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  1. #1
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    Advocacy tips - bike park that was a sure thing, not so much anymore

    So my local community's parks and rec had a bike park planned which would be great to take the kids to, but I just read the local rag and it looks like it may be killed. I was at one of the meeting already and there was some confidence it was a done deal. Any tips for people who have successfully navigated this stuff? Not many in the community are that jazzed on mountain biking, but someone inside parks and rec is. Mostly a bunch rich white folk and CA transplants. The town people basically specialize in driving upscale SUVs everywhere and I am not sure what else they do.

    link to bike park plan

    link to The master plan for the area pre bike park idea

    Friends of Luscher Farm hope to kill plan for bike park, trails

    Plans to build a mountain-bike skills course and two miles of soft-surface trails at Luscher Farm have hit a major obstacle.

    Representatives of the Friends of Luscher Farm have announced that they hope to stop any further progress on the Parks & Recreation Department proposal, saying it doesn't reflect the uses specified in the Luscher Area Master Plan (LAMP).

    "We're not anti-mountain bike," said Nancy Gronowski, a Lake Oswego resident, longtime park planner with the City of Portland and member of the Friends group. "We just think Luscher Farm isn't the place."

    Concept designs for the Parks Department proposal, unveiled at a couple of community open houses in November, incorporate some of the mowed trails that already wind their way through the 47-acre property bordered by Stafford Road to the west and Rosemont Road to the south. Additional soft-surface trails would also be built.

    The Farr Bike Park, which would be located at the northern edge of the Luscher Farm property off Bergis Road, was designed by Christopher Bernhardt at R2 Recreation Consulting in Portland. It would include three downhill skills courses that vary in difficulty, with jumps in a range of sizes, banked turns, logs, wall rides and other features for mountain and BMX bikers to tackle. At the bottom of the three courses would be a trail that leads back to the top, where a large dirt berm would allow users to drop back into each course.

    Plans for the bike park also call for a bike parking pad (cars would use the nearby lot at Hazelia Field), signs, a welcome kiosk, a porta-potty pad and a shade structure. Total cost for all of the trails is estimated at $250,000.

    Gronowski joined fellow Friends organizer and Parks Board member Heidi Schrimsher — along with Olga Moriarty — in opposing the park and trail system at the Park Board's Dec. 19 meeting. Their argument included three parts:

    • First, the group believes the proposed multi-use trails would actually be "single-track" trails designed specifically for mountain bikes to navigate the property,rather than the 5-foot-wide gravel trails for walking and hiking that the master plan — created as the guiding document for the property in 2013 — requires.

    • Second, the Friends assert that the 2.64-acre Farr Property was originally intended to be used for a low-impact, passive-use neighborhood park, not a mountain bike skills park.

    • And finally, they fear that a system of trails and a bike park would be an open invitation to mountain bikers from all over the region, turning Luscher Farm from a bucolic location intended for agricultural education and recreation into a regional destination for mountain bikes.

    "Why would we put so much time into the master plan if we're not going to respect that?" Moriarty asked the parks board. "This doesn't speak to the integrity of Luscher Farm."

    But Parks Director Ivan Anderholm refuted some of those assertions, which were also included in a letter sent to him by Gronowski, Schrimsher and Moriarty earlier in the month. (Schrimsher also explained the Friends' stance in a Citizen's View published Dec. 20 in The Review.)

    Anderholm told the board that the preliminary design — which was drawn up so that Parks & Rec could submit a land-use application to Clackamas County to see if putting the new facilities at Luscher Farm was even possible — called for multi-use, soft-surface trails that are 36-48 inches wide, not single-track trails as the Friends group alleges. Single-track trails are defined as being just wide enough for one mountain bike to navigate.

    "The LAMP calls for a balance of uses, which includes walking, hiking and biking trails," Anderholm said. "There are many instances of successful implementation of multi-use trails at places like Powell Butte Nature Park and Mt. Tabor."

    Furthermore, Anderholm said, he believes the small scale of the proposed Farr Bike Park is unlikely to cause Luscher Farm to become a regional destination.

    At the end of the discussion, Schrimsher made a motion for the board to kill the proposal for trails and a bike park, but no second was made. Other board members said they felt they didn't have enough information to make a decision like that at this juncture, and they requested more time to be filled in on what the proposal calls for.

    Board members also want to visit the Farr Property, where the bike park would be constructed. As a result, the board's upcoming January meeting will take place at Luscher Farm.

    Anderholm said he also is in the process of scheduling three more opportunities for public input before any official decision is made. Those gatherings will likely be held in February, March and April.

  2. #2
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    Things that spring to mind:

    1) figure out if the master plan is binding, or if it's just a guiding document, or if it's just fluff that someone put together that has no legal or regulatory sway. [I'm guessing it's a guiding document that doesn't need to be religiously followed]

    2) read the master plan, and figure out if there's a way to creatively interpret it to make the bike park fit into what the document already says. [they seem hung up on trail widths. Argue that the bike trails to be built would fit within the definitions included in the master plan]

    3) figure out what would need to be done to amend the master plan to include the bike park. [I would bet it can be amended at any time]

    4) lobby the opposition to get them to shut up. [that'll likely be a tall order. Anyone who starts a statement by saying they aren't against mountain bikes is almost certainly against mountain bikes]

    5) get a lot of people to show up at the next meeting and make a respectful but forceful argument that the bike park is needed and beneficial. [for a parks board that seems to like the project, this will go a long way. But anticipate that the opposition will be doing the same thing arguing against bikes.]

  3. #3
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    i wasnt aware of this project...
    who is behind it, any bike orgs involved?
    any other more detailed info about the bike portion?

    just skimming the linked docs it appears the design has 20ish jumps, double that in berms, some wooden drops and a skills zone, imo that would take ~$20k in yearly maint or 6+ guys doing weekly dig sessions who know how to slap a shovel

    having a plan for ongoing maintenance is something most land managers dont understand they need for bike trails, they see them as a one time investment, thus many of these projects wither after being built and arent as successful as they could be with more realistic planning

    im all for more bike parks, but i also want them to be successful and not a burden for the land manager which reflects poorly for future opportunities for more bike parks

    i will refrain from comment on the park design, im not familiar with the actual location/soil/use, but its sure not what i would propose...

    as far as how to get the park built, engage other local bike orgs, some of which have parks like this already in existence which may be able to offer some advice...
    i would also start compiling community needs assessments, demographics, letters of support, surveys, etc, data data data, showing actual numbers can be much more effective than appeals to emotion which is what the bike opponents generally rely upon

    good luck, im sure SATA would sign a letter of support or offer up any help, i would be willing to talk with anyone about our public bike park or put them in touch with some people with experience in these areas, but havent heard from any group reaching out to us...

  4. #4
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    Assassinate the opposition- no better way to wage your campaign than with an iron fist.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by forty View Post
    i wasnt aware of this project...
    who is behind it, any bike orgs involved?
    any other more detailed info about the bike portion?
    Not much more detail than the first link I provided, but there is this city page as well link. There is a bike org involved in helping with the planning, but unfortunately I don't recall. I went to one open house where they spoke like things were likely to move forward with LO parks & rec making a proposal to clackamas county, but there are some devout botanical aficionados on the parks boards who don't want to see this happen, including almost everyone on the Friends of Luscher Farms group who would like to keep their gardens to themselves. I think Parks & Rec must know there is maintenance involved. They do a decent job with the other properties.

    What do you dislike about the design?

    Also thanks Toast

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by toast2266 View Post
    Things that spring to mind:

    5) get a lot of people to show up at the next meeting and make a respectful but forceful argument that the bike park is needed and beneficial. [for a parks board that seems to like the project, this will go a long way. But anticipate that the opposition will be doing the same thing arguing against bikes.]
    I do a lot of public process stuff, and this point is easily the most important. You need to show numbers. Without numbers willing to show up and ask for it, then the powers that be figure there's not really a need.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by klauss View Post
    Not much more detail than the first link I provided, but there is this city page as well link. There is a bike org involved in helping with the planning, but unfortunately I don't recall. I went to one open house where they spoke like things were likely to move forward with LO parks & rec making a proposal to clackamas county, but there are some devout botanical aficionados on the parks boards who don't want to see this happen, including almost everyone on the Friends of Luscher Farms group who would like to keep their gardens to themselves. I think Parks & Rec must know there is maintenance involved. They do a decent job with the other properties.

    What do you dislike about the design?

    Also thanks Toast
    i saw that city site as well, still surprised there isnt more out there, seems like at least nwta would be involved

    as far as design, again im not intimately familiar with this park or the details of the planning for ongoing maintenance, but from my own experience i would be concerned about the amount of "dead space" between features that will require maintenance, if those sections of trail arent smooth and fast the entire trail will suck, and thats a lot of extra dirt to maintain

    trail concept planning maps are cool, its a nice way to sell a vision to a bunch of non riders, they see a 6 pack of djs and say ewww thats ugly and dangerous and for experts only, so the pump/jump trail concept is far easier to get through land managers approval, but in practice it sucks to have all that wasted space between the features that you actually wanna hit, and it becomes a serious issue when you cant keep up on maint, then you dont have the speed needed between jumps, and they are unsafe, and unfun, and everyone loses...

    im battling design issues due to concept planning at my own local park, the rollin has 2 berms that are completely unnecessary but looked pretty on the concept map, kids have a tough time getting speed out of the exit and thus cant clear the jumps like they should, so they have developed ridearounds and alternate lines that arent conducive to the rest of the park design, im going to have to rework a shitload of stuff because of it, all this was obvious on the concept map if you had the experience to know what to be looking at, but nobody did anything about it because pros built it and designed it and never thought about a beginner rider being on it or that the trail wouldnt be in pristine shape all the time

    i could go on all day, but i need a beer or im gonna get depressed haha

  8. #8
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    oh yeah and i just saw this which is timely
    http://salemstatesmanjournal.or.news...link=0246dd46b

  9. #9
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    In Boise they are building a new bike park as well. They got a local foundation to put up the money and pay for maintenance. Found an unused dirt pit to put it in, etc. a huge win for the city.

    And still, at the public meeting there were about fifty people who lived in the neighborhood complaining about everything from the non-native plants that would get moved, the various types of crickets in the area, re-litigating fights from the 70’s, and lots of people upset that they weren’t personally consulted by the bike park designers even though they have no particular expertise and won’t be riding in the bike park. I stuck around for four hours to say my piece.

    Luckily Boise isn’t in the business of turning down $2 mil grants, and the pro-bike groups did a lot of work before the public meeting to get input and buy in from the council.

    That’s all to say that the vocal minority is always going to turn out to these things, especially when they are octogenarians and have nothing better to do on a Tuesday at 3 pm.

  10. #10
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    Ha. good info Forty and above my pay grade. NWTA is aware of the situation and working with/advising LO parks and rec.

    Beece, I don't necessarily think there are good numbers within the municipality, but plenty within the neighboring cities, i.e. PDX and that is part of the oppositions problem. The master plan acknowledges that "Because these activities [mountain biking] have limited availability, they generally draw participants from larger geographic areas and are well-suited for large, multi-use parks such as the Luscher Area properties."

    The spokesperson for the opposition even said we are not against mountain biking...just not here. it's a NIMBY thing. Then there are some random comments like "fix the roads before spending money on a bike park." those people are the worst. Even the one crappy skateboard park got shut down to build city facilities.

    My kid is one of the only kids at his grade school who takes biking somewhat seriously which is fucked up and not how it used to be around here. Part of the problem is this suburb is not very bike friendly and very car focused. Always has been that way, but there used to be way less cars/people/traffic/helicopter parenting so all the kids would bike around town. Now even I admit is a bit hairy on a lot of the roads with all the traffic.

    totally agree on the vocal minority Supermoon. Every other park in town has plenty of 5 foot wide gravel walking paths that get low use, but that's what they are saying is the only thing that should be at this 100 plus acre property.

  11. #11
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    Klauss

    I’m no expert & have no particular connection here, but if you need help, I’d be willing to assist.

    PM me if you need bodies in seats for a meeting.

    Has this been sent to BikePortland or any of the local advocacy groups?

  12. #12
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    Ok good info. Then I'd bring in as many people from the surrounding communities, and talk about KIDS - and how they need a place to go in your autodominated town, and how much safer they will be if the have a place to exercise that is dedicated to them.

    Make it nimbys against kids.

    You can have kids speak, but if you do you need at least 10 of them. They don't have to all speak but they have to all be there. If you just parade up a kid or two it looks transparent and forced.

  13. #13
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    Thanks much Acinpdx. I sent it to a representative at NWTA and he said they are well aware of the situation and team members have been working with the city.

    Here is more info for those interested.

    The article isn't very clear on this, but it looks like the parks board has the final say, but they are being influenced by the Friends of Luscher Farms group who's primary defense is the way the master plan document drafted back in 2012 describes the Farr property - see the first quoted section below (the Luscher farm open space was bought in chunks).

    Fortunately the master plan also states "The Farr Property was purchased by the City in 1994 from David and Frieda Farr using 1990 Parks and Open Space Bond funds for parks and open space...There are no restrictions on its use."

    When people drafted the Luscher farm master plan, it was heavily influenced by the Friends of Luscher Farms group which appears to have a somewhat conflicting view to the parks and recs plan called The Parks Plan 2025 which includes a vision statement with four goals, one of which was providing diverse recreation options.

    Even the Luscher Farms Master Plan goes on and states the need to support “Alternative and Challenge Sports” and the section specifically mentions mountain biking as something “well-suited for large, multi-use parks such as the Luscher Area properties.” However the text on the specific property in the master plan states

    AREA A: FARR OPEN SPACE
    The Farr Open Space is located north of the Hazelia Field site on the Farr Property. Area acreage: Approximately 8.8 acres
    The Farr Open Space will provide traditional park features including a passive recreation space, five-foot wide compacted gravel walking trails, picnicking areas, a new picnic
    shelter, and an eco-friendly lawn. Eco-friendly lawns are a sustainable alternative to traditional turf and reduce the need for mowing, irrigation, fertilizer and herbicide applications. These lawns are ideal in areas of medium to heavy public programming, such as small group gatherings, and casual recreation. The existing wetland north of Hazelia Field, a seasonal wetland with wet and dry periods, will contain interpretive signage to explain its natural features and functional qualities, and a small boardwalk and viewing platform for public access. Habitat corridors connecting this wetland to other wetland areas near the Historic Core will be established and enhanced with native vegetation.

    Size of existing and proposed facilities:
    6.0 acres of open space,
    Approximately 2.5 acres of existing wetland,
    1,700 linear feet of pedestrian trails,
    30’ x 40’ picnic shelter with tables,

    The Farr Property is an appropriate site for these uses for several reasons: First, the flat topography is accessible. Second, the site is adjacent to a neighborhood with direct trail access for nearby residents. Third, the existing trees provide a screen and are a pleasing backdrop for the proposed picnic shelter and passive recreation space that can be used for pick-up games and small-group activities. The existing Douglas fir trees also act as a buffer between the park site and the residential neighborhood immediately to the north.
    In an earlier section it describes the zoning of the property which is wide open

    RURAL RESIDENTIAL & FARM FOREST (RRFF-5)
    The Farr (eastern half) and Stevens Meadow properties have RRFF-5 zoning. This zoning is the least restrictive of the existing County zoning types within the Luscher Area. The purpose of this zoning is to create uses that are compatible with farm and forest uses, conserve natural scenic beauty, protect watersheds and avoid potential hazards caused by urbanization. Public parks, playgrounds, trails and related uses are allowed.
    Within properties zoned RRFF-5, all of the proposed uses would be permitted in that zone. The open grass areas that are proposed for Stevens Meadow, would fulfill the purpose of the underlying zoning. The neighborhood park, basketball courts and trails proposed on the Farr property are also permitted. Proposed development within the existing RRFF-5 zone would likely require a land use and zoning review. A design review with Clackamas County may be required

  14. #14
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    The Auburn Bike Park (Auburn, CA) has been going through similar drama, primarily brought on by our evil equestrian community. ("They aren't anti-bike park... they just don't want it where everyone else wants it."). You'll find tons of similarities. The Parks Department wants it, which is key. The greater community wants it, which is key. The parents fighting for it and their unwavering persistence is the biggest asset. It is finally close to happening after too many years of bullshit.

    https://www.facebook.com/AuburnBikePark/ (scroll through for key issues)

    Getting media involved can help: https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/vide...s-oppose-idea/

  15. #15
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    WTF is wrong with people. That opponent in that video is classic.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Supermoon View Post
    In Boise they are building a new bike park as well. They got a local foundation to put up the money and pay for maintenance. Found an unused dirt pit to put it in, etc. a huge win for the city.

    And still, at the public meeting there were about fifty people who lived in the neighborhood complaining about everything from the non-native plants that would get moved, the various types of crickets in the area, re-litigating fights from the 70’s, and lots of people upset that they weren’t personally consulted by the bike park designers even though they have no particular expertise and won’t be riding in the bike park. I stuck around for four hours to say my piece.

    Luckily Boise isn’t in the business of turning down $2 mil grants, and the pro-bike groups did a lot of work before the public meeting to get input and buy in from the council.

    That’s all to say that the vocal minority is always going to turn out to these things, especially when they are octogenarians and have nothing better to do on a Tuesday at 3 pm.
    Ah yes, Friends of Military Reserve, a fine group of NIMBY's. Although I do wish Boise Parks and Rec would get their shit together and figure out where they are going to put the archery range.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by klauss View Post
    WTF is wrong with people. That opponent in that video is classic.
    She's a well known, entrenched equestrian pretending to be a normal citizen.

    Here's your typical opposition to something like this. Common sense doesn't apply.

    https://www.usbr.gov/mp/nepa/include...p?Doc_ID=33912

  18. #18
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    Get bodies to the meeting, and coach a group of kids to make the presentation. Make sure they use their words, but it is much harder to say no to the kids. We deal with this kind of thing often around here, and it sounds to me like this one went too far forward without everybody on board. If they are not interested in the economic boom and simply don't want to share their little Eden, there isn't really much you can do if the document that governs the use of the space is legal and binding, unless you can speak to the Friends of Luscher Farm as individuals, take them to a bike park similar to the one you are looking for, have them speak to neighbors/kids/parents, and really try to give them the information they need and faces that they have to say no to. Good luck.

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