City: Tells us where to build off-road bike trails

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 at 2:14 pm.

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-17

The pump track at Ventura Park. Where should we build more of these?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Where should we build bike parks and pump tracks? Are there parcels of vacant land where a network of dirt cycling trails could be stitched together? Should we consider improving and/or expanding bicycle access on trails in Forest Park?

These are the questions the City of Portland wants help answering as they move closer to the completion of Portland’s first-ever Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.

After 14 months of meetings with an advisory committeee the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (they’re leading the project but the parks and transportation bureaus are also involved) released a virtual open house today. BPS has also released dates for four open houses and two community events in April.
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New IMBA Director Dave Wiens visits Gateway Green bike park

Posted on March 14th, 2017 at 12:59 pm.

IMBA Exec Dir Dave Wiens at Gateway Green-3.jpg

IMBA Executive Director Dave Wiens (left) gets a tour from trail builder Jason Wells.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The bike trails at Gateway Green aren’t even ready for the public yet; but they’re already attracting major attention.

On Monday Dave Wiens, the newly hired executive director of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), visited the park along with several other staffers from his organizations. Wiens and two senior planners from IMBA’s Trail Solutions crew were en route to Bend for the Sustainable Trails Conference. They spent a few hours in the rain with volunteers and city staff who are working on the Gateway Green project. They heard about the project’s background and challenges, and exchanged ideas about how lessons from other areas could be applied in Portland.

Wiens soaked up the information and seemed genuinely impressed with the progress so far. “It’s such an exciting project,” he said. “This is the type of project we could use an as example all over the country.” Wiens sees neighborhood bike parks like the 25-acre Gateway Green as a key to the future because of their potential to get more kids on bikes. After I shared a bit of background about how Gateway Green might influence trail access debates around Forest Park, he said, “Let the kids talk.” In his mind, these bike parks can help build a new constituency that will change the face of off-road cycling and offer a fresh — and more politically persuasive — perspective on access debates.


Wiens talks with NW Trail Alliance President Chris Rotvik (right).

Asked what he thought of the trails at Gateway Green, Wiens — a resident of a small town in Colorado and respected mountain-bike racer who retired from competition in 2004 — said if he lived in Portland he’d definitely ride to the new park, “Do a couple of hot laps” and then ride home.

IMBA’s fingerprints are all over Gateway Green. They helped put together the original concept plan in 2007 and now their builders are making the trails. Locally based trail builder Jason Wells walked through some of the new singletrack with Wiens, pointing out how he carved a swooping line through what was once a tangle of ivy, brush, and a makeshift tent-camp.

The transformation of Gateway Green is testament to the work of IMBA, the City of Portland Parks & Recreation Bureau, nonprofit groups Friends of Gateway Green and the Northwest Trail Alliance, and others. The project is part of a national — and international — movement that’s bringing off-road trail riding to urban areas. I asked the Trail Solutions crew for other parks similar to Gateway Green. They mentioned the Sihl City Bike Park in Zurich, Switzerland; the Belle Isle Skills Park in Richmond, Virginia; and Wakefield Park in Fairfax County, Virginia.

As we approach the grand opening of Gateway Green on June 24th, the impact this park is likely to have on our region is coming into focus. Beyond the benefits for the Gateway District and everyone who visits the park, Gateway Green also represents a major step forward for cycling advocacy. Similar to how Vision Zero has helped coalesce a wide swath of interest groups to build political urgency for safer streets, Gateway Green could do something similar as an organizing principle for off-road cycling in the region. IMBA’s Vice President of Trail Solutions James Clark said on Monday that a project in Santa Cruz, California that brought together off-road advocates, land managers, and other trail user groups (even horse riders!), has had a major impact on the access discussion in that area.

“The mountain biking community is bringing all these people together and that’s the key to it all,” Clark said. “Showing that leadership is what gains you the credibility and that’s what allows you to get more access to different areas.”

With a draft of the City of Portland’s Off Road Cycling Master Plan due this spring (and a series of just-announced open houses starting next month), local off-road advocates should take Clark’s words to heart.

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

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The 670-mile Oregon Timber Trail launches March 23rd: Here’s the backstory

Posted on March 10th, 2017 at 10:58 am.

Scenes from the Willamette Tier of the route.
(Photos: Travel Oregon)

Something big is about to happen for off-road cycling in Oregon.

On March 23rd the nonprofit Oregon Timber Trail Association will do a soft-release of their Oregon Timber Trail, an experience its creators promise will be, “North America’s premiere long-distance mountain biking route” and a “world-class bikepacking destination.”

That might sound boastful, but once you learn more about this project and the people behind it, it’s easy to see why they’re so confident.
[Read more…]

Time to weigh in on designs for new entrance and nature center for Forest Park – UPDATED

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 at 2:01 pm.

One of three options for a new Forest Park entrance and nature center.

The City of Portland is putting the finishing touches on designs for a major new nature center and “iconic” entrance to Forest Park. Now is the time to share your comments so that the resulting project is as welcoming as possible to people who arrive by bicycle.
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140 volunteers at Gateway Green’s ‘Big Dig’ help build the future

Posted on February 13th, 2017 at 12:12 pm.

A variety of trails were smoothed, padded and shaped on Saturday.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With shovels, rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows and buckets, over 140 people showed up on a sunny Saturday to help bring the bike park at Gateway Green another major step closer to reality.
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A new off-road biking area takes shape in Scappoose

Posted on February 9th, 2017 at 2:16 pm.

An existing road in the Vista Park parcel that could be part of a new trail system by next year.
(Photos: Bryan Hammond)

As we bide our time for the City’s Off-Road Cycling Master Plan to be completed and wait eagerly for Gateway Green in east Portland to open up this year (you are going to the Big Dig on Saturday, right?), there’s something worth watching in the small city of Scappoose.
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Subscriber Post: A breakout year for Northwest Trail Alliance

Posted on January 25th, 2017 at 11:51 am.

We love to ride… but that’s not all we do!

[Note: This post was submitted by BikePortland Business Subscriber Northwest Trail Alliance through our Subscriber Post system. We think it deserves a wider reach so we’ve posted it here on the Front Page. Remember, if you are a subscriber you can also be a contributor! We would love to amplify your voice and share your experiences with a wider audience. Sign up here. – Jonathan]

Hi! We’re new to the BikePortland community — and there’s a good chance the Northwest Trail Alliance is new to you — so we’d like to take a moment to introduce ourselves.
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Work parties begin as trails take shape at Gateway Green bike park

Posted on October 28th, 2016 at 12:11 pm.

Can't wait to ride it.(Photos by Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

Can’t wait to ride it.
(Photos by Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

Coming off a successful crowdfunding campaign that has raised over $100,000, backers of the Gateway Green bike park project have wasted no time in turning dirt and building the trails that will soon create a new community resource in east Portland.[Read more…]

Timberline Bike Park needs your support (hopefully) one last time

Posted on October 24th, 2016 at 3:41 pm.

(Photo: Timberline Lodge)

(Photo: Timberline Lodge)

After over five years of court battles and exhaustive analysis of potential environmental impacts, the United States Forest Service is on the cusp of final approval of the Timberline Bike Park. The final piece of the process is to hear from the public whether or not to reopen the formal Environmental Analysis (EA) process — a move that would delay the project yet again.

If this feels like déjà vu that’s because the Forest Service already approved the permit four years ago. After determining that the proposal by Timberline Lodge for 17 miles of singletrack and a skills park on the western side of Mt. Hood was in compliance with federal environmental policy, the permit was granted and construction was poised to begin.

But a consortium of environmental groups weren’t convinced. Bark, one of the groups who oppose the Bike Park, says the trails will be built for “lift-assisted extreme mountain biking” that would take place in “fragile alpine habitat,” and “could erode sensitive volcanic soil, harm water quality and fish habitat, and dramatically chance the historic character,” of the area. They also contend the project will only benefit a private company and the lucky people wealthy enough to buy a ticket.
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With over $92,000 raised, off-road trails at Gateway Green will soon be a reality

Posted on October 14th, 2016 at 10:26 am.

It's happening! Equipment staged on the site this week.(Photo: Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

It’s happening! Equipment staged on the site this week.
(Photo: Jason Van Horn/Bermstyle)

In the past month over 500 people have chipped in $92,325 to help pay for the construction of new bike trails at Gateway Green — a formerly vacant plot of state-owned land (now owned by the City of Portland) at the intersection of I-84 and I-205.

Project backers aim to reach the goal of $100,000 in the next two days to match a Metro grant they’ve already received. If you haven’t donated yet, now would be a great time to do so.

With money in the bank and all the support and permissions lined up from various agencies, the Northwest Trail Alliance and Portland Parks & Recreation have already broken ground. Over the past few weeks Parks rangers have worked with an estimated 80 people who were camping on the land (who came there after being moved from the Springwater Corridor) to find shelter and other services. Fencing has now been erected around the property and heavy equipment is staging on the site.
[Read more…]