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City’s first pump track in East Portland? Maybe

A pump track.
(Photo: IMBA)

The City of Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is seeking comments on a proposed new pump track — which would be the first such facility in the city. The location under consideration is Mill Park, a tiny 5-acre park in southeast Portland (SE 122nd and Mill). The pump track is being proposed by the Northwest Trail Alliance, a local non-profit that has been working with Parks to identify a suitable location for a bike skills park or pump track for over a year.

Portland Parks project manager Sarah Coates Huggins says if the community supports the proposal, the “pilot” would be tested in the park for six months. After that time, they’d reassess community support.

A pump track is sort of like a skate park for bikes. They’re dirt tracks that include berms, roller-coaster bump sections and other features that allow riders to carry speed through using their legs and arms to “pump” their bike around the entire track (if they’re good enough).

Mill Park site.

Bike skills parks first came on Parks’ radar back in November 2008, when southeast Portland resident David Reese proposed an idea to build one at the vacant Washington High School. A few months later, another potential site was identified by the Portland Development Commission. Neither of those projects got off the ground, but momentum has continued to build for the idea ever since, and the Northwest Trail Alliance has helped further their cause by successfully demonstrating skills parks at Sunday Parkways events.

“We see it as a kickoff, a demonstration project and one we think will demonstrate the viability and popularity of these types of neighborhood parks.”
— Tom Archer, Northwest Trail Alliance

Northwest Trail Alliance president Tom Archer says he hopes the Mill Park pump track (which would be an all-dirt track without the wooden features of their modular skills parks) becomes a reality. “We see it as a kickoff, a demonstration project and one we think will demonstrate the viability and popularity of these types of neighborhood parks.” Mill Park Elementary is directly adjacent to the proposed site and Archer attended an open house at the school on Tuesday.

Archer said his group would be responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the park if Portland Parks grants permission for them to move forward. With volunteer help and oversight by Northwest Trail Alliance, the facility would take very little, if any, resources from the Parks Bureau.

Parks has a comment form about the project on their website mostly directed at people that live near the park. They’re accepting input on the proposal until September 21st at 5:00 pm.

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