River View Natural Area

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Portland Oregon is an amazing city for cycling. It’s been awarded the prestigious Platinum Level Status from the The League of American Cyclists and it’s vast network of commuter routes is incredible. Yet Portland has severely underserved and blatantly ignored  a large community of citizens that love to ride Mountain Bikes. For a long time the River View Natural Area has been home to a small network of trails shared by both hikers and Mountain Bikers. Just five miles from Downtown Portland it’s the perfect place to get a quick ride in before or after work. Unfortunately the city recently decided to ban bicycles at River View leaving riders and myself no place to ride.

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Since I moved back to Portland just as the ban was put into place I decided to check it out and see what I’d be missing. First off the commute to the trails is great. I took the Spring Water Trail to the SellWood Bridge and rode up through the River View Cemetery. What an awesome way to get to some single track! After leaving the cemetery I made a left onto SW Palatine Hill Rd which quickly led me to the trail head. At the trail head I was greeted with freshly printed signs stating the new rules of the park. In fact the signs don’t even talk about cycling but they do state that it’s for foot traffic only. Bummer.

"River View is a formerly private 146-acre parcel jointly purchased in 2011 by the City of Portland Parks & Recreation bureau, the Bureau of Environmental Services, the Trust for Public Land, and Metro. The land was previously owned by River View Cemetery. While people have been riding bikes and hiking on the property for decades, that use was illegal but not often enforced. The City of Portland is now leading an effort to re-develop the land and make it a nature area and public park.” - Bikeportland.org

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From what I’ve explored there seems to be one trail that has some nice flow single track. Berms, Roots and all the good stuff to have a rad time just five miles away from home. I can neither confirm nor deny that I rode said single track. These pictures could have been taken way before the ban right? Anyways the rest of the trails are pretty mellow and make for great connectors to get back to the top. Everything seemed well maintained and the only visible trash was from negligent dog owners. In short I had a blast and look forward to coming back.

"The decision to prohibit mountain biking for now at River View was made in partnership with Commissioner Fish and the Bureau of Environmental Services, with due consideration of the reason for dedicating ratepayer dollars to purchase the site to protect water quality. We are not saying River View will never be used for mountain biking, rather just not now, before the citywide assessment of appropriate places for cycling is funded and completed. I encourage you to participate in the upcoming City Budget process, to urge funding for the citywide Master Plan for cycling that Portland Parks and Recreation and I have proposed in our requested budget allocations."

-Amanda Fritz, City Commissioner

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After seeing the trails first hand it’s really hard to see how the city could justify the bicycle ban. Honestly it’s just a kick in the face to a group of people that just want to have a positive place to enjoy Mountain Biking. The ban was the last straw for a lot of riders. There comes to a point where it becomes moral to bend the rules. That time is now. I’ll never advocate for breaking the “law” but your life is yours and mine is mine.

I say roast them! ATMO!