Off-road trail group sees bike skills area, dirt trail in future of University Park

University Park in north Portland.

The Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA) is urging its members to tell Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) to build off-road cycling opportunities in a neighborhood park.

The City of Portland plans to spend $3.6 million on two parks projects in north Portland, including University Park — which was recommended for cycling facilities in the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan. PP&R has opened an online survey asking Portlanders what type of parks features they’d like the city to invest in. But they’ve left out cycling as an option, so NWTA is telling members to use the “Other” section to make their desires known.

If this has you feeling deja-vu, that’s because PP&R launched a similar process for Rose City Park back in May. In that case, advocates cried foul when PP&R left off-road cycling out of their plans. NWTA wants to make sure plans for University Park don’t repeat that oversight.

Details from Off Road Cycling Master Plan (PP&R, 2018/2023)

“As a result of the NWTA community actively engaging in the Rose City Golf Course survey, bikes are now an active part of the planning process – but we still need to emphasize the community desire for bike trails,” reads an action alert from NWTA sent out today.

NWTA wants members to remind PP&R that the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan recommended a bicycle skills park at this location and/or a family-friendly trail around the perimeter of the park. The adopted plan says University Park would be appropriate for a 5,000 – 10,000 sq. ft. bike park with, “areas for family recreation and skill building.” And a trail could be used for cycling, walking and running. The plan states PP&R should add, “Off-road cycling skill features (like rocks, logs, or skinny bridges) along the sides.”

With the New Columbia neighborhood, Charles Jordan Community Center, schools, and the existing Community Cycling Center Bike Hub nearby, this would be an place for new bike facilities in the park.

Take the survey here.

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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Cyclekrieg
20 days ago

Would it be bad form of me to remind readers of how many times I called the ORCMP a “trap”? Especially after the “trail layouts” were added.

If you want urban mountain biking in Portland there is only 2 answers:

  1. Stop being the nice guy. Bum rush offices, protest at public meetings, protest rides every month, sit-ins on Parks directors’ lawns. Don’t stop until the streets are wet with their tears. Never forgive, never forget, never give up.
  2. Forget the Parks properties all together. Do a Vietnam. Buy a property and build the trails and donate the property to Metro. Lobby the state for access at Tyron Creek. Work with surrounding cities and get the trails there.

Whatever the answer is, stop being the Charlie Brown to the Lucy that is Portland Parks.

Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
19 days ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

I’m testing my feed with the following perhaps unrelated post:

My complaint about the Parks Bureau is related to the Green Loop bike route through the Park Blocks downtown, including the federal post office redevelopment site. The official Green Loop proposal calls for 4′ or 5′ sidewalks next to the curb, and I’m guessing a similar width of adjacent asphalt bike path on all Park Blocks, both sides. This total width of 8′ to 10′ will take out dozens of trees.

Instead, I’ve been surveying removal of parking on one side (Park Ave on the South Park Blocks) adjacent to the park and a 2-direction bikeway with a row of bollards to keep motorists separate. For the North Park Blocks I suppose a similar removal of parking on 8th Ave would lead to the Post Office redevelopment.

I went to the Parks Bureau Post Office redevelopment event at PNCA and took photos of the 3 options now offered the public to consider. All 3 retain an extensive elevated bikeway through those new Park Blocks that leads to the “dangerous” 3-way stoplight intersection where the Lovejoy & Broadway ramps meet. I’m certain that pedestrians and bicyclists would prefer to avoid this stoplight with a simple ramp (Johnson to Irving Streets) in the Union Station parking lot for eastbound travel. For most pedestrians westbound an elevator on the north side of this intersection and bicyclists have simple route options for westbound travel.

A presenter at this event called the elevated bikeway proposal “fabulous” even as I was trying to explain how including the 3-way stoplight in the Green Loop “DANGEROUS.”
In other words, Public Safety is not a consideration that Parks Bureau and PBOT honchos are responsible for this shortsighted failure.

Art Lewellan
Art Lewellan
19 days ago

I agree that it was either entirely unrelated or related only in the sense that the Park Bureau is responsible for the Green Loop through the Park Blocks.
I started the post with the caveat that I was “testing my feed” to see if my comments are posted at all. Like Cyclekrieg, I feel responsible as a whistleblower to point out unacceptable incompetence.

Charley
Charley
19 days ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

I disagree. The ORCMP isn’t a trap. It forms a documentary basis for insisting on inclusion of mountain biking during this kind of planning.

Without ORCMP we’d be one step further back. *With* ORCMP, we can justify asking “why have you left cycling out of this survey?”

Anything we can do to expose the apparent bias against cycling will help.

Cyclekrieg
19 days ago
Reply to  Charley

Oh, the Munich Conference approach. Gotcha…

I’m assuming then that when the question comes up, that is “why didn’t you follow through with the cycling as shown in ORCMP”, Portland Parks immediately starts changing their plans, right? Furious rejiggering of the handouts and surveys, maybe? Or some frantic scurrying around to fix their mistake?

Because if the answer to those questions is anything but “yes”, the ORCMP is worth as much as a roll of toilet paper. Why? Because an agreement only one side agrees on honoring isn’t an agreement at all.

NWTA (and mountain bikers as a whole) can hold up the ORCMP all they want in front of the press, but it won’t be ‘trails with honor’ or bring about ‘trails for our time’.

Charley
Charley
19 days ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

ORCMP was necessary, but insufficient. If you can’t see that, I don’t think we’ll be able to productively disagree.

Also, the ORCMP is not an agreement to hand over millions of lives to a fascist, genocidal dictatorship. I find that analogy really out of line, given that we’re talking about a local government agency tasked with *building and maintaining parks.*

Alex
Alex
18 days ago
Reply to  Cyclekrieg

In option #1, you forgot to mention that we could actually just start riding trails and raking new ones out in FP. Rocky Point has definitely taken the pressure off, but Metro hasn’t really done mtbers any favors with mountain biking, either. The only way this is going to happen is if there is a problem to fix, and we haven’t really been creating any problems.

Charley
Charley
19 days ago

There are hundreds and hundreds of families living near this park whose children have access to some kind of fat-tire bike. Those kids would love to have a small bike park or a dirt trail to ride around on, and that’s true of every neighborhood in the City!

The survey also covers the relocation of a rugby field at Northgate Park. I’ve got no beef with rugby, but how many families have children that play rugby? How much money is the City willing to pay for rugby field installation and maintenance? What’s the opportunity cost, per capita? What are the demographics of Portland’s rugby playing community, in comparison with the kids who have access to a fat-tire bike?

It just boggles my mind, how much the City is willing to pay for various types of ball-sport facilities for the kids whose parents can afford team sports, in comparison to cheap facilities like… checks notes… dirt paths in public parks.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
19 days ago
Reply to  Charley

I think you would be surprised by the number of local youth rugby players. My son played rugby and the tournaments in Portland he participated in were huge. The question is would more kids use a dirt path to ride bikes then those that play baseball/softball, soccer, rugby and youth football. Let’s not forget all the adult leagues (Soccer, baseball, softball, rugby, flag football and ultimate frisbee) that use PP&R facilities. Because of the lack of space for more parks PP&R faces pressure from several different recreation groups.

Charley
Charley
18 days ago
Reply to  Jim Calhoon

I’ve been surprised before. 🙂

qqq
qqq
19 days ago

That’s really bad that Parks left biking off the survey, after doing exactly the same thing. It’s almost as if they didn’t learn anything.

The fact that it’s a master plan item makes it even worse. Look how many Parks staff and maybe consultants have been involved so far, yet nobody bothered to look at one of the most basic planning documents for the park (or maybe someone noticed and mentioned it but got dismissed).