Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Be advised: River View Cemetery bike route will be closed Memorial Day weekend

Posted by on May 8th, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Signs have been posted.
(Photo: David Noble)

Before we get the inevitable, “Hi BikePortland! Did you hear that River View Cemetery is closed to bikes!?” emails; please plan ahead for the upcoming closure of this route on Memorial Day weekend.

Just like they did last year, the cemetery has decided to prohibit access through the cemetery during the busy holiday. The move comes in response to complaints from cemetery visitors about rude and dangerous behavior by bicycle riders. When this closure first happened in 2017, some of the Board of Trustees (who manage the cemetery) were convinced that a permanent ban was needed.

However, that disaster was averted thanks in part to the collaborative approach to problem solving and internal advocacy from River View’s Executive Director David Noble (and the work of The Street Trust who has helped broker these conversations for many years).


If you’re new to town, the cemetery provides a quiet and safe alternative from the Sellwood Bridge up to Terwilliger. It’s a crucial commute route for many southwest Portland residents and Lewis & Clark College students. The route is such a necessary reprieve from the fast and furious SW Taylors Ferry Road that even City of Portland bike maps recommend it. However, it is technically private land owned by River View Cemetery and we use it at their discretion. So be nice!

Also of note: This year the Memorial Day Weekend closure will be one day shorter: Saturday May 26th through Monday May 28th. “Alhough we have many hundreds of vehicles in the cemetery on Friday,” Noble shared with us via email today. “The volume is lower than the three weekend days, so I felt that we could defer to the needs of the commuters and students who use the route on weekdays.”

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

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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

  • maxD May 8, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    David Noble is a good friend to people who ride bikes. I hope everyone respects this closure

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  • bikeninja May 8, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    maybe Bike Portland needs its own version of the Guardian Angels ( circa 1979 NYC) to lay down some justice on the “Rude Roadies” giving us a bad name in the cemetery and elsewhere.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 8, 2018 at 4:56 pm

      I wouldn’t count on that working.

      There does appear to be support for playing nice in a cemetery that’s not required to let cyclists in at all. Not so much for anyplace else.

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    • mran1984 May 8, 2018 at 5:33 pm


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      • Toby Keith May 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm

        Exactly. Most of “us” have the sense not make a cemetery a recreational area on a day of rememberance.

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    • B. Carfree May 8, 2018 at 7:38 pm

      Yes, we definitely need to further divide the small and dwindling community of people who will turn a crank into ever smaller ever more self-righteous ever tinier groups. By all means, let’s pit “roadies” against commuters against tourists against families. Such a brilliant idea. I can think of no better way to bring about the complete demise of cycling.

      Maybe I’m just a cranky old dude who still remembers fondly the days when a large percentage of cyclists were happy to check off “all of the above” and behave a bit more inclusively towards each others’ wants and needs, but this labeling and ridiculing really rubs me raw.

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      • Kyle Banerjee May 9, 2018 at 5:59 am

        If it’s any consolation, my consistent experience is that the lion’s share of cyclists out there still do exactly just that and that the labeling and ridiculing thing is rare. I have never personally been on the receiving end of it anywhere except here.

        It would be a mistake to believe that some attitudes frequently expressed here are representative of cyclists in general.

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    • BradWagon May 9, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Yes, everyone knows tire width is inversely correlated to rudeness. Seems like a failsafe way to judge and be hostile towards other cyclists!

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    • JJ May 10, 2018 at 5:01 am

      Seriously? “lay down justice”?? “Rude Roadies”? Wow…perhaps that white hood obscures your vision of the world and your feet from the pedals…ride your bike and be happy. Peace be with you.

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  • Todd Boulanger May 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Makes sense to ration access during the busy memorial day period.

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  • Toby Keith May 8, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    This is good news. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Tom Armstrong May 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Thanks for the update. This is a good compromise. Also, seems to be fewer weekends this year. I think last year, they also closed it to bikes on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

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  • Tom Howe May 9, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    There is a Bike More Challenge 25 in a Day ride this weekend that goes up through River View and strings together a series of trails including the Willamette Greenway, the Tryon Creek Trail, the Oswego Iron Heritage Trail, the McLoughlin Promenade, the Trolley Trail, and the Milwaukie 17th Ave Trail:

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  • Fred May 10, 2018 at 6:41 am

    How sad that I can’t ride my bike to visit my family grave site. But a multi-ton truck spewing black exhaust? Well that’s just fine.

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    • q May 10, 2018 at 10:39 pm

      True, it looks like you’ll get impacted by this 3-day ban along with the cut-through bike traffic it’s aimed at. I guess the consolation is that for the other 362 days of the year, you and everyone else on bikes are welcome to cut through the cemetery, even when not visiting any graves, whereas people driving are banned from cutting through every day of the year.

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      • Fred May 11, 2018 at 7:57 am

        Yet I’ve seen *many* cars cutting through the cemetery. You can tell b/c they are in a major hurry to pass, and I followed one car from the gate at Palatine Hill Rd all the way to Macadam. One day when the Macadam Gate was closed and I was heading uphill, I passed a guy swearing and turning around – disappointed that he wasn’t able to cut through. If you live up by Riverview, the cemetery is the fastest way to reach the Sellwood Bridge.

        It’s nice that the cemetery allows bikes to ride thru on a regular basis, but there’s nothing you can say that will convince me that this bike ban isn’t motivated by animus toward cycling. Cars have a much greater impact – in noise, pollution, safety, and every other measure – and they cut through as often as bikes do. Yet no one would dare exclude them.

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        • q May 11, 2018 at 10:02 am

          Certainly “no one would dare exclude” cars that are used by cemetery visitors, because that’s a legitimate use. But the cemetery does try to exclude cut-through cars. The sign at the entrance clearly prohibits through traffic (at least it did when I looked last year after a similar article). It states:

          Dogs Are Not Permitted on The Premises
          No Skateboarding

          “THIS IS PRIVATE PROPERTY” AND “NO THROUGH TRAFFIC” couldn’t be clearer about prohibiting motor vehicle through traffic. As I understand, the cemetery also closes the upper gate early so cars can’t cut through, and also the Macadam gate.

          While your seeing the cut-through driver having to turn around when the Macadam gate was closed is proof that drivers are trying to cut through, it’s also proof that the cemetery is trying to stop that.

          Past articles have included many reasons why the cemetery does this short Memorial Day ban, and they make sense without any “animus towards cycling” needed to justify them.

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