Please ride with respect through River View Cemetery

If you’re new to riding bikes in Portland — or if you’re new to BikePortland — I have a very important message for you about River View Cemetery: Riding bicycles through the cemetery is a privilege, not a right. And public access could be revoked at any time.

I share this now because I just received a troubling note that once again thrusts this issue into the spotlight. I say once again because I’ve written almost two dozen stories about River View Cemetery access since first sharing a threat of it being closed to bikes in 2006.

And when it comes to riding through the cemetery, if you know, you know: it is a fantastic route that connects the west end of the Sellwood Bridge (via the bridge and the Willamette Greenway path) to SW Terwilliger and Lewis & Clark College. The unfortunate fact is that the road through River View Cemetery is private. It’s only open to public access thanks to the goodwill of the River View board of trustees and leadership.  The other unfortunate fact is that the City of Portland doesn’t provide people any other alternative that is remotely safe or accessible. The only other route that would even merit consideration would be South Taylors Ferry Road, which (as you can see in the photo above) has very little space for cycling and is a relatively high speed arterial that is scary to ride on for 99% of the cycling population.

Which brings me to that troubling note. It comes from (yet another) person who claims to have had a very negative interaction with a bicycle rider during a visit to the cemetery. Here’s what they shared with BikePortland:

Jonathan,

My 27 year old daughter was buried yesterday at Riverview, and I returned to the cemetery this morning in search of her gravesite. I encountered many bikers, most of who were respectful, until I encountered an entitled one who wasn’t.

This one nearly ran into me, while he sped downhill making a right turn onto a no bike road, and not visible to me until after I started a left turn onto that road. The biker first started screaming at me.  I made the mistake of opening my window and letting him know of both the speed limit and no bike road, and asking him to be respectful of the dead. I added that I was looking for my daughter’s grave.

He called me a dumb ass, told me I was driving on a bike path, and said he was thankful for my loss.  He made aggressive maneuvers toward me, at which point I found it necessary to abandon my search and leave the cemetery.

I have reported this to cemetery management, and encouraging them to enact a permanent ban on cyclists through this private property.  I understand there have been multiple previous complaints from grieving families.

People are people. Some are jerks, some are respectful. The actions of one person don’t define an entire group. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

The fact is policies are often set because of emotional reactions to one situation that adds to a broader narrative — whether it’s fair or not.

If you don’t believe the person who sent me the note above, take it from River View Cemetery Executive Director Rachel Essig (an ally of cycling who’s helped stave off bans). “Over the years our staff and our families have experienced verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. We’ve had rider disrupts graveside services with loud talking, laughter and even using profanity at mourners,” she shared with me via email this morning. “We also experience ‘near misses’ with cyclists as we operate a lot of heavy equipment to conduct interments, we have had riders get in the way of our employees work to serve our client families.”

I’ve learned over the years that the River View board of trustees has long considered a closing the cemetery to bike access and it has only been maintained because cemetery staff like Essig (and her predecessor) have stepped in and promised they can manage the situation. Interactions like the one above make it harder for staff to keep that promise.

River View hosts over 350 funerals every year. On any given day they are serving at least two families who have just lost a loved one. Please keep that in mind — and remember that your access to those roads is a privilege, not a right — every time you roll through those cemetery gates.


— Learn more about the rules for riding through River View in this video.

NOTE: Comments are now closed on this story. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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maxD
maxD
11 months ago

This is a disappointing and frustrating story! On Sunday I was just talking to my dad (former cyclist and former township commissioner in charge a cemetery) about this as a positive story of a negotiated peace: A magnanimous cemetery allowing an incompatible use with a few ground rules. These stories of appallingly bad behavior leave me disgusted and embarrassed and I would not blame Riverview for banning cyclists. However, I LOVE that climb. I know PP&R has been bike-hostile when it comes to Riverview, but that seems like the obvious solution. At the minimum, a Saltzman-level gravel road connecting the bridgehead to Palatine Hill Road. Better yet would be a paved road and formalized network of shared walking/cycling trails

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  maxD

What is incompatible about riding your bike thru a cemetery? This view – that riding your bike past some grave markers is somehow “disrespectful” – is the root issue here. People used to picnic in cemeteries in the 1800s and early 1900s – it was a nice way to spend time with your departed family.

Matthew
Matthew
11 months ago

What is wrong with people?

The behavior of cyclists described by both the parent and the executive director is deplorable.

I love riding around town, but I wouldn’t hold it against the cemetery at all if they wanted to cease bicycle access.

Glenn
Glenn
11 months ago

They should just close it to bikes.
There are other ways over the hill that work fine.

Glenn
Glenn
11 months ago

S Lakeview dr up to Corbett Ave
(or any other road up to Corbett Ave from the East, ie Carolina St), to S custer St, SW Brier Pl.
RiverView Natural Area
or another road south on 43…

Dave
Dave
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

-Corbett is the only actually viable path here you mention, and it is a steep hill straight up. Anyone who isn’t in great shape or has an electric bike probably has to walk it.
-Riverview Natural Area isn’t open to bikes and is mostly a hiking area with no paved trails
-43 south is not bike safe at all and you have to go fairly south to find a route up the hill, which makes it doubly unviable for anyone who needs a commuter route north once they cross the bridge

Jonno
Jonno
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

No there are not.

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  Jonno

I agree. I know 3 POSSIBLE ways to go between the bottom of the hill (say, Willamette Park/Willamette Greenway Trail) and the top (say Lewis and Clark College). All are horrible compared to the cemetery:
1) Taylors Ferry Road–too dangerous
2) Wind down Dunthorpe roads south of Riverview–dumps you out on Highway 43, with long dangerous ride north or south to get anywhere
3) Long, contorted route north of Taylors Ferry on maze of neighborhood streets past Fulton Park, with bad Barbur/Terwilliger area at top

I’d love to hear of a decent alternative route. Remember this has been discussed many times here in past articles also.

Granpa
Granpa
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

From the bottom of Terwilleger, up Laview, left on Corbett then right on Custer/Briar and you are at Barbur . There are good views but even with light traffic, it is a far inferior route than Riverview.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
11 months ago
Reply to  Granpa

Yeah, this is the other route I’ve tried.

I’ve actually been riding all the way to Portland and up Fairview to drop into Beaverton from the north side – I hate Beaverton Hillsdale enough to ride 3 extra miles and climb a lot of extra feet.

saymwah
saymwah
11 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

Right, why have nice things when it’s more fun to be an a******?

Julie
Julie
11 months ago

This is very heartbreaking. My dad is buried here and when I visit (sometimes by bike), I am grateful for the peaceful surroundings. So far I haven’t seen or encountered rude cyclists, but if I did, it would be really upsetting.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Julie

Exactly. You haven’t encountered rude cyclists b/c there aren’t any.

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago

Sounds like that bicyclist is a horrible person, but petitioning the cemetery to permanently close their roads to cyclists is also horrible. Karen behavior, honestly.

2 points stand for me:

a) Not everyone who rides a bike in the cemetery is a recreationalist. They might be commuters with no viable alternative route, or mourners themselves.

b) Limiting access for people on bikes writ large would be an abdication of civic duty on the part of Riverview.

Whether they like it or not, the cemetery is *the* essential thoroughfare for cyclists trying to access SW Portland & Lake O from the waterfront trails. It’d be great to cut off agro lycra guys from the trail, but in doing so you’d also cut off people who truly need that route. Morally, that would be a far worse act than anything a cyclist has ever done on those roads. Riverview can shove it for throwing the idea out there every few months imo.

Solar Eclipse
Solar Eclipse
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

 Riverview can shove it for throwing the idea out there every few months imo.

Based on that comment alone, I hope they do proceed to block off the cemetery to people who think private property is for their use just because they bike (you know god’s gift to transportation /s).

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  Solar Eclipse

Yeah I’m not a big believer in “private property”

Granpa
Granpa
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

I have never seen a duck billed platypus but they exist. Ones belief in a thing is no matter to that thing

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  Granpa

A duck-billed platypus is a thing, but the private ownership of property is a human construct. Our belief in it is actually all that matters about it, dude

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

The brown acid is not that good, just a warning..

bjorn
bjorn
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

I am all for being respectful of folks in the cemetery, but considering the level of tax breaks provided to a cemetery it isn’t as private as some might think…

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  bbcc

The comment section of this blog is filled with complaints, mostly from men. But if a woman complains about some pretty roughshod behavior you call her a “Karen?” Way to shut women up.

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago

The article makes no mention of the complainer’s gender, nor do I assume it. To wield a position of power (i.e. be a car driver) & demand authorities remove a marginalized group from public space is to be a Karen.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

I don’t consider myself in a marginalized group at all because I ride a bicycle everywhere..
What kind of social economic psychobabble is that?
Wow, I think there are real marginalized groups you might spend your time on, I doubt most cyclists think they are the most picked on group in America…
Of course this post and the one where you proclaimed that not allowing bicycles to ride through a cemetery was almost equivalent to Rosa Parks treatment just might be bad satire…..
It’s not a public space either and the authorities as you call them are not the MAN…
What is wrong with you?

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

It’s not a public space!

And to demand that a private property owner keep their private property open as a through-traffic route seems like the unreasonable demand here.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  bbcc

You are right, bbcc, I was a sloppy reader. But “Karen” pisses me off for a couple reasons:

1) It’s ageist. Every single class of mine in the 60s and 70s had a couple Lisas, Karens and Jennifers. It describes a woman of a certain age.

2) It’s sexist, I’ll explain why. Women can’t settle things man-to-man by stepping outside, no barroom fights for my sex. So we tend to report things—-or to just not bother. I can use my sharp tongue, but I’ve always been lousy at physically intimidating people with my presence, even other women.

Calling women “Karens” is an attempt to disempower them by belittling what is often the only recourse we have.

Daniel Reimer
11 months ago

Karen is a classist term stemming from the dynamic of service workers and middle/upper class people. It has nothing to do with age or sex other than the fact that most perpetrators are older white women.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

That’s a stereotype.

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel Reimer

I agree it’s used to describe a type of behavior, and it’s often now aimed at people who aren’t in the original group it was being used against (older white women).

But it’s the same case with scores of other terms (related to race, religion, gender, nationality, mental ability…) many people have come to realize aren’t appropriate to use–they started in reference to a specific group, then started being aimed at people outside that group.

It’s basically saying, “You’re behaving badly like many older, white, middle/upper class women behave”. You may be saying that to someone in another group, but it’s still demeaning to the original group.

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago

That’s well said, Lisa. I agree with everything you’ve written.

I think the issue comes up because that means of recourse might not be chosen, but it is extremely powerful and limits the means of recourse for those against whom its used.

When someone calls the authorities and makes a credible threat to limit your ability to occupy public space in response to something legal-but-distasteful you did, it’s difficult to respond when you feel that authority figure is predisposed to side with the caller. Classifying & naming that behavior, like calling the authorities in the first place, is often the only option for recourse we have as well.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

I guess it’s just not going to sink in to you that it is not PUBLIC space. (***Moderator: deleted some words.***)
Your opinion on the matter is not debatable.

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  Dwk

Since there is no safe & practicable alternative route, it’s public to me 🙂

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Classifying & naming that behavior …  is often the only option for recourse we have

Doing so with sexist and ageist terminology is not the solution.

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Nobody called the authorities.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

There are handicapped people, my daughter has stage 4 cancer, there is real racism in our society. what kind of elitist jerk thinks that people who can ride bicycles around the city are “marginalized”?

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

it’s not a contest, many groups can be marginalized at once! cyclists are literally marginalized in that we are forced to ride on the peripheries of busy roadways next to deadly cars. we’re figuratively marginalized in that our voices & needs often go unconsidered in public infrastructure design & maintenance.

***Moderator: Deleted last sentence***

Michael
Michael
11 months ago

“Karen” is the epitome of casual sexism. I cringe a bit every time I see or hear it. Unfortunate that so many people, many of whom claim to be allies, continue to use it without a second thought.

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
11 months ago

Cotw

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Betsy Reese

Thanks Betsy, LOL, that never occurred to me … it’s even more self-referential than this week’s cotw!

Karstan
11 months ago
Reply to  Betsy Reese

Seconded! COTW

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Why is limiting access for people on bikes who are not using the roads as cemetery patrons “an abdication of civic duty”?

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  qqq

There is no safe & practicable alternative route, so I believe the cemetery owners have a civic duty to keep theirs open to the public lest people are forced either into cars or onto unsafe streets. It’s a civic duty because it’s owed to their community, not to their patronage.

maxD
maxD
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

The CITY has a civic duty to provide access- if anyone is abdicating their duties it is PP&R

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  maxD

True! The city is abdicating their duties by not making this road legally public.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

How, exactly, would the city do that?

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

The city has lots of levers they could use to pressure the cemetery to keep this route open.

maxD
maxD
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

The City owns land next door, they could and should provide a public access through public land. Are you proposing the City use Eminent domain through the cemetery? That is wildly inappropriate

jakeco969
jakeco969
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

The cemetery has a moral duty to its employees and its charges (the families of the departed) before anyone else is considered.
I guess you didn’t notice how it is a private road and they have been dealing with this behavior long enough to put to rest the idea that this is some kind of strange “one off” situation.
I worked at Willamette National Veterans Cemetery for just under 5 years and it is incredibly difficult work dealing with the rough manual labor as well as the ongoing emotional toll of constantly dealing with everyone you meets “worse day”. To have any identifiable type of person (this time being bicyclists) scream, carry on, threaten, etc would be completely over the top. That is has stayed open to bicyclists so long is incredible.
I hope it can stay open to riders, perhaps some kind of protest against rude riders is due by responsible riders?

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

I basically agree with you. Behavior should change among the bad cyclists, but road closure isn’t the answer. Just install some parking lot grade speed bumps.

Granpa
Granpa
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Let us not dismiss the “bunny hop”. I used to be able to clear RR tracks at speed back in the day. Speed bumps are play things for aggressive riders (until they get their day of reckoning- DAMHIK)

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

You sound like pleasant person I would want share this private road with….

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

I’m sure you would! I’m a very slow cyclist, you would probably fly past me. I do not suffer from road rage. I just don’t believe in private roads.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Do you believe in private property? A private road is just a roadway across that private property.

bbcc
bbcc
11 months ago
Reply to  Watts

nope, sorry to say i am not a big believer in “private property”

i’d recommend reading this little number by EM Forster, it’s just a few paragraphs: http://english.fju.edu.tw/lctd/asp/works/158/text.htm

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
11 months ago
Reply to  bbcc

Morally, there is not comparison between the 2. As the has been noted, this isn’t a single isolated incident.

Alan Love
Alan Love
11 months ago

I hope the Riverview people see this story and recognize that the vast majority of people riding through are reasonable people, but as others have said, a ban would be terrible but understandable. As a compromise, perhaps some rather severe speed bumps could be installed every few hundred feet (well marked with plenty of warning signage to avoid injury lawsuits). Not only would it discourage StravaBombing on the descent and climbs, but drivers (some of those aren’t great people either) are slowed down as well. It would make the ride less pleasant, but I’ll take a bumpy cemetery route over getting smashed on Scholls Ferry any day.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Love

This morning some guy in a car yelled epithets at me out his car window. Where’s the car-driver blog I can write to, so I can get cars banned from that road??

 
 
11 months ago

I wonder if there would be a way for Riverview to implement some sort of permit system to bike through. You could swipe some sort of ID badge at the gate, which would open the gate to let you ride through. Could be a reasonable compromise and would create a sense of accountability for cyclists as it would be super easy to track who is responsible for incidents.

And for those who are behaving this way, I wish there was a law would allow them to be straight-up thrown in jail. Utterly deplorable behavior.

axoplasm
axoplasm
11 months ago

re: permits: my guess is spendy gate infra would be destroyed eventually. A couple years ago the cemetery put in automated gates to limit cut-through drivers, all of which where smashed through within a few months. I lived for years near the cemetery and they are constantly having to replace & repair various gates (if you think the “bikers” are bad in RV let me introduce you to the cut-through drivers…)

But yes PBOT should *absolutely* stand up, whatever that takes. Bike paths through RVNA would be my first suggestion, or convert an auto lane on Taylor’s Ferry to a separated path. PBOT has really slid on this for a long time. RV is a vital transportation link and it is to the city’s shame that we have to rely on the good graces of a private landowner just to get commute.

The cemetery has gone above and beyond to keep it accessible. They are entirely within their rights to unilaterally ban bikes tomorrow — they did something similar with dogs IIRC.

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
11 months ago

Car v Bike / Bike v Car culture of hate rears it’s ugly head. While often easier to remember to talk to drivers in our lives about this problem, we need to talk to our fellow cyclists just as much.

As a commuter, from SE to Tigard, losing the connection through River View would make my ride significantly more difficult, and likely impossible during the winter. Speaking with the confidence of a rider that grew up sharing the road, negligible shoulder, I agree that climbing Taylors Ferry is unsafe, especially with the speeds it is driven, up or down. Although reduction to a single lane for the full up hill could help, I don’t think there’s enough room for a protected single bike lane. Laview and Corbett are options I’ve only ridden downhill and neither are good, nor are they very viable connections to Sellwood bridge. (re: Talyors Ferry for Laview and the amount of distance added for Corbett. )

I would donate to a fund for more signage for River View, both to demonstrate that it is a shared space, and that there is a designate route for cyclists.

Tangentially related, after the storms I saw that the north most section, aka the steep part halfway-ish, was coned off. Does anyone know if that is meant to re-route everyone including bikes or just vehicles? It was not very clear to me what was intended.

Rachel Essig
11 months ago

Hi Pockets – we sometimes cone off areas of the cemetery if there is a hazard. During the storms we lost a lot of large branches, also the conditions were so bad in the recent storms we closed the entire facility for several days. We are not like other facilities where we have a large crew or the appropriate equipment and ice melt etc… to be able to appropriately clear the amount of snow and ice that fell. In this case, it was best to close and let it melt. Our crew did a very good job with little of what we have. That was a once in a lifetime storm, the last time that much snow fell in Portland was 80 years ago! Thank you for your kind comments. Much appreciate, Rachel Essig

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
11 months ago
Reply to  Rachel Essig

I appreciate the access and the maintenance that you and the River view team has provided, you all have done a wonderful job and riding through is the highlight of my commute. I’m glad to hear that it’s simple branch hazards and that no one went over the edge with all the ice. Thanks!

Rachel Essig
11 months ago

Well, that could be why our crew coned it off, they didn’t want anyone sliding into the canyon! It happens more than you’d think, bikes and cars we’ve pulled people out before! Take care, Rachel

jonno
jonno
11 months ago
Reply to  Rachel Essig

Hi Rachel, I’m a neighbor of the cemetery and a frequent user of the bike route for both transportation and recreation. Just wanted to express my sincere gratitude for the elegant link between river and hills. I know for certain I’m not the only rider who tries hard to be respectful of others in the space in recognition of its solemnity. Please don’t let the bad apples spoil this for everyone.

Michael
Michael
11 months ago

I’m tired of this issue. Close it. I don’t care anymore. There will be no more complaints after that. Ride the sidewalk up to Laview then take Corbett/Custer/Brier then there are lots of back roads up there to find your way.

axoplasm
axoplasm
11 months ago
Reply to  Michael

lol “lots of back roads” dude you named the *ONLY TWO*

Michael
Michael
11 months ago
Reply to  axoplasm

See below

Michael
Michael
11 months ago
Reply to  axoplasm

Miles, Logan, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

Barbur Frontage, staircase, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, Nevada

4th, Troy, Moss, Evans, Burlingame, 6th, Hume, 7th, 8th, 9th, Dolph, Lobelia, Primrose

lol, just look at a map dude

idlebytes
idlebytes
11 months ago

That’s pretty horrific behavior I wish they’d put in a bike counter and track their bad experiences. How many people went through the cemetery that day that were completely respectful compared to this one awful person? Hundreds? I mean if it were a constant problem with every other rider going through being disruptive and rude I’d understand banning everyone but like most stories I hear about bad cyclists I always want to know how many good ones did that person not even notice.
 
Would they consider banning drivers because of their bad behavior? Surely there must be instances of people not driving safely, honking their horns, or even yelling at people. Every time a cyclist puts a toe out of line people are shouting from the rooftops to ban us, tax us, license us and what not but when that same cyclist drives their car like a jerk it’s just the cost of doing business. It’s exhausting. I bet most drivers don’t even see me when I commute around town and based on how frequently they violate my right of way that’s probably true.
 
I hope a handful of jerks don’t ruin it for everyone but I wouldn’t be surprised if they do.

 
 
11 months ago
Reply to  idlebytes

Drivers are already banned from using cemetery as a cut-through route, so the answer to that question is yes.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to   

But cars actually *do* cut through the cemetery – I see them all the time. There’s no coordinated campaign to ban them, however, b/c cars are considered to be “respectful” to the dead, unlike bikes.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
11 months ago

If the cemetery is owned by a nonprofit, why doesn’t everyone petition the county to buy it out and make it a public space? Doesn’t the county already run several other cemeteries?

Rachel Essig
11 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Hi David – good question. River View Cemetery is a fully operating cemetery where our revenues cover the cost for day to day care of the property. However, the added burden placed on the cemetery to support ridership of the community is not in our budget nor is it a core value of what we do. I used to manage the county cemeteries, which are owned by Metro, I seriously doubt Metro would take on another cemetery as they have their own unique challenges in operating cemeteries. You can learn more about River View by visiting our website: http://www.riverviewcemetery.org

Will
Will
11 months ago
Reply to  Rachel Essig

Rachel, would the cemetery be open to granting an easement along it’s border with Taylor’s Ferry and/or it’s border with the River View Natural area for the city to build and maintain a multi-use path? It would allow folks to bypass the active part of the cemetery without disturbing mourners or staff, and then the cemetery roads themselves could be closed to bicycle through traffic.

 
 
11 months ago
Reply to  Will

I have no faith that the city would build such a path even if the cemetery allowed them to.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  Rachel Essig

the added burden placed on the cemetery to support ridership of the community is not in our budget nor is it a core value of what we do

Hang on: you aren’t doing anything other than maintain your roads, which you already do for cars.

I think we see the root cause of this so-called problem: the people who run the cemetery don’t like bikes.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  Fred

You might be right..So what?
They are managing the space for the people own plots there…
Whether they like bicycles is beside the point.
After reading and participating in this thread, I hope they close it.
You don’t deserve to use it…

EP
EP
11 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Making it a public space makes a lot of sense. It’s a strange situation to declare it all “private property” and shut the public out, when the lack of property tax and nonprofit status means it’s basically a publicly funded space.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  EP

You want the city of Portland to run this cemetery or any public entity right now?
They have their hands full failing the rest of the city.
It would house a lot of homeless that would certainly be there if it were run by the city.
Dan Ryan running this space would make the residents flee….

Rachel Essig
11 months ago
Reply to  EP

Hi EP

We do pay some property taxes and we pay over $80,000 a year in storm water fees, we pay our utilities and also permit fees just like everyone else.

No one subsidizes what we do, what we make in sales of interment rights, merchandise and services pays our employees and the upkeep of the cemetery.

We are a private non-profit endowment care cemetery – 5-15% of our sales go into a protected trust fund for when the cemetery no longer has inventory to sell to keep up operations.

We are an association, when someone buys a grave, niche or crypt they become part owner of the cemetery.

We are a sustainable non-profit operation that is being forced to help take care of the city’s transportation system.

If the city would help – that would be great! It is actually their problem that they are ignoring and placing the burden on a small portion of private citizens – some who don’t even live in the City of Portland.

Watts
Watts
11 months ago
Reply to  EP

How do we make the cemetery a public space? What mechanism would you propose using? (Ideally one that’s legal and constitutional.)

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  EP

But the public ISN’T shut out from it. I’ve been there for burials, but I’ve also walked, run, biked and driven through dozens of times. Their website states, “Automobiles, bicycles, walking, and jogging are allowed”. I don’t use it as a driving cut-through, bring my dog, or break any of the simple rules that are on their website and signs.

The website and office have lots of info for visitors who want to tour the cemetery, find historical or other particular graves, etc.

Having tax breaks as a non-profit falls far short of making it “basically a publicly funded space”. And many non-profits don’t let the public in at all without paying admission.

Babygorilla
Babygorilla
11 months ago

We speak of vulnerable road users, but its highly likely that guests there for mourning / remembrance are going through the most difficult times in their lives and are at their most emotionally vulnerable. For the Board, these folks’ needs should be paramount to any public access or use. It’s clear that signs and annual posts here aren’t and can’t solve the problem. The Board should just close access.

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago

I have a really hard time believing that enacting a cycling ban is going to keep that person from using the road. Even if they enacted one, who is going to enforce it?

Portland has plenty of terrible people, and they unfortunately aren’t going to read this post or care if they do.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

They could easily close it and enforcement would be simple…you must not have ever ridden through the cemetery?

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  Dwk

Could you elaborate at all? Neither closing it or enforcing a closure seem “simple” to me at all. It has access from all sides and enforcement would be done by security guards who can be ignored.

I’m not advocating for that, just pointing it out.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

At the bottom there is ONE access and one road which the city directs cyclists to. Of course any rogue person could ride past the gate and signs but access to 99% could be closed tomorrow.
You obviously have never accessed it,

cc_rider
cc_rider
11 months ago
Reply to  dwk

You obviously have never accessed it,

I’ve ridden through many times. This is a really odd way to end your comment considering you said:

Of course any rogue person could ride past the gate and signs

which indicates you actually agree with what I said.

Dwk
Dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

What’s your point?
Of course anyone can break rules, the majority won’t which is why a closure would hurt.
You can make your argument about any laws or societal rules…
Someone will break them, water is wet, amazing insight…

qqq
qqq
11 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

There’s only one access at the top. It’s gated and the rest is fenced. As I recall, Riverview closes that gate (or at least did) in the afternoon so drivers couldn’t use Riverview as a cut-through.

Since that gate isn’t needed for access in or out, it seems like Riverview could close it anytime it wanted. That wouldn’t stop people from riding in and out the other access points in order to ride within the cemetery, but it would stop cut-through biking.

I agree people like the one in the article aren’t going to be stopped by signs.

dw
dw
11 months ago

The person’s story reminds me of something I saw happen the other day. I was enjoying my Sunday morning coffee outside a cafe and an older woman pulled into her driveway across the street, partially blocking the sidewalk. She opened the back of her station wagon and started unloading a bunch of stuff. A few minutes later, a guy – probably early twenties – walks past and proceed to scream at her for blocking the sidewalk and “There’s a parking spot right there!” while pointing down the block. Gave major “spends too much time on r/f***cars” vibes.

There’s a time and a place to call out drivers who do dangerous or inconsiderate things, but that (and the cemetery story) ain’t it. Folks gotta learn how to read the room. Err… street? I think that a big part of normalizing activists includes making sure that die-hards and activists aren’t just a bunch of angry, car-hating trolls.

idlebytes
idlebytes
11 months ago
Reply to  dw

There’s a time and a place to call out drivers who do dangerous or inconsiderate things

Lately I’ve found that time is only when I’m in the car with the person. Asking strangers to be safer and more considerate either starts an argument or goes in one ear and out the other but friends and family seem to be somewhat receptive.

It sure is hard sometimes though just yesterday some person decided to pass me while a car was coming in the opposite direction thankfully the car pulled over and the driver didn’t whip back over into my lane and hit me. Ironically she gave an I’m sorry wave to the other driver.

Trike Guy
Trike Guy
11 months ago

When I ride that way I only ever use Riverview to climb the hill. If you want to go fast and get an adrenaline rush, drop down Taylor’s Ferry with the cars like I do.

Trust me, you’ll get what you’re looking for.

erikv
erikv
11 months ago

Anyone who’s attended a funeral for a lost loved one, or mourned at their graveside would understand this is a sacred place and should be respected as such. Disappointing.

A ban would probably just keep the good cyclists away. What a bummer.

Jo
Jo
11 months ago

Ugh. Yea I’ve seen these cemetery posts for years on this site and I’m so sorry another mourner had to experience an interaction like that.
I wonder what if this message could be shared on more local cycling platforms or websites…. for those riders who do not read this one. Maybe OBRA or any bike shop Instagram s would be a good start? Just a thought. And it blows my mind that people need to be reminded to be respectful to each other in a graveyard

luke
luke
11 months ago

Honestly- you aren’t gonna fix people like the mean bicyclist and there will occasionally be issues. If Riverview decides to ban bikes than more power to them. I’d be totally bummed but I also only do the climb for exercise so it wouldnt change my world. and back the only route around there– while that is true I don’t know how many people use the cemetery as a route that is directly ending at the beginning (or end) after the cemetery. Corbett hill is another option.
That being said- maybe we could do a gofund me and buy something nice for Jennifer’s daughters grave or find a charity that they would like a donation in the name of her daughter on behalf of respectful bicyclists. maybe make it a thing like bike friends of Riverview.

Betsy Reese
Betsy Reese
11 months ago
Reply to  luke

Beautiful idea, Luke.

My heart breaks for a parent burying their 27-year-old daughter. No matter what the circumstances, to be told by someone that they were “thankful for your loss” is just unimaginable.

While this very comment thread demonstrates that we do indeed have a systematic problem (“just one bad apple” is a cop-out and abdication of responsibility), I do support Luke’s effort to make a gesture expressing “not all bicyclists”.

Luke, can you set this up? Jonathan and Lisa, can you amplify this?

Yes, this gesture would be in defense of all the “good” cyclists. But our main motivation should be to express the simple human emotion, “Your daughter’s life mattered. Your unimaginable grief over the death of your young daughter matters .”

TA
TA
11 months ago

We love Riverview so much we bought a granite marker in the Stevens Creek plot. The idea was that one of us can ride up to visit when the time comes, and knowing that we will be laid to rest right near people enjoying their bikes. We know that the management rides themselves and have graced us with permission to ride there responsibly. I would be heartbroken not only as a cyclist but as a future Riverview “resident”

Fred
Fred
11 months ago
Reply to  TA

Love this. Just remember that your bike is inherently “disrespectful” and the cemetery management will give you and your loved ones the stink-eye – and you will not be able to ride your bike off the designated route. You can drive your Hummer there, though.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
11 months ago

That sounds terrible and I feel so bad for this parent who has had bury her child only to have someone treat her that way when they were visiting their daughter.

Nick
Nick
11 months ago

I think we can all agree the person who yelled acted inappropriately, however Cemeteries are a bad use of space, especially near cities.

The idea that you die and still get to take up a chunk of space is just not sustainable on a long enough timeline. Especially when looking at the size of that chunk of land, and its proximity to the largest city in the state, it really makes a statement about who gets to use land for what.

dwk
dwk
11 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Green spaces with no condos or expensive housing or high-rises sucks doesn’t it?
I will take RV cemetery over any options this city offers….

Michael
Michael
11 months ago

There’s a cemetery in Salem that happens to have the roads in the public ROW. I’m pretty sure the city and county do not maintain them, however it looks like they are maintaining the access rights by keeping the roads outside of the parcel boundaries. I don’t know the whole story.

But what I do see is an “opportunity” for the City of Portland or Multnomah County to seize the ROW through the cemetery through eminent domain and end this ongoing fiasco. I don’t imagine it would be very popular, but it is possible, it’s been done to all kinds of marginalized folks.

I don’t have time to read all the comments here, and I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but there is also a long history of cemetery employees harassing cyclists with the most recent I can recall back in about 2015-2016, but worse in the farther past.

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Chris I
Chris I
11 months ago

This is why I’m going with cremation.

Bicycle Dude
Bicycle Dude
11 months ago

Having read yet another article on bad cycling behavior at RV, and many of the comments, some of which reflect the very problems discussed, i.e. being disrespectful of grieving individuals. I think RV is well within their rights to close the cemetery to all cyclists.

But even if they did close it, there would be some who would still breach the closure. Personally, I’m sick of the entitlement attitude that many have adopted over the past decade or so.

Fred
Fred
11 months ago

I simply don’t believe this account. What I do believe is that there has been a concerted effort by cemetery managers to get bikes kicked out of the cemetery, so they gin up stories like this one to feed to you, and you take them and print them.

Also the cemetery route is not that great – the grade on that one stretch (on the west edge of the cemetery, near the ravine) is really steep. You need this route only if you are going toward Lewis & Clark. Instead take S Laview Drive or S Fulton Parkway, and watch very carefully for cars coming down the hill.

Amanda Gertrude
Amanda Gertrude
11 months ago

I don’t understand this at all. I get why the dad is angry, of course. The things said to him were terrible. But people in cars yell shit at me and cyclists piss me off. I’ve seen people in cars fly up that hill. I have no idea why this conversation has to be about bicycles. Keeping bikes off that road doesn’t keep shitty people out of that cemetery. Closing off that road to cyclists is a shitty thing to do too a lot of people. If a person in a car is disrespectful are we banning cars? What about someone walking? Or on a scooter? This makes zero sense to me and is clearly more about a hatred of cyclists (which is confusing because it’s just a type of commuting vehicle like a car or bus or train) and a
lot of warranted but very misdirected anger. I’ve almost been murdered at least 4 times on my bike, can I ban cars? If I get murdered by a car on my bike (which happens quite a lot) can we just say no more cars? I dunno.