north tualatin mountains

Metro Council unanimously backs mountain biking trails north of Forest Park

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 21st, 2016 at 5:10 pm

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Portland’s regional government unanimously approved a plan to allow mountain biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area Thursday in a session that gushed with praise.

“This project took a lot more work than I thought it was going to,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase, whose district includes the natural area just north of Forest Park, to chuckles around the room. “We have really come to a fantastic place.”

The vote came despite organized objections from a cluster of people who live nearby, in some cases with property immediately bordering the public land. As we reported last week, some of them held a protest outside Metro’s headquarters to argue that allowing mountain biking trails in the natural area would do undue harm to local wildlife.

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On eve of vote, Metro has heard all sides of Tualatin Mountains debate

Avatar by on April 20th, 2016 at 11:50 am

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The council heard concerns and praise
at a public hearing last week.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The seven-member Metro Council will decide on Thursday whether or not to approve the creation of new off-road trails near Portland.

If their North Tualatin Mountains Trail Access Plan is passed it will set into motion the development of over six miles of new off-road routes open to bicycles. This plan would be a major milestone because the first phase of trail construction (at Burlington) will happen just 10 miles north of downtown Portland and 2.25 miles of those trails will be built specifically for bicycle riding.

“Bicycle-optimized trails,” to use Metro’s term (a.k.a. singletrack) are rare and coveted for many Portlanders who don’t want to drive a minimum of 45 minutes just to ride. Forest Park only has 1/3 mile of singletrack and Powell Butte (about 13 miles east of downtown Portland) is small and offers only limited options. Off-road cycling advocates have been trying for years (without much success) to improve bike access at Forest Park and more recently at River View Natural Area in the southwest hills. Both times the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau has pulled the rug out from under them in favor of the status quo.
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After protest, Metro Council set for public hearing on Tualatin Mountains plan

Avatar by on April 13th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

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Protestors in front of Metro headquarters last Friday.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In over 10 years covering bike issues in Portland I had never been to a protest outside Metro headquarters. That changed last week when about two dozen people marched and held up signs in opposition to Metro’s plans to build new trails on two parcels in the hills north of Forest Park.

Now the debate will head into Metro Council Chambers where a public hearing will be held tomorrow (4/14) on the North Tualatin Mountains Access Master Plan.
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Anti-trail group influences bike access plans for Metro’s North Tualatin Mountains project

Avatar by on April 7th, 2016 at 2:17 pm

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Hank McCurdy in a Youtube video posted
by the Tualatin Wildlife Alliance. McCurdy
lives adjacent to the Tualatin Mountains and
is opposed to new trails.

Once again improvements to cycling access in an off-road area near Portland is in jeopardy because of opposition from people who claim the new trails will harm wildlife.

Back in November we shared exciting news that Metro planned to develop two parcels (out of four) in their North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area just north of Forest Park. Unlike the City of Portland, that so far has failed to adequately manage bike access in its parks, Metro worked with mountain bike advocates from the early stages of this project in order to create a plan that included a significant amount of new singletrack trails. The first draft of the plan released in November included about 10.6 total miles of unpaved roads and trails that would be open to bikes in the Burlington Creek and McCarthy Creek parcels. We called it “a historic step forward” for off-road cycling in Portland.

But things have changed in the past four months. Metro has altered the initial plan amid increasing pressure from people who oppose biking in the area.
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First look at Metro’s plans to build new singletrack trails north of Forest Park

Avatar by on November 17th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

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Detail of Metro’s trail plans.

We have important updates on a story we shared yesterday about a historic step forward for off-road cycling in Portland.

As you might have heard, Metro is on the verge of finalizing a plan that would develop several mountain parcels north of Forest Park. Two of the parcels are slated to include singletrack trails built specifically for mountain biking. If built, these trails would represent the largest network of off-road bike trails ever developed in Portland. In advance of a final public meeting about the plans that will be held tonight, Metro has published the meeting materials on the project website.

In addition to giving you a more detailed look at Metro’s plans, I also want to elaborate on a point I made in yesterday’s story about the people who are organizing opposition to the bike trails. A key point in their case against Metro’s inclusion of the trails in these plans is a contention that the land was purchased solely to protect habitat and that, “a mountain bike park is contrary to the terms of the levy.”
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Advocates line up to support singletrack in Metro parcels north of Forest Park

Avatar by on November 16th, 2015 at 3:13 pm

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Detail of Metro trail proposal shown back in May.

If all goes according to their plans, Metro could build about a dozen miles of new biking trails in the North Tualatin Mountains Natural Area, a 1,300 acre section of hills just north of Forest Park. The agency will unveil their recommendation for where trails should be built and who should be allowed to use them at a meeting tomorrow night (11/17).

If the trails in this plan get built, they will represent the most comprehensive network of singletrack (made for cycling) in the history of Portland.

Metro used a voter-approved levy to purchase four parcels off NW McNamee and Skyline Roads and has spent the last year in a planning process to decide how to manage public access. The stakes are high because the new trails will be built a mere 12 miles from north Portland — far closer than any other similar riding opportunities in the region. The land is currently undeveloped with only rudimentary dirt roads running through it.
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For first time, Metro proposes ‘bike-optimized’ trails in a natural area

Avatar by on May 7th, 2015 at 4:04 pm

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Time to weigh in.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

In an unprecedented move, Metro has proposed singletrack trails in a natural area that would be built specifically for bicycling. Calling them “bike-optimized” trails, Metro unveiled the concept at an open house for the North Tualatin Mountains project at Skyline School last night.

Using money from voter-approved bond measures, Metro is now ready to develop 1,300 acres spread across four separate parcels just north of Forest Park between Skyline Road and Highway 30. From the outset, Metro hinted that singletrack trail riding would be considered as they designed the trail plans for the parcels. Last night they made it official.
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Off-road biking supporters pack Metro meeting on Tualatin Mtns project

Avatar by on December 3rd, 2014 at 11:38 am

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“How many of you are from the cycling community?”
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Any doubt that there is vast pent-up demand for more single track mountain bike trails in Portland vanished last night when a sea of supporters swamped a Metro meeting on the North Tualatin Mountains project.
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After years of disappointment, single track lovers have reasons for optimism

Avatar by on November 21st, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Newton Rd in Forest Park

With renewed energy from Portland’s off-road biking advocates and a Metro project that could open up 1,300 acress of trail possibilities, 2015 could be a very big year for advocates itching for more local single track trails.

As we reported yesterday, local advocacy and trail building group the Northwest Trail Alliance has thrown down a gauntlet of sorts by launching an online petition in the form of an open letter to members of Portland City Council. The petition urges them to “catch up with the overflowing demand for off-road cycling opportunities.” By the time this story is published there will likely be close to 1,000 signatures collected in its first two days.

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Next door to Forest Park, North Tualatin Mtns hold opportunity for off-road bike access

Avatar by on September 18th, 2014 at 11:45 am

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1,300 acres just north of Forest Park.

Just north of Forest Park in northwest Portland lies 1,300 undeveloped acres spread across four separate properties. The land, which was historically a logging area and can be currently accessed from either Skyline or McNamee roads, is owned by Metro and is known as the North Tualatin Mountains natural area.

Metro is embarking on a planning process to figure out what to do on the land and there’s a great opportunity to include bicycle access in the equation. Advocates have been fighting for years to improve bike access in Forest Park but have made frustratingly slow progress.

The Tualatin Mountains natural area offers a fresh start and a new political context since it’s under Metro jurisdiction and not managed by the City of Portland (the current Parks Commissioner, Amanda Fritz, has all but shelved the Forest Park debate calling for “a citywide Master Plan for cycling recreation… prior to embarking on individual projects.”).
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