Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Future of Alpenrose Dairy hangs in the balance amid lawsuit over potential sale

Posted by on March 6th, 2019 at 7:49 am

Opening race of the 2012 Cyclocross Crusade series with Alpenrose Dairy buildings in the background.

A 57-year tradition of bicycle racing at Alpenrose Dairy in southwest Portland faces a major threat.

“I realize this is big news and has a potential huge impact on not just OBRA, but the Portland area community that has benefitted from the incredible generosity of the Cadonau family.”
— Chuck Kenlan, executive director of Oregon Bicycle Racing Association

The ominous first line of a lawsuit (PDF) filed Monday afternoon in Multnomah County Circuit Court reads, “This action is brought to stop the destruction of Alpenrose Dairy and the land upon which Alpenrose sits.”

The squabble over the Dairy and the 52 acres of land that surrounds it (off SW Shattuck Road in the Hayhurst neighborhood) is between members of the Cadonau family who founded the Dairy in 1891. Two of the family members who retain majority power in the Cadonau Family Management Trust — Barbara Deeming and Anita Cadonau-Huseby — want to sell the Dairy and adjacent land. According to the Portland Tribune, the new owners would relocate the dairy operations and immediately close the land to the public.

That means all cycling events — including the Cyclocross Crusade, Alpenrose Velodrome Challenge, Blind Date at the Dairy, and others — would need to find new homes.

Three other members of the family — Carl Cadonau III, Tracey Cadonau McKinnon, and Cary Cadonau — have filed a lawsuit to stop the sale and keep the Dairy and land in its current state of operation.

Given the popularity of Alpenrose in the cycling community, news of the lawsuit and potential sale has spread quickly and it’s raising serious concerns.

Advertisement


A family watches competitors in a cyclocross race that uses the Alpenrose Velodrome.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) Executive Director Chuck Kenlan wrote in an email posted to the group’s chat list, “I realize this is big news and has a potential huge impact on not just OBRA, but the Portland area community that has benefitted from the incredible generosity of the Cadonau family.” Kenlan added that while the lawsuit is “sudden and potentially harmful,” the case could take years to litigate. “Even though we should be prepared for the worst,” he wrote, “I believe that OBRA and the PVC [Portland Velodrome Committee] should continue with our events as planned.”

Kenlan also hinted that the OBRA Board of Directors is already mobilized and taking action to help save the dairy. OBRA and the Cadonau family have developed a very close relationship over the years.

It was Portlander Frans Pauwels who convinced Carl Cadonau II to build a dirt cycling track on the dairy property in 1962. Five years later, buoyed by the popularity of the dirt track, Cadonau spent $30,000 to build an Olympic-style velodrome on the property. Former Portland Mayor Terry Schrunk worked with Pauwels to bring the National Bicycle Championships to the track that same year. Today, Alpenrose Velodrome’s steeply-banked corners attract racers from all over the country.

The Alpenrose site is a mainstay on the Portland cycling calendar. It hosts the traditional opening race of the world famous Cyclocross Crusade series which used to get record crowds of around 1,800 participants in one day.

Cycling is just one of many community activities that happens at the dairy. It’s also famous for its Santa’s Village, Storybook Lane, an opera house, a baseball diamond that hosts the Little League World Series, and much more.

Why would anyone want to destroy this legacy? In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that Deeming and Huseby are simply in it for the money. “They continue to make decisions motivated by their individual monetary interests… in order to line their own pockets with millions of dollars.”

We’ll continue to monitor this story as it develops.

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

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
14 Comment threads
10 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
20 Comment authors
JohnDaveI wear many hatsPDXCyclistLenny Anderson Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

The fence behind the back straight of the velodrome is right on Portland’s city limit. The property could be bought by the city and made a park.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

I’m sure they’re open to offers by people who are willing to sit on that kind of money and not turn a profit.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

This made me sick to my stomach when I read it on Oregon Live first thing this morning. My earliest memories as a child growing up in SW Portland were trips to Dairy Land and later the little league fields and velodrome and the now gone (I think) rodeo arena. I watched cartoon shows broadcast from there hosted by the Clown ” Rusty Nails”, ( the inspiration for the Simpsons Crusty the Clown”. I have always purchased their dairy products to support this Portland Institution. I wish the “good” members of the family well in their battle with the “greedy” members of the family. Perhaps some concerned folks can track down these Scrooges and talk some sense in to them.

SERider
Guest
SERider

This is sad. Alpenrose is an incredible resource for the city of Portland. Thank you to the Dairy and family for all they have done for the public over the years.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I’m curious if any of Powell Butte park sits on the former Meadowland Dairy or if that property all went private. I know the access road was an easement for the water bureau.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Now all the affluent bike racers will be gentrified out of Portland. Who’s left to push out? The replacement byrd scooterdrome will be smaller than the current velodrome though. If parks buys it say goodbye to “recreation” and hello to more natural space that excludes cyclists.

Austin
Guest
Austin

Alpenrose is amazing. The velodrome is super cool, of course, but beyond that, the place (and what they offer) is incredibly cool. Going there for christmas is a tradition with my family – it’s really fun and so different than anyplace else. The theater, the mini-town, the duck pond, etc etc etc

Laura
Guest
Laura

If the “good” side wins, they should look at creating a non-profit, like what Oaks Park has done. They could sell of or drop the dairy production, and manage the property as a private park, capitalizing on the velodrome and baseball facilities, much like Oaks has done with the skate rink, picnic areas, and rides.

Bill Pooley
Guest
Bill Pooley

I have always wondered when an occurrence like this would happen regarding Alpenrose. Trusts are complicated, fragile, and not guaranteed forever within the voting power of the trustees. In this case I presume Alpenrose should be preserved if the court agrees that the letter of the law of the trust prevails. I rode the original Alpenrose Veledrome prior to the 1967 rebuild and for many years thereafter. I suggest reading the original court lawsuit document and coming to your own conclusion. It contains detail far more than any online news article explains.

Grannygear
Guest
Grannygear

Inevitable and we will all be okay. Let’s turn out energy to a velodrome that’s internationally useful and closer to town for locals. No more riding 45 mins in rush h our traffic to maybe not get rained out on a falling appart, sparsly attended 1/6 mile . Think pole barn. Think east Portland.

mark smith
Guest
mark smith

It’s their Land to stall. This is America, not Stalingad. If they want to sell it, let them sell it.

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Very popular Easter Egg hunt here too! Lots of memories at Alpensrose.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

A few more memories…I was mostly a singles hitter in Little League baseball, 60 or so year ago, so I still remember getting all of one and putting it over the left field fence one night. What a gift the Cadonaus have given us all these years! The best way to preserve open space in our rapidly growing city is for the public to purchase it; all these apartment buildings must be generating some SDC money that should be used for just this purpose; maybe a joint purchase with Washington county’s THP&RD could be arranged. Or why not Metro?…put it in the next parks and open space bond measure!

PDXCyclist
Guest
PDXCyclist

FWIW a PBOT person told me that without Alpenrose agreeing for the Red Electric Trail to go through their property the trail wouldn’t ever happen. So if they do sell i wonder if it makes the trail a tiny bit more likely.