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Sauvie Island farm will offer free auto parking for island bike riders

Posted by on March 26th, 2014 at 9:33 am

(Photo courtesy Bella Organic)

Sauvie Island farm Bella Organic has started a program it says aims to reduce miles driven in the rural area northwest of Portland: it’s offering free auto parking to anyone driving to the island for a recreational bike ride. The owner of the company is also encouraging anyone who rides a bike on the island to use their parking lot and farm store as a rest stop.

“We’ve had lots of customers tell us, ‘We wish there was more parking out here and it were more accessible,'” farm owner Sofia Kondilis-Hashem said Tuesday.

The island already has a small, free lot near the Sauvie Island Bridge that Kondilis-Hashem said is sometimes targeted by car prowlers. Bella Organic, meanwhile, has room for 100 cars to serve its u-pick berry and pumpkin farm and produce store about 1.5 miles from the bridge. Kondilis-Hashem said it only ever fills up on a few October weekends, and the farm wants to put the space to better use.

“The parking other than that is way down in the back of the island and it’s kind of scary,” Kondilis-Hashem said. “It’s not exactly easy for people to get to.”

Because Kondilis-Hashem and her family don’t live on site, the offer applies only during the farm’s operating hours, which are 9 am to 6 pm from June to September. The farm is also open on October weekends, but Sofia Kondilis-Hashem said she can’t offer parking then because the lot is so busy.

Services for bike riders are also hard to come by on Sauvie Island. There’s a portable toilet in the main parking lot near the bridge, but it’s locked and only usable by TriMet operators. There are other restroom facilities at Kruger’s Farm north of the bridge and at a wildlife viewing area in the middle of island. Having another place to stop and take a break on the south end of the island is welcome news.

Here’s the route from the bridge and its parking lot to Bella Organics:

Parking in the wildlife areas of Sauvie Island is also possible but requires a permit that costs $7 per day or $22 per year.

Kondilis-Hashem said the farm is looking to build its relationship with Portlanders with measures like this one, which she hopes will make bike rides on the island more convenient.

“You don’t have to go six miles to get to parking, drive six miles to get around on your bike,” she said. “We are pro-bike on an island that is not so pro-bike, so we thought it only made sense.”

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  • davemess March 26, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Good for them! As much as I hate the idea of driving to ride, I know it’s not something that is going to completely go away. Better for people to have some options. (have to imagine it will also be nice for their business)

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    • mike March 26, 2014 at 10:09 am

      actually, the offer is open for people who bicycle to the island as well. They can stop at the farm for some rest, use the facility, and refresh with few U pick berries, or berry wine.

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      • davemess March 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm

        Good point. I assumed that was true, but glad to hear it really is.

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  • mike March 26, 2014 at 10:19 am

    correction: Bella Organic does not have 1000 parking spot, it is more like a 100 or so, but enough spaces for a few bike riders, and their families to enjoy the island, and pick up few berries, and refresh with some berry wine. we also encourage those who choose to bike to the island to do stop by to rest say hi, and enjoy our farm.

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  • Rebecca March 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Smart marketing move and a nice service to offer.

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  • JV March 26, 2014 at 11:40 am

    This is a great addition, and even if riding from Portland it will be nice to have additional places to stop that are not just the lone mini-mart.

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  • bikesalot March 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    There is also a restroom outside the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area headquarters on the right about 1/4 mile past the “Y” intersection at 18330 NW Sauvie Island Road. A short distance off to the side of the main riding loop, but on a rewarding out-and-back route along the river. Just expect the road conditions to get pretty bad at the county line, where you may want to turn around short of the end of the road.

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  • gl. March 26, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Aw, thanks, Bella Organic! It’s delightful to feel welcomed onto the island instead of tolerated (at best) or targeted (at worst). Your insight and hospitality are much appreciated.

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  • MJF March 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I have been to Bella with my family a few times for fresh produce and berries, music and even a dog walk last summer. Its a fun welcoming place so I am not surprised they are reaching out to the biking community. Cant think of a better place to start and finish a ride, then reward myself with some tasty organic beer and some berries to take home!

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  • Quien March 27, 2014 at 7:26 am

    For those of you who may be following Clara Hughes’ charity bike ride, she biked another 102 km from Cornwall over the rugged terrain to Montreal yesterday. You can learn more about what she will be doing there today as she brings awareness about mental health. https://livingalpha.com/journal/welcome-to-quebec-the-grand-montreal-visit-has-finally-arrived

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  • YAYA March 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    We will see how hospitable Bella Organics is when one of our fine bikers sues them for falling on their property, or gets run over after having some of that tasty berry wine. Seeing how most bikers on the Island think they are bulletproof andcannot figure out what riding single file meens it’s only a matter of time

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    • Mike March 30, 2014 at 7:52 am

      It sound that you maybe one of the island residence, who has ill opinion of biker !
      You don’t have to be on a bike to do what you discribing in your write up . I am not aware of any bike accident on the island in the past 10 years , and I don’t inticipate that to change . Bikers are just as responsible as car drivers. Bella organic hospitality welcoming island visitors and guests is a gesture to be imitated by other islanders to change the perseption of island residence being not very welcoming to city folks who share our love of Sauvie Island.
      The island belong to everyone in our state to enjoy and be proud of its agricultural heritage . I hope you see the good deed and the positive of this gesture instead of assuming the worst .

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