(Photos © J. Maus)
Work has begun to transform a former bowling alley on NE 82nd Avenue (across from Madison High School) into the premiere indoor bike park in America. Will Heiberg and Michael Whitesel, business partners behind the Lumberyard, have signed a 10-year lease and are overseeing a $3.5 million redevelopment project.
Michael Whitesel (L) and
Phase One of the project will build a series of jump ramps, a pump track, technical trail features and a serpentine singletrack trail in the main, 50,000 square foot part of the building. Also in the Phase One plans is a foam covered pump track for little kids on balance bikes.
If all the permitting goes smoothly, the Lumberyard could open as soon as late February, but Heiberg says he won’t be surprised if there are some delays given the unique nature of the project.
For Heiberg, a former video game designer who left his job this past summer to work full time on the Lumberyard, finding a space for an indoor bike park is a dream come true. (You might recall our 2008 story on Heiberg’s attempt to build a bike skills park at the former site of Washington High School in southeast Portland.)
I met Heiberg at the location on Sunday.
It doesn’t look like much from the other side of 82nd (looking east from Madison High)…
But inside you immediately see the potential…
Don’t worry, hitting your head isn’t an issue (as lead park designer and professional rider Joe Prisel demonstrates)..
Looking out at a ramp in the middle of stacks of wooden beams that used to support bowling lanes, Heiberg said, “On Friday, when we built that first box jump, the first tangible thing, it really brought this to a new level of reality. I couldn’t sleep that night; it was a huge step for me personally.”
“We’re going to take the best stuff out there and turn it up a notch… We’re going to design the best park ever.”
— Joe Prisel, lead park designer
Heiberg says they only need about three to four months to fully build out the 50,000 square feet of ramps and cafe/lounge space in the main building (the cafe, which will serve beer and wine, will be operated by a separate entity).
Phase Two of the project will include a new, 18,000 square foot pole barn to be constructed adjacent to the existing structure. That building will be 34-feet high and will alllow the singletrack trail feature to work its way up in elevation and then wind its way back down.
Check out this concept drawing of the finished build-out (the singletrack is the yellow line)…
When both phases are complete, the Lumberyard will boast about a half-mile of singletrack that will wind its way around the park’s ramps and other features.
While Heiberg and his partners were hoping for a slightly larger space, they could not be happier with the location. The MAX light rail line is just a half-mile away, Madison High School is across the street, and the Glenhaven skatepark is just up the road. “We love it location-wise. In terms of access this is really easy to get to.”
The proximity of the MAX line means that people from throughout the region can easily get to the Lumberyard — without a car or a bike. If you don’t have a bike, rentals (and safety gear) will be available. Or, if you buy an access pass, the Lumberyard will throw in free bike storage.
Speaking of passes, Heiberg says their model for access will be similar to a ski resort. They’ll offer day passes, punch cards, annual and seasonal passes.
Not surprisingly, the Madison South and Roseway Park neighborhoods are very excited for the project. Madison South neighborhood president David Smith showed up Sunday help with demolition efforts.
To help build the park Heiberg and Whitesel have hired Joe Prisel, a noted ramp, track and trail designer. Prisel was also behind the design and construction of the only other two, large-scale indoor mountain bike parks in the country — Ray’s Indoor MTB Parks in Cleveland and Milwaukee.
It’s something of a coup that Prisel left the midwest and Ray’s (which is now owned Trek Bicycles) and moved to Portland solely to work on the Lumberyard. When I asked Prisel about his plans for the new facility, he said, “We’re going to take the best stuff out there and turn it up a notch… We’re going to design the best park ever.”
The Lumberyard will be much more than just a place to ride, it will serve as a community hub and the plan is to host a variety of clinics, camps and other events.
This is a very exciting project. Beyond the new riding options it will provide to a wide range of skill levels and ages, and the clear community benefits, the Lumberyard could give a jolt to Portland’s mountain bike and BMX scene and the industry associated with it.
Stay tuned for more updates and check out a few more of the latest concept drawings below…
Well what looks like much from Madison Hi anyway?
But I’m glad to see this put to use again. It seems this area along 82nd needs more positive activity.
I wish them the best.
Very cool Jonathan, this sort of stuff is great to see! All the best to Will, Michael, and everyone else involved in the project.
this is a dream come true.
Looks awesome..but no foam pit in phase one..BOOOOO. Most people I know were MOST excited about an indoor foam pit.
if all they want to do is ride a foampit and some ramps, just go to windells…
awesome! it was so sad seeing that building just sitting there… I was hoping walmart wouldn’t buy up all the land…
I hope they let spectators into the cafe area to watch for free while eating/drinking…
If Portland won’t let us ride our mountain bikes outside then I guess we will head indoors (and poach wildwood at night). This looks frickin awesome!
Nice job guys. I am looking forward to coming and learn some new skills!
Hey Jonathan, thanks for the great article. One small correction it was a David Smith of the Madison South neighborhood association who dropped by to offer help and support.
not to worry the_dude, phase II will have advanced and expert features as well as a jump zone with phone pit and resi jump 🙂
thanks for all the support everyone, we are excited to offer recreational options to help get through the wet Portland winters!
How much is this thing gunna cost to get into??
Good to see that they have Joe Prisel on board, expect good things!
when will phase 2 be done?
Awesome! Nuf Said!
So I know this is supposed to be for mtb but I hope there will not be any discrimination against other forms of bikes such as bmx i ride bmx and I know the portland metro area is huge for bmx
bmx riders will be welcome. The course designer Joe Prisel (“Toldeo Joe”) comes from a bmx background.
im not into park/dirt jumping much anymore, but this is exciting!!!
guess im gonna break out the dirt jumper again
Holy Moly! Just up the street from me! Easy riding distance! Easy access to Gateway Green WHEN that’s done! Sullivan Gulch too! (breathe, breathe…) This is so so cool! No excuse for my sucky MTB skilz now, I guess. Coaching available?
That stuff looks smooth. Time to build a hardtail.
Everyone was getting me me all hyped up about this park. We were all expecting a berrics-like skatepark so you can imagine my disappointment when we found this. Well, at least we know we won’t have to deal with skaters…
Crazy I was about to post a comment about The Lumberyard drawing all the bikes away from the local SKATEPARKS!
At least we both agree that skateboards don’t belong in bikeparks and bikes don’t belong in skateparks!!
There should be side by side parks for skateboarding and bmx, as bmx parks take a lot more infrastructure and abuse.
I bmx, and I skateboard, both for 40 years now. (since I was 5), but I think the two should be done in separate parks.
The cost of repairing a skatepark built for skateboarding and ridden by bmx’ers can be big.
Much of the cement right below the coping gets chipped out from the extra weight/etc, and dare I say pegs. The decks sometimes crack under the added weight of landings.
And the reality that the two don’t mix as well as we would all like.
At least we don’t have as many fruit booter’s anymore…….
Dan, Please elaborate on “berrics-like.” Is there something at the berrics that you want to see featured in the Lumberyard, or are you speaking to the bikes only focus?
The Lumberyard is focused on bikes simply because that’s where our passion is. There are skateparks all over the region but outside of a select few pumptracks and garage based session-bowls, bikes have very few options.
This is awesome, only four blocks from my house! Time to build jump bike. So psyched. Kudos to the guys for making this happen and filling a huge void.
This is likely to put a lot of bike traffic on a very unfriendly stretch of 82nd, I hope that the City will look to do something positive here, in the past due to ODOT bike/ped improvements in this area have largely consisted of discouraging bikes/peds.
Mountain bikers always drive to the spot with their bikes on their vehicle, there won’t be any increase in bike traffic on 82nd. um I was trying to be sarcastic, but then I realized it was pretty much true…
It’s too bad that there aren’t some trails within riding distance in Portland, like there are in Bend. It’s nice not to have to drive, and a lot of us mountain bikers would rather ride to the trail, if there’s one nearby. If I was to ride to the nearest trail system, it’d be a 15 mile ride just to ge there (from North Portland to Powell Butte). I often ride to Forest Park, but that’s on my road bike (to ride the roads in the park).
At Ray’s (in Cleveland) most people have a “park” bike, so they just keep it at the facility. Of course their winters are way worse than ours and less people are bike commuting anyway, so who knows how many people will commute to this park.
Awesome! I can’t wait for it to open!
I have been wanting to do this for years; glad to see somebody do it. I’d love to donate 2x4s and any extra labor as I have helped in many a ramp builds and helped build Thunderdome in Olympia. This is awesome news!!!
Yes, yes, yes!! Building up dj bikes this winter! We’ll store them there and make the quick pedal over on our commuters. perfect!
Kudos to Will, Michael and the others involved. I know they’ve put their hearts (and dollars) into this to get it this far. Can’t wait for opening day!
Awesome addition to my neighborhood, can’t wait!
Speaking neighborhood and bike access, there’s great access via Siskiyou St.that will only require a 1 block hop south on the sidewalk. Couldn’t ask for a better location all things considered!
It would be nice if they could put some trails in around the vacant property that was a landfill, then a driving range that is right next door. If the current owner could get some use out of it, he might stop trying to sell it to WalMart.
I got Ray’s in Cleveland about once a year. And for the life of me, I could not figure out why more cities i the US weren’t building those kind of facilities. Ray’s is just plain amazing. So I’m hoping that this facility will be just as good.
I just hope they keep some lines cross country-oriented and don’t make the whole things jumps (which is kind of the way I feels Ray’s has been going the last few years).
Most excellent. Hope the plan goes though. If we can not get single track, at least this, especially in this weather. Being a fair weather Spartan, I want an indoor 30 mile single track too, but probably not in this life, or this planet. Back to the trainer, waiting for spring!! Good work !!!!
I think this course looks AMAZING!!! is it going to have a foam pit? and a bigger box jump set up would be awesome.
Best thing to happen to mountain biking inside the city in forever…now if we just get Timberline to ride in the summer we’re set!
What’s admission going to be? Season tickets available?
holy!! yee-haw, i was about to write portland off as the WORST mountain biking city in the country. dont get me wrong, great commuting on bike paths but until this arrived i was seriously considering jumping ship. so exciting, thank you x 100