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Thread: Powell Butte

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    Powell Butte

    Anyone have any info about the new trails cut at Powell Butte? I know most on here have written the Butte off, but I think these new trails definitely make it the best riding in town (which I know is not saying much). One of the new trails is actually even singletrack width!

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    Anyone have any info about the new trails cut at Powell Butte? I know most on here have written the Butte off, but I think these new trails definitely make it the best riding in town (which I know is not saying much). One of the new trails is actually even singletrack width!
    Yes, much welcomed addition of trails to the butte, but are not that fun to ride right now due to 2-3" of fine powdered dirt on top of trail from recent construction that makes for pretty slow rolling. I rode there on Wed night afterwork (on way home from work) and don't plan to ride there again to we get some steady rain and trails are bedded down more. I would still have to say the north side network of trails at Scappoose (Rocky Point Rd.) are better and more to ride (great conditioned right now, but closed of course). But yes, the new biking trails are a step in the right direction at PB and should be better to ride with some time. I have been riding PB off/on since early 90's and I think this is the first time new dirt biking trails have been constructed, so a success in that regard.
    Ride On!

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    True, but Scappoose isn't exactly in Portland.
    Last year's trail changes have hardened up pretty well, I imaging it will take another year for the new ones to be solid riding. I do wish they left a few more roots and rocks exposed though, add a bit of tech.

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    Agreed. It would have been nice to not entirely scrub the trails clean. Is there a single root anywhere in the park anymore? There are some rock piles in a few places that I am hoping will be put onto the trail, but I don't expect it to be anything technical. Definitely a step in the right direction for PDX.
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    I'm a Portlander, this is my first post on MTBr.

    Those are municipal owned trails. If a beginner rider were to get hurt because of exposed roots or rock, they 'could' sue city for injuries. I know, sucks, but we must think of the children, and the people who make decisions but can't handle the outcome(self sustained injury).


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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    True, but Scappoose isn't exactly in Portland.
    Last year's trail changes have hardened up pretty well, I imaging it will take another year for the new ones to be solid riding. I do wish they left a few more roots and rocks exposed though, add a bit of tech.
    You got me there. Yes, PB and tech never have went together. It doesn't bother me there are no roots or rocks as I treat PB as one big short track or slalom course with yield to others of course.
    Ride On!

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    Re: Powell Butte

    The best trail in Portland currently is river view.

    It's a short run but it's not doubt the best single track in Portland.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    Those are municipal owned trails. If a beginner rider were to get hurt because of exposed roots or rock, they 'could' sue city for injuries. I know, sucks, but we must think of the children, and the people who make decisions but can't handle the outcome(self sustained injury).
    Where did you get this idea? There are dozens (if not hundreds) of parks around the country that are both technical and municipally owned. I think they fall under assumption of risk when you are on a trail in a public park. You should visit Palmer Park in the middle of Colorado springs. There are 3 foot drops, and rock gardens that can stump even the best trials riders, all on public trails.

    Just almost seems like the park went out of their way to make the trails ADA compliant....

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    Powell Butte

    I think the new trails are not that bad - will take some time though until they are hard packed. In fact, I think they are definitely better than the old routing. Until then it is quite dusty - not as bad as I thought during a climb. I will miss some of the old trail routings that I rode over the past 14 years...

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    I'm a Portlander, this is my first post on MTBr.

    Those are municipal owned trails. If a beginner rider were to get hurt because of exposed roots or rock, they 'could' sue city for injuries. I know, sucks, but we must think of the children, and the people who make decisions but can't handle the outcome(self sustained injury).


    I ride cross country and city on my 2009 Boulder SE. I'm down for a PB gathering!
    Really? Kinda throughs a big kink in the several skate parks in town.
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    Free-Agent, so I'm guessing NWTA and IMBA didn't have anything to do with these new trails?

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    Where did you get this idea? There are dozens (if not hundreds) of parks around the country that are both technical and municipally owned. I think they fall under assumption of risk when you are on a trail in a public park. You should visit Palmer Park in the middle of Colorado springs. There are 3 foot drops, and rock gardens that can stump even the best trials riders, all on public trails.

    Just almost seems like the park went out of their way to make the trails ADA compliant....
    First, it's Portland; we are late on all upgrade to social betterment due to bureaucratic red-tape. Second, this town continually creates laws and regulation to keep people from hurting themselves and suing the city. Third, skate parks are not integrated into pedestrian paths in forested environments were it might be hard to see a jogger coming around a blind corner.

    parks around the country that are both technical and municipally owned.
    This is very true, yet Portland has had a large MTB scene since the mid 90's and cities that have fallin into the MTB scene within the last 10 years have already built their inner-city MTB parks. It makes us Pdx'ers look slow!

    However, it looks like we are at the beginning of an inner-city MTB course as the "Gateway Green Project" is about to start development on the field between I-84 & I-205 for XC and DJ. We have one more day to contact the project for giving design ideas. I'll be volunteering at the build when it starts, hope others from the forum will make it out and help build!

    Gateway Green Project

    It takes a couple minutes to sign up and just a few minutes to complete the survey. Do it now! [The survey closes on Friday, August 16.]

    For more information, contact Sarah at Oregon Solutions (sarahgiles [at] pdx [dot] edu or 503-725-5248).

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    NWTA was part of the process from the beginning. In fact, the Exec Dir of IMBA did a ride up there with us as part of the first Trail Fest weekend. There was just no willingness to do anything technical up there. If I remember correctly (others were more involved than me) NWTA was successful in keeping some of the trails open to bikes that were originally going to be hiking only in the plan.
    Thankfully the trail network as a whole is much better than it was, and if you look carefully you can find some new little senders here and there. At least we can get the wheels off the ground once in a while now!
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    Thanks Free. I remember something about riding with IMBA out at Powell Butte, but just seems like you and NWTA seem surprised by these new trails. And it sounds like it was completely the city (parks) who was responsible for the actual build.
    Regardless I'm justs glad we have more trails. (I have just been curious about the whole process, because it seems like I hear very little, and then POW a new trail there the next time I ride).

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    Mark, I understand what you're saying, but there are dozens of public access, publicly owned trails around the city that have roots/rocks and other "technical" features. Think about Forest park (or any trail in the SW, definitely the Riverview Cemetery land that the city owns). There have not been many efforts to make those trails "safe". I"m just saying I think there is plenty of precedent for the city to keep and/or build more challenging trails.

    "This is very true, yet Portland has had a large MTB scene since the mid 90's and cities that have fallin into the MTB scene within the last 10 years have already built their inner-city MTB parks. It makes us Pdx'ers look slow!"

    I don't understand this statement, can you help clarify? If you are saying that Portland is woefully behind on mountain bike access, I think every single person on here would agree. I'd just be careful about labeling cities like Boulder and Colorado Springs into having "just fallen into the MTB scene".

    Thanks for the discussion and posting.

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    PB is improving, but don't expect Sandy Ridge

    Quote Originally Posted by free-agent View Post
    Thankfully the trail network as a whole is much better than it was, and if you look carefully you can find some new little senders here and there. At least we can get the wheels off the ground once in a while now!
    I concur, Powell Butte is getting better, and hopefully with enough participation and ridership, it will continue to. That said, it's not realistic to expect it to get much more technical. It's a fun, buff little XC spot IMO, which is good for getting out and doing some fitness laps, but it doesn't seem like it's got the goods for building real tech sections.

    I do think we should all look at the success stories around the country (and world,) for where municipal MTB trails are working well and see how we can emulate them.

    Seattle has Colonnade, Boulder has Valmont, what are some of the others that come to mind?

    I ask mostly for my own curiosity, but also so we can share knowledge and show some examples when time comes for making decisions.

    As always, if you're not an NWTA member in good standing, get involved.
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    Benja, are you looking for bike parks or trails? The ones you mentioned are bike parks (Even Duthie in metro Seattle is more of a park than trails). Most large mountain towns like Salt Lake, Boulder, CO Springs, Sant Fe, etc. have great access to trails right in town. They have big parks and they're opened to cyclists.

    There was an outstanding article on bikeportland a few months ago that was a written by a guy from Minneapolis talking about the work they have done on trails in there parks and how it could be done in Forest Park.

    Guest Article: Urban mountain biking in Portland - What it could be | BikePortland.org

    Personally I think that is what we need to emulate rather than simply an acre of some features and dirt jumps (though I understand there is a need for that too).

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    Powell Butte

    For those who have not had a chance to ride Powell Butte - this is not the place where you can and should go wild - lots of hikers, dogs, some other bikers (including some first time riders... ) an horses. Once you anticipate this and are prepared it is a great ride though.

    I typically do 5 lapses with 2700 ft cumulative climbing - so you do can get some exercise.

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    I started a Facebook page to catalogue as many urban examples as possible. Please consider joining the group and adding as much content as possible.
    https://www.facebook.com/Portlandmtb
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    Benja, are you looking for bike parks or trails?
    Both...

    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    There was an outstanding article on bikeportland a few months ago that was a written by a guy from Minneapolis talking about the work they have done on trails in there parks and how it could be done in Forest Park.

    Guest Article: Urban mountain biking in Portland - What it could be | BikePortland.org

    Personally I think that is what we need to emulate rather than simply an acre of some features and dirt jumps (though I understand there is a need for that too).
    Agreed, that was a good piece, and that's what we should be going for, in addition to smaller wins like bike parks here and there. For as huge as cycling is in PDX, and for how many people are showing up at Sandy Ridge every weekend, we should be able to mobilize this ****e.
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    Mark, I understand what you're saying, but there are dozens of public access, publicly owned trails around the city that have roots/rocks and other "technical" features. Think about Forest park (or any trail in the SW, definitely the Riverview Cemetery land that the city owns). There have not been many efforts to make those trails "safe". I"m just saying I think there is plenty of precedent for the city to keep and/or build more challenging trails.

    "This is very true, yet Portland has had a large MTB scene since the mid 90's and cities that have fallin into the MTB scene within the last 10 years have already built their inner-city MTB parks. It makes us Pdx'ers look slow!"

    I don't understand this statement, can you help clarify? If you are saying that Portland is woefully behind on mountain bike access, I think every single person on here would agree. I'd just be careful about labeling cities like Boulder and Colorado Springs into having "just fallen into the MTB scene".

    Thanks for the discussion and posting.
    Safe trails: There has been a very successful way of keeping MTB off many singletrack trails in FP and other municipal parks to make them safe. They put no biking signs up. Fines for biking on those trails are $150 and up. If you hit someone with your bike on those trails, you'll get plenty sued if you don't hit-n-run. If there are no signs, than riding is permitted and the safety of the individual on those trails is the responsibility of the individual; jogger, hiker and cyclist.

    Woeful? I'm not so sure, I'm thinking along the lines that there has just not been enough demand by the off-road bike community to move such a project forward.

    I had Seattle & Chicago in mind. They've had a scene just about as long as any other city, yet have only built their inner-city MTB/BMX parks in the last 6 years.
    Last edited by pdxmark; 08-16-2013 at 09:10 AM.

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    Hope

    I'm not very familiar with the new trails either, though I got back home around 9:30pm from doing a ride at dusk(7pm'ish) to 9-9:10pm PST. Had a feeling like I really needed to do it and check them out! The Cateye HL EL625RC Nano I bought last week works very well in the night forest. My cheap LED strapped headlamp came in very handy too, and my panaracer fb xc pro's at 46psi on the rear did very well at keeping me on the track, specially since I still use v-brakes.

    We need group dusk rides up there, truly makes the ride more difficult--fun--.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    We need group dusk rides up there, truly makes the ride more difficult--fun--.
    Night riding (1-2hrs past dusk) is my preferred way to ride there and what I will be doing when daylight savings hits this fall. I like it better and feel I can ride faster due to not worrying about running into anybody while buzzing down the trails. Just got to watchout for deer (almost nailed a huge buck) once. Day time riding is pretty lame up there, but better with new trails that the hikers aren't typically on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgusta View Post
    Night riding (1-2hrs past dusk) is my preferred way to ride there and what I will be doing when daylight savings hits this fall. I like it better and feel I can ride faster due to not worrying about running into anybody while buzzing down the trails. Just got to watchout for deer (almost nailed a huge buck) once. Day time riding is pretty lame up there, but better with new trails that the hikers aren't typically on.
    Your bike is a lot better than mine, but I'd be down to meet up for a dusk ride during the week, as I primarily work weekends.

    Last night was the best. I only saw two people on the trails, and that was while I was leaving off the west side of the hill; the people were close to the houses, but on the trail. They saw me coming, thanks to my lights, and moved off the trail. As I flew by them I heard the guy say "damn, he's fly'in"!

    I don't even know if I want to study the trails during the day, the dusk riding up there is scary, fun and extremely exciting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by free-agent View Post
    Agreed. It would have been nice to not entirely scrub the trails clean. Is there a single root anywhere in the park anymore? There are some rock piles in a few places that I am hoping will be put onto the trail, but I don't expect it to be anything technical. Definitely a step in the right direction for PDX.
    The root removal/covering is driven by Portland Parks. Exposed roots affect tree health and Powell Butte is a "Nature Park". Hands are tied on many aspects of this project, but we are doing what we can to add some flavor to the trails and improve the experience for all of the users. (Better trail layout with more direction and elevation changes, improved drainage, better sight lines, etc...)
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post
    The root removal/covering is driven by Portland Parks. Exposed roots affect tree health and Powell Butte is a "Nature Park". Hands are tied on many aspects of this project, but we are doing what we can to add some flavor to the trails and improve the experience for all of the users. (Better trail layout with more direction and elevation changes, improved drainage, better sight lines, etc...)
    They just cut out about a dozen trees that were no more than 7" in diameter. All of the cut is laying at the top of the NW side switchback. That can/could/should be used for making some technicals or jumps. To bad they are pulverizing all the bigger rocks they dig up at the res project, could be really useful for the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post
    The root removal/covering is driven by Portland Parks. Exposed roots affect tree health and Powell Butte is a "Nature Park".
    I find this INCREDIBLY contradictory as they just ripped up most of the top of the park to put in millions of gallons of covered reservoirs. Nature Park indeed!

    (not attacking you at all, just the many who fight mountain biking access based on "nature" arguments)
    Last edited by trimess; 07-09-2014 at 10:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    I find this INCREDIBLY contradictory as they just ripped up most of the top of the park to put in millions of gallons of covered reservoirs. Nature Park indeed!

    (not attacking you at all, just the many who are fight mountain biking access based on "nature" arguments)
    I agree with you so no harm there. The trails are hike/bike/equestrian, so it is not a matter of access. The basic problem with the whole project up there is that it was planned from top down. Park users were put low on the totem pole when the trail system was laid out. "Nature" had a front seat for the design process. A couple of nice trails were removed to leave certain areas on the Butte minus people. If that really improves conditions for the wildlife at Powell Butte, I guess time will tell.

    As trail builders that ride, we got many alterations approved that make existing and new trails work better. Unfortunately it will never be a Sandy Ridge and was never meant to be.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdxmark View Post
    They just cut out about a dozen trees that were no more than 7" in diameter. All of the cut is laying at the top of the NW side switchback. That can/could/should be used for making some technicals or jumps. To bad they are pulverizing all the bigger rocks they dig up at the res project, could be really useful for the trail.
    What root and trees? I have been riding there off/on for 20yrs now and don't recall any root sections besides this old root drop thing on far west side that has been closed for years now and little root kicker on Wild Hawthorne trail. If you want a tech challenge, the new wooden stairs on steep trail section on the north side are pretty challenging to clean. I cleaned that tonight for the first time, but wasn't without some trepidation. My main concern with the new trails is the smattering of routes and directions people ride them in now with no designated climb/descend route. Tonight afterwork, there must of been about 20-30 bikers out (plus quite of few walkers w/dogs) that were all riding and walking all the trails in various directions, including myself. I almost totally nailed a fellow biker (within a couple of inches) while climbing at around the Pioneer Orchard trail that other biker was coming down and passed by quite of few other bikers/users going opposite direction of me as well. I really think these new trails should have a preferred climb/descent route or people are going to get nailed unfortunately and think this potential is going to be even worse than was before as more people use it.
    Ride On!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgusta View Post
    What root and trees? I have been riding there off/on for 20yrs now and don't recall any root sections besides this old root drop thing on far west side that has been closed for years now and little root kicker on Wild Hawthorne trail. If you want a tech challenge, the new wooden stairs on steep trail section on the north side are pretty challenging to clean. I cleaned that tonight for the first time, but wasn't without some trepidation. My main concern with the new trails is the smattering of routes and directions people ride them in now with no designated climb/descend route. Tonight afterwork, there must of been about 20-30 bikers out (plus quite of few walkers w/dogs) that were all riding and walking all the trails in various directions, including myself. I almost totally nailed a fellow biker (within a couple of inches) while climbing at around the Pioneer Orchard trail that other biker was coming down and passed by quite of few other bikers/users going opposite direction of me as well. I really think these new trails should have a preferred climb/descent route or people are going to get nailed unfortunately and think this potential is going to be even worse than was before as more people use it.
    I think there is a misunderstanding, I'm stating that the trees they cut in the NW side switchbacks with berms, the trunks of them are laying at the top of the switchback, and just 30m south up the hill from there as well. It's just cut laying around, not roots, just cut trees. They should be used in the trail building, but I'd have to talk to the builders up there about it, which I think I want to talk to them anyways about the traffic flow issue you mentioned. It's only a matter of time before a couple people get seriously hurt because of a design flaw.

    There is this really nice chute into a blind right around a ridge side that shoots upward and takes a hard left around a tree that takes up half the path, if you are going North bound. The corner is blind and is fun to take in both directions, though North bound is fastest. The bermed corner has about a four or five foot drop off the north side, if two people were to have an accident right there, it could be a nasty! Unfortunately, that is also the only cool spot on that path.
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    I think that might have been me you almost hit (sleeveless jersey (it was laundry day...)). I too have never seen as many cyclists there as there were yesterday evening. Usually I see a few people (with no helmets, slowly bumbling down the trail) but last night had a lot of people with clipless pedals, I was shocked. I guess the word on the new trails is getting out.

    As much as I dislike directional trails (as they tend to usually discourage any technical uphill trail design), they might be the way to go at Powell Butte (as in most of Western OR), with so many blind corners. I had a couple of very near misses last night.
    One problem is that there aren't that many trails as Powell, so directional trails will limit your choices a good bit.

    I am really surprised they closed a few of those steeper trails in the middle. I thought they would leave those hiker trails in. I am definitely waiting for them to close what's left of the top loop service road.

    Today's rain might be enough to really firm up those new trails (after they dry out of course)

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    The only new trails I found were just a bunch of switchbacks full of a foot of dust. I hope that's not the new design for modern builds! I think I'll spend my time trying to save what is left of Riverview (keeps getting more and more dumbed down) and help build over at Gateway if that's the case.

    Have FUN!

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    I think that might have been me you almost hit (sleeveless jersey (it was laundry day...)). I too have never seen as many cyclists there as there were yesterday evening. Usually I see a few people (with no helmets, slowly bumbling down the trail) but last night had a lot of people with clipless pedals, I was shocked. I guess the word on the new trails is getting out.

    As much as I dislike directional trails (as they tend to usually discourage any technical uphill trail design), they might be the way to go at Powell Butte (as in most of Western OR), with so many blind corners. I had a couple of very near misses last night.
    One problem is that there aren't that many trails as Powell, so directional trails will limit your choices a good bit.

    I am really surprised they closed a few of those steeper trails in the middle. I thought they would leave those hiker trails in. I am definitely waiting for them to close what's left of the top loop service road.

    Today's rain might be enough to really firm up those new trails (after they dry out of course)
    I was wearing black 3/4 jersey top w/white helmet on +6" silver squish if that was me. I was referring to coming inches from nailing this rider gal in a small group while jamming around a corner I think not long after I went by you, on backside of Pioneer Orchard, if that was you? I thought for sure I was going to hit her and would of felt really bad about it. I usually don't fret people passing by me when going up or down, just don't want to nail someone (so far clean record of that riding muli-use trails fairly regularly over the years). I am also surprised they closed all the hiker only sections and thought that was the whole point of the new trails, to allow more for bikers so they stay off the hiking ones. Night riding there is going to have to be the ticket for me. Even though a lot of the new trails were duffy and a bit choppy, they were a bit better than they were just a week ago and will continue to get better and better over time. Just wish I could rip them for what they are without sweating running into someone around every corner. The trails do look nicely designed and appreciate the little features here and there that were added. Kudos to Treadworks and Lee ("bubba 13") for all their work. Definitely a big upgrade for PB.
    Ride On!

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    Powell Butte

    Yes - I also would like to recognize the quality of new trail design. Great upgrade - more fun to ride - especially uphill.

    So far I have not run into many other bikers - but I am always prepared for this and ride carefully. Especially hikers with dogs are a challenge.

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    Hi All, although I've been reading the posts here on MTBR for years, this is my first post. Full Disclosure, I am the owner of Treadwerks. We are the subcontractor for trail construction on Powell Butte. Treadwerks has a long history of building purpose built bike trails throughout Oregon, and had to provide Portland Park and Rec. with a lengthy resume in order to qualify for even bidding on the Powell Butte project.
    Working closely with City of Portland, Portland Water Bureau and the Portland Park and Rec. Dept. Treadwerks has been a partner in building/repairing some very sweet trails on the Butte.
    As has been mentioned on other posts, the trail specifications for this project included numerous provisions for protection and armoring of tree roots, and also for trail width and drainage that makes the trails sustainable for the long term, improves sight lines and allows for safe interaction for all the varied user groups.
    All that being said, as a trail contractor, we feel that we have built a wide variety of fun, flowy trails that work well for all users, and if you as a mt. biker pay careful attention, you might find some flavor within the trail experience that was missing from the Butte in the past!
    As to the dusty conditions. Due to the size and timeline of the Powell Butte project, the trail construction had to continue through less than ideal moisture content in the soil. With the recent rains, the aforementioned trails have bedded down and are riding quite nicely.
    Treadwerks would like encourage riders to come out and experience the new and refurbished trails first hand. Our crew regularly rides the trails in the afternoons on Tuesday and Wednesday. Stop by the big blue storage box on the corner of Meadowland and Goldfinch trails and we would love to ride some laps with any interested parties.

  36. #36
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    guru, Thanks for the reply. That was the kind of info I was looking for.
    Question: Are all the trails going to remain open for biking, or will some go back to hiker only?

    I'm shocked they have permanently closed so many of the old trails, but I like the new stuff better as it's not as straight and steep.

    Keep up the good work.

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    I can't say for sure what the future holds at Powell Butte in terms of trail designation, but it has been my experience while working on the project that the p&r has softened it's stance on enforcement.
    That doesn't mean that some negative interaction between user groups couldn't change that stance.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    Keep up the good work.
    +1 to Trail Guru as well. Trails are much better and fun to ride while working on cornering and flow on the all the many turns. I can actually ride there for >1hr now and not get bored by hitting all the different sections that are now open to bikes.

    Cheers,
    Jon
    Ride On!

  39. #39
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    PB Rider Alert:

    Over the last month while riding PB I've noticed that there are broken bottles being buried in a way that will flatten tires(half in ground, broken areas facing upward out of soil). The traps seem to be more located at the tops of trails located between Meadowland and Cedar Grove. I've not been able to get up with a shovel and remove them and the ground is packed well enough that a stick will not dig, just break. To mark the traps I grabbed handfuls of broken twigs and laid them over the buried glass in order to pad the trap if anyone felt like flying over it, and because I don't have anything like bright ribbon or the ability to make a sign, padding them was all I could come up with.

    ...

    Since finding three broken and half buried glass traps I've been trying to locate my folding shovel, with no luck. Can I get one from the construction sight on the weekdays if I ask and tell them what it's for?

    Before I can get back up there though I have to replace my left crank arm, and that may not be until after the 4th.
    I drive more when the streets need repairs! -'95 ZJ

  40. #40
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    Thanks pdxmark!
    Master of Laundry...Lord of Cleaning!

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    I have lots of links to Portland area mtb friendly trails, I just found a site that has the most detailed mapping I've seen of PB yet, it even has a better topographical representation of firelane1, but not all the trails being shown are bike legal; it's showing other bike friendly FP trails that are not on the Parks website as being in existence, but I've rode them.

    Explore Parks & Trails | The Intertwine[]=5791#node_5791
    I drive more when the streets need repairs! -'95 ZJ

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    Trail Access Update

    Hopefully this works, I don't think I've ever posted to here before. I ride PB a lot during the week and occasional weekends and while it may not be perfect to a lot of people, I think it's a great way to get over 1,000 ft of climbing and 15-20 miles in after work.

    The signage up there right now is terrible with construction and the new maps put out on the water bureau website doesn't distinguish which trails are open to what types of users like they used to. I see people up there all the time riding the hiking only trails or ripping down the hill past families and hikers. I realize not everyone feels the same way I do about not riding on trails that you shouldn't be, so all I want to do is share the information I have and hope people can appreciate PB for what it is rather than take actions that could eventually lead to even less riding up there.

    Copied below is the exact wording from my email conversation with a rep from the city and water bureau:
    --------
    I have confirmed with Portland Parks & Recreation that the following trails within the Powell Butte Nature Park are closed to bike access:
    -Dogwood
    -Wild Hawthorne (Hawthorn)
    -Fernwood (short connector from Hawthorn to Douglas Fir Trail)
    -Wildhorse
    At this time, all other trails allow bike access. As we work on permanent signage, we will be clarifying and graphically illustrating bike access.
    --------- End of city rep's email.

    On the trail map below I've marked in red the trails that are not open to bikers. Though she did not say it explicitly, I would also assume to stay off the Dogwood-Holgate Connector since it leads to the Dogwood Trail which is off limits.

    One thing to note is the additional access to the Douglas Fir Trail. From all the maps I have saved going back to '08 (I think) this trail has been hiking only and is now open to bikes. Also, if you haven't ridden The South Trail in a while, the reroute is a huge improvement! As is the banked turn section just down hill from the intersection of Elderberry Trail and the Pipeline Lane (a access road).

    Powell Butte-pb-trails-june2014.jpg

  43. #43
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    People are riding the hiking only trails, because as you described, there is no designation or signage there right now. I'm really confused as to why there needs to be any specifically designated trails at all (especially considering the trails have all been built just about the same way/style). I ride there quite a bit, and while I realize I am only anecdotal, I have had no conflict with other users (horses, bikes, hikers, runners, or dog owners). If cyclists are going to be prevented from certain trails, perhaps we should have some of our own designated trails (that we could build up a little more).

    And closing "Wildhorse" to bikes is really silly. With that trail closed to bikes the only access to the trails from the parking lot is a paved path?!?!?!?!

    It would be bummer if Fernwood is really closed to bikes as that is the only real single track in the park, and a fun little ride.

    Since apparently I'm in rant mode, I'm also a bit annoyed with new gravel and another 2-3 inches of loss dirt thrown on the trails on top of the Butte.

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    Without signage really the only way to know where you're supposed to be up there is from memory if someone has been riding for a long time in the area. I'll admit I almost gave up on trying to find out what the trail access situation was like after the project finishes, but ended up getting a hold of a very responsive person in city government.

    I hadn't thought about the ride from the parking lot as I never use it. I get on the spring water at various points and use that as a warm up. I think once construction is done the connector on the north side from the lot to The Old Holgate Trail should reopen. And though it's not a parking lot, there's a fair amount of room at the trail head at the end of the Holgate trail too.

    I would agree that if there is going to be restricted trails then all users should get something in return. Hikers get to go on trails knowing (or hoping) they won't have any bikes flying past them. I'd like to ride down or up the trails that have so obviously been re-routed with biking in mind knowing that I'm not going to come across hikers. Which even though I say hi to 99% of people I cross up there unless I'm outa breath, I still get dirty looks when I catch up to hikers and they act so annoyed to let me by. Now meeting head on, I'll slow and let them go if they want, though many just wave me by while they stop. My favorite are dog owners with their dogs off leash who are obviously not under the strict verbal control that their owners thing they have...and no, I don't hate dogs. I have/had many of them. But I still don't believe they should be off leash in areas that have leash laws and are open to multiple user groups. Two or three summers ago I watched a lady get tossed into the hill side off her horse when a dog off leash ran up to it. These are certainly the exceptions though, the off leash dog thing is constant, but as far as issues with hikers or others it's maybe once a season.

    And with regards to getting our own trails up there, it may be time to get in touch with NWTA and see if they have any plans or anyone taking ownership of the future use of trails on PB. I know there were meetings way back before the construction, but I haven't heard of much recently.

    Oh...and all the gravel and loose crap sucks. There was a ton of fresh gravel just west of the new mountain finder...and now it is blacktop. Makes me wonder if the whole top loop is going to become paved to make it more accessible. But right now I avoid much of the top as 3+ inches of gravel doesn't make for nice riding.

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    So I guess I'm not seeing the "new" trails I've heard were built, looks like same old deal. What am I missing here?

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    Some of these aren't the old trails. They are just in somewhat similar locations to the old trails. There was one completely new built trail (Douglas Fir) which definitely feels like it it was built with bikes in mind, and two or three others where about 1/2 is completely new. Bummer they couldn't put a little more berm in some of the corners on a few of these trails. They have some pretty hard tight/turns onto flats of off cambers. If they went to the trouble of hiring a trail builder (as discussed above), why not get a little more flow and berms into parts of the trails.

    I've had very few negative interactions with other trail users there. Sorry to hear you're getting dirty looks.

    Nothing says "nature park" like a paved path!

  47. #47
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    I've been riding at PB for years. Before the construction, there was a brief public comment period on the trail realignment plan. During that process, it seemed like they'd be decommissioning the best trail (I can't remember it's original name, but it was oriented where the "South Trail" is on the above new map). I wrote to one of the project committee members, and they told me that the committee was leaning toward multiple use on *all* trails. I think that's an excellent idea. Currently, the Wildhorse, Fernwood and Hawthorne trails are among the best in the park. Since the current map signage indicates no trails are closed to bikes (check out all the online maps and all the maps posted at the park), I've been riding everything. Since these trails are discontinuous and in different areas of the park, they do not offer non-cycling trail users the opportunity of a bike-free experience. So they are more or less pointless in my mind. All the trails should be multi-use.

  48. #48
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    I sent the following to the Friends of Powell Butte, and will send a copy to PP&R and NWTA. Free Powell Butte!

    Dear Friends of Powell Butte Nature Park,

    I'm writing today to encourage the Friends to take a pro-bicycle stance in regards to trail access at Powell Butte.

    I've been riding my bike at Powell Butte since 2008. Before the current construction, there was a brief public comment period on the trail realignment plan. During that process, it seemed like they'd be restricting access to what was then the best trail in the park (I can't remember its original name, but it was oriented where the "South Trail" is on the new map). I wrote to one of the project committee members, and they told me that the committee was actually leaning toward multiple use on *all* trails. I think that's an excellent idea.

    Since then, I've never heard otherwise, though, to be honest, Parks and Recreation hasn't exactly been forthcoming with the details of bicycle access. Given the fraught nature of bicycle access issues in Forest Park, and the very specific rules in place in that park, it's struck me as odd that they've been so quiet about what is happening at Powell Butte.

    So, during this time, I've been following the directions of the new map signage placed all around the park, and the maps indicate no trails closed to bikes. Yay! It's been so much fun to explore the park. The new trails are all excellent.

    However, I've recently heard online that some of the trails may in fact be closed to bikes. See post #42 in this thread: Powell Butte

    The trails that are slated to be closed to bikes (Dogwood, Wildhorse, Fernwood and Hawthorn) are among the best in the park. Since these trails are discontinuous and in different areas of the park, they do not offer non-cycling trail users the opportunity of a bike-free experience. So they are more or less pointless in my mind.

    I know this partly because I visit the park as a hiker as often as I do as a rider. When my girlfriend and I go hiking there, we are not about to limit ourselves to looping around the Dogwood Trail infinitely. And, there'd be no point anyway: to date, we've only had positive experiences with riders on the trails.

    Powell Butte is currently in a state of rebirth, from an okay, neighborhood-oriented place to ride to a real mountain bike destination, especially for beginner riders who aren't ready to tackle difficult trails systems like Sandy Ridge. If trails that are currently signed as open to bikes are placed off-limits, that would reduce the park much to its earlier state.

    Thanks for reading,
    Charley Reneau

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    I went out there yesterday evening for the first time in at least a couple of years. Prior to that I rode regularly at PB since 1995 but grew weary of hiker / horse interaction (95% horse issues) and really with Sandy not too much farther away just stopped going there. Very pleasantly surprised with what I found, great job on the trails and easily the most fun I've ever had at PB. Are the trails sanitized as alleged ? yeah some of it may be dumbed down but they're as fast and smooth as any trail you'll find round here. The new sections are really fun, definitely worth the quick drive over to park and ride a few miles. I'll be back for sure.

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    Howdy Folks,

    This just came through my email box and we at the NWTA are following up to clarify some of these issues. Please feel free to get in touch at the email below and I will post an update when we hear where things are.

    Tyler
    Advocacy Chair, NWTA

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