By Dan Werle | CNA Media Team
For decades, off- road cycling enthusiasts in Portland have been at loggerheads with city officials and residents who don’t ride mountain bikes about what many see as a lack of safe, fun, easily-accessible nonpaved riding areas within Portland.
In response to these concerns, and to better understand the many variables associated with off-road cycling, in 2015 several city agencies began working together with a project advisory committee and input from the community to draft the Portland Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.
Development of the plan took a year longer than expected, according to Jocelyn Gaudi Quarrell, a committee member and certified mountain bike instructor.
Although it was a fun process to be a part of, she said, “There was no way we could have accomplished this in a year’s time. The committee made a vested effort to teach people what mountain biking is, and how resources such as bikes and helmets for kids could be obtained.”
For two years, the discussion draft creators worked to learn more about the interests of off-road cyclists, potential environmental and community impacts, and how more off-road cycling options could be introduced and maintained within the city.
Their draft identified potential sites for new or expanded bike parks, offroad trails, and connectivity options. A 125-page discussion draft was released in October and identified 30 sites throughout the city as places where off-road options exist and need improvement, or where options are recommended for potential development.
With support from the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA), Fernhill Park was identified as one of the recommended locations for future development of a bike park and/or loop trail for cycling, walking and running.
Daniel Greenstadt, former CNA Board of Directors member, pointed out, “For Concordia residents who might develop skills and further interest in off-road cycling, the next opportunity is six miles away – 30 minutes by bicycle – at Gateway Green. That’s where larger scale facilities and more bicycle-specific opportunities are currently available and are undergoing further development.
“Any significant bicycle trail opportunities in Portland would have to focus on Forest Park,” he added. “However, there is significant controversy there as some members of the community wish to continue the 30-year exclusion of cyclists from any narrow trails in the 5,000-acre park.”
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) is reviewing the draft plan, and seeks public input before developing a recommendation for city council. Your next opportunity to make your voice heard is Tuesday, April 3, at the PP&R meeting. Contact Tanya Holmes for the time and place.
Dan Werle lives in Concordia with his wife, Anna, and their dogs.