Gateway Green is a 25-acre site located in East Portland at the confluence of two major freeways. This previously unused remnant landscape has a host of complicated public access challenges making the prospect of creating a park seemingly impossible. Community leaders and advocates who saw a potential for reclaiming this forgotten landscape have been instrumental in framing a vision and rallying support for developing the site into a usable park space.
Because of the challenges Gateway Green presented—its size, unique terrain, close proximity to light rail, and lack of adequate access for pedestrians—off-road cycling was identified as one of the many viable, long-term uses envisioned for the site. In 2017, temporary off-road bike trails were constructed as a means to activate the site and deter homeless camping. The immediate success of the bike facilities has brought local and national recognition to the project, which in turn has given the City of Portland and the project partners motivation and support to push forward with refining the long-term vision to include other uses.
A plan has recently been developed to guide future work to restore habitat, improve access, and enhance other recreational activities. The crux of the design challenge has been to create a plan that balances active and passive uses along with innovative urban habitat restoration.
Robust support for developing the site has been led by the highly visible and active group, Friends of Gateway Green (FoGG). Since 2008, FoGG has envisioned Gateway Green as a place that could provide a much-needed site for off-road cycling, and other outdoor recreation in East Portland. FoGG’s advocacy and partnership building has made the project become a reality.