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Anti-trail group influences bike access plans for Metro’s North Tualatin Mountains project

Posted by on April 7th, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Hank McCurdy in a Youtube video posted
by the Tualatin Wildlife Alliance. McCurdy
lives adjacent to the Tualatin Mountains and
is opposed to new trails.

Once again improvements to cycling access in an off-road area near Portland is in jeopardy because of opposition from people who claim the new trails will harm wildlife.

Back in November we shared exciting news that Metro planned to develop two parcels (out of four) in their North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area just north of Forest Park. Unlike the City of Portland, that so far has failed to adequately manage bike access in its parks, Metro worked with mountain bike advocates from the early stages of this project in order to create a plan that included a significant amount of new singletrack trails. The first draft of the plan released in November included about 10.6 total miles of unpaved roads and trails that would be open to bikes in the Burlington Creek and McCarthy Creek parcels. We called it “a historic step forward” for off-road cycling in Portland.

But things have changed in the past four months. Metro has altered the initial plan amid increasing pressure from people who oppose biking in the area.

A new draft of the trail plan released last month (PDF) has removed 2.7 miles of bike-accessible trails from the McCarthy Creek parcel.

Below is Metro’s first draft trail plan map of the McCarthy Creek parcel:

And here’s the latest draft (note the absense of trails in the upper right corner):

An upstart group called the Tualatin Wildlife Alliance says they don’t want any biking in this area due to its potential impacts on elk and wildlife habitat in general. Hank McCurdy, a Portland real estate developer who lives off McNamee road near the McCarthy Creek parcel, is the leader of the group and has set up a “Save Forest Park Corridor” website. He and other people opposed to biking have been profiled in the Willamette Week (last June) and in the NW Examiner (in November).

Their main argument (which McCurdy makes in this recent video he uploaded to Youtube) is that Metro “promised” that money raised from voters via a natural areas bond measure to purchase the Tualatin properties would be used for preservation only. “Now Metro wants to turn more than 200 acres of this sensitive land into an outdoor adventure park with a dense network of trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and runners,” reads the copy on the Save Forest Park Corridor website.

McCurdy and others against the bike trails are threatening to oppose future bond measures if Metro doesn’t comply with their demands. One woman told the Willamette Week that she’s so upset over the proposed bike trails that she’s dropping Metro from her will. “She had planned to donate some of her 33 acres [near Forest Park],” reads the story.

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N Tualatin Mtns open house-7

At a December 2014 open house for this project a Metro staffer asked if anyone in the crowd was there in support of improved bike access.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The language of the Metro levy that voters passed in 2013 does not say cycling must be excluded from natural areas. In fact the bond measure McCurdy is referring to explicitly gives Metro the option of creating bike-specific trails in the Tualatin Mountains. “Various parcels near to but outside of Forest Park are currently or could be used by walkers or cyclists to access nature close to Portland,” reads the bond measure. “…This project would explore the potential to provide quality cycling and hiking experiences for formal single track cycling and walking trails, and as appropriate, construct the facilities.”

But McCurdy and his supporters are undetterred. They’re planning a protest rally in front of Metro headquarters on NE Grand Avenue at noon tomorrow (April 8th) where they’ll demand that Metro shelve the trail plan entirely until an independent ecological study is completed.

“If the yardstick is absolutely no impacts to habitat we’re not going to meet it with this project. We’re not going to meet it with any project.”
— Dan Moeller, conservation program director at Metro

To bolser their case McCurdy points to a recommendation made by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) in a letter to Metro dated February 23rd (PDF) that states, “Avoid/Minimize construction of new trails and other infrastructure, especially in areas of high quality habitat.”

Reached via phone today, Metro’s Conservation Program Director Dan Moeller said they heard “great concern” from neighbors about the elk grazing habitat. He said community feedback and science are key considerations when they develop plans. “Using a combination of those two factors we decided, at this point, it was best to remove that trail from the plan.” But Moeller adds that the decision is not final. “We also left room in the document for us to consider more information that we may have by the time we develop the McCarthy site.”

As for the elk, Moeller told the NW Examiner back in December that the state has already told Metro that the North Tualatin Mountains area “is not a major elk refuge” and that it has been officially designated a “de-emphasis zone” for elk.

Metro plans to first develop the Burlington Creek site as a first phase of this project. Then, Moeller said, with lessons learned and more time for study and observations of habitat impacts, they will re-assess the McCarthy plan. While Metro removed a bike trail from McCarthy, they’ve also added more bike access at Burlington Creek where the current trail plan calls for 7.6 miles of bike access including 4.9 miles of trails.

N Tualatin Mtns open house-4

NWTA’s Andy Jansky (right) talks with Metro Councilor Sam Chase
during an open house event in December 2014.

As for the letter from ODFW, Moeller said it doesn’t tell Metro anything they already didn’t know.

“If the yardstick is absolutely no impacts to habitat we’re not going to meet it with this project,” he said. “We’re not going to meet it with any project. We’ve always recognized that.” Moeller said Metro’s mission is complex because they are committed to preserving natural areas while also providing access to nature in urban areas. He pointed out there would be only 10 miles of trail in the 1,300 acres Metro owns. “75 percent of the land would have no trail or fewer trails then we began with. Overall, it’s a very small footprint.”

Off-road cycling advocates with the Northwest Trail Alliance have seen this horror movie before. The group’s president, Kelsey Cardwell, says the political threats being made by McCurdy and others “shows their true colors.” “Their main concern isn’t the preservation of these properties,” she added in a comment to BikePortland via email yesterday. “They are the homeowners in the area and don’t want people to be able to access the public lands in their backyard.”

Cardwell says conservation is a common red herring in access debates and that, “Environmental and recreational goals should and can complement each other.” Echoing an argument NW Trail Alliance has been making for years now, Cardwell added, “Access can support preservation, prevent dumping and illegal camping. It can promote healthy environmental stewardship through educational opportunities, and since this area is right near a school, there’s a lot of potential.”

Cardwell wants Metro to put the McCarthy Creek bike trail back in to the plan because it was removed simply because of threats made by neighbors who oppose it and there is no evidence to support that it would have a negative ecological impact.

For off-road advocates it’s yet another setback. NWTA Advocacy Chair Andrew Jansky said it’s another disappointing example of how powerful people can influence projects. “The cycling community provided input, participated in a good public process, and even met with the councilors and the council president to express our support for Metro and the result that was presented at the final open house,” he shared with us via email. “Then in the ensuing time, anti-access folks have been hammering on councilors with emails, calls, videos etc pushing to close more areas and eliminate trails.”

Metro is set to have a public hearing on the North Tualatin Mountains plan April 14th and its scheduled to be adopted by Council April 21st.

UPDATE, 4/8 at 9:00 am: The NW Trail Alliance has just sent an action alert to their members encouraging them to contact Metro councilors before today’s protest rally by people who oppose trails. Below is the text:

This just in! In three hours, protesters plan on lining up outside of Metro offices to quash the community-driven plan to protect and promote natural areas north of Forest Park.

We need your help, because every single email sent to Metro councilors will make a big difference. These are public properties, funded by taxpayers who want to see preservation, protection and access in our natural areas. It’s not up to a handful of neighbors to decide!

Send a quick email to councilors and let them know:
We strongly support Metro’s plan to include shared use trails on the Burlington property. These family-friendly trails will help grow healthy lifestyles, create environmental education opportunities, and provide close-in access to nature for all urban communities.

We appreciate that the current plan considers cycling on the McCarthy property if and when there is compelling evidence that it is safe for the elk habitat. We believe the trails on Burlington will act as a great pilot to assess whether environmental and recreational goals can complement one another.

Send your note to: tom.hughes@oregonmetro.gov; sam.chase@oregonmetro.gov; bob.stacey@oregonmetro.gov; kathryn.harrington@oregonmetro.gov; shirley.craddick@oregonmetro.gov; carlotta.collette@oregonmetro.gov; craig.dirksen@oregonmetro.gov and CC the project team, parksandnature@oregonmetro.gov.

Thank you for your continued support,

Kelsey

——-

Dear Council President Hughes and Metro Councilors,

After more than a year engaging community members, Metro has recommended that two of the four sites in the North Tualatin Mountains be open for public access, to include a mix of hiking and off-road cycling trails. However, in a knee-jerk response to a campaign by neighbors, Metro removed a primary cycling trail from the plan reviewed in late 2015, despite having provided no further science or data suggesting it was necessary to do so.

A voter-approved levy foots the bill for community planning efforts that will formally welcome visitors to the North Tualatin Mountains northwest of Forest Park. In 2013, NWTA galvanized support for this levy among our 1,000 dues paying members and within our community at large with the understanding that access to nature would be integral in the planning. We understand that visitor improvements are designed to protect water quality and wildlife habitat while creating opportunities for people to connect with nature in areas where it makes sense. Access, education, recreation and outreach, when appropriate, are important elements to the long-term protection and preservation of natural areas. For that reason, we recommend:

Include the cycling trail that was originally planned for the McCarthy property, and further supported by the Advisory Committee members in the latest meeting, subject to further evaluation of potential environmental impacts.

As written in the current version of the draft plan, keep all trails on the Burlington property open to cyclists, knowing that further study at McCarthy could significantly reduce the length of the trail system, even with the addition of these Burlington trails.

Northwest Trail Alliance anticipated engaging with Metro as an active partner by recruiting volunteers and by pursuing grants and other funding sources for youth involvement, trail stewardship, education, construction and maintenance. In 2015, our volunteers dedicated 6,000 hours to building and maintaining our region’s mountain bike trails. We are also a regular recipient of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant funding. It will be very difficult to engage our members and garner support for the project in its current form.

Before the sudden change to remove trail from the McCarthy property, there was widespread support of the plan within the cycling community. There are a number of options for addressing habitat concerns other than an outright ban on trails in sensitive areas, including seasonal closures as was mentioned by representatives of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. NWTA would support these options if they are supported by science and implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.

Thank you for considering our recommendations.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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72 Comments
  • rick April 7, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    What is going on in Oregon?

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    • Matt F April 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      You mean Portland. This same stuff has been going on for 25 years. It’s about run its course though.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. April 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    You know what else “harms wildlife” in that area? All the roads. Better close them too.

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    • Dan A April 7, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      And people building houses where elk used to live.

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      • Mark S April 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        And people shooting elk.

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        • Psyfalcon April 8, 2016 at 11:10 pm

          Shhhhh.

          Elk is tasty.

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    • Mao April 7, 2016 at 11:09 pm

      Dogs are extremely good at disrupting wildlife. Because you know what Flufflykins the Spitz-mutt looks like? A predator.

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      • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 12:09 pm

        allowing dogs is always worse than allowing bicycles… people let them off leash so they’re unpredictable and they wander and leave feces everywhere…

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  • Champs April 7, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    What with all the action taken on other off-street trails around Portland, it feels like those chickens (among other things) have come home to roost.

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  • Carrie April 7, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    Once again, it’s an off-road CYCLING plan, not a CONSERVATION plan (not that the two are exclusive, but the goals are very, very different).

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  • Eric April 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    My stock comment for these types of posts: keep trying to kick that football, Charlie Brown. 🙁

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    • GlowBoy April 7, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Twenty thousand thumbs up.

      As many here know, I started letting someone other than Lucy hold the football not too long ago, and now I get to kick it all the time!

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      • Rob Chapman April 7, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        And you have cross country skiing too (lucky).

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        • Psyfalcon April 8, 2016 at 11:11 pm

          I think they’re still skiing now though. Snowed today in Chicago.

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    • axoplasm April 8, 2016 at 9:51 am

      MTBers are some of the most play-by-the-rules types you will ever meet. In places with less cronyish local politics that works in our favor. But in Portland we’ve been playing by the rules for 25years and our reward is ever less singletrack.

      I will return as I always to my analogy with dog owners (I am one). There is no Northwest Dog Alliance or advocacy group. We have no unified voice in demanding essentially unlimited access for dogs to every park, playground, school, and natural area within 100mi of Portland. We just take our dogs there and do whatever we please. So many people do it, so blithely and with such entitlement, that the government response has been to try to lure dog owners & our pets into abundant, well-supplied, well-distributed public dog recreation zones.

      I’m one of those play-by-the-rules types so this is hard for me to say. But somehow I don’t feel conflicted letting my dog off-leash at the baseball diamond. When everyone breaks the rules, the rules bend.

      Mountain biking is a legitimate recreation activity with demonstrated demand. If our public officials can’t get it together to designate some public spaces to accommodate that demand, we should not feel conflicted to use those spaces anyway. If enough of us do it, we might find ourselves actually winning these battles for a change.

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      • Dan A April 8, 2016 at 10:56 am

        That’s how skate parks came into existence. The establishment was tired of skaters using public spaces, and supported the creation of designated parks to lure them away.

        It might be helpful to have a directory of singletrack that is currently suitable (but not legitimate) for riding.

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        • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 12:12 pm

          maybe if enough local parks (or front lawns) are torn up then they’ll create dedicated space like they did for skaters…

          don’t like skaters in your business park? build them an even better place…

          don’t like MTBers in your local park? build them an even better place…

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  • Allan April 7, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I think a better approach might be to have metro adopt a policy that we need X miles of off-road cycling in the city, Y% of people should be w/in 5 miles off off-road cycling opportunities and all residents inside the UGB should be with 10-15 miles of off-road cycling opportunities. That way local pols can use data to figure out the best sites instead of fighting every single battle. Without policy language like this, staff will continue to cave over and over to “local impact ” concerns.

    We shouldn’t be protecting pristine wilderness near cities, the most protected areas in places that are away from the cities. This seems completely obvious but somehow we’re failing. A section of forest park close to town should be given over to off-road cyclcing, and something on the east side. However its more about having something, not where that something is except that it should be close to where people live

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    • axoplasm April 8, 2016 at 9:52 am

      THIS

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    • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      “We shouldn’t be protecting pristine wilderness near cities, the most protected areas in places that are away from the cities”

      the only reason to protect them is if they’re essential to the ecosystem… eventually the cities will all grow to reach the edge of the forest… we have to stop somewhere… we can’t pave everything… but we can keep those ecosystems and still allow reasonable access to most of them while keeping the truly sensitive parts off-limits…

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  • spencer April 7, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    no surprise here. ugggg. NIMBY at its best. NWTA and people who care have to fight this.

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    • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      wow, that’s an incredibly neutral article…

      * we’re losing visible wildlife (I don’t see insects being addressed)
      * we have no idea why it’s happening

      that’s definitely a concern… but if people really thought it was a problem then they’d close Forest Park and start an extensive survey to see what the problem is… I don’t think the public want’s to spend the money it would take for that…

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      • JL April 11, 2016 at 2:21 pm

        I’m happy you noticed that. The whole site is like that but this page stood out to me.

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  • Rob Chapman April 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Does anybody else savor the delicious irony of a real estate developer opposing development? Forest Park is not pristine wilderness by any stretch of the imagination.

    If Mobile Alabama can have single track in town why can’t Portland?

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    • Dan A April 7, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Even NYC has mountain biking in the middle of town.

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    • Mao April 7, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Pretty much no area is pristine. Some are just less contaminated than others.

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  • reader April 7, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    I think NIMBY now means “Never Improve Mountain Biking, Yo”

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  • shannon April 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    What action is NWTA recommending for cyclists around the upcoming vote?

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  • Gary B April 7, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    They’re protesting tomorrow at noon. If we can’t outnumber them 10-to-1 at their protest, we’re doing something wrong. I assume this is being organized–can someone point me to information?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 7, 2016 at 6:24 pm

      I’m not aware of any counter-protest going on. I plan to be there to talk with folks and check out the scene (if there is one).

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  • Charley April 7, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We’re not trying to build a lego tower to the moon, just open some trails to people who ride bikes! What is so broken in Portland that such a small, achievable, healthy goal remains outside our grasp?

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  • q`Tzal April 7, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    One might also consider the negotiating strategy of taking their anti-bike to its “logical” conclusion and excluding ALL human activity of ANY kind other than official park employees.

    Sure, it’s phyrric strategy of total annihilation but it would force them to walk back their concerns to justify why they should be given access while excluding bicycles.

    If they truly believe that they are doing this for nature preservation they should have no reason to insist on public foot access.

    If this is, as expected, anti-bike NIMBY-ism then they should have to show peer reviewed real scientific data that proves bikes are worse than campfire making, booby trap setting, beer can littering pedestrians.

    If they want to play this game of selective nature conservation I say keep EVERYONE out: that’s much better for nature.

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  • Tom Hardy April 7, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    sounds like the same mentality, religion, sense of greed as the Bundy’s that tried to take over the Malhuer reserve in Harney county. Assume control of it because a few of them live near and want to develop public land to for their own purposes while destroying it. If there is ever a forest fire or ? on it they would be the first to bellyache because the firefighters could not gain access to it.

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  • Buzz April 7, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    Being both a real estate developer and a wildlife advocate seems like an oxymoron to me.

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    • ben April 8, 2016 at 2:47 am

      Do you know what the difference is between a real estate developer and a conservationist? The conservationist already owns their house in the woods.

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  • spencer April 7, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    Go to the protest. I just cleared my schedule.

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  • GlowBoy April 7, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Classic NIMBYism masquerading as environmentalism. We recently had the same thing going on here in Edina, MN, as owners of million-dollar homes backing up to a (publicly owned) creek opposed development of a regional trail through there. Even though the trail is being constructed on a boardwalk, the owners of large fertilized and herbicided lawns suddenly cared about the wildlife in the wetland.

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    • Cyclekrieg April 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm

      But did those yards equal to 19 miles of construction impacts or 56 miles of vegetation impacts of trails? Because the 3 couples that make up the Tualatin Wildlife Alliance, have yards impacts (just yards) that equal the aforementioned numbers.

      “I care about those red legged frogs a lot which is why I’m opposed to trails” – says these people before hopping on a 60″ mower and dicing up God knows how many red legged frogs keeping that lawn looking good

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    • Rain Waters April 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm

      Edina, some things never change.

      I got yelled at, run off and stinkfaced looks yet somehow blazed the multiuse thats now somewhat paved in SE Mendota heights rd after repeatedly removing/relocating survey markers for that hideous I-94 which eventually destroyed beautiful land in the 80’s. Sometimes we gain sometimes we lose but we don’t give up and/or we’ll eventually just ride where we want.

      Time to pop over to utube and flame a certain political video.

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  • wsbob April 7, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    “…“Various parcels near to but outside of Forest Park are currently or could be used by walkers or cyclists to access nature close to Portland,” reads the bond measure. “…This project would explore the potential to provide quality cycling and hiking experiences for formal single track cycling and walking trails, and as appropriate, construct the facilities.” …” said to be quotes from 2013 metro bond levy ballot guide/bikeportland

    I hope those are word for word quotes from the ballot measure guide. At any rate, I seem to remember them being something on that order, and I did vote for the measure, aware that off road biking, which might include mountain biking, might be provided on lands that have come to be acquired through that vote.

    The environmental, conservation, recreational concerns raised by the citizens group, are valid, I think. The public did pass the measure, I tend to think also, aware that the natural land parcel would very possibly be used off road biking/ mountain biking, etc. And so, provision of that kind of riding on these lands, really should proceed to some degree.

    Preservation of the land for elk habitat, or part of a hoped for continuous wooded connection between Portland and the coast range, are worthy ideas, but it’s a little late to the party. Voters effectively sacrificed potential to realized that level of wildlife preservation when they passed this metro measure. The way development and growing population eats up natural land, maybe many people eventually will come to regret having voted for this measure with its wording that included use of the land for biking.

    Maybe now, isn’t the time to try reverse that decision, and people instead, should carry on with the plans to provide biking trail on these lands. It’s time for a straight up open discussion of what specific types of off road biking trail should be provided on these most recent metro bond measure acquired North Tualitan natural land parcels. If there is going to be some of the kinds of mountain bike trail that has jumps and banked turns, people ought to know that now, rather than later.

    I realize many people reading and posting comments to this bike weblog , very passionately want to have mountain biking opportunities close to the city. That’s fine, and it may eventually happen…but I think the animosity and reckless remarks some people are making in their comments on the subject, and in the reporting, are not going to help towards bringing about mountain bike opportunities locally.

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    • Alex April 8, 2016 at 9:47 am

      > Preservation of the land for elk habitat, or part of a hoped for continuous wooded connection between Portland and the coast range, are worthy ideas, but it’s a little late to the party. Voters effectively sacrificed potential to realized that level of wildlife preservation when they passed this metro measure. The way development and growing population eats up natural land, maybe many people eventually will come to regret having voted for this measure with its wording that included use of the land for biking.

      Biking isn’t going to stop elk from being present there and has little impact on them. What is interesting, is watching neighbors clamor around the elk but basically have all government organizations say this isn’t prime habitat for elk and not seeing it as an issue. This, to me, shows just how much of a NIMBY issue this is.

      > If there is going to be some of the kinds of mountain bike trail that has jumps and banked turns, people ought to know that now, rather than later.

      Who cares if it does? What do those jumps and banked turns do to the environment or elk? Are elk scared of jumps and banked turns more than a road leading to McCurdy’s house and the traffic those people generate up there? (also note, I don’t think the neighbors up there are too friendly to road cyclists either – I know I have been harassed on a road bike more than once up there). If they are biking trails, make them biking trails and not hiking trails. If you want to hike, use the other 99.999% trails in the area that don’t allow bikes.

      > but I think the animosity and reckless remarks some people are making in their comments on the subject, and in the reporting, are not going to help towards bringing about mountain bike opportunities locally.

      What animosity and reckless remarks in the reporting? Jonathan obviously supports mtbing opportunities in the area, but his remarks are anything but reckless or filled with animosity. I will also say in closing that for all of the good, hard work that the mountain biking community has put in on getting access hasn’t served them well. So if being nice/helpful/responsible doesn’t work and being aggressive doesn’t work, what does? What I see is that the mountain bikers are not the aggressive ones – the anti-mtb groups are the aggressors (and somewhat regularly violent) ones.

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  • Mike Quigley April 8, 2016 at 6:01 am

    Out of 10.6 miles of bike trails they removed only 2.7 miles and the world has all of a sudden ended. Bottom Line: There are places mountain bikes should not be and this is one of them.

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    • Alex April 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

      10.6 miles of bike access on land that was bought with bicycles mentioned in the acquisition and you have people threatening to take Metro out of their will. Try to pin it on the mountain bikers all you want, but they are the ones that have been getting run over by the neighbors of these areas.

      The interesting thing I noted from above is that only the neighbors are really bringing up elk and not any of the government organizations. In fact, the government agencies have all downgraded this area for elk habitat.

      The ODFW report only talks about impacts on amphibians and to a certain degree it was sort of hilarious. At the end, the report states they are “unsure” if cycling will offset all of the positive impacts of Metros acquisition. Really? And the paragraph above, they note that the red-legged frogs they are most concerned about have to cross highway 30 and burlington northern railroads for their seasonal movements, yet they somehow survive that just fine? Mountain biking is going to be the end of them somehow by them getting stuck in mountain bike tire ruts (because this phenomenon has occurred at some point in history and was written down)? I really would like to see some real science and not just a letter from someone within the ODFW that has a very strong agenda saving amphibians (not that there is anything wrong with that, I would just like some science based information, not opinions).

      I know you hate mountain bikes (we have gone over it before), but I do hope you see how frustrating it can be to not even be able to have a conversation with these people without getting the carpet completely pulled from underneath you right at the end – no matter how much positive time and effort you have put into the land in order to restore and maintain a healthy environment.

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      • Tom Hardy April 8, 2016 at 9:22 am

        This looks like a prime example of groups living next to PUBLIC LANDS wishing to exploit it for their own purposes without paying for their use of the land. I would strongly look out in the streams down hill from the neighborhood committee for evidence of placer mining. It happens all of the time in California. Also look at the neighborhood association. There have been reports of several of the neighborhood associations in this area run by the Trump real estate management group.

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    • spencer April 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

      I think you are overestimating the trails planned. There are a total of 4.9 miles trail, 5 miles old logging road access. They eliminated 2.7 miles of trail to keep a private nature preserve buffer on Mr. McCurdy’s property line. The ODFW letter is a biased hit job that is clearly anti bike with its mention of drowning frogs in mountain bike ruts. The last time I checked, trails built by mountain bikers drain well, unlike Portland Park maintenance practices.

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    • bjorn April 8, 2016 at 7:03 pm

      My understanding is the 2.6 miles is out, their goal now is to eliminate all bicycle access hence the protest.

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  • Jeff April 8, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Lemme guess. Horse access is still allowed?

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  • Matt S. April 8, 2016 at 7:55 am

    All I have to say, MTBers must be better organized than the next group if they’re to win this PR campaign.

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    • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 8:26 am

      the MTBers are very well organized, but they present sane reasoning instead of hysteric hyperbole so they don’t garner as much media attention…

      there’s no more Fairness (Doctrine) in Journalism (thanks Reagan?) so the media reports only what will get people angry and riled up… there’s no money in reporting the sane side of news…

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  • Terry Henderson April 8, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Same sh!t, different day.

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  • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I’ve been in the NW for about 14 years and used to drive and hike all over the gorge area and have never seen an elk anywhere around here…

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    • Psyfalcon April 8, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      I’ve seen them in Nehalem from the road, and at the Grand Canyon. Right in between a service building an a big hotel. I’m sure they don’t calve right there, but these things don’t expire at the sight of a bike.

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  • Spiffy April 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Metro doesn’t need the votes, money, or land of a small whiny group… I’m sorry to tell you that you’re just not as important as you thing you are…

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  • KristenT April 8, 2016 at 9:08 am

    I wouldn’t say it’s a horror movie so much as a recycled drama with the same timeworn plot lines that flopped at the box office the first three times it was presented.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

    UPDATE: The NW Trail Alliance has just sent an email to their members encouraging them to contact Metro councilors. The statement isn’t online yet so here’s the full text:

    This just in! In three hours, protesters plan on lining up outside of Metro offices to quash the community-driven plan to protect and promote natural areas north of Forest Park.

    We need your help, because every single email sent to Metro councilors will make a big difference. These are public properties, funded by taxpayers who want to see preservation, protection and access in our natural areas. It’s not up to a handful of neighbors to decide!

    Send a quick email to councilors and let them know:
    We strongly support Metro’s plan to include shared use trails on the Burlington property. These family-friendly trails will help grow healthy lifestyles, create environmental education opportunities, and provide close-in access to nature for all urban communities.

    We appreciate that the current plan considers cycling on the McCarthy property if and when there is compelling evidence that it is safe for the elk habitat. We believe the trails on Burlington will act as a great pilot to assess whether environmental and recreational goals can complement one another.

    Send your note to: tom.hughes@oregonmetro.gov; sam.chase@oregonmetro.gov; bob.stacey@oregonmetro.gov; kathryn.harrington@oregonmetro.gov; shirley.craddick@oregonmetro.gov; carlotta.collette@oregonmetro.gov; craig.dirksen@oregonmetro.gov and CC the project team, parksandnature@oregonmetro.gov.

    Thank you for your continued support,

    Kelsey

    ——-

    Dear Council President Hughes and Metro Councilors,

    After more than a year engaging community members, Metro has recommended that two of the four sites in the North Tualatin Mountains be open for public access, to include a mix of hiking and off-road cycling trails. However, in a knee-jerk response to a campaign by neighbors, Metro removed a primary cycling trail from the plan reviewed in late 2015, despite having provided no further science or data suggesting it was necessary to do so.

    A voter-approved levy foots the bill for community planning efforts that will formally welcome visitors to the North Tualatin Mountains northwest of Forest Park. In 2013, NWTA galvanized support for this levy among our 1,000 dues paying members and within our community at large with the understanding that access to nature would be integral in the planning. We understand that visitor improvements are designed to protect water quality and wildlife habitat while creating opportunities for people to connect with nature in areas where it makes sense. Access, education, recreation and outreach, when appropriate, are important elements to the long-term protection and preservation of natural areas. For that reason, we recommend:

    Include the cycling trail that was originally planned for the McCarthy property, and further supported by the Advisory Committee members in the latest meeting, subject to further evaluation of potential environmental impacts.

    As written in the current version of the draft plan, keep all trails on the Burlington property open to cyclists, knowing that further study at McCarthy could significantly reduce the length of the trail system, even with the addition of these Burlington trails.

    Northwest Trail Alliance anticipated engaging with Metro as an active partner by recruiting volunteers and by pursuing grants and other funding sources for youth involvement, trail stewardship, education, construction and maintenance. In 2015, our volunteers dedicated 6,000 hours to building and maintaining our region’s mountain bike trails. We are also a regular recipient of Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grant funding. It will be very difficult to engage our members and garner support for the project in its current form.

    Before the sudden change to remove trail from the McCarthy property, there was widespread support of the plan within the cycling community. There are a number of options for addressing habitat concerns other than an outright ban on trails in sensitive areas, including seasonal closures as was mentioned by representatives of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. NWTA would support these options if they are supported by science and implemented in a fair and reasonable manner.

    Thank you for considering our recommendations.

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  • scott April 8, 2016 at 9:59 am

    A real estate developer is always my go to archetype for advice on responsible land use.

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  • Alex April 8, 2016 at 3:27 pm

    I went down to the protest and ended up holding a pro-bike sign for a bit. The “conservationists”/neighbors were pretty nasty overall – although Hank and one other man I spoke to from the area were pleasant to speak with and would have an actual conversation and listen. The one neighbor, clearly stated he was not against mountain biking and would champion other areas closer into town in Forest Park, but he didn’t feel there was enough language in the levy talking about bike access. He felt duped. I explained a bit of the history of mountain bike access to him and he gained more sympathy for why we were there.

    Les Blaise was as nasty and aggressive as usual. There was one other man who physically engaged me multiple times until I told him to do it again and stared him in the eye. There was one woman who called me a “White Anglo-Saxon privileged rich Man” – ironic considering all of these people own much more land than I do and were also all white. Multiple of them wanted pictures of me and my face, which I don’t mind giving, but I don’t want to give it to someone who wants to only spread hate and won’t listen to me. They called me a coward.

    Overall, they exuded hate and did not want understanding and progress. If these are the faces of conservation and the self-proclaimed keepers of the earth, I do not want to be associated with them.

    wsbob – you should go to these protests and teach them to not call names, tell them to act civil and lay off the physical threats. They are more aggressive than anything I have ever seen on this forums.

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    • bjorn April 8, 2016 at 7:02 pm

      LOL that is the funniest thing yet, they have run out of new carrots to dangle in front of us while saying “no not here because of the wildlife build the trails over there” so now they are having to point us back at places they have already used in their pull the rug out scheme. “I’d champion mountain biking closer to downtown in forest park” Yeah right, did you get his name? I have a bridge to sell him.

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      • Alex April 8, 2016 at 7:55 pm

        To be fair, I really don’t think he was aware of the history of it – and I kind of wondered how much history McCurdy knew about it. It goes back to the point I try to make, most people aren’t against mountain biking, we just have to find a place to do it. No area wants to be the first to allow it and they don’t want people in their backyard…and honestly, neither would I. I just wish they wouldn’t play it (and the local news media wouldn’t play it) like it is a mountain biker vs conservationist point of view. I am a conservationist, I just don’t think that mountain biking is in opposition to it – in fact, it has made me more of a conservationist than any other thing I do in my life.

        This is a completely political thing and you see regularly how the politicians act. Let’s change them.

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  • bjorn April 8, 2016 at 6:58 pm

    I voted and advocated for this levy specifically because of the promise that a tiny part of the money could go for the design and construction of Mountain bike trails on these parcels. Hank McCurdy isn’t suffering from a slip of the tongue here he is knowingly lying in an attempt to gain support for keeping people out of this space because he wants to enjoy it alone as he views it as part of his backyard. He needs to be called out on that.

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  • Alex April 8, 2016 at 9:53 pm
  • Mike Houck April 9, 2016 at 3:38 am

    For the record, having worked on conservation of URBAN natural areas for 46 years, I’m just as sick of these posts painting the conservation community with broad brush attacks as the mountain bike community. Yes, there are fucking elk in Forest Park. And, yes urban wildlife habitats while many are degrades are ecological important, contrary to some of the ignorance on these posts from people who are clueless.

    Also for the record, I’m on the record with Metro Council supporting the N Tualatin Mountains Access Plan. I’ve done so because a). Metro ecologists have adhered to policy of protecting core habitat and their mandate to put ecological health of their sites first. b). They listened to those concerned about elk and modified the trail.

    I’ve advocated for regional trails, parks and natural areas around here for more than four decades. I’ve also advocated for increased spending on cycling infrastructure. I am also a conservationist who argues that any recreational access to important wildlife habitat, much of which is critical to threatened and endangered species—-yes, even in the heart of our city and region—-must first meet the test of whether the natural resource is protected, regardless if access is by foot, horse, bike, or whatever mode you want to dream up.

    I feel Metro staff has done that, for the most part (I do have reservations I must admit) with this plan. Which is why I’m supporting it.

    But, for you dog owners, I’m also supporting Metro’s no dogs policy in there natural areas! There, now you can be pissed about something else.

    Mike Houck, Director
    Urban Greenspaces Institute

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    • Alex April 9, 2016 at 7:21 am

      Mike,

      Thank you for supporting this. That being said, no one here said there isn’t elk in Forest Park and I do believe that these lands are ecologically important. I do find it interesting that those concerned with the elk are being prioritized where they are when the the scientific findings by the state hasn’t really backed their fears.

      I am sure you do get sick of the conservation community being painted with a broad brush – just like I get sick of mountain bikers being painted with a broad brush. Just because you have advocated for cycling infrastructure doesn’t mean you have advocated for mountain biking – and in fact I feel you haven’t really been an advocate of that – regardless if you support metros decision (with reservations). We don’t have a space to do what we would like to do and we don’t see it at odds with conservation of the environment – but conservationists keep rejecting us as a group of people concerned about the environment. The conservationists are the ones rejecting us, not the other way around. If you don’t want to not be painted with a broad brush, talk to your fellow, non-mountain biking conservationists and tell them to not be so aggressive and work with the mountain bike community (and by that, let’s really find a place to ride bikes in Portland). What places are open to discussion even? Here we are with you advocating for 40+ years and we have less places to ride a mountain bike than we have had before. You can see how we might be frustrated with that, I hope.

      Alex

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    • Cyclekrieg April 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm

      Mr. Houck,

      I would love, absolutely LOVE, to talk to you about the subject of mountain biking in urban areas. I think we could have the most interesting conversation.

      What gets my goat (and I believe Alex’s) is the expressed or implied belief that if you like mountain biking, you must not like nature, or are unrealistic in the impacts on nature from human activities. That viewpoint is both wrong and condescending at the same time.

      There is a path forward, one that preserves and expands natural areas (and their health). It a three part process, starting with real environmental assessments of properties and ending with trying rewilding and restoration goals to usage of the property.

      Verses having that discussion via the BikePortland comment section, lets do that in a more personal manner. Send an email to joshua@cyclekrieg.33mail.com if you want to learn more.

      Also, thank for your service on the subject of protecting urban greenspaces and your work with the ORCMP.

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    • Mike C April 10, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Another NIMBY whiny “conservationist” do gooder. Smarter than all the rest of us “clueless” folk who need the wise weenie liberal to show us the truth. Your post is lame ,you are lame, your organization is lame and I cannot wait to bring my off leash dog on my my mountain bike rides in Forest Park. That way you will have something to be pissed off about as well. Nothing better than pissing off entitled white people. Cheers

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  • Brett Luelling April 9, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Just to mess with them, I went ahead and bought the domain name and setup a website counter to their point. http://saveforestparkcorridor.com

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    • jered bogli April 9, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      and You Sir are a hero to the people! THE BEST THING I WILL SEE THIS WEEK. Good work!

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    • Brian April 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Awesome.

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    • Alex April 10, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      You should update it with the info for the Metro public meeting this week. Also, seems like nwta website isn’t getting updated with things like this. Would be nice to see an email from them telling people to attend that meeting.

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  • Rob Chapman April 9, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Just a reminder, it’s legal to camp in Forest Park now, make sure to take your tent down in the morning.

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  • Alex April 12, 2016 at 9:51 am

    Please attend this meeting and voice your support for mountain biking in the Portland metro area:

    http://www.oregonmetro.gov/event/metro-council-meeting-26/2016-04-14

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