Looks like Mayor Hales is willing to put money where his mouth is when it comes to addressing Portland’s extreme lack of trail riding opportunities.
At a budget work session yesterday Mayor Charlie Hales officially recommended funding the $350,000 Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. The plan is poised to get started soon because the mayor has requested adding the expenditure to the 2014-2015 budget. Commissioner Nick Fish also support the mayor’s request.
Yesterday’s budget negotiations were part of the City’s annual spring Budget Monitoring Process, also known as the “spring bump.” This is when city bureaus and the budget office analyze spending and tweak the existing budget to align with actual spending. Items that typically get funded in the spring bump include one-off expenses and urgent or unanticipated needs. The city’s fiscal year ends June 30th, so any new projects green-lighted in the spring budget monitoring process are meant to be started right away. (The money can be spent immediately, but the projects do not have to be completed within the fiscal year.)
In the words of one source at City Hall, when a project gets added in the spring budget monitoring process, “It sends a message externally that we’re serious and internally to get started as quickly as possible.”
This is good news for the Off-Road Cycling Plan, which Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz has said must be completed before her bureau will even consider allowing cycling in parks and natural areas.
Mayor Hales’ spokesman Dana Haynes told us yesterday that the mayor wants the Parks bureau to “get started ASAP” on the plan
Here’s more from Haynes about Mayor Hales’ opinion on the issue:
“We are proud of the city’s reputation as a bike town. But we have not paid enough attention to off-road cycling. And we can’t ask people to climb in their cars and drive for an hour to recreate outside of the city. We need to identify the best appropriate places inside the city for mountain biking.”
Commissioner Nick Fish, who leads the Bureau of Environmental Services and who was a co-signer on the March 2nd memo that prohibited bicycling in River View, told us he also supports, “fast-tracking the study.”
This budget request needs just three votes on Council to be added to the budget. The spring bump requests will be made official when City Council adopts them on May 6th.
We are still trying to determine if Fritz or Commissioner Saltzman or Novick will support the mayor’s proposal. Sources say Fritz does not support it, but we are waiting to hear back from her office and the others. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: This story initially reported that Commissioner Fritz supported the mayor’s request. We are still trying to confirm her decision.
UPDATE, 10:49 am: Commissioner Saltzman also supports this ask, so there is now a majority to support it (with Hales and Fish). Here’s the statement from Saltzman’s Policy Director Matt Grumm: “Dan enthusiastically supports the idea of a city wide off road cycle master plan and however Council decides to fund it, he will be there to support that effort.”
UPDATE: 1:05 pm: Commissioner Steve Novick’s office has confirmed that he too supports the mayor’s request and will support adding the Cycling Plan into the spring budget adjustment.
That money will go a long ways towards shuttling mtb’ers to Mt. Hood & the PCT.
I thought (and completely support) a ban on mountain bikes on the PCT. Just sarcasm or did something change
The PCT mountain bike ban was typed up by 3 west coast Forest Service managers in 1988 after the Forest Service in Washington DC showed no interest in a ban. It’s been under serious challenge for 5 years now. It’s going away, sooner or later, thank heavens. See this site: http://www.sharingthepct.org
What does that even mean or have to do with PPR?
they’re saying that since PP&R isn’t allowing enough MTBing in the city they’ll use that money to shuttle people to the nearest MTB area…
Funny thing is, PCT doesn’t allow mountain biking and the “Friends” of Mt Hood have stalled Timberline MTB park through legal action. So while what you said sort of makes sense, it really doesn’t because on Mt Hood proper, there isn’t that much mountain biking and PCT doesn’t allow any.
Well, I guess the idea that Ted Wheeler may challenge him for Mayor has gotten Hales mobilized to appease all sorts of groups. MTB will get 350k but lord knows what he is doing to please Pembina.
It looks like your protests worked. Hales is a weak leader who gets shoved into doing things. He is also clearly angry at Amanda Fritz (another possible challenger and not a fav on this blog).
Hales of course, by spending money on this study, throws fuel on the fire of the 95% of us who are tired of his failure to fix the streets.
It isn’t *his* failure to fix the streets– it’s that we have stupid binding state laws that prevent us from funding our infrastructure. Gas tax? Can’t. Property tax reform? Can’t. I actually think they’re doing their best on streets and getting a bad rap about it; then again, they are incompetent…
Would I want a new challenger to prioritize “back-to-basics” fix the roads rhetoric? Hell no. Balanced approach. Take money from the coffers to give a bigger percentage to transit and bikes and peds.
I can only hope the 95% of you who are unreasonable about roads are a small percentage of our population. And yes, bikes go on roads too, but protected lanes are paramount. We don’t have enough funding going to alternative infrastructure.
Portland is permitted to have a local gas tax.
Yeah we could add a gas tax, although there are tight restrictions on how that money can be spent, for instance you can’t fund transit with a gas tax if memory serves. Pretty sure street repair is allowed though.
JEG, Hales has broken his campaign promise to fix the streets by failing to direct funds away from pet projects and towards street repair. That is why people are begging Ted Wheeler to run. Hales is the mayor, he made the promise, he broke the promise. Hales could announce that the 30 million surplus is going for street repair, but he hasn’t. He’s using that surplus as a slush fund and he has thrown you a 350k bone. Lord knows whose votes are also being bought.
One person’s “pet project” is another person’s vital and urgent need.
Pet project is a vague shorthand term for gov’t waste. It is touching you think Portland is well-managed in terms of finance. I stand corrected: There are no pet projects! Hales is great with money!
Are you the same Oregon Mamacita that complained this morning about a lack of advocacy by the BTA for Gateway Green?
Yes- I think the BTA should support Gateway Green as fairness for Eastside kids. I have supported Gateway Green myself. Now, what that has to do with Mr. Maus’s idea that Portland never wastes $ I don’t know. But have a nice day.
So just to be entirely clear: you want the BTA to advocate for an off road cycling facility; but you don’t want the City spending any money planning for off road cycling facilities. Got it.
Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I believe that Gateway Green should have city support. No environmental damage, not that expensive and brings equity to the East side and to kids.
I guess I don’t care what the BTA advocates for. The entitled advocating for their own interests and pretending it helps everyone else. The lack of advocacy for Gateway Green was just the nail in the coffin of my opinion of the BTA.
No, I don’t think you get it Oregon Mamacita. Fritz has made it clear that without an offroad master plan there will be no bikes in Portland Parks under her watch. No $350,000 for offroad master plan = no Gateway Green under Fritz.
It’s both, or neither. It’s pretty simple.
Delayed roadway maintenance didn’t happen in the last couple of years. It’s been going on for several administrations.
Amanda Fritz as a challenger for anybody for the office of Mayor is pretty hilarious.
That’s one perspective. Mine is that it is money well deserved after 20 years of well-behaved advocacy by off-road cyclists.
Yeah, as much I am in strong support of more mountain bike access, the fact that Council is even having a debate about how to spend this spring bump money, shows you how “dire” and “important” road maintenance and repairs are.
In the town halls for the street fee we sat through descriptions of roads “crumbling to gravel”, and yet it looks like road maintenance will get not even get a majority of this money.
How many miles of street repaving would $350k get us?
1. Suggest that spending a microscopic amount of money on one budget item is relevant to (and/or harms) a vastly larger budget item.
2. Refer to a fictitious percentage of people who support some vague position (that is not relevant to the microscopic budget item).
Come on, this $350,000 would clearly improve the quality of life for our region if PBOT used it to repave 2 blocks of NE Halsey St., rather than develop a plan that will result in dozens of miles of new trails that will be used for generations…
Great! How can we get him to also fund on-street bike projects?
Good. Get off your asses you lazy politicians.
I actually got a response yesterday from a Hales staffer on Twitter telling me about this Off-Road Cycling Plan, as if this were the only issue raised by the #notplatinum petition. While I’m glad that he’s doing something for mountain bikers (that absolutely needed to be done), I hope he doesn’t think this will quiet the signators of the petition, most of whom signed because they want safer streets to ride on.
So, thanks, Mr Hales, but fix our streets too.
This is a win. (Merely one step forward in a lengthy, slow process, but def a step forward.) Much congrats to the NWTA and others for getting the attention of our commissioners.
@Jonathan, if this does get funded even if they start right away there is little chance of the plan being complete before Fritz finishes shoving through a permanent ban on bikes in Riverview right? Seems like somehow the plan for riverview needs to be delayed until after the off road bicycling master plan is complete…
This is an unanswered question Bjorn. Parks has some figuring to do about the timing of the master plan vs. the timing of the River View plan. As was made clear by members of the PAC at their 4/8 meeting, many of them are not comfortable adopting a plan for River View until this master plan is completed… But it’s unlikely Parks is willing to wait. It’ll be interesting to see what they decide.
This is monumental! Been waiting for this since moving here 15 years ago. Thank you NWTA, mayor hales, city council, and anyone else involved.
Anyone have an estimate for how long it will take to put this plan together?
Based on the past, I’d guess [sarcastically] about 15 years 🙁
That’s my worry patrick. This looks like a $350k “now get off our back, we can’t do anything til the plan is done.”
Just ride your bike.
just in time for summer?
Well, it appears this will happen…
This going to need even more effort and work to push back against those that will attempt to red-line out properties and create impossible criteria for mountain bike trails. If you thought the current RVNA fight was crazy, this will be the Storming of Normandy to RVNA’s Shootout at the OK Corral.
I’m going to do something I’ve never done before on these forums, I’m going to solicit/proposition.
If you are a board member with the NWTA, please contact me at the email below. I have some information that would greatly help if there will be a city wide mountain biking plan. Because, whether or not you know it, you are going to need every bit of information, every bit of help, every ally and the intervention of deities that you can get.
Thank you for this. I agree completely.
As long as people think there are 30 miles of off-road cycling “trails” in Forest Park, this is going to be a nightmare. I hope that doesn’t count in the official count that is included in the master plan.
Expect to see the small group of extremely active anti-mtb crowd out in force and flexing everything they got.
Fire roads are not trails.
Roads. Are. Not. Trails.
Many people who don’t ride still don’t get this.
There are plenty of people who DO ride that still don’t get this.
Daverness: true story.
With work can’t they become decent trails? Wasn’t the main Sandy Ridge loop double track at one point?
It could involve a lot of work, and the fire people might want fire roads wide enough for trucks and prebuilt fire breaks.
Absolutely – they can make a great place to build trail and yes, parts of Sandy Ridge are converted over from fire roads (as are parts of Moab and many other places!). The main point that we are talking about is that roads like Saltzman and Leif Erickson should not be considered “off-road” cycling. The people that are trying to keep mountain biking are quick to make “corrections” about bicycle access in the park and claim there are over 30 miles of bicycle access. While this is true, there is really only 1/4 mile or less of single track. I would like to embrace the idea that cycling is allowed in Forest Park already, but I don’t want any confusion around what type of cycling is already allowed, the problems with the currently allowed areas and how we can make it more environmentally sound and user-conflict free.
Looking forward to seeing what other interstate median stripes they identify as future mountain bike parks.
Amanda Fritz wants to build giant walls in highway medians “for safety”.
What the hell? Has she gone mentally unstable? What a pointless suggestion.
Can’t believe I’m defending Amanda Fritz here, but to be clear, she wants ODOT to finish building the kind of anti-crossover devices much of I5 already has. It’s not as if she’s advocating for 10-foot cement walls down the median. Those cable systems have likely saved a lot of lives already, and could have saved her husbands life, so I can’t exactly argue with her interest in seeing ODOT fill the gaps in that system.
My mistake. I assumed she was advocating for concrete barriers instead of the braided steel cables.
That’s a different suggestion than “giant walls”
cool, but that’s not the prerogative of her position in Portland City Council, its to serve her constituents and provide Parks space for her constituents. She is abjectly failing at this core tenet of her job.
I believe this is in reference to the wall that ODOT had identified as being needed to reduce the change of a head on collision on I-5 like the one her husband was recently killed in. Probably still a bit too soon for comments referencing him.
cables in the median are different than giant walls.
Those cable barriers are essentially complete all the way through Salem. Unfortunately I have to go down there often, and it’s remarkable how fast they managed to fund and build them.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of miles of highways and interstates all over the state that still need them. ODOT’s main focus should be safety improvements and earthquake retrofits, and they have completely failed at both of these tasks.
well, isn’t that timely? Lets fund the “master plan” now, before any more River View Planning is finalized
We all need to keep working, discussing and influencing this those involved with this work – just because they’ve decided to *fund* the plan and seem to want to work with mountain bikers means nothing in the context of what’s happened in the past with Forest Park and River View.
Woohoo! We still have a lot of work to do to make sure the master plan provides the types of trails most of us actually want to bike on.
The more I participate in advocacy the more I appreciate the trails we have because I understand how much work advocates had to put in for that trail access.
Maybe this will lead to more parking availability at Sandy Ridge in the future! That place gets PACKED on the weekend!
Fund the plan. Build the trails. Re-open the trails that are already in use. That’s the cheapest part!
Also, let’s quit calling Leif Erickson, et. al., a place for “off-road” cycling. They are roads – they just aren’t paved.
Uh, yeah. If Leif Erickson is a trail, there are LOTS of ‘trails’ in the city limits masquerading as streets.
Some even justify being ridden on full-suspension with a dropper seatpost.
Good point – this could work out great for the Mayor and Ms. Fritz: just re-designate all the unpaved roads throughout Portland into ‘trails’ and he would no longer have to worry about spending money on the pesky equity problem for E Portland AND we’d all stop whining about lack of trails in the city!
Shoot – I’d even have several new trails less than a mile from my house! (Albeit short ones…)
There are parts of Leif Erickson that ARE paved.
I rode Leif Erickson from Saltzman to Germantown and i wound up muddy!Leif Erickson is not singletrack, but is a really, really nice off-road (at least not shared with cars) ride. I support this plan, but I am suspicious of the City over-thinking/over-planning or simply stalling. There are not THAT many options, and it is not really that complicated. IMO, for 350K the City should get a masterplan and 2 built example projects, one eastsid and one westside. It is a shame there are not singletrack opportunities, and it is shocking the way the CIty has mismanaged Riverview, but why all the disdain for Leif Erickson/Forest Park? I would be bummed if they took that away.
I see it like an unpaved Springwater. Fun, sometimes, but not mountain biking. Its also very crowded at times. A ride in the woods is great, but opponents of MTB trails are talking about it like it is one.
Not sharing it with cars does not qualify it as “off-road”. Just because you got muddy and it isn’t paved doesn’t make it any less of a road. You could take any 2 wheel drive car on it and not bat an eye.
The worst part about it being a road and allowing bikes is that it allows such high speeds for bicycles and there are a ton of off-leash dogs; i.e. user conflict. It isn’t difficult to carry 30 mph on long sections of Leif Erickson and doing that on single-track very rarely happens (in spite of what all of the opponents seem to say).
If you ride 30 mph on Leif Erickson, you are part of the problem- that kind of riding does not lead hikes/other bikers to believe that MTB’ers can safely share trails. Just because you might be able to drive a car on it is beside the point- no cars are on it. It is a fun ride through the woods where bikes can cruise side by side and converse (and hikers can walk side by side). I realize it is not technical and it is not single track, but it works well for a lot of people including kids. I would love to see some singletrack loops developed of of Leif Erickson. I guess my point is that Leif Erickson and the FP Firelanes could be a really great starting point for a MT trail system in FP, and a decent model for other areas (the road-width trail allows access for emergency vehicles and maintenance crews). I just fell defensive about this when I hear so much bitter complaining about it.
Riding 30 mph on it could be avoided by having single-track (at least by me).
The whole point I was responding to was you calling Leif Erickson off-road. Being able to drive a car on it is not beside the point. Leif Erickson should not be considered “off-road”. It isn’t “off-road”.
The fire lanes could be a decent place to start some trails, but even they aren’t that great based on how they have been built. They pretty much go straight up and down the hill, which is a horrible way to build a trail and does not follow any modern trail building guidelines (and for good reason).
Sharing Leif Erickson/Saltzman/et. al. is a pain because many of the runners run on the wrong side of the road, the hikers/families don’t pay attention, there are tons of off-leash dogs and cyclists can/do go as fast they can because why not. Let’s not put the blame solely on cyclists – we each have a part to play in it and we should play it fairly. I would love to see some signage up there that shows proper usage of these shared resources: “Hikers/Walkers/Runners – stay alert, stay to the right; Cyclists mind your speed and use your bells; Everyone share the nature”
“bike town” ? Are we still living in that fantasy ?
Thousands of 700c wheels on road! This is a cycling town/city, just not a single-track cycling accessible town/city. I can’t even use my DJ bike for Urban Assault without getting dirty looks.
It’s great to have some pressure from the mayor (thanks for all your calls and letters, everyone!) but I’m still worried about the whole idea of handing a $350k master planning process over to someone as hostile and incompetent regarding bicycles and recreational trails as Amanda Fritz. Somebody else needs to be in charge.
Man, I really wish I could be enthusiastic about this news, but the Portland Bicycling Master Plan for 2030 hasn’t exactly blossomed out on the streets since being adopted 5 years ago. I foresee nothing happening, whether this Off Road Bicycling Master Plan is funded ASAP or not.
On the positive side, I think that this proves that a little bad publicity (the idea of potentially losing “platinum”) goes a long way toward attracting the attention of the mayor! Let’s do it again. And again.
Haha the Platinum downgrade proposition was a hit to their battleship!
Master plan shmaster plan, just fork over some land for trails and let us build and ride them!
Wow. So much anger. Rage, even. I’m told this is just internet bluster, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing – like the feller said.
But still, as an interested observer of, and long-ago participant in the challenges of money/infrastructure for bikes, I never seen the kind of purple rhetoric seen on here actually accomplish anything. No one is likely to get far impugning Commissioner Fritz’s sincerity and personal integrity. And they’ll get even less far underestimating the power that Audubon and their allies wield in the City bureaucracy. Just ask the Port or anyone wanting to build anything near a natural resource.
“impugning Commissioner Fritz’s sincerity and personal integrity.”
Strawman. I am impugning Fritz’s anti-cycling bias and I vote.
This seems like a place to vent – there has been accompanying action. So you are right, this forum alone is not going to change the way things are done and it is only through direct action that things will change. I think you just categorized this in your mind incorrectly than their is truth in your statement. That being said, anger has been building for 20+ years and sometimes the pot boils over.
I don’t think anyone is underestimating the power of the groups you mentioned – mainly because it isn’t the first time we have run into it many times before. I don’t think mtbers are as naive as you may believe, although there is that contingency present (but there always is!).
I wish we could bike on a plan. Hey, maybe $50k worth of the plan could be a full-sized demonstration model in River View. Who are the planners and what are they doing with all of this plan planning money? Is there a master plan to plan the planning of the master plan’s plan?
This is really encouraging news from the mayor. It gives me hope that he is listening.
Wow, I’m surprised and encouraged by these words from Hales.
But Portland’s weak-mayor system means that things don’t just happen because they mayor wants them to. Short of reassigning the Parks Bureau to himself (which he CAN do) he will have to work with the other Parks commissioners to get anything done. We’ll see if anything actually happens, but this is a step in the right direction.
I wonder how many miles of singletrack we’ll get out of this deal? Anything less than 15-20 miles of continuous/connected singletrack isn’t going to make me want to stay in the city to ride very often.
I’m looking forward to losing Powell Butte at this rate. Unless they come around on Forest Park or RVNA where else is it going to go besides Gateway? Tabor? Kelly Butte?
There are only a handful of parks in Portland that have the size and terrain. Looking at them together is just a way to say we don’t need riding in Forest Park because we’re building Gateway sometime in the future.
The one thing Powell Butte has going for it is that it’s in East Portland, so therefore the city overlooks it almost completely!
(Unless they want to build a big covered reservoir there in the “nature park”)
Would depend how you get to use the land.
This is in a piece of land similar in size to RiverView with similar topography. However, it didn’t have all the streams with the (monterous) setbacks.
There are 9.2 miles in this system.
This is politics and not a reason to stand down on River View. We just went into the negative for in-city trails and they haven’t guaranteed an increase anywhere else. The same people who are against River View are down on off road biking in Forest Park. So, if there is going to be more access to Forest Park, its going to be very limited. The bottom line is that we are still in the red.
I agree, its a positive step, but it feels like we’re just being thrown a bone. We need to flood the PAC meeting to demand “no PAC conclusions w/o the MTB plan completion”
The bully (Fritz/Fish) steals the lunch money (River View) from the kid (bikers). When the kid tells the bully he will tell the teacher (legal system) that it was unfair, another bully (Hales), who didn’t stop the original theft, responds that he might give the kid more money at an undetermined date if his bully friends agree. The problem is bullying.
Mayor Hales supporting the Off Road master plan is HUGE for the cycling community. For one, it shows a new and unprecedented support for and interest in MTB from the top down at the city, and second Commissioner Fritz has made it clear that absolutely zero new MTB trails will occur under her watch until there is a master plan.
I want to encourage everyone to remember how we got here, though: protest, noise, and making the city’s longtime (and current) anti-MTB stance unpopular and politically inconvenient. Portland’s mountain bikers have been on the local news, in the newspaper, in nationally circulated magazines and websites, we’ve worked with IMBA, People for Bikes and the Bike League to pressure city hall, and we’ve started a successful and growing petition to downgrade the Portland’s Platinum Bike Friendly City status. In short we’ve been a well-organized, vocal, royal pain in the ass at every step of the process.
This is the first time we’ve ever organized as the opposition, and coincidentally it’s also the first time we’ve ever seen results. We need to continue to make noise, drive the agenda, and call foul as the city works on the Master Plan. If we don’t get involved in that process, and stay involved and interested, we WILL NOT like the results of the process. We need to make sure we get good people involved in the master plan, and we need to continue to report and shine light on BS when it happens.
If we control the agenda, we win. If we let the city control the agenda, we lose.
about a mile and a half.