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Statement from BES Commissioner Fish on River View biking ban

Posted by on March 13th, 2015 at 1:26 pm

fisho

Nick Fish.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve finally heard a response from Commissioner Nick Fish on the decision to prohibit bicycling at River View natural area. His policy director Jim Blackwood just emailed us the following statement:

“River View provides a link for local wildlife to Forest Park, and includes special habitats including wetlands, interior forest, and waterfront areas. The area is an important resource for sensitive and threatened wildlife habitats. The Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) provides technical advice on the restoration and maintenance of the watershed.

When the City acquired River View, substantial funding came from Bureau of Environmental Services’ ratepayer dollars – so we must ensure the uses of the natural area match the BES mission to protect the watershed.

Portland Parks & Recreation is working on a Natural Area Management Plan that balances recreational activities and the area’s unique environmental needs. Parks will complete the Plan, and make a final determination – including a recommendation regarding bike use – for the future of River View.

During my service on Council, I have worked hard to identify new opportunities for off-road bicycling, including a unique partnership with the Northwest Trails Alliance to build the Ventura Pump Track in Southeast Portland, the acquisition of Gateway Green in East Portland, and exploring cycling options for Forest Park.

Commissioner Fritz and her team at Parks are committed to completing a Citywide Off-Road Cycling Plan to identify cycling opportunities within our parks. I am joining her in requesting funding in next year’s budget to complete that work. I am optimistic that Council will support the $350,000 request.

I believe Portland can find a balance – providing recreational areas for hikers, runners, and cyclists while protecting our environment.

Commissioner Nick Fish”

This statement doesn’t do much in terms of answering the many questions that remain about how Fish and Commissioner Fritz reached their decisions and why the process has been so severely mishandled.

The fact also remains that BES has taken the extreme step of excluding a specific type of activity in the name of ecological protection when there is no basis for that decision and other types of activities are able to continue.

What also stands out about this statement is that Fish is putting the rationale for the ban more squarely onto the 2011 lawsuit. We have heard from many sources that the lawsuit concerns are not valid because the judge has already ruled in the city’s favor and said the River View purchase is legit.

UPDATE, 3:40pm: Matt Grumm in Commissioner Saltzman’s office followed up with us to clarify the lawsuit issue. He said, even though the judge ruled in the city’s favor regarding the River View purchase, there are “ongoing settlement negotations” and agency directors and commissioners might very well might have reason to be “nervous about the possibility of the parcel being pulled back into the lawsuit.”

Why Fish and Fritz haven’t just framed their decision about biking in terms of the lawsuit from the get-go remains a mystery; but it appears that if they’d done so, we could have avoided much of the frustration that’s being felt.

Follow all our coverage of this story here.

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redhippie
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redhippie

Nice sound bite. No substance

invisiblebikes
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invisiblebikes

A lot of rhetoric with zero substance, par for the course from those two!

Todd Hudson
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Todd Hudson

>Commissioner Fritz and her team at Parks are committed to completing a Citywide Off-Road Cycling Plan to identify cycling opportunities within our parks.

ba·lo·ney
bəˈlōnē/
noun; informal
noun: baloney; plural noun: baloneys

1. foolish or deceptive talk; nonsense.

Eric
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Eric

invisiblebikes
A lot of rhetoric with zero substance, par for the course from those two!
Recommended 3

What else would you expect from a political figure/official?

Adam
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Adam

I used to think Amanda Fritz was alright. Now she makes my skin crawl.

Snowden
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Snowden

Thanks Nick, this clears up everything! NOT!

pdxfixed
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pdxfixed

“River View provides a link for local wildlife to Forest Park”

Wait, what?

Trail Rat
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Trail Rat

These politicians need to check out the hiking trails in Forest Park, almost every switchback has been cut by hikers causing damage to vegetation and topsoil erosion. Then compare it to the amount of switchback cutting that is at a mountain bike area like Sandy Ridge, they’d be hard pressed to find any. They also need to do a comparison of user group stewardship, I think they’ll be surprised by the results. As a side note, I recently walked the Alder Trail in Forest Park, It was a complete mess of mud and erosion, all right next to a small stream, and all of that erosion caused by hikers.

Mike
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Mike

“During my service on Council, I have worked hard to identify new opportunities for off-road bicycling…”

He hasn’t succeeded in “identifying” anything.
We do have Ventura Pump Track – maybe 1/10 of a mile total, and Gateway Green, which does not exist as a cycling facility yet, was not something HE identified. If someone comes to you with a proposal, you are not the one who identified a new opportunity.

There are two existing parks that could very easily sustain responsible off road cycling, and so far all he has done is kept us out of one and kicked us out of the remaining.

Wow, Mr. Fish! Thank you so much for all your hard work on behalf of mountain bikers everywhere! Pathetic…

Realistic one
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Realistic one

Well, this shouldn’t be surprising coming from these two. Connection to Forest Park? Really? Watch out for the same rhetoric in regards to access to Forest Park . It’s clear that you can’t trust these two or the city for that matter. These two aren’t smart enough to come up with this on their own, follow the dollar. Someone else has to be involved as well. It doesn’t help other ridiculous rhetoric coming from WSBOB and JEG. Free speech is not free, we all pay the cost of listening to idiots such as WSBOB and JEG, their arguments have no substance, they simply use the easy way out using hot buzz words such as “almost getting killed on a trail by mountain bikers”…really? fools. NWTA has completely failed, PUMP never would have given up. I knew this would happen when they formed NWTA. It’s time to ride wherever, whenever you want. I have always been more than courteous to other park users, but I will not take any crap from any vocal hiker or walker again.

Jim Lee
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Jim Lee

Hikers/doggers ARE extremely degrading to Forest Park.

Suburban
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Suburban

Oregon and even Washington are just quaint map overlays of a mountain biking paradise. If you choose to live in or around Portland, Oregon’s most large city, it comes with great opportunities and great costs. Just because mobs of people want to ride on foot paths does not mean anyone hates these people, they just don’t want you riding your machines there. You have thousands of miles of trails to ride if you prioritize them OVER what-so-ever is keeping you in Portland/Vancouver now.

Duncan Parks
Guest

Re: the legal concerns about purchasing River View. These may very well be legit concerns. Wouldn’t the best way to show you got the parcel for conservation be to address the actual disturbances identified by the Technical Advisory Committee? Of course. Yet Parks seems committed to banning bikes on trails, even if that *didn’t* make that list. It sounds suspiciously like recreation management on a parcel that’s supposed to be managed for conservation/ecological value.

Dwaine Dibbly
Guest
Dwaine Dibbly

Clearly, they’re going to open Forest Park to MTB use!

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Wildwood would be a nice concession to get MTB people back in the process.

Amber
Guest
Amber

Biking and natural habitat can co-exist. Employ best practices. Share the trails. Grant River View to mountain biking use.

rick
Guest
rick

So the sewer department gets an $11,000,000 office building and bans biking in River View?

Mossby Pomegranate
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Mossby Pomegranate

You keep voting these same people in over and over again and then complain about the results.

Frank
Guest
Frank

This cyclist does not need a Fish. Ever.

They love that line about being a link – it can make any parcel sound critical. Has he walked through that area? They should have lost the lawsuit for what it is not. But it has wealthy neighbors who don’t want development or users – same as FP – and the Protectors of Nature fear if we get any toe-hold, all will be lost.

Jeff TB
Guest
Jeff TB

“…In addition, we have decided to ban dogs, hikers and invasive plants from the area…”

Eric
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Eric

I don’t get on this website often, but I would love to see a mountain bike area in Portland similar to the Duthie Hill Park in the Seattle area. It is primarily a bike park, so user conflict is almost non existent. The trails have all levels of riding, are built responsibly, and they have a great relationship with Parks and Rec. It has been a huge success, and there’s no reason we should be able to achieve something like this in PDX.
https://www.evergreenmtb.org/trails/duthie-hill

Chris McMullen
Guest
Chris McMullen

Can someone please enlighten me as to how mountain biking threatens this “sensitive” habitat?

TrailLover
Guest
TrailLover

The focus on the law suit – real or contrived – and the specter of “ongoing settlement negotiations” is even MORE reason for fair-minded Portlanders to cry foul. Memorializing a bunch of unsupportable assertions about the impacts of mountain biking in the form of a settlement agreement is an even more intellectually and politically pernicious idea than the commissioners simply waving their wands and decreeing whatever policy they like. Stay angry. Stay active. Stay productive.