bicycling in forest park
Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan got a shot in the arm today from an influential city advisory committee.
The Portland Parks Board expressed strong support for the plan in a letter to Bureau of Planning and Sustainability Project Manager Tom Armstrong. The letter clears the way for Portland City Council to approve the plan — and to push back against those who are using false narratives to oppose it. The Parks Board has dismissed two of the main talking points of people trying to stop the plan: That that off-road cycling is incompatible with nature and that it can’t be done safely in an urban environment.
Signed by Parks Board Chair Patricia Frobes, the letter outlined a few relatively minor concerns and said the Board is “generally supportive” of the plan because it is, “a good conceptual road map for a city-wide system of off-road cycling.” And that system, Frobes wrote, should include even more places to ride. “Although the ORCMP proposes a good locational mix of bicycle parks,” she wrote, “it proposes no new urban off-road cycling trails on the west side. Further, the ORCMP does not adequately identify opportunities to connect parks to parks, parks to schools and parks to trails.”
In case you haven’t read or heard yet, it’s crunch time for the City of Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan.
After years of meetings and planning, advocates are making their final arguments, a draft version is being reviewed by the influential Portland Parks Board, and a date at City Council for final adoption is likely this summer.
Everyone agrees this is a plan our city needs; but it’s less clear if this is the plan our city wants.
I was at the March 12th Parks Board meeting and shared a snapshot of how Mayor Ted Wheeler and a few advocates are feeling about the plan. Earlier this week I shared a guest post from Daniel Greenstadt, an advocate who has followed the plan’s development very closely and has participated in several of the planning meetings.
Those two stories, along with a search of our archives on terms like “forest park singletrack” and “off-road cycling master plan” should give you plenty of background information to understand this issue and make an informed opinion about it. (We’ve covered every twist-and-turn of this issue for over a decade, so there’s a clear historical thread that can be easily woven by anyone with the energy and interest. If you have a question about the plan, the process, or the politics, feel free to ask in the comments!)
NW Trail Alliance Action Alert
“It is incredibly important that NWTA members and other off-road cycling community members provide input to the Parks Board – your words can help ensure they understand the need for additional access to trails in Portland.”
Daniel Greenstadt is a Concordia neighborhood resident and off-road cycling advocate who has attended many of the Off-road Cycling Plan meetings. In a post on BikePortland last April he shared his hopes and concerns for the plan.
Imagine yourself, your family, or your children pedaling along Forest Park’s newly constructed, 1.5-mile, shared-use trail from the area of NW Thurman Street to the brand new, two-million-dollar Forest Park Entrance and Nature Center at NW St Helens Road and NW Kittridge. You’re riding on a 2-6 foot wide path – some of it not even within Forest Park – immediately adjacent to the industrial buildings, rail yards, commercial operations, and tank farms that crowd the Highway 30 corridor. You are riding in the most ecologically degraded area of Forest Park on what Northwest Trail Alliance has described as “essentially a dirt sidewalk.”
As they prep for its big day at City Council this spring, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is in the final stages of their Off-road Cycling Master Plan.
The plan has already been over two years in the making and Portlanders have made nearly 900 individual public comments about what type of trails they want and where new trails should go.
Now comes the politics and last-minute lobbying.
This post was written by Daniel Greenstadt. Daniel last appeared on BikePortland for his testimony in favor of funding the off-road cycling plan at City Council in 2015. He’s a Portland-based hiker, bicycle rider, Girl Scout leader, and occasional equestrian trail user who also serves on the Board of Directors of the Concordia Neighborhood Association.
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.
A new position currently being offered by the Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) bureau could have a huge impact on the future of off-road cycling.
PP&R’s new Land Stewardship Division Manager will be a senior-level manager who will make between $95,000 and $128,000 and will report directly to bureau director Mike Abbaté. Currently when Parks approaches a large policy or project they use a number of different types of planners and managers who all report to one project manager. This new position would, “bring together all land management expertise, knowledge and strategies under one manager.”
Here are the responsibilities of the new position as taken from the official job description:
Responsibilities include planning, organizing, directing and evaluating the programs, activities, and personnel of the division of approximately 150 employees who protect, maintain, restore and enhance the 11,000 acres of land managed by the Bureau that are part of a regionally ecologically significant system of open spaces, ranging from natural resource areas to highly developed parks to active recreation facilities. This position also oversees ecologists, horticultural services, community gardens, a plant nursery, turf and irrigation maintenance, environmental education, the integrated pest management program, and the recreational trails program.
Publisher’s note: This article was written by The Ümabomber and was originally published on her blog.
I’ve been a cyclist for over 25 years and a dedicated mountain biker for the past 8 years. I have ridden trails all over the Western US. And I have never poached a trail that was closed to riding. Ever. Until today.
A group of frustrated and fed-up mountain biking advocates hope to keep the pressure on local decision-makers by staging a mass ride in Forest Park tonight.