Frustrated mountain bikers stage protest ride in Forest Park - KPTV - FOX 12

Frustrated mountain bikers stage protest ride in Forest Park

Posted: Updated: Apr 07, 2015 01:25 AM
The group says they are willing to work with the city to maintain the trails, for a chance to do what they love in a town that they love. The group says they are willing to work with the city to maintain the trails, for a chance to do what they love in a town that they love.
There is a public advisory committee meeting on the issue Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss things further. There is a public advisory committee meeting on the issue Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss things further.
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

A group of frustrated mountain bikers staged a mass ride in Forest Park Monday night in hopes the city of Portland will soon decide to let them ride on the trail legally.

"We're a bunch of respectful, polite trail users, and we just want a seat at the table and to be taken seriously," said cyclist Charlie Sponsel.

The group of 60-plus mountain bikers made the trek up the single-track trail that is open to cyclists in Forest Park. But, when they got to the spot where they were no longer allowed, they hopped off their bikes and walked them through the trail in protest of city rules.

"I'm here to help get the word out that they need to allow more mountain bike trails for us to ride on here. We have this great big park and there's no mountain bike trails. I have to ride on the road," said cyclist Todd McCarthy.

The mass ride is the latest in a string of peaceful protests to keep the pressure on lawmakers to allow mountain bikers in city parks.

Much of the group's recent focus has been surrounding the River View Natural area, but cyclists say it's a problem all over.

"We're trying to show the City of Portland that their decision to ban us from Forest Park and River View is pretty disappointing, and it's not going to be tolerated anymore," said Sponsel.

The group tells FOX 12 they understand why the city wants to protect the trails for people who are out walking or running, and also seem to understand the city's concerns about protecting the environment.

The group says they are willing to work with the city to maintain the trails, for a chance to do what they love in a town that they love.

"Obviously, we want access to these trails, and we want to be able to ride on them. But the biggest reason we are disappointed is the fact that this has been a public process, and the city has repeatedly told us that they want to give us opportunities for mountain biking, and at the end of each meeting they shut us down. It's frustrating," said Sponsel.

At the time this story went to air, the City of Portland did not respond to our request for comment on the issue.

In a previous statement dated in March about denying mountain bikers access to River View park, Commissioner Amanda Fritz said:

"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."

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