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With over $92,000 raised, off-road trails at Gateway Green will soon be a reality

Posted by on October 14th, 2016 at 10:26 am

It's happening! Equipment staged on the site this week.(Photo: Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

It’s happening! Equipment staged on the site this week.
(Photo: Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

In the past month over 500 people have chipped in $92,325 to help pay for the construction of new bike trails at Gateway Green — a formerly vacant plot of state-owned land (now owned by the City of Portland) at the intersection of I-84 and I-205.

Project backers aim to reach the goal of $100,000 in the next two days to match a Metro grant they’ve already received. If you haven’t donated yet, now would be a great time to do so.

With money in the bank and all the support and permissions lined up from various agencies, the Northwest Trail Alliance and Portland Parks & Recreation have already broken ground. Over the past few weeks Parks rangers have worked with an estimated 80 people who were camping on the land (who came there after being moved from the Springwater Corridor) to find shelter and other services. Fencing has now been erected around the property and heavy equipment is staging on the site.

“Can you imagine yourself at Gateway Green, standing astride your bike on the top of the southern hill, pointing your front tire down a ribbon of dirt that will flow down over whoops and around berms, a smile on your face?”
— Jocelyn Gaudi, Friends of Gateway Green

Suffice it to say, in a city where the lack of local off-road biking trails has frustrated many people for many years, this is a very big deal. Friends of Gateway Green Board Member Jocelyn Gaudi summed up why this project matters in a recent Facebook post:

Can you imagine yourself at Gateway Green, standing astride your bike on the top of the southern hill, pointing your front tire down a ribbon of dirt that will flow down over whoops and around berms, a smile on your face? A bunch of your friends are out there too – everyone, from kiddos to racers – is having a great time. On your ride home, you could stop by to get some tacos and a beer from your local spot. Pretty awesome way to spend a Tuesday evening, right?

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The City of Portland is also very excited for this project. Besides creating a new public park in a part of town that sorely needs it, the Parks Bureau hopes these new trails relieve pressure on them to create off-road cycling opportunities in other — shall we say, more controversial areas. While some bike enthusiasts say the proposed trails at Gateway Green don’t come close to meeting demands, Parks is doing its best to drum up excitement.

“Portland Parks & Recreation feels that Gateway Green will be an outstanding site for off-road cycling, as well as hiking, as a place to reflect, and other uses,” the bureau wrote in a recent statement. “The site’s topography, it’s existing tree coverage and convenient location are sure to make it a coveted destination. Both soft-surface and paved multi-use trails will offer equitable and versatile access to visitors…”

The construction that will begin next week will be just the first phase of development at Gateway Green. New trails will come first and then habitat enhancements and other features will come in later phases.

As for what kind of trails we can expect, Parks is calling this “Portland’s first off-road cycling park.” As such, the “Dirt Lab” will feature singletrack and “jump trails” as well as a pump track (similar to Ventura Park but will be made out of precast concrete) and a skills area. The idea is to offer something for the full range of riders — from little ones to seasoned vets.

If you want to learn more about the project, help support it, and meet the people who have made it happen, there’s a fundraising party tonight at The Lumberyard.

Parks says they’ll need about 45 workdays to complete the first phase of trail-building. With winter weather and other issues mixed in, we’re hoping to ride in Gateway Green this coming spring! Stay tuned for updates.

We'll be riding here by spring.

We’ll be riding here by spring.

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Looking forward to it – should be great fun on a cross bike.

Run
Guest
Run

Hopefully not… If it is a properly designed and challenging Mtb park then it shouldnt appeal to the Lycra crowd. Leave it at home please.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

What? People can wear whatever they want. Go ride in lycra, baggy shorts, or jeans.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Wow.

Spiffy
Subscriber

if you’re a real mtb’er you’re already wearing lycra…

baggies get caught on all sorts of things and don’t wick away the sweat…

and there are those trying to shave a second off their downhill time…

sure, they look funny, and I don’t wear them, but they’re quite useful… if I was into one of the cycling niches I’m sure I’d be wearing them…

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Or, if you can handle a cross bike an MTB track becomes extra fun.

Scott Mizee
Guest

I’m sooooo excited for this!

Beth H
Guest

There are currently homeless encampments at Gateway Green. Many of the campers were swept there from the Springwater Corridor, having nowhere else to go.
As exciting as this new development will be, it means that homeless people will once again be forced to move Somewhere Else. With the possible sale of Wapato Jail to a private developer and the City, Metro and State leaders stalling on other possible options, what happens now?
And is anyone else thinking about the growing sense of disconnect between those of us who can afford the luxury of off-road recreational riding and the folks who are just trying to get some sleep under a tarp?
It is hard not to think of these things, especially in our current economic and political climate.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

To a certain degree, I agree with you, but really, having people camp there is not a solution.

I honestly don’t feel bad about having a luxury like off-road recreational riding there. I would love if you took this issue up with the people who don’t allow mtn biking in FP. I believe we should be doing sooo much more for our homeless population, but we don’t need to sacrifice some of our own simple pleasures to people living there illegally.

The problem isn’t mountain biking, it is much larger than that and honestly, the mountain bikers have been pushed aside by the rich people near RVNA, Forest Park and Tualatin Mountains. I would be more than happy to help the homeless community out there, but what are the real possible solutions to the larger economic issue of wealth polarization that causes this in the first place?

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

As the article says, “Over the past few weeks Parks rangers have worked with an estimated 80 people who were camping on the land (who came there after being moved from the Springwater Corridor) to find shelter and other services.”

I don’t know why we’re spending $1.8 million to upgrade two traffic signals in our current economic and political climate either.

I’ve shown up to City Hall for homelessness more than I have for Vision Zero and other issues. Gateway Green is a symptom, not a cause.

Adam
Subscriber

Hales and Fritz have utterly failed at addressing the houslessness crisis. They would rather spend money on boutique feel-good projects instead of addressing basic human needs. No, camping outside is not the solution, but it is the only alternative until we can viably house everyone that needs it. Gateway green seemed like a great location for a homeless camp; being surrounded by highways and far from other neighbors.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Really? No running water. No bathrooms. No garbage cans or garbage removal services. Difficult for police to patrol. Far removed from needed services. I would argue that this is a terrible choice for houseless campers.

Adam
Subscriber

Okay, then how about that parking garage downtown that the city is spending $22M to renovate? It’s a prime location, close to services. That money could go a long way to provide housing, running water, and garbage facilities for houseless people.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I don’t disagree that they City has failed miserably with regards to this complex issue. I just don’t think it’s fair (or helpful) to put the blame on the creation of this Park or the money spent on the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan, as I have seen repeatedly on this messageboard and social media.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

It has more value as a parking garage and revenue generator.

Adam
Subscriber

Depends on how you define “value”. Dollar value or public benefit?

james
Guest
james

Its a bad location. Why should the homeless have to live in between two interstates with constant air and noise pollution.

Adam
Subscriber

Why do those issues make it not okay for people to live there but somehow acceptable for children to play there?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Because living somewhere and spending 1-2 hours a week somewhere result in entirely different exposures. This location is not ideal, given the noise and air pollution, but exposure will be minimal to users, given the short amount of time they will typically spend there. You should be more concerned about the people living in homes adjacent to I-5, I-84, I-205, etc.

RH
Guest
RH

Yeah, I live next to 1-5 and it sucks. But since I bike around the city 5 days a week, studies have shown that the exercise should balance out any kind of harm from diesel soot and pollution. Then again, maybe that study was funded by the auto industry…?!

Spiffy
Subscriber

there are a lot of people living directly next to interstates and they don’t have the trees helping filter the air…

how close should we allow housing to be built to an interstate? what about major arterial surface streets?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

viably house every person that WANTS it.

Brian
Guest
Brian

We also need to keep in mind that many people have worked tirelessly (and donated considerably) for this space in order to provide a safe place for children in that area of town to ride. They will be able to ride to where they ride. It isn’t just about the “wealthy” mountain bikers that will benefit from this public park. This project has been going on for many, many years now.

Adam
Subscriber

Yep, that’s the American way. Our streets are far too dangerous for kids to ride on, so we have to build them a special park to play in. Is it any wonder why kids are growing up thinking bikes are just toys?

Brian
Guest
Brian

Are they growing up thinking that?

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

You have absolutely zero concept of what mountain biking is or why anyone would want to do it. There is no mountain biking in a public street, that’s why we’re building a park for it.

jeff
Guest
jeff

and you think “mountain biking’ is riding in a designed city park? I would argue you don’t have any concept of what mountain biking is.

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

You think so Jeff?

I’ve been to plenty of cities in the US and worldwide that offer mountain biking in public park. They might not be the same thing as heading up to Mt. Hood to get deep into the backcountry but they do offer natural surface riding on single width trails in nature.

Maybe you have too narrow a view of what mountain biking might be.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’d love a park like this:

http://www.nycmtb.com/cunningham/Cunningham-trail-map.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afe0oE9OxmA

6.5 miles of trail, plus jump park & pump track, all squeezed into a city park. No mountain required.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

I would love to see the heat map of the area to fully understand the impact has on the warming of the ocean before I endorse anything like that.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Guess it depends on whether there is a taco truck nearby.

Spiffy
Subscriber

if you want to be technical: there’s no mountain in the new park, thus there will be no mountain biking…

it’s called “off road bicycling” and yes, you’re right, you can’t do that in the middle of the street… but you can do it on the planting strip… I’d even argue that you could do it on unimproved roads…

Brian
Guest
Brian

Someone needs to let all those poor saps in the midwest know that they aren’t really mountain biking.

Snowden
Guest
Snowden

To frame this as an issue of homelessness vs. recreation is disingenuous. Gateway Green is just one of dozens, if not hundreds of locations all over the city and region where camping is taking place. The issue is much larger than just kicking campers off this one parcel. Everyone reading this post is in some way impacting the homeless situation in some indirect fashion. It is a function of our larger economic and social systems, in which we all participate. Don’t lay the blame here.

Furthermore, I visited some of those sites, and it wasn’t pretty. Imagine already vulnerable people living in a spot where there was no regular patrols, to public eyes on the situation. It was not a safe place for those most vulnerable. This space needs a more positive, active use, and this is just the ticket.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Why do the campers need to completely vacate the site for the trails? Surely there’ll be plenty of room for both.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Many of the “campers” were not good about sharing the Springwater Corridor. There were enough assaults, confrontations, and threatening behavior along the SC that I stopped using it unless with a group. If I didn’t feel safe, there was no way I was going to let my kids use the SC. If the “campers” were allowed to ‘share” the mountain bike park, I would expect many bicyclists would feel intimidated and not use it.

Spiffy
Subscriber

they have to leave during construction… I’m sure they’ll be back…

Brian
Guest
Brian

Because it is illegal?

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

There will always be homeless people, some of whom make that choice of lifestyle. Should we stop planning any enhancements to our communities simply because that situation exists?

Some problems are beyond fixing, but in my opinion that should not prevent progress from being made elsewhere if it can. This project has the potential to be a nice enhancement to the city.

Chris Balduc
Guest
Chris Balduc

I just want some trails to ride on without feeling that I’m depriving someone of a place to sleep. Unfortunately it’s not that easy in a city like Portland.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

I think free and cheap parking places are depriving people of civilized places to sleep far more than any trail.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I think all the houseless should camp in street parking spots…

Spiffy
Subscriber

they already moved the campers and put up a fence…

one of the Wapato buyers is Garison Russo, and their plans never work out… I don’t suspect we’ll be selling it very soon…

there are a lot of public places in Portland that aren’t parks and aren’t sidewalks… there’s no shortage of campable land in the city…

pdxpaul
Guest
pdxpaul

Huh?

pdxpaul
Guest
pdxpaul

that was supposed to be nested up above, under one of the many nonsequiturs…

CaptainKarma
Guest

How do neighborhood kids get to this place safely? It’s not really IN a neighborhood, as stated above. Surrounded by high speed, heavy traffic, and trains.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The only safe way I can think of is the I-205 MUP. At least if they live north of Glisan, but west of 102nd, and south of Halsey. Or if they live in Maywood Park. All others would need to cross a busy, dangerous street at some point to get here.

Beth
Guest

I would like to know if the MUPs will be somehow better monitored so that kids and families accessing Gateway Green won’t have to run a gauntlet of campers similar to what’s become commonplace on the Springwater.
This symptom is the tip of an iceberg of symptoms of overflow, wheree too many people need living space in an area where too little is being afforded. As much as I’m happy about Gateway Green becoming a real park, it’s not entirely sesparate from the fact that people are being squeezed out of yet more places to live (however close to the ground their lives are). The use — and allotment — of available land and other resources overlaps all of this and we ignore that at our peril.

Spiffy
Subscriber

I thought I read they were putting a pedestrian bridge over I-205 into the Madison South neighborhood…

existing paths are via the I-205 MUP from either Gateway Transit Center or Maywood Park…

Spiffy
Subscriber

oh, the “link to Sullivan’s Gulch” is already on the plans…

J_R
Guest
J_R

Once again, many BP commenters simply cannot accept some good news about progress on something bike related. They just have to bring up evils, real or, if necessary, imagined. Happy Friday, everyone.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Great point. There isn’t a story that goes by that isn’t hijacked by the negative ninnies. Heck, even a story about puppies and rainbows would turn into a bitch session about something. Once in a while it would be nice to talk about how cool biking is and leave it at that.

Adam
Subscriber

Unfortunately, most everything has unintended consequences. To ignore them would be a huge disservice. IMO, the constant praise of mediocre projects is what got us into the stagnation problem in the first place. What gets us out is honest criticism of real issues, not simply ignoring them and letting the back-patting echo chamber take over.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Denying citizens of east Portland the same parks and facilities other parts of the city has is also a huge disservice.

Adam
Subscriber

Yep, I agree. Democracy is all about tradeoffs. It is up to us to decide which tradeoffs are acceptable and which are not.

Middle of the Road guy
Guest
Middle of the Road guy

Democracy might get us Donald Trump.

Sometimes decisions should be left in the hands of decision makers.

Spiffy
Subscriber

you gave up on BP humanity after only 4 threads?

1) looking forward to it on my CX
2) so excited for this
3) what about the displaced homeless?
4) how will kids get here?

and none of the negative opinions that followed were even about the site…

1) “spandex n00bs go home” is a typical rallying cry
2) (no comments)
3) typical conversation about displaced homeless is not site specific
4) conversation of genuine concerns and solutions

so you really only gave up after 1 genuine thread about the new site…

guess I’m in the wrong chair because I’m seeing a ton of good news along with the usual banter about all that’s involved in the different cycling modes…

Matt
Guest
Matt

I am 99% thrilled about this project. My one and only reservation is based on the artist’s conception of where the new trail will meet the I-205 multi-use path: People going downhill (northbound) tend to be going very quickly (25-30 mph or more), and the new paths are shown as merging like a slip-lane. They should meet at a 90-degree angle, with a stop sign, so that people entering the 205 path at the bottom of the hill have to stop and look for cross-traffic. Otherwise, I foresee bad bike-on-bike collisions at those intersections.

ElPana
Guest
ElPana

That is great hope to see fun dirt trails soon in Portland!! Get does homeless people out of there, They should not be camping and making little shanty towns everywhere we are going to end with favelas, barrios, ranchos what ever you wanna call it all over the place just like. Their is tons of for Hiring signs all over the city if they don’t want to work but instead just get drunk and high all day. I know its not all of them but the city should not let these people camp anywhere in the city.

nico
Guest
nico

This area as well as “Rocky Butte State Park” (across 205) has been the home to unsanctioned off-road biking and houseless survivance since the nineties. There is actually plenty of space for both groups until the city of Portland ends it’s sycophant love affair with Homer’s Dough and starts listening to the valid solutions being offered all around.

If this squeeze on this plot has you incensed, the solution is vote out the Westside establishment that doesn’t want to you biking on their trails, the dispossessed sleeping on “their” streets, or anyone getting in the way of their profit margins. Frequent bus service for the Eastside where people ride buses, or bike lanes and sidewalks? No! A streetcar for tourists and millionaires. Sane zoning policies and grants so homeowners can build low impact affordable housing into our residential neighborhoods? No! Loosely written contracts with developers that deliver 50% or less of the affordable housing they promised and bulldozing small homes to build bigger homes.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Excellent. Glad to see it happening.

Bob
Guest
Bob

I ride the 205 MUP between Gateway and Maywood Park regularly and am wondering how long it will take to build the access to Halsey street near 92nd. I walked that the other day and it goes under I-205 and right up to the MUP and would be a perfect access point for all those living west of the Green. Building this access point would eliminate the need of riding up the no-bike-lane Halsey Street overpass or sharing the narrow sidewalk with two-way pedestrian and bike traffic. It would also eliminate having to ride through the Gateway Shopping Center parking lot and crossing the Max track. Does anyone know when this will be built?

As far as the homeless. There are plenty of signs that campers regularly inhabit spots underneath I-205. The Gateway Green will not only remain a difficult place to patrol, but will also be ideal for the homeless as it is between two freeways and away from residential areas.

Spiffy
Subscriber

good idea… they could extend the NE Halsey St Frontage Rd under the freeway and hook it right to the park…

although I thought I read they were wanting to build a MUP over 205 this seems cheaper…

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

It’s sad how something as wholly positive as this is tainted with the bitter sweet taste of inequality. The price we pay for living in the second guilded age.