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Speak up for a new path into Mt. Tabor Park from Division Street

Posted by on October 5th, 2016 at 10:11 am

Purple line shows approximate location of proposed path. SE Division Street is at the bottom and Mt. Tabor is in the upper right.

Purple line shows approximate location of proposed path. SE Division Street is at the bottom and Mt. Tabor is in the upper right.

Mt. Tabor Park is finally slated to get a rolling and walking path that would provide a much-needed entrance from Southeast Division street and the City of Portland needs to hear your support to make it happen.

As we reported in January 2014, a citizen committee made up of neighborhood residents has been working for years to make good on old city plans for a public entrance and path through the Portland Parks & Recreation maintenance yard located between the park and Division. Plans for such a path go back as far as 2000 and were included in a PP & R study in 2008.

Now, thanks to the recently passed $68 million Parks Replacement Bond and a rosier funding picture, the Parks Bureau is moving ahead on a project to improve the maintenance yard. The second phase of the project (funded by System Development Charges) includes the public path.

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According to the City, the path will be built along the alignment of SE 64th Avenue, just west of the maintenance operations facility.

Open House event flyer.

Open House event flyer.

Dawn Smallman sits on the committee overseeing the project for the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. She says the project will not only establish the first public entrance to the park from the south side, but it will also include safety enhancements to help people cross Division from nearby residential areas, “So there would be the extra bonus of traffic calming there too.”

Construction of the path is slated to be completed by winter 2018.

Because the proposed path would be built alongside an existing apartment building, there is some resistance to the plan from people who live there. They fear it will become “another Springwater Corridor situation.”

Smallman urges anyone who supports the plan or has any input in general about the project to attend an open house for the project this Saturday (October 8th) from 10:00 am to 12 noon at the maintenance yard (6437 SE Division). You can also email project manager Susan Meamber at susan.meamber@portlandoregon.gov. At the open house, city staff and volunteers will give tours of the yard and answer questions. Learn more at the project website.

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

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40 Comments
  • Adam H.
    Adam H. October 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

    I live nearby, and this path would be a welcome addition, as would improvements to Division Street, which widens up here compared to further west. Those bike lanes are atrocious and it would be nice to fix them, but that is likely out of scope for this project. Though, there is certainly room for a protected cycleway if that center turn lane were removed.

    If the city doesn’t want this path to turn into “another Springwater”, why not light up the path all night? After all, better lighting is part of the city’s Vision Zero plans.

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      RMHampel October 5, 2016 at 11:01 am

      Lighting sounds like a good idea to discourage unsavory behavior of any kind BUT, the residents nearby might not want blazing lights keeping them up all night. It has to be done with consideration to all.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. October 5, 2016 at 11:35 am

        I live on a well-lit street and consider it a benefit. Far too many Portland streets are too dark and creepy at night. I purchased blackout shades for my bedroom windows, which is an easy solution to this problem.

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          John Lascurettes October 5, 2016 at 11:45 am

          There’s no excuse for path lighting to not be downlighting. There should be no side lighting of neighboring properties. There’s much to be said about light pollution — both in the sense of how it detrimentally effects flora and fauna that comes out at night and how it drowns out our ability to see the stars, even when we’re nowhere near the light source.

          That said, the newer style LED lights that Portland has been installing for street lights are much more directional and do not have as much spillover lighting (and is much more energy efficient).

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty October 5, 2016 at 11:48 am

            The LED lights could be half as bright and be just as effective. They’re an improvement but are overkill.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. October 5, 2016 at 12:01 pm

            [Light pollution] detrimentally effects flora and fauna that comes out at night and…it drowns out our ability to see the stars

            .
            We live in a city, not the countryside. Light pollution is literally not at all a concern for me. I want to feel safe walking around my neighborhood at night – I don’t give a damn about seeing stars.

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              John Lascurettes October 5, 2016 at 12:08 pm

              Bully for you and your insensitivity. It’s still a problem (city or not) for public health, wildlife disturbance (and we are talking about a park area here), scientific research (even many miles away) and quality of living. Portland is doing its best to get better.

              http://darksky.org/light-pollution/wildlife/

              http://physics.fau.edu/observatory/lightpol.html

              http://www.darkskiesawareness.org/faq-what-is-lp.php

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

                Fine, then as long as the city does so without impeding people’s ability to walk around their neighborhood at night.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm

                What you want is very low level but continuous illumination. What we’ve got is pockets of very bright and pockets of very dark. Your eyes adjust to the bright and you are blind in the dark, which creates safety and security hazards.

                The two do not average out.

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                Eric Leifsdad October 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

                We need a law that says thugs must wear hi-viz.

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              dwk October 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm

              Thanks for the view from the 1950’s…… warming is not a problem either.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty October 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

                It’s cold and dark in here!

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              rainbike October 5, 2016 at 12:45 pm

              That kind of thinking is vaguely familiar…I drive a car, not a bike. Bike and pedestrian safety is literally not at all a concern for me. I want to get there as fast and as dry as I can – I don’t give a damn about anybody else.

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              Glenn October 5, 2016 at 2:16 pm

              I wonder if removing street lights would make people drive slower?
              I for one would not mind a dark street to ride or walk on..we can just carry a flashlight/headlamp.

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                GlowBOy October 6, 2016 at 7:37 am

                I’ve long been of the belief that a little lighting goes a long way. You do need some, but you don’t need a lot.

                Portland’s new LED lights are good in the sense of being more directional and more efficient, but I also agree that they are excessively bright, AND that it is a problem. You can’t light the street uniformly if you space the lights hundreds of feet apart. As a result, the brighter lights mean that the dark zones between the lights actually appear darker than before.

                And yes, light pollution is a serious problem. It’s been an increasing problem for wildlife, for the advancement of science (astronomers have been trying to raise awareness for decades), for the sanctity of wilderness, and (as we are finally realizing) for human health.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 6, 2016 at 8:22 am

                On SE 52nd, there is an LED lamp on every telephone pole and the street is well and uniformly lit. I don’t find it excessively bright as all. The problem arises when the lights are only at the corners or are blocked by trees.

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                GlowBoy October 6, 2016 at 3:30 pm

                “or are blocked by trees”

                Right. And last I checked Portland has a pretty substantial urban forest. When these lights were installed on my street (SE 8th in Brooklyn) I found a lot of dark patches where the relatively-darker sidewalk cracks hid much more easily than before.

                Again, more light than necessary creates problems.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 6, 2016 at 3:53 pm

                The excessive trees in Portland drive me crazy. Not only do they block street lights, but I am constantly having to duck under low branches just to walk around my neighborhood. There are literally streets in Portland that I can’t see anything and am forced to use my phone flashlight to be able to walk at night. Some spots are so bad, that I just end up walking in the middle of the street.

                Street trees are a great thing, but they need to be maintained, otherwise they actually make the neighborhood less walkable and enjoyable.

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                John Lascurettes October 7, 2016 at 9:21 am

                The excessive trees in Portland drive me crazy.

                Wow. You just said that with a straight face, didn’t you? You’re living in the wrong town. Most of us live here because we love the mixture of trees and city living — thus, urban forest.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. October 7, 2016 at 9:56 am

                “Urban forest” is an oxymoron. Urban areas are by definition, developed, and forests are by definition undeveloped. I do like all the trees around town, but what I don’t like is when the branches hang over into the sidewalk, preventing people from walking. Or when the branches are not trimmed, so I constantly have to duck under them to avoid hitting my head. Or when the streetlights are inexplicably installed higher than the tree cover, so the trees, of course, block the light from reaching the sidewalk. Street trees, like anything else, must be properly maintained. People here seem to just let their trees and bushes grow out of control until they take over the sidewalks, and that’s not okay.

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    rick October 5, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Will it have a painted crosswalk that can be removed at a simple request?

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) October 5, 2016 at 10:41 am

    We need more Springwaters, for several meanings of the term.

    Here’s a satellite view of the property, btw.

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    Allan Rudwick October 5, 2016 at 10:46 am

    these sorts of connections are really nice and needed. Inner Portland, with it’s grid doesn’t need too many of these sorts of things, but out in the suburbs, there are a ton of places that could use connections like this. Let’s show them how it’s done and get this built

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    Champs October 5, 2016 at 11:40 am

    For lack of funds, the nursery was pulled up. At considerable ratepayer expense, the reservoirs are being disconnected. Only *now* with this reduced functionality is it possible, nay necessary, to upgrade the park’s maintenance yard?

    I am all for a path, but I don’t understand the city’s priorities.

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    Maxadders October 5, 2016 at 11:42 am

    And here’s the fallout from Hales’ tolerance towards illegal camping: resistance and opposition to new public spaces and amenities.

    No sense building nice things when we’ll allow people to immediately destroy them. I fear for the new bike facilities at Gateway Green as well.

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      CaptainKarma October 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

      They were against it before more & more people lost their homes and needed to sleep along the Springwater. That is just a NIMBY excuse response like the Forest Park trail resisyance.

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        Chris I October 5, 2016 at 8:25 pm

        Do you have evidence that they opposed this when it was first proposed several years ago?

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        maxadders October 5, 2016 at 11:19 pm

        When you say “NIMBY”, you attempt to shut the conversation down. Fact of the matter is that Hales has invited some very unpleasant persons into our community and their actions are not driven by some Wall Street / big-banks boogeyman, it’s driven by untreated, rampant and tolerated drug abuse. If I lived adjacent, I’d be against this project and it pains me to say that.

        Fact of the matter is that the homeless population considers any public or vacant property “fair game” now. A few years ago, living next to a park or MUP was considered a treasured amenity; now it’s a nuisance and a liability. I’m two blocks from the 205 path and that’s close enough. Nobody deserves to be victimized by the city’s refusal to protect its own public land.

        Hales’ imaginary “housing crisis” has created a very real Abuse of Public Lands Crisis. No more denial. Time for action.

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    Glenn October 5, 2016 at 11:44 am

    why can’t they do something at 66th or 68th? those street go right to the edge of the park.
    I worry about more light pollution at night for everyone.
    and that neighborhood on Sherman, Grant & Lincoln st..I bet there crime rates will go up with more access to there neighborhood.

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      SE Rider October 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

      Likely topography. Those streets run into some pretty steep hillside inside the dog park. They’re also inside the dog park.

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      Spiffy October 5, 2016 at 11:59 am

      portlandmaps.com shows that SE 66th already has a trail to the park, but it looks like there’s a gated fence there…

      the one at 68th is already an entrance to the park…

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    Spiffy October 5, 2016 at 11:50 am

    “establish the first public entrance to the park from the south side”

    what about the south entrance from SE 68th Ave?

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      SE Rider October 5, 2016 at 11:55 am

      There are also entrances at 66th and 70th. They’re pretty much pedestrian only, (and one goes directly into the dog park (66th and 68th), but they’re there.

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    Adam October 5, 2016 at 11:51 am

    This is a key area of SE that lacks permeability.

    I hope this project goes ahead.

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    Adam October 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    To those saying there are already entrances… There are…. Up a 20% grade, through a gate, inro a dog park. Utteely, utterly unbikeable.

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      SE Rider October 5, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Does that not make them “public entrances”?

      I’m all for this new path, but all access points to a park don’t have to be bike-able.

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    Terry D-M October 5, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    This path was part of the Park Master Plan in 1910. It will fill the last gap in the 60 s Bikeway from Sullivan’s Gulch south via Mount Tabor Park to the Springwater and Clackamas county. It will be ADA compliant, and fully bike friendly, unlike the jogging paths mentioned. The Park’s headquarters has not been remodeled since the 1950 s….the roof leaks, is barely functional and has a myriad of other problems. It really needs to be built and has been endorsed by multiple neighborhoods.

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    kittens October 6, 2016 at 1:02 am

    The solution of how to prevent this from becoming another “springwater” is as simple as it is old: eyes on the street, or in this case, eyes on the path.

    Bad people tend to do bad things where they think no one can see. If a MUP is surrounded by opaque fences, you will have nothing but a welcome sign for the sort of antisocial behavior you see on the Springwater.

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    GlowBOy October 6, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there once a path (or even a street?) between Division and the SW corner of Tabor Park? I’m thinking I remember one there, but either development on Sherman Street or expansion of the city maintenance yard wiped it out. Could be wrong … this would have been late ’90s.

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    GlowBOy October 10, 2016 at 8:14 am

    Adam H.
    “Urban forest” is an oxymoron. Urban areas are by definition, developed, and forests are by definition undeveloped. I do like all the trees around town, but what I don’t like is when the branches hang over into the sidewalk, preventing people from walking. Or when the branches are not trimmed, so I constantly have to duck under them to avoid hitting my head. Or when the streetlights are inexplicably installed higher than the tree cover, so the trees, of course, block the light from reaching the sidewalk. Street trees, like anything else, must be properly maintained. People here seem to just let their trees and bushes grow out of control until they take over the sidewalks, and that’s not okay.
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    Even if people properly trim their trees, they’re going to block the glow of streetlights from hitting the sidewalk. The only tree-trimming requirement is that they avoid overhead lines and provide 12′ clearance underneath. Streetlights are a LOT higher than that (and if they were that low, you’d need them spaced really, REALLY close together to provide decent lighting). So any tree with any canopy whatsoever is going to cast a shadow on the sidewalk. Shadow-free sidewalks are an impossibility, period.

    This has nothing to do with people letting vegetation overgrow the sidewalk, which I agree can be a problem in places.

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