portland parks and recreation

Portland Parks says immunity ruling won’t impact volunteers at Gateway Green, other sites

by on February 9th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

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?
[Read more…]

Willamette Week: Legal concerns cloud Gateway Green bike park and other city properties

by on February 8th, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Community Cross at Gateway Green-1

Should volunteers or city employees who work on parks facilities — like the upcoming Gateway Green — be open to liability lawsuits?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.
[Read more…]

Tens of millions in unused parks fees could boost bike-path projects

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 15th, 2016 at 2:24 pm

trail dedication ceremony- Swan Island

Swan Island, north of the Fremont Bridge on the east bank of the Willamette, is home to a lonely segment of what could be a future North Portland Greenway.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation is rarely discussed as part of the answer to Portland’s transportation problems.

Instead of relying mostly on relatively costly off-street paths, which are the main channels for low-stress bike transportation in most of the United States, Portland generally prides itself on improving its actual streets for biking.

But the city’s parks bureau is currently facing a problem that many transportation advocates don’t know about: How to spend the tens of millions of dollars in fees from new development that have been pouring into city coffers for years now.

[Read more…]

Bike share stations on transit mall and city parks land? TriMet says yes, Parks Bureau says no

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 5th, 2016 at 11:11 am

possible biketown station locations

Possible station locations downtown. No sites are proposed for Waterfront Park (the green strip on the left of the river).
(Image from the city’s feedback website)

Though other cities have seen some memorable freakouts about the prospect of bike sharing stations, Portland hasn’t yet heard many loud complaints that Biketown stations would begrime beloved public spaces.

TriMet, for example, said last week that although it doesn’t allow blue bike “staple” racks on its downtown transit mall (more on that below), it won’t have a problem with orange bikes being parked there.

But so far, there’s one major city department that’s been keeping its distance from bike sharing: Portland Parks and Recreation.

[Read more…]

Parks’ new ‘land stewardship manager’ could have big impact on off-road cycling

by on December 2nd, 2015 at 2:46 pm

Forest Park "No Bikes" signs-2

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

[Read more…]

First look: New striping and safety features on Springwater at Oaks Bottom

by on April 30th, 2015 at 1:07 pm

springwater2

(Looking south on the Springwater at Oaks Bottom.
(Photos by Betsy Reese)

The Portland Parks & Recreation bureau has completed a project that aims to improve safety on a busy portion of the Springwater Corridor path. [Read more…]

City debates cutting park fees for small homes, hiking for big ones

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 24th, 2015 at 10:27 am

N-NE-SE Portland Good-Bad-Ugly Houses 84

Backers say the proposal would encourage smaller, more densely built houses.
(Photo: Mark McClure)

For years, almost every new home built in Portland has paid thousands of dollars into a city fund that pays to buy and develop parkland. But so far, the size of the home hasn’t affected the size of the fee.

If it were built today, a 900-square-foot bungalow would pay the same $8,582 parks fee as a 3,100-square foot 4-bedroom.

But in a proposal that could shift the local economy toward building smaller homes — and potentially provide a boost for bike infrastructure funding — the Portland Parks Bureau is suggesting that its fees on new homes become proportional to the number of people who are likely to live in them, based on their square footage.

[Read more…]

Parks bureau adds $350,000 Off-Road Cycling Master Plan to budget

by on February 6th, 2015 at 11:44 am

Newton Rd in Forest Park

Plan now, ride later.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

2015 is shaping up to be a great year for off-road cycling in Portland.

We have just learned that the PP&R requested budget for 2015/2016 (PDF) includes $350,000 for an “Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.”

This is nothing short of huge news for mountain biking advocates in Portland who see the lack of such a plan as the last remaining hurdle to more local trails, building more pump tracks, and so on. Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz called for the plan one year ago and just last November the NW Trail Alliance started an online petition to persuade Parks to fund it.
[Read more…]

A $10,000 solution to dangerous Springwater path intersection

by on January 13th, 2015 at 10:57 am

springwaterroundaboutsolution

Design concept for a roundabout on the Springwater Corridor path where it intersects with Oaks Bottom.
(Graphic: paikiala)

Last week we highlighted a known danger spot on the Springwater Corridor path. A “T” intersection with bad sight lines, high speeds, and a history of collisions and near-misses.

The Portland Parks Bureau is aware of the issue and is likely to address it via new signs and markings; but we all know simply adding more paint and signs often has limited impact on behavior. A BikePortland reader has a much more comprehensive solution. Paikiala, a regular commenter who often shares his detailed insights about traffic engineering, thinks the fix should be a small roundabout.

[Read more…]

City will install signs in Waterfront Park to discourage unsafe riding

by on September 17th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Shared path Waterfront Park-1

The path in Waterfront Park is no place
to be riding fast.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland

With the BTA’s Bike Commute Challenge in full swing and warmer than usual weather sticking around, there’s a lot of bike traffic in and around downtown Portland these days. Especially on the Waterfront Park path, which is also popular with joggers, tourists, walkers, and lots of other types of users.

Concerns about unsafe passing and crowded conditions have spurred the Portland Parks Bureau to partner with the Bureau of Transportation to install signs encouraging faster bike riders to use Naito Parkway and all others to ride slowly and use caution when the path is crowded. They’re calling the path a “Pedestrian Priority Zone.”

Here’s a first look at the new signs:[Read more…]