This just in from PBOT…
Friends of Gateway Green achieves major milestone in increasing access to park.
Gateway Green wayfinding signs have been installed! Many thanks to Tom Badrick, Linda Robinson, and the army of community volunteers who saw this project through. Funding for preliminary planning and siting was provided by Prosper Portland. The signs were designed by Propel Studio. The last $5,000 to print and install the signs came from People for Bikes community engagement grant as part of PBOT’s Gateway to Opportunity project. Throughout these past 2 years, Friends of Gateway Green have been championing this effort to provide increased signage to help Portlanders more easily access Gateway Green Park by foot and bicycle. This was truly a team effort and we are so appreciative for all who made these 20 signs possible.
Pictures are courtesy of Tom Badrick.
Really sorry for the late notice here folks, but figured better late than never. This is a great chance to have a say and be a part of Gateway Green! Note the deadline for applications is 10/15 – that’s this Sunday night.
Help Shape the Future of Gateway Green
We are recruiting a diverse group of community advisors!
Portland Parks & Recreation and our leading partner Friends of Gateway Green are looking for interested Portlanders to serve on the Gateway Green Project Advisory Committee.
This group will help shape a refined park design to guide natural habitat restoration, improve pedestrian and bicycle access, and expand opportunities for a variety of recreation and outdoor activities for people of all ages and abilities.
Park enthusiasts, outdoor adventurers, hikers, runners, and cyclists are encouraged to apply!
Gateway Green is a 25-acre park site is located just east of Rocky Butte between I-205 and I-84, at the intersection of the I-205 regional trail and the future Sullivan’s Gulch Trail. Opened in June 2017, the park currently has off-road cycling, walking and running trails, and the Dirt Lab, a pump track and bike skills area. This is a car free park, with transit access at the nearby Gateway Transit Center, and access for pedestrians and cyclists from the I-205 multi-use trail.
Learn more about Gateway Green at www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/74068.
Interested is helping to shape the future of Gateway Green?
An Interest Form with more information, timeline and application is attached and available online https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GatewayGreenAdvisor.
The application process ends on October 15 at 5:00pm. Questions? Contact Barbara.Hart@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-5596.
Photo of rope tied across trail at Gateway Green today.
(Photo: Source not yet known)
We’re trying to find out more information about two incidents of tripwires placed across public right-of-way in Portland this week.
The first one was on Monday at NE 16th and Irving. The @pdxalerts Twitter account reported, “Police to NE 16/Irving, someone strung fishing line across the street, caller was clothes-lined by it.”
And the second one was reported by a bicycle rider at Gateway Green this morning. Brent Wick posted the image above to a local email list with the message, “Just a friendly reminder/heads up. there have been some trip wires spotted at the Gateway Green recently. Please be careful over there, Recommend a slow pass thru there before you hit the shred button.”
“Isn’t this fabulous?!”
— Amanda Fritz, Portland city commissioner
“Allow me to share a visual representation of our mission statement,” said Northwest Trail Alliance board member Joceyln Gaudi as she waved her hands toward a crowd of onlookers at the opening of Gateway Green on Saturday. “You are in it!”
Never again will off-road cycling advocates have to try and explain what they’re working for. Never again will they have to scour the Internet for stock images showing kids enjoying an urban mountain bike park. Now we have one of our own.
Gateway Green isn’t just the realization of an 11-year vision by community advocates, it’s the embodiment of the benefits urban off-road cycling can bring to Portland. It’s like the off-road version of Sunday Parkways.
And like Sunday Parkways, it appears to be an instant hit.
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.
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.
Turns out the forthcoming bike park at Gateway Green won’t be “crippled” by a court decision after all.
After the Willamette Week published a scary story yesterday about a legal loophole in Oregon law that allows people to sue city employees and volunteers for injuries sustained on City-owned properties, we’ve been trying to learn more about potential impacts to not just Gateway Green but the over 200 other Parks-owned properties around Portland.
If other cities have closed recreational facilities due to this loophole, what would happen in Portland? Volunteers are the backbone of many parks and public lands where we ride bikes, and losing them — or losing access completely because of liability concerns — would be a major setback.
Our initial inquiries with the City of Portland and other sources to clarify these impacts didn’t get very far. The Parks Bureau seemed to be caught off-guard by the Willamette Week story and no one else would comment due to it being a sensitive legal issue (if only I had a nickel for every time I heard “Sorry, I can’t discuss legal matters”). The City’s Office of Government Relations would only refer us to the pending legislation that will close the loophole and that we outlined in our story yesterday.
But what if those bills don’t pass? How will Parks’ and other public lands in Portland and throughout the state be impacted by the 2016 Oregon Supreme Court Ruling that found the legal concept of “recreational immunity” does not extend to city employees?
NOTE: Please read our important update to this story posted on Thursday 2/9 at 5:00 pm.
I didn’t know much about Oregon’s “recreational immunity” law when I woke up this morning. But since reading, “Portland’s First Mountain-Bike Park Could Be Crippled by a Court Decision” in the Willamette Week I’ve given myself a crash-course. And so should you.
That article lays out the case that a 2016 Oregon Supreme Court decision throws access to public parks (and all public lands more broadly) into question due to potential legal liability for landowners.
In a nutshell, that decision found that employees and volunteers of landowners are not covered by the same legal immunity as the owners of the land (as laid out in Oregon’s 1971 Public Use of Lands Act). For more on the ruling and the existing law, check out this article.