Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 17th, 2021 at 10:00 am
A storm is brewing over parking for Gateway Green.
The popular destination is home to Portland’s first and only bike park. Recent major upgrades to its trails, pump track and jumps have led to a huge boost in crowds. But one of the park’s quirks is causing headaches for some visitors and people who live nearby.
Gateway Green is a major destination, yet it has no on-site auto access or auto parking.
Access to the park — which is sandwiched between two interstate freeways on 25 acres former Oregon Department of Transportation property (see map below) — is via the I-205 multi-use path. That means if you drive there, you must park at either the north or sound end of the path and then bike the short distance in. The south side is on a hill above the park and it’s busy with a major TriMet transit hub and large shopping center. The north side is a calmer, friendlier location that doesn’t require any hillclimbing. The only problem? The path and parking is in the City of Maywood Park.
Maywood Park is a “city within a city“. Homeowners in the bucolic neighborhood voted to incorporate in 1967 in a bid to save their homes from the construction of I-205. Now they’re fighting to keep Gateway Green visitors and their cars off NE Maywood Place, a street that parallels a section of the I-205 bike path that offers a direct link into the park.
Another quirk? That street is under the jurisdiction of the City of Maywood Park. The City of Portland cannot enforce parking rules on it.
In recent weeks, people who park on that street have returned from riding sessions to find flyers on their windshields. One of them was Dean Davidson.
Davidson lives in the area and visits the bike park almost daily. Maywood Place is the closest and most convenient place for him to park (he says he would bike but local streets are way too dangerous for him and his family).
“I’ve been riding Gateway Green a lot with my kids,” he shared in an email to BikePortland last week. “And every time I do, this grouchy-looking couple comes by and puts signs on my car saying not to park in Maywood Park.” When he posted about it in a Facebook group for Gateway Green users, he learned nearby residents don’t like all the new traffic the park is adding to their self-ruled city.
“I feel like this is xenophobic and absurd,” Davidson said. “How can they not let us use taxpayer-funded public roads for parking? Those same people use Portland roads and we let them. People park in front of my house all the time and I could care less.”
“I feel like this is xenophobic and absurd.”
— Dean Davidson
Behind the scenes, delicate diplomacy and discussions between the City of Maywood Park, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and the Friends of Gateway Green (FoGG) have sought to address the issue before it escalates.
FoGG founding member and one of the visionaries behind the park, Linda Robinson, said they’ve discussed parking with Maywood residents for years. “We agreed to do a number of things that we thought would make people more likely to enter the park from the south end (the Gateway Transit Center),” she wrote in a reply to Davidson on Facebook. “We also agreed, that in all of our publicity for the park, we would tell people the same thing.”
The official PP&R website for the park has a section titled, “Help Gateway Green be a good neighbor: Please, do not park in Maywood Park.”
PP&R spokesperson Mark Ross says they’ve heard parking concerns — as well as complaints about congestion, trash, and damage to vegetation along NE Maywood Place), ever since the park opened. “PP&R has made efforts to help them address those issues, including updated web language related to parking and a discussion about improved signage. PP&R has not finalized signage and has not posted any signage at Gateway Green.”
PP&R dispatched their Safety and Ranger Program Coordinator Victor Sanders to the February 2021 meeting of the Maywood Park City Council. He announced himself as the new liaison and outlines some of the measures PP&R is taking to ameliorate concerns. Concerns voiced by residents at the meeting included: fears that emergency vehicles might be delayed due to increased congestion, the lack of masks by path users, people parking on the wrong side of the street, an increase in garbage and broken glass.
Sanders agreed to follow-up on all the concerns. The main actions thus far is new signage that will be placed near the park entrance and along the path at Maywood Place. Conversations are happening with TriMet and the Gateway Shopping Center to create designated spaces for park visitors.
If the signage and education don’t do the trick, Maywood Park could create a permit or no-parking zone. Whether it would be enforced is another question (the City declined to comment for this story). The Portland Bureau of Transportation has no jurisdiction over streets in Maywood Park and cannot enforce parking rules there. Enforcement services for Maywood Park are contracted out to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
The working relationship between City of Maywood Park and PP&R might be enough to stave off any stronger parking restrictions for now. But given the popularity of the park and the lack of desirable parking options on the south side, we likely haven’t heard the end of this story.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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