Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

See the new bike route through River View Cemetery

Posted by on April 21st, 2010 at 4:37 pm

As a follow-up to our story on Monday about a new bike route being signed through River View Cemetery, we’ve received a map of the route.

View the map below and consider helping River View raise the $5,000 to add signs and pavement markings to the route (details on how to donate here). (On a related note, the folks at River View Cemetery recently counted bike trips and found that over 700 people ride through the property each day.)

Map of bike route through River View Cemetery in SW Portland.

I’ve only ridden through the cemetery once or twice. It’d be great to hear what some regulars think about this route.

Read more about this issue in the archives.

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.

  • trail user April 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I’ll stand at the gate and collect 1 dollar from each. Don’t be alarmed by the guy in the ski mask at the bottom. I’m here to help.

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  • Paul Souders April 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I ride through the cemetery at least once a week, more often down (from Palatine Rd) than up. Interesting where the proposed route varies from my usual route: I stay close to the canyon down the center of the cemetery, which is apparently along the funeral route. (I did not know that.) But I’ve never seen a funeral at my usual commute times (730ish and 5:30ish).

    Also: what is the protocol for entering/exiting when the gate is closed?

    I greatly appreciate this route and everything the Riverview folks do to support riding through. If they closed the cemetery to bikes it would make getting from Terwilliger to the Sellwood really unpleasant. I’m writing a check to help with those signs tonight.

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  • Gabriel Nagmay April 21, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Going uphill I prefer the steeper route that follows: 14, 16, 120, 121, 122 …but, who am I to complain? This would be more then acceptable. Thanks Riverview!

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  • mondofresh April 21, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I go up through Riverview almost every weeknight. I follow this basic route but usually head over by the office/chapel. I’ll be making a nice donation in support of this effort.

    I too wonder what the protocol is for entering/exiting after the gates close.

    We love you Riverview!

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  • Marcus Griffith April 21, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Glad sometime could be worked out between the cemetery and the cyclists. Its a nice ride and an useful transportation route; however, due regards have to be given to that fact that it is a cemetery.

    From what I can tell, the vast majority of cyclists who use the route are polite and cautions. It would be sad if a select few ruin for everyone. It doesn’t take much sewage water to ruin a lake of drinking water, likewise it won’t take too many rude and reckless cyclists to ruin the route for everyone.

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  • GlowBoy April 21, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    As a cyclist, as a frequent visitor to a relative buried at Riverview, and as a plot owner and future resident myself: I couldn’t be more thrilled to see this coming to an amicable resolution.

    I too had thought sticking close to the canyon was the recommended route for cyclists, so it’s good to know a more preferred route that avoids funeral processions.

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  • Kevin Wagoner April 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    This is great, thanks for posting it. I’ll adopt it next time I ride through. This is basically the route I follow now with one small change. I generally ride past the Office, but will follow the route above now. I am excited to see the map, hear about the signage, and general coolness of the people at River View Cemetery that didn’t give up on us. This is a brilliant safe option for riders commuting between downtown and SW. Thanks

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  • eddie April 22, 2010 at 7:22 am

    I have found through seventeen years of biking through the cemetery that going uphill the route to the north is the best, simply because it is the most level. You want to hook past the office and take the windy uphill, not part of the official route. Also, bombing down the southernmost route gives you a sweet view of Hood and St. Helens, and it is FAST. I tend to use different routes depending on my mood or desire for excersize. I’m glad a compromise is being worked out. Just don’t ride on the tombstones. They don’t like that.

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  • Cemetery Rider April 22, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I take the same route as commenter #3. I prefer the steep climb adjacent to the woods. But I agree, if this can result in amicable resolution, I’m happy riding whatever route they recommend. Ditto on wondering about the protocol for entering/exiting after hours, particularly at Palatine Hill Road at the top where there are headstones along both sides of the gate.

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  • pixie April 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

    David Noble, of River View Cemetery, spoke at a bike forum at Lewis & Clark College this past Monday, where the map was distributed and discussed.


    They specifically do not want bikes to use the routes described in comment #8. The suggested route is a slight adjustment to the northern route, allowing bicycles to avoid conflicts with mourners, etc. who are driving, parking, and gathering near the office. Apart from the switch to travel south of sections 03 and 07, the route is the same northern route used by many bicycles for many years, as it is more level than the steeper route described in comment #3.

    Additionally, as most of the funerals are in the newer section to the south (left side of map), they are asking bicycles to not travel in this area. The view is wonderful there, and the opportunity to go fast is tempting, but this section of the cemetery and the part by the office are the two main areas of conflict.

    I’ve had the pleasure of riding in this cemetery for 20 years, sometimes silently passing deer grazing in the wooded areas. I think the suggested route is a great compromise and very workable for all concerned.

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  • Dave April 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I go up and down the hill every day. It’s going to be tempting not to go down the hill from Palatine to the left of 122 and then take 121 and connect back up at 112-A. There is just more of a natural flow that way, a downhill flow, so it might be hard to fight the urge on that one. Just saying…

    I’m sure I’ll adjust and the new route will be a nice compromise. I’m in!

    I would like to know the after dusk policy and how we are “officially” going to go around the closed gates? Sometimes those gates get closed around 4:30ish in the winter. It seems the easiest way is to close them just enough so cars can’t get through but people and bikes can. Maybe a little paved path around the edge? People cut through the bushes too and have their own path, near Palatine, so accommodating both foot and bike traffic around or through the gate doesn’t seem like to much to ask.

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  • matt picio April 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    pixie (#10) – What sorts of conflict are occurring on the southern-most route?

    I’ve generally taken the southernmost route whenever I go downhill through the cemetary, because there are no vehicles, line-of-sight is excellent, and I’ve never encountered a single soul on the way down (granted, I don’t use that route frequently). Since I’m now aware the cemetery doesn’t want me using that route, I’ll use the approved route, but I’m curious as to what issues they’ve had with the one I used to ride. I’ve never seen a funeral procession in the cemetary, then again, I don’t ride it on weekends, and my downhill trips have been on weekdays during commute hours.

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  • Dave April 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    I’m with Matt, I’ve never actually seen a procession or a funeral in my daily commutes over the past 5 years. Probably a mid-day kind of thing.

    My favorite site during those 5 years was when I came upon a pack of coyotes stalking some deer grazing in the grass. The coyotes are quite big up there.

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  • pixie April 23, 2010 at 12:35 am

    Matt (#12) – Funerals.

    Most of my rides in the cemetery are part of commuting, and I have rarely seen funerals during those times. No full-on funeral processions, only graveside services.

    The green line on the map indicates the funeral route from the office area to the southernmost portion of the cemetery. When there are funerals, they are usually held in that portion.

    For those who have not taken the southernmost route, it is not fully paved at the bottom where it connects to section 12. It may have changed, but the last time I went that way there was a gap of 15-20 feet or so of semi-packed gravel and dirt as you pass through the trees to the other side.

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  • eddie April 23, 2010 at 4:18 am

    In all my years biking through there I have only seen a couple of funerals. I do know some people who have taken the turns a bit tight and lay down their bikes near the 122/121 area, which can be a bad scene for the cemetery should people get mangled and then try to sue. It will be very hard not to take the southern route downhill…

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  • Linkbeak April 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I commute through the cemetery a couple of times a week. I usually go downhill (and sometimes back up) using the steep route. Those views get me in the right mindset for my day. I will walk around the gates if closed, although it seems in the past few months the gates have been open longer. I am very appreciative of the privately-owned cemetery allowing cycling access and have mailed off a check to the foundation. I still think something is wrong when a major bike transportation route in “bike friendly” Portland is dependent on the good will of a private landowner and private donations for signage.

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  • Dave April 23, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Eddie: The new route won’t keep people from wiping out. I took the new route downhill this morning and there are some pretty sharp turns. I’ve wiped out twice in the past, not from speed, but take those sharp turns, add a little rain, a thin layer of fresh mud and bam! I think it will be a nice uphill route, no so much down.

    I’m with Linkbreak:
    “I still think something is wrong when a major bike transportation route in ‘bike friendly’ Portland is dependent on the good will of a private landowner and private donations for signage.”

    Also, if the point is to avoid funerals, if gates are closed does that mean we can go any route we want?

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  • Jeff A. May 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I commute through the cemetery and use a northern route, so this is only a small change. It is more than acceptable to change my route to be allowed to use this private property. I’m very grateful. A private property owner who lets about 700 cyclists cross their property daily for purposes that have nothing to do with their business is to be commended. It’s our privilege; not a right.

    My understanding is the new route takes bicycle traffic away from people doing business at the shop and office to reduce the risk of collisions and interference with expected solemn atmosphere.

    If those cyclists who are there at the same time as mourners had been more thoughtful, we wouldn’t be required to use only one route.

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  • Matthew W May 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Dave, Eddie, etc,

    I would like to ask you to think about the fact that all of this discussion is about our (bicyclists) use of _private property_. We have no right to use, nor a right to expect to use anyone else’s property just because our community has not (i.e. we have not) provided any good alternatives. Unfortunately, our collective failure with respect to bicycle routes in this area is well known to us all.

    However, I am extremely frustrated with the sense of entitlement many here demonstrate regarding use of this route.

    If Riverview wants us to use a specific route, we should use that route, with humility, respect and gratitude. Not with an attitude of:
    “I know what’s best, I’ll just ride where I want”
    “they don’t really need us to use _that_ route during the hours that I ride, so it’ll be hard for me to not just keep doing what I’ve been doing”

    Really. This is not a “compromise” this is a gracious and beneficent act on the part of Riverview Cemetery.

    Please ride where they ask us to, if only to show that you respect and appreciate the privilege of using any route at all through Riverview.

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  • Bradley May 17, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I ride the route 4 days a week. I think the proposed route looks 75% on the mark with the exception of the double detour around the office and chappel. The proposed routes to the left at 03 and 07 are out of the direction travel. I can see that they have chosen this to not go through the funeral route but I can see how riders may revert back tot he path of least risistance. One idea is to post a sign at the entry and exit when an event is in place. In terms of a permanent sign, perhaps one at the top warning of speed bumps designed to slow down bikes.

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