As several of you may have noticed there’s a new gate at the lower entrance to River View Cemetery just across from the new Sellwood Bridge.
The bad news is it’ll be closed at 4:00 pm from now on. The good news is that it’s intended for motor vehicle drivers and they’ve left a space for bicycle users to walk around it.
We received several emails about the gate last week from readers concerned that the gate was the disaster we had hoped to avert when we reported on this issue last month. As you recall, cemetery staff are in a tough spot. The private nonprofit must balance its desire to maintain public access to their roads while maintaining a safe and respectful environment for their customers. The issue continues to bubble up because the cemetery receives many complaints about people riding bicycles too fast and without respect for others.
After hearing about the newly closed gate we contacted River View Cemetery Executive Director David Noble. He said the gate is now operational and is programmed to open at 6:00 am (specifically for morning bicycle commuters — staff doesn’t show up until 8:00) and close at 4:00 pm daily.
Noble says the gate is aimed at preventing cut-through auto traffic, not at prohibiting bicycle traffic. “The gate is there so we can secure our property at night by preventing vehicle traffic,” Noble shared with me via email. He added that they designed the new gate so that bicycle users can get around it.
Here’s more from Noble:
“Just as we designed our upper gate at Palatine Hill Road to accommodate bicycle ingress/egress after the gate was closed to vehicles, we have also designed a way for bicycles to exit or enter our lower entrance at Macadam Avenue even after the main gate is closed. A chain link fence is being installed along the south side of the roadway just uphill from our pillars and gate, but a passage gate is being installed in that fence to allow bicycles to enter and exit.”
Yes, you will have to dismount to get around the gate, but Noble feels that’s a pretty small inconvenience compared to riding on Taylors Ferry Road.
And please do dismount and walk around. Noble said that last week two riders didn’t want to walk in the gravel path around the gate so they, “jerked and yanked on the gate” so hard that it broke the operating system and required a service call that will cost River View several hundred dollars to fix.
While Noble has always stood up for bicycle access through the cemetery — even in the face of trustees and customers who would rather ban bikes completely — he says “antics” like the ones that led to the broken gate are wearing him thin and making it hearder to convince cemetery staff that bicycle users deserve their respect.
And I have to say that the stories of rude riding continue. Noble shared several with me that are really upsetting. Please remember that training and hill repeats are not allowed in the cemetery. Riding fast downhill is also forbidden. Please ride quietly, ride slowly, ride with respect for others, and ride with gratitude befitting a private business that allows your presence even though they don’t have to.