One City’s Journey: Assessment to Construction
IMBA note: Originally, we published a blog that outlined three IMBA's Pacific Northwest grants in fall 2022. This is a follow-up on the re-opening as a result of one of those grants.
Gateway Green is an immensely popular park that offers singletrack trails, an adaptive mountain bike area, jump lines, pump tracks, and more.
Bike riders of all ages and abilities are meeting, riding, and building their confidence on a bike throughout the park, which is also utilized for our adult clinics and youth programming. Located between I-205 and I-84, the park is in an area of the city where underserved communities have had difficult access to nature and bike trails. Kids that participated in our Gateway Green summer biking camps have reported that without access to parks like this, they would not have a place to ride at all.
Originally, Gateway Green’s mountain bike skills area opened in 2016 during the “Dirt Lab – Phase 1” construction. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) hired C2 Consulting as the project manager for the bike park construction. C2 Consulting worked with many partners to help bring the park to life, including IMBA Trail Solutions. The skills area was intended for bike skills progression, and since completion, it has been well used by riders of all ages and abilities year-round in all weather conditions.
After observing the launch of our successful mountain bike skills camps at Gateway Green, our Lead Trail Steward, Tim Copeman, noticed that the skills area in the park needed an upgrade. He wanted the area to be more utilized and found it lacked the functionality as a space for riders to progress their skills. He presented these ideas to refresh the entire skills area to the Northwest Trails Alliance (NWTA) Leadership Team, which ultimately led to the newly opened refurbishment.
Sparked by Tim’s ideas, in 2022 NWTA was awarded an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) grant to help jumpstart this revamp project. Partnering with PP&R, NWTA hired Sasquatch Trails to help guide & manage the project. Along with PP&R, community partners Stacy & Witbeck, PBS Engineering, and Trimet all donated additional time and materials needed to help complete the project within budget. Further, NWTA volunteers spent over 1000 hours hand-shaping the dirt to reopen the area.
Due to the popularity of the park, improving drainage was a priority. This project also added quality dirt, and the new layout drastically enhanced the sustainability to facilitate better year-round riding. It also increased the flow of the lines in the area and now allows for proper and safe bike skills progression.
During this 15-week project, we saw delays and challenges due to the low-elevation snowstorms and the incessant late-season rain we received. In the end, the group reconstructed the area to accommodate the following lines:
Two Tigers: Dual Slalom Course
Green Olive: (Beginner) Green Line
Maverick: (Intermediate/Advanced) Blue Line
Dark Side: (Expert only) Double Black Line
We want to thank the following individuals who volunteered their time to lead this project:
Tim Copeman – NWTA Project Liaison, Lead Trail Steward, and Volunteer Coordinator
Project leads KC Badger, Brian Barnhart & Travis Sergi for volunteering countless hours and sharing their expertise and talents to help us build out this project.
Portland Parks & Recreation - we wouldn't have been able to do any of this work without their partnership.
In total, over 80 volunteers came out to help us. We would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to everyone involved. NWTA truly appreciates the amount of support we received from the community, and we look forward to enjoying this area for years to come.