For Immediate Release March 19, 2015
Contact Mark Eller
IMBA Communications Director
303-545-9011 ext. 115
Photo: A young cyclist enjoys the riding at Trail Fest, a popular Portland mountain bike festival. Image courtesy of the Northwest Trails Alliance.
Three of the nation's largest, national-level bicycle advocacy groups—the International Mountain Bicycling Association, the League of American Bicyclists and PeopleForBikes—recently sent a letter to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to express concern with a decision to prohibit bicycling in the River View Natural Area.
"The decision to prohibit bicycle access ... was made with little notice while the planning process was still going on," states the letter. It continues, "Cutting a public process short dishonors those citizens who have volunteered their time to their community. It undermines the professional input of the technical advisory committee. Most of all, it disregards the spirit of due process we expect of government at all levels."
The announced trail closure has inspired a strong response form Portland's vibrant bicycling community, including a protest ride that drew more than 300 local riders. Many of them sported T-shirts with slogans like "Mountain biking is not a crime" and "Free Forest Park." Although Portland has been hailed as one of America's most bike-friendly cities mountain biking opportunities are not as plentiful as many local families and cycling enthusiasts would like.
Kelsey Cardwell is the president of the Northwest Trail Alliance, IMBA's local chapter in Portland. "We appreciate the support from some of America's most influential bicycling groups," said Cardwell. "The fight for off-road cycling opportunities is far from over. In the short term, Portland mountain bikers and other cyclists urge the mayor's office and the city's commissioners to review the River View closure and encourage increased transparency in city policy making. For the long term, it is vitally important for the mayor's office and city commissioners to approve funding for the off-road cycling master plan and funding for the development of Gateway Green project. The River View decision highlights the need to grow and protect access to close-in riding opportunities."