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'Freedom Ride' set for March 16 at River View Natural Area

Hundreds of cyclists' plan to protest a new city bicycling ban at River View Natural Area in Southwest Portland seems to have echoed at City Hall.

As reported by Jonathan Maus on on Wednesday, City Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz on Wednesday posted an update to the ban that she and Commissioner Nick Fish issued on March 2, saying that the ban may not be permanent.

The action comes after after 259 angry cyclists had said they planned to take part in "Freedom Ride" at River View on March 16, the first day of the ban.

They have T-shirts and stickers that say “Portland Hates Me: Mountain Biking is not a crime.”

Due to the pushback, Fritz posted a statement on the River View Natural Area website on Wednesday:

"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."

Freedom Ride organizer Charlie Sponsel is a member of Portland Parks & Recreation's River View Natural Area Technical Advisory Committee and a cyclist who rides at River View regularly.

According to Sponsel's post on the Freedom Ride Facebook Page, River View — a 146-acre natural area between Southwest Macadam Avenue and Southwest Terwilliger Boulevard — is the "only place to ride within an hour of the city."

"It’s really important that this ride not be about riding at all," he writes. "It’s about making a political statement about a political process that broke down. It’s not about getting our shred on at Riverview one more time. With the Riverview bike ban the city abandoned the public process and ignored input from their own people."

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