Portland Century - August 18th

Time to weigh in on designs for new entrance and nature center for Forest Park – UPDATED

Posted by on February 23rd, 2017 at 2:01 pm

One of three options for a new Forest Park entrance and nature center.

The City of Portland is putting the finishing touches on designs for a major new nature center and “iconic” entrance to Forest Park. Now is the time to share your comments so that the resulting project is as welcoming as possible to people who arrive by bicycle.

The location is just a short ride from North Portland (over the St. Johns Bridge) or downtown.

We first reported on this project in July 2015. Since then the Parks & Recreation Bureau has hired a contractor to design the project, hosted public meetings, and most recently, has released a set of detailed drawings that show what the new entrance facility might look like.

The $2.3 million plan (that’s what they’ve raised so far, thanks to a mix of system development charges and a $1.5 million state grant awarded in the 2015 legislative session) is to take a vacant industrial lot at the intersection of Highway 30/St. Helens Road/NW Kittridge Ave, and turn it into an interpretive and educational center. You might be surprised to know that despite Forest Park’s popularity and proximity to the city, it lacks a major entrance. Parks wants to remedy that by creating a trailhead that will include a parking lot (with 30 to 68 spaces depending on which design goes forward), a large building for exhibits and classrooms, a courtyard/plaza area, bathrooms, and new trails and improved connections to existing ones.

This is an important project for bicycle riders for several reasons. First, it will likely help tame this stressful intersection. Any new development (especially by the City) is likely to come with improved transportation infrastructure. In this case, it’s likely we could see a new/improved crosswalk on St. Helens Rd and a nicer bike lane adjacent to the site. The presence of more people and vehicles accessing the new entrance should also help calm traffic. Having another public restroom in this area — which is in an industrial zone without many public commercial destinations — is also a big plus for bicycle riders. This project also matters because of how it might create forward political and public momentum to improve bicycle access both to the facility on Highway 30 (a place in dire need of safer bikeways) and into Forest Park itself (a place in dire need of new and improved bikeways).

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The entrance will be built at the base of Firelane 1, an old dirt road that’s open for bicycling but rarely used due to its steepness and erosion issues. Having more people enter the park in this area should hasten the ongoing conversation around re-working and re-routing Firelane 1 so that it’s easier to bicycle on. The new entrance would be just 1.4 miles via Firelane 1 from Leif Erikson — a fun and popular dirt road that bisects the park. And of course there’s also the possibility of entirely new singletrack trails from the entrance into the park. Those conversations are also ongoing and pending the completion of the Portland Off-Road Cycling Master Plan (more on that later).

For now, it’s time to review the three options and share your comments with the Parks Bureau. They are only accepting comments until March 1st at 10:00 pm. You can view the designs and take a short survey here. Please note that bicycle parking facilities aren’t shown in any of the drawings, nor is bicycle parking mentioned in the survey (I’ve asked Parks why and will update this post when I hear back – see below). Please use the final, open-ended survey question to make sure Parks knows you’d like somewhere convenient and secure to lock up your bike when you visit the park.

Construction is expected to start in summer of 2018.

UPDATED, 4:21pm: Parks Bureau says bike parking is planned for the facility, they just forgot to put it on the drawings. Here’s spokesman Mark Ross:

We note that the absence of this feature in the drawings was an oversight on our part which we regret! Unfortunately, it appears that it was just overlooked, but bike parking onsite is an intended amenity.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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

67 Comments
  • Avatar
    TonyJ February 23, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    I wonder how much it will cost, per hour, to park in those spaces. Surely it will be comparable to the price of taking the bus to the park, right?

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      Matt February 23, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      I hope parking is free. I used to love going to the arboretum until they started metering those spaces. Nothing to ruin a walk in the woods like having to think about running out of time on the meter. One way to deal with congestion, I guess…

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        TonyJ February 23, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Sounds like the solution is to allow for open ended payment or let you pay for what you use. How many hours of parking can you buy at the arboretum?

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        maccoinnich February 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm

        I believe that the meters at Washington Park allow you to top up by phone.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 6:00 pm

        An all-day TriMet pass is $5 and gives you the same freedom to not have to worry about parking.

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    Spiffy February 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    my first thought is “what a horrible place to bike to”…

    then I thought it wouldn’t be so bad if they removed the center lane on St Helens and put in buffered bike lanes… cyclists feel a little safer and no more illegal truck parking in the middle of the road…

    I always enter Forest Park at 30th and Upshur via Macleay Park because it’s the most pleasant entrance I’ve found… but I wouldn’t want a lot of parking being put there as it would ruin it… but small visitor center would be nice…

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      GlowBoy February 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      I biked on St. Helens Road nearly every day for several years. It’s definitely a facility for the Enthused & Confident, but at least there are bike lanes and traffic is not particularly heavy. I guess it’s relative – my destination was further out, requiring me to ride “Dirty 30”, Kittridge and/or Front Avenue beyond where the bike lanes ended – so in comparison St. Helens seemed pretty pleasant.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any bike facilities in this plan.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu February 23, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Survey completed. Note that posting comments here, without completing the survey, accomplishes little.

    I chose Option C. My theory is that 1) it has the most parking and Forest Park needs to be more accessible to persons who don’t live in the immediate area, so that the voices of local proprietary NIMBYs are reduced, 2) it has the most facilities which might not be useful now, but the Park Dept isn’t going to do this again so might as well build enough facilities for a future Forest Park that is more widely used.

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    GlowBoy February 23, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    I voted for Option A because I like the pedestrian/bike access and courtyard feature, but I am concerned about parking. Anyone who uses any existing Forest Park trailheads know there are constantly more people trying to park there than there’s room for.

    Name your trailhead: Germantown, upper or lower Saltzman, Thurman, upper or lower Springville, Newton, whatever … ALL of these entrances get more than 30-36 vehicles each (the number of spaces planned under options A and B) trying to park there on a typical weekend. And those don’t have “visitor facilities” …

    I think they underestimate the parking demand they’re going to have to deal with at a destination trailhead like this. Probably the best way to manage this will be by charging a significant parking fee (not common in Portland, but at popular parks in many other cities), at least $1 per hour and maybe $2.

    On the survey I also voiced 2 additional concerns not really addressed in their questionnaire:
    1. As a cyclist I find Firelane 1 to be one of the most wonderful rides in the park. It’s challenging both technically and aerobically (even “downhill”) it rolls up and down quite a bit under the powerlines, and I hope they don’t screw up the biking experience by dumbing down the trail too much.
    2. Although the homeless camp at the bottom can be intimidating (especially in the evening), I’m assuming the people who camp there will be displaced by this project and wondering if the Parks Bureau has given any thought to where these people will go.

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      GlowBoy February 23, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      I should add that although I’m concerned about parking, historically I’ve biked to Forest Park at least as often/more often than I’ve driven there, because for 14 years it was not too far out of the way for me to ride home from work. It is important to me that the entrance is friendly to people arriving and departing by bike, foot and bus, and that non-car users aren’t treated as an afterthought on their way in and out.

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        TonyJ February 23, 2017 at 4:10 pm

        If we’re going to build parking, we should plan to charge for it so that it’s as much to drive as it is to take the bus. The building and maintenance of the parking should be funded by the users 100% and then some.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      If anything, there is too much parking in this plan.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I am so glad our famously anti-bike Parks department is spending $2.3 million on a fancy park entrance while people are dying on our streets due to a lack of safety infrastructure. I wonder how many “FAST BIKES USE ROUTE 30” signs will be installed on the trail.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 23, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      If only Parks would build us some bike lanes!

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 23, 2017 at 11:25 pm

        Many people here use Parks facilities such as the Springwater Corridor or the Eastbank Esplanate every day in order to ride to their destinations safely.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 1:44 am

        Are people dying on the Esplanade due to poor infrastructure?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 24, 2017 at 9:15 am

        You’re missing the point. Why is the city spending millions on pet projects that nobody asked for when we can’t even keep up with basic maintenance? Or why can’t the city spend that amount of money to build mountain bike trails in Forest Park – which people are asking for? Whoever thought it was a good idea to build a visitor center in the middle of an industrial zone surrounded by a hostile street environment, anyway? As far as I can tell from this plan and previous posts, Jonathan seems to be merely speculating that there will be bicycle infrastructure improvements here – I don’t see anything in either of the plans that would indicate there will be. All of the options seem hostile to cycling – forcing riders to ride though a parking lot, around a wall, or up switchbacks.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 10:21 am

        That’s a different question. Parks gets money for parks stuff, and that’s how they spend it. They don’t spend it on road design. The question you should be asking is not why is Parks not spending their money on bike facilities, when people are “dying on the streets”, but why is the city budget the way it is? The downside to asking that question is that it makes it harder to blame Fritz for the city’s problems.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 24, 2017 at 10:25 am

        Parks is responsible for many vital cycling connections in Portland, so to imply that Parks cannot play a part in making cycling safer in Portland is disingenuous.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 10:45 am

        The connections through parks are not the dangerous parts of our network, so redirecting their money towards to bike safety is unlikely to yield results.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 24, 2017 at 11:07 am

        Exactly my point. Parks could play an integral part in making cycling safer for Portland by creating new connections and paths, but instead they choose to erect signs discouraging cycling.

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      rick February 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      So much car speeding on the Terwilliger Parkway which they maintain.

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    Matt F February 23, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    The portion of firelane 1 from Leif Erikson to Hwy 30 was the closest thing to legal singletrack in Forest Park (not withstanding the 1/4 mile of firelane 5 and some short sections of a couple of trails/fire roads in the far NW part of the park past German town road).

    The first half mile or so riding down from Leif is pretty damn steep and wide. But then the trail takes a right (with a great view btw of the mountains and river) and follows the power lines for a mile.

    So as far as this being better for cyclists, I don’t think that’s going to be the case at all here for off-road cyclists. On the other hand I’m pretty jaded at this point.

    Anyway I’m going to miss riding this section.

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      Alex February 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      I think the last bit of Newton probably is the closest thing, but I digress – none if it really counts.

      This project is ridiculous. So many arguments about keep how the park is too trafficked and they do not wish to burden it with bikes, but for some reason they are willing to spend all of this money to lure more people in on foot.

      I would honestly rather see improved facilities at existing trailheads and have the entry to the park continued to be more distributed rather than concentrated. This project just reinforces the idea that NIMBYism is stronger than ever in this area and mtbing in FP will never happen.

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      Kate February 24, 2017 at 11:48 am

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this. There goes the last little vestige of mtn-bike-lite in Forest park. Sigh

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    Kittens February 23, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Very impressed with the ambition of the designs. I voted and commented.

    Option B is by far the most successful in my opinion. In terms of design, it is a simple, elegant, quiet building and yet welcoming. The relationship to the building and the main path is strong. The covered porch is where it makes sense, right out front so you can have a place to change shoes or wait for friends.

    Option A is way to aggressive a building. Looks like a Skylab design and we all know how those turn out: ugly, over budget and instantly dated.

    Option C is just a rigid, sad building which can only boast cold efficiency but nothing else, promises to have a dark little courtyard no one goes to when not open, which will probably be most of the time given how these things tend to operate. And even has a bridge to nowhere.

    Overall, they need a heck of a lot more parking than designed and need to look at working out on-street. Compromising the user experience at the expense of more on-site parking is ridiculous at this location. There are a lot of space for on-street. Yes that would entail removing part of the center turn lane. The old empty firehouse 20 can give more parking in the meantime.

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    rick February 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    More bike trails = less demand for car parking spots and stormwater runoff management.

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    rick February 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    Option “B” is the best as it has the least car parking spots!

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    Doug Klotz February 23, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    It doesn’t seem very welcoming to those arriving by bike. Are you expected to enter the driveway, and loop around through the parking lot, to get to a bike rack not shown? Are you expected to get on the sidewalk, and go by the “bike repair stand”, and up that tan path leading to the right? The one with a sawtooth design, with the ends of the interpretive walls jutting out at you at regular intervals, psychologically telling you to go back, you’re not welcome?

    And you’d think, when parks comes in for a permit, that PBOT would ask them to make a nicer sidewalk abutting their property, rather than the curb-tight one that’s there. I know, the rest of it is bad, but are we perpetuating that?

    Certainly not a very welcoming design. Seems aimed at the car driver. It may work well from the parking lot. And, I suspect the “bus” spot is for tour buses, not Tri-met.

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    Doug Klotz February 23, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I was talking about the one shown at top of the article.

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    longgone February 23, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Like all things Portland, no one will be happy no matter what is done with this.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson February 23, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    This new facility will be located at the intersection…Yeon, St. Helens and McKitrick (sp?), where my late sister’s best friend and her husband were “murdered” by a driver running a red light. Winnie and Ken Fisher were coming south from a visit to their son who lived on a houseboat near Scappoose. A Jeep Cherokee driven by a man, later reported to be drunk, heading north on St. Helens, ran the light there at high speed and killed them dead on the spot! They were in their 50’s with plenty of life yet to live. He was never charged with anything. Murder by car is legal, common and …I am at a loss for words even two decades later.

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    wsbob February 23, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I’m surprised that Park’s info page for this project:

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/71395

    …doesn’t seem to indicate much at this point, is definitely being planned as a visitor center at this new entrance:

    “…an iconic contemporary structure potentially housing a nature center, office and maintenance functions, as well as public restrooms …”

    Kind of sound like, maybe the city will build it, and maybe it won’t. As an example for comparison, I think of THPRD’s (tualitan hills park and rec) nature park visitor center out in Beaverton. Not a huge building, but it’s got a small lobby, library, gift store, public space that can be reserved for parties or other activities like yoga, etc, a couple classrooms, office space. Hugely popular. All of that for a 200 acre nature park. Despite the modest size, it’s a very beautiful park, well worth having the visitor’s center for.

    People not averse to watching some television, and particularly OPB, might have seen a local short, 10 minutes or so long, the station has used between shows for quite a few years now. It’s worth repeated viewings, features a guy that researched pygmy owl habitat and nesting in the park.

    The closing scene of the short, is a wide view of Forest Park across the Willamette from the river’s north side, showing the park’s huge expanse of unbroken forested hillside. That scene and the subject of the short, is low key, but a huge pitch for the grandeur of this nature park directly next to city housing, business, industry and more. A visitor center inspired by that grandeur, welcoming people as they enter the park, seems like a natural thing to include in the project plans.

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    Smokey Bear February 23, 2017 at 11:00 pm

    I’ve been to many, many forest trailheads in my day – most consist of a dirt parking lot and a pit toilet – that’s all that is needed. I see no need for a “forest center” or an “iconic entrance”. Good grief! Are there not more urgent things on the list than this? Currently there are many entrances to FP: Germantown Rd has 2 or 3, there’s some on Skyline Blvd, Thurman, etc, etc.

    What kind of bike infrastructure could this money be spent on that might make cyclists safer?

    Is this the best use of limited dollars? A fancy entrance to trails? Who comes up with this stuff?

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      wsbob February 24, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Maybe the basic concept of nature park visitor’s centers is counter to your personal feeling about how people can and should be introduced to natural land parks. I mentioned yesterday, the visitor’s center out at the nature park in Beaverton, because I’ve seen the good things it can do in terms of introducing a wider range of people to the natural wonders within the park…people that might not consider venturing into the park if there weren’t staff their to provide information about the life systems that things growing there are part of.

      Well, it’s true that many outdoors minded people are self motivated to learn about all things in the natural world. All they really need is an undeveloped trail head from which to venture into the park.

      This being quite a big nature park right on the border of major urban development…which I think may be leaving the park subject to too much coincidental, subjective ideas of what is appropriate activity within the park, I think the addition of a well qualified, knowledgeable staff, in a structure that’s inspiring to people coming to visit, likely will be a very good way by which to introduce more residents of Portland to what their singularly extraordinary park is all about.

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        Smokey Bear February 24, 2017 at 3:12 pm

        I’d provide educational materials with a kiosk/bill board area – could have several of them in a circle like you see at some rest stops on freeways (the one west of Baker City for example).

        This visitor center will continually cost big money in salaries/benefits for employees and maintenance costs of the building/grounds/mechanical/plumbing systems, etc. Not only that, but it will add to the AGW problem if you believe in that.

        In a world with plentiful money resources, a visitor center could be a good idea. We do not live in that world. The city has far more important things to spend money on.

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        wsbob February 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm

        smokey bear…fair points. A visitor’s center, a nice, well equipped building like I’ve described THPRD’s as being, would cost a chunk of change. The city could decide not to put its money in one. Personally, I’m happy just being able to start out at a simple trail head. Other people may need more than that to get their interest going.

        I’m not sure how the Beaverton nature park visitor’s center works out in terms of dollars and cents. It brings in some money though from people renting the public spaces for all kinds of occasions…and I think that often, because they’re at the park, those attending, will include a walk through the park as part of their events’ activity. Helps to broaden base of support for the park. The classes for kids are great too. Parents pay to have their kids attend. The visitors center gives them a warm place to go after a walk in the often cool, wet weather we have here in Oregon.

        It’s fine though, whatever Portland residents think is best. Almost hesitate to mention the giant log cabin Portland used to have for a forestry center; more lodge than cabin. A structure of that construction is kind of contrary to the ethic of a nature park…I think it probably was more of a tribute the logging industry when it was built, but if it hadn’t been burned down, and was located at the proposed entrance for FP, that would make for quite a magnificent visitor’s center. Days of giant log cabins are gone, I suppose.

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    Matt S. February 24, 2017 at 7:21 am

    I liked option B because it appears the parking is going to call for less concrete than the other two designs. Bike access seemed fine on all three designs.

    I believe parking is a necessary evil for a project like this — make it more accessible for families living in surrounding areas. Also, I think parking should be free, GASP! I’m thinking about the family of four that wants to drive out from Gresham to use the park because they know ever aspect of the outing is free other than the car trip itself. Yes, I do believe $7.50 for three hours may be a hinderance for some working families. If we want people to enjoy nature in the Portland Metro, we need to remove as many barriers as possible.

    Maybe there can be a suggestion donation drop box as you enter the building, like the Marine Hatfield Center in Newport.

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      rick February 24, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Yes for less car parking ! More mountain bike trails !

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 9:16 am

        RE: Less parking… I’m willing to bet that a majority of BP readers drive when they go to Forest Park. This be entrance is not well situated for bicycle access.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. February 24, 2017 at 9:17 am

        I always take the bus to Forest Park. Line 15 takes you right there!

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 10:14 am

        You and I do not constitute a majority, sadly.

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        SE Rider February 24, 2017 at 4:34 pm

        Aren’t many (most?) people who bike to FP biking there to bike IN the park? So I don’t know that this would be a big draw anyway for bike traffic.

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      Gary B February 24, 2017 at 9:27 am

      Completely off topic, but you made me think: maybe it’s time Tri Met introduces a family ticket. Say for the price of 2 individuals, you can take the whole family? That large party issue seems to get invoked a lot for things like sporting events. And families generally aren’t taking TriMet during peak hours, so it shouldn’t impact capacity.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 10:26 am

        I think this would be a great idea. German trains have “group tickets” on weekends that are not restricted to families, but work really well for them. I would go one step further and let kids ride free with their parents.

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      TonyJ February 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

      Why should working families who cannot afford a car have to pay more to access the park than a working family that has a car?

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        Matt S. February 24, 2017 at 1:10 pm

        I suppose I operate under the assumption that the majority of families accessing the park do so via car. Maybe this is untrue. Have you seen the zoo’s parking lot on a summer day?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 24, 2017 at 1:14 pm

        Jam packed with bikes?

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        Alex Reedin February 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        Wait wait wait. We’ve skipped a couple steps here.
        1) Is reducing the cost to mostly moderate, middle, and upper-income families to access Forest Park by providing free parking even a legitimate public policy goal (i.e. is this really a benefit?) (Low-income families reasonably often do not have cars, and if they do, are unlikely to use the gas, maintenance risk, and time to drive to Forest Park – the places they live are mostly far from Forest Park. Gresham has better public forestland available closer than Forest Park – e.g. Latourell Falls trail. Just sayin’.)

        2) If it is a benefit, is it a greater benefit than the costs? What is given up by providing parking for free at Forest Park? (How much car travel by people who don’t really need to travel by car is encouraged by providing free parking? What could the revenue from charging for parking get us?)

        3) If we think free parking is worth the costs, why aren’t providing free Trimet passes for visitors to this facility worth the cost?

        Note: I am a parent of two children in a two-car family and would probably drive to and park at this facility occasionally were it built. I would probably never bike or bus to it with my kids regardless of charging or not charging for parking or transit.

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        TonyJ February 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        “I suppose I operate under the assumption that the majority of families accessing the park do so via car. Maybe this is untrue. Have you seen the zoo’s parking lot on a summer day?”

        You can always measure the results of car centric planning and use those measurements to justify more car centric planning.

        Parking at the zoo is still significantly cheaper than a family taking the bus/max to the zoo.

        $1.60/Hour
        $4.00/All Day Off Peak Oct. — Mar.
        $6.40/All Day Peak Apr. — Sept.

        compared to $5/per adult & $2.50/per child for a day trimet pass.

        I don’t doubt that most people drive, I don’t even begrudge people for driving. I do have a problem with subsidizing driving. End users should, whenever practical, be exposed to the true cost of their transportation decisions.

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        SE Rider February 24, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        http://www.newgeography.com/content/002666-how-lower-income-citizens-commute

        This article is a little dated, but I think it still clearly shows that a vast majority of people with lower incomes still use cars for commuting (and thus own cars). Certainly there are low income people who don’t own a car, but the vast majority do, as they live in much less walking/biking/transit friendly neighborhoods.
        Spend some time in east Portland and see how many driveways and apartment parking lots are empty.

        One could argue that throwing up a fee for lower income citizens to park is also a barrier to usage of the park. Although I agree with Alex that most people from the outer east side aren’t likely to make the trek to this area very often if ever.

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        Matt S. February 24, 2017 at 8:33 pm

        @TonyJ

        I may be in the minority by saying this, but I’d support subsidizing a family without the means to access the park. If this means free parking, so be it. If this means free TriMet tickets on a Tuesday afternoon, so be it.

        Maybe what you do at this new Forest Park Center is show your TriMet pass for free admission. Drivers would pay $2.50/hr or whatever unless they’re SNAP eligible. Present your EBT card and access is free.

        The Zoo offers $1.50 off admission if you present your Max ticket on certain days. Many art programs around town offer free admission for SNAP/WIC recipients.

        There’s options if the city gets creative!

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        Alex Reedin February 25, 2017 at 6:37 am

        SE Rider – yes, the majority of low-income folks *commute* by car, but A) it is a smaller majority than for any other income category and B) there is research showing that they travel far fewer non-work miles than other groups, and the travel reduction is mostly from reducing discretionary driving. Sorry, I don’t have the time to look that up right now but hopefully when the kids are down for naps.

        A SNAP-tested free parking program seems like a good thing to me. Providing free parking for everyone so that the relatively few poor folks who would use it get free parking seems like bad public policy that would use significant public resources to mostly reduce cost for upper income groups.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 25, 2017 at 9:54 am

        I think park facilities should be free for everyone.

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    Manville February 24, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Imagine if there were also Mountian Bike Trails there? Then I wouldn’t have to drive 70 miles in order to mountain bike; another car off of our roads

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    Gary B February 24, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I’m cautiously excited about this project. It’s very convenient for me, and a good asset for thee public. However, the cynic in me worries it’s a precursor to shutting down access from other, certain spots (read: affluent neighborhoods tired of the riff-raff parking in front of their house). I surely hope that’s not the case–stay vigilant! Now time to go vote and comment.

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    Travis February 24, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Aside from Firelane 1, there’s no real opportunity for off-road cycling at new entrance. Awesome would be if Firelane 1 could be re-cut to better accommodate bikes suitable for Leif and easier to climb. Then if climbable access (the descent is gnarly too) could be improved on Springville or built bike access along Ridge, Portland could boast a legit off-road transportation and well-being option via Forest Park (to avoid 30 and Germantown) for more than the ultra fit with niche bikes in a quiver. Of course there’s the little issue with STJ Bridge too…

    Not sure we can do much with the climbs on Springville. Maybe it’s big cogs and thick rubber forever.

    ^This^, a complete NP Greenway, and protected lanes on 30 to Sauvie are my dreams. I’d settle for a fancy Willamette crossing and access off NP Greenway to Saltzman.

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      GlowBoy February 27, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Travis, I don’t think we’re ever going to get away from Forest Park biking involving lots of elevation change. Just the nature of the terrain.

      That said, this area is one of the parts of the park that’s considered “heavily impacted” by human activities, and where new mountain bike specific trails have been proposed. These trails would follow contour lines more than fall lines as with most current trails in the par, and would be less vertically challenging. It should also be possible to connect new trails in this area to the north (Saltzman) and south (NW District) and spread out the trailhead use (although that’s probably exactly what residents there don’t want).

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      Alex February 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      If you want off-road transportation, that’s fine. That being said, unless you cut a bunch of new trail (which people have been fighting over for well over 20 years), there is no way of doing that. If they do end up cutting new trail, it will make people even angrier about it. If you haven’t read the the opinions from the single-track advisory committee, I implore you to do so.

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    Kate February 24, 2017 at 11:52 am

    That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this. There goes the last little vestige of mtn-bike-lite in Forest park. Sigh

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    Greg February 24, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Adam H and Smokey Bear make some excellent points in their comments above. I see this $2.3 million visitor center as a colossal waste of money and resources, despite any cycling infrastructure that might be improved in the immediate vicinity of the proposed building site.

    I’ve been a regular user, occasional volunteer, and proponent of Forest Park for the past 27 years, and have enjoyed it via both my feet and tires. Most shocking to me are not the increased visitor load, homeless camps, littering, or the intrusion over the years by adjacent landowners, but rather, the invasion of ivy.

    In the past two decades, ivy (and other invasive species) have made shocking advances. Take a casual stroll through ANY (yes, emphasis on ANY) section of road or trail in the park and pay special attention to the power and progress of the ivy. Entire sections of forest are being choked to death by this evil plant. It’s not difficult to envision a time in the not-too-distant future where the vast majority of live trees will cease to exist. Perhaps not in my lifetime, but most certainly in my kids’ lifetimes.

    So I wonder: How far can $2.3 million dollars go toward eradicating, once and for all, what might be the sole factor that threatens the very existence of the park whose namesake is “Forest?”

    Please ask yourself (and your elected officials, if you’re so inclined) if a short-term expenditure of a shit-ton of money is worth the good feelings, improved bike lane, and additional parking spaces when the health of an ecosystem is potentially at stake.

    Call me alarmist if you will, but please back up your comment with why invasive ivy is not a major issue affecting FP.

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      GlowBoy February 27, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      Good point Greg. Imagine if we spent TWO MILLION DOLLARS on ivy removal … coordinating activities with the No Ivy League and hiring several fulltime employees to do nothing but combat invasives.

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    Mark smith February 25, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I am really hoping they put up a monument to the NIMBYs who have stonewalled any mountain bike development. Considering how much parks has helped them out over the years. In reality, there should be a separate paved paved entrance for walkers and bikers. Lame, lame…Lame.

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson February 26, 2017 at 9:04 am

    One should keep in mind that a new visitor center on St. Helens road is really meant to reduce the impacts of Forest Park use on the residents of Willamette Heights. Over the years there have lots of complaints about parking, litter, noise, etc. Not sure that is money well spent.

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      wsbob February 26, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Just to reduce complaints from Willamette Heights residents that have put up for years with visitors parking on very narrow Thurman St at its terminus where it accesses Leif Erickson, is what you’re thinking? No parking lot there, whatsoever, or restrooms. Or do you think their might be some other, additional and very good reasons for the comparatively huge nature park that this park is, to have a visitor’s center?

      Because if it’s just neighbor complaints about parking, litter, noise in that neighborhood…no problem: pitch an idea for going cheap at the St Helens Rd location…level the land there, put in a gravel parking lot, some pit toilets and some informational signs, and call it done. That’s what some of the critics of the project, voicing themselves in this bikeportland discussion, seem to think is sufficient. Ought to be able to do that work for what? 10-20 thou, maybe less.

      As for parking lot surfacing…sure, just put down gravel. Gravel might hold up for a long while.
      Asphalt lasts longer, I think, resists pot holes more, beats the dust, but there’s enough of it in this world.

      It’s really kind of amazing to me that long before now, this park, Forest Park, hasn’t had a visitor’s center. It should have had one long ago, back when building great buildings for public parks came from inspired commitment to acknowledging and embracing the grace and beauty of the natural world around us. And when having them built for a reasonable cost was possible because of the many people with the abilities to do the work, whom believed in that ethic. Oregon and Mt Hood, has Timberline Lodge, in part because of belief in that ethic.

      Design and construction of a visitor’s center, doesn’t necessarily have to be done by high paid professional contracting firms. They of course, would like the contract and the money…but there are other ways to get a great visitor’s center built in good conscience. Possibly for less money, for those that are distressed about the million dollars suggested cost.

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    oliver February 27, 2017 at 7:52 am

    “An all-day TriMet pass is $5 and gives you the same freedom to not have to worry about parking.”

    I’d like not to have to drive for 30 miles to go ride my bike walk my dog in the woods.

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