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How is the Off-road Cycling Master Plan project identifying potential off-road cycling sites?

The site screening process is a key part of planning for a citywide network of places to ride a bicycle off-road.

The site screening process is a key part of planning for a citywide network of places to ride a bicycle off-road.

This process is underway and is happening in multiple steps:

First, the project team screened out properties that would not be appropriate for off-road cycling for an easily identifiable reason (such as properties that were very small, incredibly steep, fully developed, predominantly wetland, or designated as industrial land or archaeologically significant).

Next, the team categorized remaining sites as potentially suitable for off-road cycling trails, parks, both, or neither, based on considerations like slope, size, and the extent of existing natural areas.

As a third step, the project team, the Project Advisory Committee, and agency partners will identify initial sites that might offer good opportunities to provide a connected network of diverse off-road cycling experiences. This step will also consider important factors like:

  • Existing regulatory restrictions that prevent or limit recreational use.
  • Community priorities and other guidance established in existing master and management plans.
  • Environmental factors, such as habitat, soils, and waterways.
  • Other existing or planned recreational facilities on the property.

The final step will combine community knowledge and feedback with on-the-ground site assessments. 

As part of a broader community engagement strategy, community members will be able to explore and comment on all potential off-road cycling sites via an online interactive map. Sites that were screened out in previous steps will also be displayed and identified as such. Community members will be asked to help shape the plan by voicing their priorities for Portland’s parks and trails; commenting on potential sites; identifying ways to create a varied off-road cycling system that meets community needs; and noting potential management opportunities or challenges that should be explored further.

Specialists in environmental conservation and off-road cycling facility design will also complete field assessments of potential sites that have unique features or challenges. They will confirm suitability for the types of riding experiences proposed based on environmental conditions and other site-specific factors.

Off-road Cycling Master Plan Focuses on Sustainability

Learning about the best practices and guidelines for trail design and management to protect people and natural resources.

The intent of the Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan is to develop a citywide system of off-road cycling facilities, including sustainable trails. Creating sustainable trails starts with selecting the right locations, and requires designing and managing trails to protect natural resources and other users.

A screening and assessment of City-owned properties as potentially suitable for off-road cycling facilities is just getting underway. To inform this process and to help develop guidelines for sustainable trail development and management, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability staff and the Off-road Cycling Master Plan consulting team researched and summarized studies from around the nation related to the impacts of off-road cycling, and the best practices to address impacts.

The reports describe impacts to soil, vegetation, wildlife, water and safety, and provide an array of best practices for the planning, design and management of off-road facilities to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts. The reports also find benefits of off-road cycling to health and the economy.

Take a look at the Off-Road Cycling Master Plan website for more information about off-road cycling issues and project progress. You can follow the discussions of the Project Advisory Committee, sign up to receive project emails, and fill out our online questionnaire about off-road cycling needs and priorities. Once the initial site screening process is complete, there will be an online mapping tool to provide input on potential sites for off-road cycling.

You can also send the project team an email at with questions or general comments.

Help define the future of off-road cycling in Portland

Share your ideas and needs for off-road cycling facilities throughout the city

BPS is developing an Off-road Cycling Master Plan to help meet community recreation needs and to provide Portlanders more opportunities to be active and experience nature in the city.

The project is working to create a plan for future off-road riding facilities, such as trails, skill parks and pump tracks, for children, adults and families of varying skill levels. It will make recommendations for the development and management of trails and facilities based on community needs and input.

An assessment of community needs for off-road cycling facilities is the next step in the process and will be the basis for planning a City-wide system of off-road cycling opportunities.

The project needs your input to help identify the types of off-road cycling trails and facilities that make sense for Portland. This summer, BPS is providing a variety of ways for Portland residents to get involved and share their ideas and feedback.

An online questionnaire will help gather information about off-road cycling needs and priorities.

Staff will offer the questionnaire and conversation at Sunday Parkways and other events around the city, and will be reaching out to underrepresented communities to learn from people whose voices are sometimes not heard in public planning processes.

Residents can also send the project team an email at with questions or general comments.

For more information about the project, browse the website to find the project vision, an overview of the types of off-road cycling trails and facilities, and project news and updates.

And explore the new Off-road Cycling Master Plan interactive map where you'll find an inventory of existing places to ride off-road in Portland.

If you would like to receive monthly emails about the progress of the Off-road Cycling Master Plan, please sign up to receive project emails. 

Laying the Groundwork for the Off-road Cycling Master Plan

Off-road Cycling Master Plan facilities overview and inventory

Developing Portland’s Off-road Cycling Master Plan requires a strong foundation. This foundation starts with a collective vision and desired outcomes, and understanding the types of off-road cycling trails and facilities and what types are currently available in Portland.

Vision and Desired Outcomes

The Off-road Cycling Master Plan Project Advisory Committee developed a shared vision, goals and outcomes to guide the planning process.

Existing Off-road Cycling Trails and Facilities

The City of Portland allows off-road cycling in seven City-owned locations. These include trails in Forest Park, Powell Butte Nature Park, and Mt. Tabor Park, as well as bike parks at the New Columbia Bicycle Skills Park and Ventura Park. In addition, the Portland International Raceway is open to off-road cycling for competitive events. Gateway Green is planned for off-road cycling trails, but is not yet developed.

The inventory maps the off-road trails and bike parks at each of these locations that are open to people on bicycles.

Types of Off-road Cycling Facilities

The Off-road Cycling Master Plan is planning for a system of different types of facilities to meet the range of off-road riding experiences sought by Portland residents. Trails and bike parks can differ greatly in type and in technical challenge and experience offered. This overview describes the factors that help define the spectrum of off-road experiences: preferred riding style; age and skill level; setting; scale and type of facility. The typology table lists the universe of facility types, from small neighborhood-scale bike skills parks, to various types of off-road trails, to large competitive venues. Not all types of facilities will be appropriate to community needs and sites in Portland.

Through community input and technical analysis, the planning process will identify the types of trails and facilities that make sense for Portland and meet the needs of the community. These community needs will be defined in a needs assessment. This information and further community input will drive the discussion about which of the possible types of facilities, at what scale and setting, should be included in the Master Plan for the City.

Project timeline, process, and community engagement

The planning process for the Off-road Cycling Master Plan will occur in 2016, in four phases.

The planning process for the Off-road Cycling Master Plan kicked off in earnest in January. The Plan will be developed in four phases, over the course of 2016:

  1. Discovery phase (January through March)

    This phase will help establish a vision and goals for the project and lay the groundwork for understanding off-road cycling needs in the community as well as impacts and benefits. The project website, Project Advisory Committee (which will meet throughout the planning process) and an interactive online map tool will offer Portlanders ways to learn about and add their ideas to the planning process.

  2. Analysis phase (March through June)

    This phase will focus on reaching out to the Portland community to gather feedback on how the City might provide a variety of off-road cycling experiences and how to determine which sites are most appropriate. Community members can lend their ideas to this phase by talking directly with the project team at a project open house and a youth-focused event as well as at various community events, and through the online map tool.

  3. System planning phase (June through September)

    This phase will carefully consider how the City might develop a system of off-road cycling trails and facilities that meets the goals of the Plan and is accessible by bike and transit. Community members will have many opportunities to add their ideas to this phase, including a second project open house and youth-focused event, the online map tool, and at conversations focused on specific proposed locations.

  4. Draft Plan phase (September to December 2016)

    During this phase, the project team will develop a draft Master Plan, including design and management recommendations and implementation strategies. The draft plan will be refined based on community input and then presented to City Council for adoption. Community members will be able to comment on the draft plan at an open house, on the project website, and directly to City Council.