point bulldozing these trails if there’s no legitimate alternative use.

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    wsbob March 24, 2010 at 11:02 am

    “…She said the BMX trails are unsanctioned and that they are on property owned by both The Grotto and ODOT. Robinson says she’s aware that the Grotto management and ODOT are “displeased that the facility was built without permission, and that it keeps getting bigger and bigger. …” maus/bikeportland

    With a general sense in mind of what the property is…forested, undeveloped, some distance away from residences and businesses, and apparently mostly unsupervised, it’s not a surprise that people with little or no ownership whatsoever of the property would take it over for their own use.

    Since 1994 though, is a long time for this particular unofficial use to have been going on. Too bad it’s taken from then until today for people to develop enough interest in the personal investment they’ve made in this unofficial bmx course, to actually go to the owners and try work out some kind of official arrangement to use the property.

    There’s probably liability involved somewhere in this, which likely means quite a bit of money and lawyers. How much, and who’ll be paying? Who can afford to pay?

    It’s great that the bmx’ers have had a decent place to run their bikes, and that nobody seems to have major objections to that particular type of use of the land going on there. With exception to the tree root issues, of course. Hope this all works out well for everyone.

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    BURR March 24, 2010 at 11:21 am

    So, one complaint and the popo just go out with a bulldozer? I call BS on that!

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    q`Tzal March 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Think we need to thank the police for warning the cycling community while there still might be a chance to do something about it.

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    thatguy March 24, 2010 at 11:41 am

    those trails are the best thing to happen to that garbage dump in years. the scale of those jumps is in no way comparable to the homes or freeway or religious center or street or air pollutin that all that includes.
    take it easy bikersportland.
    good times come and go.
    sleep tight, the grotto will live on in some way, somehow. folks will take any skills and respect learned to new trails.

    the biggest problem right now is getting bloggers involved.

    save “the news” for bike lanes

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    soundguysean March 24, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I live in San Diego and we had an abandoned Hotel where the empty pool was a draw for skaters and bmxers alike. This pool was filled in to prevent us from riding it…Within a few weeks this place was a haven for crackheads and other “Real Criminals”. The choice between some litter / sometimes misbehaving youth and real crime should be an easy one. Even though they may not own the property, it is part of the riders identity. BMX kept me out of “Real Trouble” growing up by providing something constructive to do with my time. And sometimes skateparks were out of reach for us on the lower end of the economy.
    I wish both parties the best.

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    Daniel F March 24, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    If we give the homeowner the benefit of the doubt and assume her concerns are truly just about where dirt was moved and tree health (and not “those d*mned kids”) then surely they can figure out a way to keep adjacent properties and the trees safe and still have the trails.

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    Caleb March 24, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    BURR – The last thing these trails need to stick around is heated emotion.

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    Colin Mc March 24, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    This is absurd. I have lived in portland since 1996 and have seen this area go from one filled with bums and hookers into one with kids, adults, and teenagers all riding their bikes. The skateparks are the next best place to ride a dirt jumping mountain bike and over 12 times I’ve been threatened by angry skaters telling me to take my mountain bike to the dirt park, now what am I supposed to do?! I can’t ride at washington park, forest park, or the skateparks for fear of getting a skateboard to my neck. kids ride over the lips of any jumps that arent doubles, ruining the jumps and this sanctuary is now being torn down because a tree might fall somewhat close to a persons house?! I’m sure she will be much happier when the tree falls 4 years later because the tractor driver accidentally crushed a root or two, and how are you going to uncompact dirt without touching the roots? I bet she’ll be ecstatic when her kid becomes a crack head because right down the street is the park where a cocaine dealer hangs out everyday, because the only other people around are a bunch of home less crack heads! Seriously, when was the last time these people walked through burnside street in Portland, or china town? Look around ffs some parts are NOT where you want to stand

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  • […] Update: See more on the BikePortland.org blog. […]

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    SkidMark March 24, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    I don’t know what this city has against off-road cycling, unless it’s cyclocross. Are the fat tires too “jock” or “Joe Six Pack”?

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    n8m March 25, 2010 at 2:19 am

    Thanks for this news. What a shame. I hope all of the Portland cycling community offers its full support and solidarity to protect and expand BMXing in Portland.

    Myself and many many others wouldn’t be riding/commuting on a bike whatsoever if they hadn’t started on a BMX at an early age. In high school I always preferred catching sweet air & getting rad on my BMX over getting high with the riff raff & the stoners.

    If they bring in bulldozers I’ll be happy to lock arms with my BMXing friends to block them. One NIMBY shouldn’t ruin 16 years of hard work and enjoyment. The city should acknowledge this as a legitimate BMX park in the same way Burnside is acknowledged. The sheer creative talent in this city by artists, skaters and BMXers who do not have political clout constantly get their voices squelched because they are busy doing what they do best (which isn’t politicking). A progressive city should not only give them voice, but create resources/spaces for graffiti artists, skaters and BMXers. Hopefully the city won’t punish its own people once again, but instead create new developments that empower the talents of her citizens.

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    SkidMark March 25, 2010 at 7:39 am

    I’ll be there to block bulldozers along with everyone I can talk into showing up.

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    Annonymous March 25, 2010 at 7:54 am

    Just like the members of this forum who unite to create and build cycling opportunities thorugh a multitude of avenues, be it bike lanes, mountain bike trails, bike boulevards, and more, the builders of trails at the Grotto were creating a place to ride. As a rider and builder of trails like these, it is sad to see all the hard work wasted when someone from another walk of life fails to appreciate what has been created. It is arguable that riders who build dirt jumps, or “trails” as they are called, put in vastly more time and energy to create and build riding opportuniites for themselves than any other type of bike rider, athlete, or hobbyist. When was the last time that YOU build a basketball court, a baseball field, a skatepark, or a bike lane? Many people likely worked hard to create the social and political movement to get taxpayer money to build these resources, but the average user of these resources probably didn’t offer up any sweat, blood, and and work to literally build them. Until recetnly most BMX or mountain bikes looking to ride some trails had few opportunities outside of their local skatepark, and most of those are off limits to bikes. So how can you blame them. They are simply finding a way when no way exists through legal channels.

    The story is the same in every one of the thousands of trail spots around the world like these. An unused plot of land is seen by a rider thirsty for trails, and seeing as how their city and parks probably haven’t created any opportunities for such trails, the rider moves some dirt and creates something special. This can be done in ways that don’t damage the terrain, and do. That is up to the builders. And even in the cases when damage may be done, it likely is nothing in comparision to the benefit of cleaning up a set of woods littered with trash, or giving a yound kid who isn’t into the average type of sports something positive to do.

    It is rare that trails like the Grotto may be built in such a public, known location, and they are truly a NW icon. There are zero places to legally build and ride trails like these in virtually any city in Oregon, and few more in other locals. The actual number of users may be hard to define, but the numbers of riders and skateboarders using public parks far outweighs the number willing to pick up a shovel and follow a vision. And those parks are busy.

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    Bob_M March 25, 2010 at 8:23 am

    There are absolutly ways to protect the health of the trees and still have jumps. My first thought was to be a grumpy old man shouting “get off my lawn”, but this is totally a place where kids should be doing what they are doing. I hope ODOT and Grotto simply put up signs that say “access and use of this area is at your own risk”. Then guide the reconstruction of the jumps to protect the trees.

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    dustin March 25, 2010 at 8:43 am

    SAVE GNARNIA!

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    wsbob March 25, 2010 at 10:49 am

    One particular way the land making up the Grotto/Odot woods is different from that making up the Burnside Skatepark, is that the former is undeveloped, forested land…suitable for a lot of different uses…worth millions of dollars(correct me if I’m wrong about this).

    Burnside’s location under the bridge approach was a dark little forgotten patch of ground, a casualty of the bridge itself…land without a lot of potential for good use or sale for a lot of money.

    It might happen, but it’s asking a lot of the The Grotto/ODOT…and the City…to now just step in with a wave of the hand and turn this land over to bmx enthusiasts. What have bmx’ers and those that support the activity been doing the last 16 years in regards to this property, to secure its long term service as a BMX park?

    Doesn’t sound as though, until this most recent exposure of the unauthorized work done in the woods, they’ve done much of anything at all, nor have any area leaders in government or elsewhere. That a lot of bmx’ers are young kids isn’t much of an excuse for inaction. They all have parents that, if they haven’t, could have been doing something before the bell starts to toll.

    It’s awfully late to be organizing to preserve the continued use of this land as a bmx park, but without doing so, chances for it to happen might be slim to none. Fortunately for bmx’ers, bmx shop owner Shad Johnson is making some effort.

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    trail user March 25, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    WWJD? I ask the Grotto.

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    SkidMark March 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Why is it “too late”? It was a non-issue up until a few days ago.

    I consider a BMX Jump/Trail Park a “good use” of land. Youth having a place for recreation is important.

    It’s not like you dig jumps and they just stay that way, they have to be maintained, so there is your maintenance. Trash can’t be on the trails themselves especially broken glass.

    Shad Johnson has the only BMX-specific shop in Portland, and he is getting the word out. I think the city is going to very surprised when they see just how big the BMX community is. It won’t just be kids either, it will be parents of BMXers and old-school BMXers.

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    OuterToob March 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    “Just like the members of this forum who unite to create and build cycling opportunities thorugh a multitude of avenues, be it bike lanes, mountain bike trails, bike boulevards, and more, the builders of trails at the Grotto were creating a place to ride.”
    – Anonomous

    I don’t know if it’s ‘just like’ the examples given above. Bikes lanes, mountain bike trails and bike boulevards aren’t just created on the fly by a small group of citizens. It takes going through lots of red tape and snuggling up to the right folks in the city government to make these things happen first.

    If some well meaning folks decided to just paint some bike lanes on the road because the wanted them there, they would be quickly removed, just as the illegal mountain bike trails will be in Forest Park and this BMX trail in the Grotto.

    The people who built this are obviously dedicated to building trails and their chosen sport but unfortunately they didn’t have the respect for their neighbors to ask permission to build the trails to begin with, or the willingness to go through the proper channels. Therefore they left themselves vulnerable to eviction, and ironically it seems they feel disrespected by being asked to leave.

    I hate to say it but this probably won’t be the last time in any of their lives where they will experience disappointment, but they can take these lessons to minimize their losses next time. I know this is a pretty drastic suggestion, but how about getting someone to donate land or renting or buying their own piece of property to build a BMX course on? Then if anyone complains the cops won’t be able to kick them out and they won’t have to worry about trees or any other real or imagined issue anyone can generate to evict them.

    Also, a lot of people make a point that this has been there since 1994 (but fell into disrepair and not really used) until the resurgence last year in 2009. That’s really not that long ago considering that the Grotto has been there since 1923 so whatever claim people have to that land based on that they’ve ‘been there’ for the last year (to 15 years) is still greatly overshadowed by 87 years of property ownership on the Grottos part, so that’s not a valid argument that will hold water to any degree.

    Regardless, I would be willing to bet that anyone who uses this trail wouldn’t want the Catholics from the Grotto (who’s property this is partially on) setting up a Sunday Mass in their backyard without permission to be there, so the big lesson I get from this is: ask permission first or don’t be so shocked if you get asked to leave someone else’s property regardless of how YOU think you have improved it.

    I would suggest that it would be beneficial to talk to some of the people who have started skate parks here in town and follow their model in creating similar facilities for BMX enthusiasts. Once you actually invest a small amount of money into the project you’ll have a real voice and some tangible power in controlling the future of BMX options in Portland. Take a little responsibility on this issue, play by the rules that will then give you power to focus on creating some world class BMX trails. Good Luck.

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    Coaster March 25, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    they should create a formal group, maybe a BMX arm of the NWTA, and do the right things to secure their continued use of the land… Isn’t that what the skaters at Burnside did? ORGANIZE!

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    ne pdxer March 25, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    What I find most perplexing is the fact that the neighbors who filed the complaint put their house on the market about a month ago. I wonder if people looking at the house have expressed dislike of the close proximity of the BMX trails? If they are leaving the nieghborhood, why do they care all of the sudden?

    I am a resident of the neighborhood and I would be sad to see the park go. I will be joining all efforts to save the track.

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  • […] a complaint from a single neighbor rippled into what could almost be called a local media uproar. Bikeportland.org posted a report on the BMX community’s fight to save the trails yesterday, which was followed […]

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    BURR March 25, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Squatter law

    If a person comes onto a property you legally own and for three months they start to improve it, etc, etc they start to have rights to the property.

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    BURR March 25, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    so 14 years has already gone by, the BMXers should already own that piece of property.

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    OuterToob March 26, 2010 at 9:06 am

    “If a person comes onto a property you legally own and for three months they start to improve it, etc, etc they start to have rights to the property.”
    -BURR

    That’s an interesting point, but very open to interpretation. Who gets to decide what an ‘improvement’ is? If the ‘improvements’ endanger the surrounding environment as the argument has been proposed (that they’re endangering trees) – it might not be considered an improvement.

    I certainly wouldn’t consider it an improvement to have a makeshift Catholic chapel built on the outskirts of *my* property. Some might try to argue that it would be good for the surrounding community, I could argue that it certainly wouldn’t be, but I have a feeling that’s up to the property owner – in this case, the Grotto, and the ODOT – and I’m pretty confident in whose favor the judge would rule on.

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    kiwimunki March 26, 2010 at 9:24 am

    If the action against the BMX park was instigated by the complaint of one person with a specific, reasonable concern (tree falling on house), it seems plausible that you could speak with this one person and resolve it.

    If it’s really one tree that’s in danger of falling – soon or years from now – there are tested strategies to mitigate that hazard. Anchors and cables can be emplaced to control the direction of tree fall. Any arborist or tree care company could be hired to do that.

    Talk to the woman, address the stated problem, and lay out a few guidelines for responsible trail building & use. It sounds like you (BMXers) have been relatively good neighbors, minus some unintentional tree damage. With a little education and a show of good faith towards the neighbors, I think you could resolve the problem and continue using the cool park you’ve built.

    Ride on.

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    lIsa March 26, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Loving how people seem so quick to give away property rights when it’s not their own property in question.

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  • Save the Grotto! : Enjoy the Trick March 26, 2010 at 10:42 am

    […] Goods BMX Blog – Channel 8 news coverage on the Grotto bikeportland.org – BMX riders rally to save jump trails near The Grotto […]

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    BURR March 26, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Does the church or ODOT pay any property taxes on any of that land? Highly doubtful. And ODOT probably acquired it by condemnation in the first place. Besides, it wasn’t the property owners who complained, it was a neighbor; what direct interest does the neighbor have in property they DON’T own?

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    wsbob March 26, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    “…what direct interest does the neighbor have in property they DON’T own?” Burr #40

    It would seem as though her home sits on land directly adjoining land where the unauthorized bmx course has been built. Uses and activities taking place on land next to neighbors property generally tend to be of direct interest to neighbors.

    “Does the church or ODOT pay any property taxes on any of that land? Highly doubtful. And ODOT probably acquired it by condemnation in the first place. …” Burr #40

    What’s your point? That, presuming your speculation about the details of the property’s ownership and taxes paid is correct, anyone should be able to just walk over to an area of land and, by moving some dirt around and riding bikes there…be rightfully entitled to it as their own property?

    Many, many people would love it were land of their own that easily acquired…but no way is it that cheap, easy, or even fair.

    Simple online searches often bring up a wealth of relative information. Here’s something about The Grotto:

    The Grotto

    Says right on that page, that The Grotto is a non-profit.

    History of The Grotto

    Note what the land was before it became The Grotto, and how it came to be acquired. Started with one person…yes, a religious person…with a vision and a little money.

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    BURR March 26, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    My point is that the landowners weren’t concerned until a nosy neighbor butted in where they didn’t belong. And that there are way too many nosy neightbors in Portland with too much free time on their hands who really should mind their own business.

    I’m pretty sure the Grotto owners have been fully aware of the BMX activity for quite some time now, and if it didn’t concern them, the neighbors have no business complaining.

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    OuterToob March 26, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    The landowners weren’t concerned?

    As quoted from the article above: “Robinson says she’s aware that the Grotto management and ODOT are “displeased that the facility was built without permission, and that it keeps getting bigger and bigger.”

    Sounds like the Grotto Management was concerned – and they are “displeased” with what is happening on their property if the article is correct.

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    dustin March 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    wait so the complainer is trying to sell that property? does she think that getting rid of a park that keeps away drugs and hookers is going to raise her property value?

    this is rediculous, i hope the bike community (NOT JUST THE BMX RIDERS) can come together as a family on this one and see how wrong it is that something this established is being threatened to be taken away for no good reason. i realize there’s too much separation in the “different sects of cycling”, but come on, how the heck can anyone who rides a bike, fun, commuting, racing or otherwise not see this as a huge lose for our community?

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    annonymous March 27, 2010 at 12:24 am

    WS BOB

    The land the jumps are on is a non developable piece of land, it has been deemed an earthquake prone zone. There for if the jumps were plowed the land could be used for nothing else.Let the riders have there jumps…

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    Colin Mc March 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I really want people to know that we’ve already had the meldrum bar jumps torn down without any sort of word in on it. I showed up and it had just been torn down 3 days prior, i spent over 15 hours digging there! I live an hour away. I taught atleast 6 different kids how to enjoy riding their bikes, and hopefully saved them from getting into drugs at a young age. I bet they also taught atleast 5 friends each how to ride, because seeing a child’s happiness after getting his first table top is something truly beautiful, it reminds you of being a kid again. I know when i went through school in the 90’s there was a lot of drugs in MIDDLESCHOOL. Just imagine 12 year olds popping ecstacy tabs and saying how great they are, eating them every night. We have no skateparks in town or bike parks, the closest being 2.5 hours away by skateboard, if there had been who’s to say that would of been completely different?? If there aren’t places to jump bikes all of the bikers that used it as something to do between school very well might decide upon something easier to do that is just as fun… like hardcore drugs. bike jumping is a great thing because it teaches kids they have to be confident, and work hard to get where they want. aren’t these the morals that we try to teach them everyday, but fail when you try to show them what you mean? You fall, it hurts, you heal, you do pushups and squats to throw your bike around easier, and you land that jump you fell on and you feel great about smashing an intimidating gap.

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    wsbob March 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

    “The land the jumps are on is a non developable piece of land, it has been deemed an earthquake prone zone. …” Anonymous #46

    Not develop-able? What professional report says so? Earthquake prone zone? Some scientists that study tectonic plates suspect that all of Oregon is prone, at some point, to major earthquake events.

    What do ODOT’s and The Grotto’s advisers have to say about this land? What eventual plans might ODOT and The Grotto have for the land, and do they feel a public bmx park could somehow fit into those plans?

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    BURR March 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    “The land the jumps are on is a non developable piece of land, it has been deemed an earthquake prone zone. …” Anonymous #46

    Not develop-able? What professional report says so? Earthquake prone zone? Some scientists that study tectonic plates suspect that all of Oregon is prone, at some point, to major earthquake events.

    What do ODOT’s and The Grotto’s advisers have to say about this land? What eventual plans might ODOT and The Grotto have for the land, and do they feel a public bmx park could somehow fit into those plans?

    You seem to be the type of person that just likes to hear yourself talk.

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    wsbob March 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Aw-w-w burr… . That’s so sweet of you to try make an effort to constructively add to the discussion. If only you were more like the kind of person that likes to think before they talk. Then you might actually be able to help come up with realistic suggestions that help these kids keep the bmx course on the property.

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    BURR March 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    just try and improve your content to word count ratio, m-kay?

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    lIsa March 28, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Burr @ 43, do you rent or own?

    People who own property tend to care what their neighbors do. It’s what builds strong neighborhoods.

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    old timer March 28, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I use to ride my stingray through there doing some of the same things (less capably I’m sure) back in the 60’s before there was a freeway next door. For a fact the jumps are significantly bigger than back then! It’s a perfect use of the park. That said: the woman does have a valid concern concerning the fir tree. On the cliff just above this area, there sadly is mature fir trees dieing for some reason, right next to the road.

    I’d much rather see the kids be using it than the hookers and johns like they have in the past. However, you little shits need to learn to pick up the garbage there. Even if it’s not yours, it looks like it is. Still, we as Portland NEED these kinds of wonderful rare, unique and interesting recreation opportunities. They help distinguish our great city when companies go looking to site new factories, and increase the livability quotient for all of us, even those too old to utilize the resource.

    Good luck kids!

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    Anthony Hope April 12, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    The grotto, Is Porltand Land mark…and Legendary in the BMX community.. Its seems a shame that one falling tree could be the cause of such an out rage..!

    1: Apply chain saw, Cut down tree
    2: Plant new tree, with firm foundation
    3: Odot, create some rules to say dirt can’t be packed at base of Doug Fir’s
    4: BMXer’s /MTBer’s, clean up after yourselves, and keep rapists, muggers, drug dealers and pimps at bay..
    5: Note: Just because we ride Bmx’s doesn’t mean we’re kids, I’m 34 and ride out there..
    6: this city needs proper crime, to detract from Petty nonsense such as this..

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    Ted Buehler September 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    “Stay tuned for updates and developments.”

    Anyone know if the issue was resolved? Trails bulldozed? Google search yields no news since March.

    Just curious,
    Ted Buehler

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    Ted Buehler September 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Found this from June — doesn’t look good

    “New Business
    “Maywood Park city councilor (and Sumner resident) Jim Akers provided a few updates about the BMX bike area off NE Skidmore and NE 92nd:

    ” * A mama coyote and two pups were sighted in the area, so keep your pets in at night if possible.
    ” * ODOT and The Grotto have blocked off part of the property, due to insurance liability. No tresspass orders are being enforced by state police, Multnomah County Sheriff’s and Portland Police, so don’t go over there.”

    From the Sumner Association of Neighborhoods, June 15, 2010 meeting.
    http://sumnerpdx.org/2010/07/planning-traffic-focus-of-june-15-sumner-meeting/

    Ted Buehler

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    sumner resident September 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

    The jumps and trails have been pretty deserted for the last few months. Back in the spring there was a constant police presence on weekends and since then there has been little activity. I can’t see that anything has been done to the property with the exception of a few ‘no trespassing’ signs being posted.

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