Photo by Mark Gibson
The proposed "pump park" at Sorosis Park would be located beyond both the bark trail and gravel access road seen above.
As of Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The Dalles Kids with bikes and dirt piles have long attracted one to the other, and the Wasco County Parks and Recreation District is investigating the possibility of creating an official “pump park” at Sorosis Park in The Dalles. A “pump park” is a low speed dirt track in which the bicycles are “pumped” over jumps and other features.
The park feature would be located on the south side of Sorosis, between an existing dirt access road and a fenced orchard. The property, while part of the park, is currently undeveloped.
“I think this is a great idea, and this is a great venue for that,” said executive director Scott Green at the April board meeting. “We don’t have to buy or purchase anything to do this, and the opportunities for volunteer design work and labor are good.”
The “pump park” was proposed this spring, but work was held back when neighboring orchardists and landowners raised concerns about the location. Board vice chair Stacey Romney noted that the concerns were easily addressed.
One objection was that the pump park would be hard to see and attract miscreants. Green noted that pine trees adjacent to the access road would be limbed up to increase visibility, and Romney noted that getting to Sorosis was no easy thing, and a park there would attract a more serious group of people.
“These parks attract a wide range of ages, the demographics are very different than, say, the skate park crowd,” Romney noted. Many of those using these kinds of parks are mountain bikers. The site is out of the way of other park users, and creates a recreational opportunity that is lacking in The Dalles. “This site is perfect, it’s the perfect size, the perfect shape and slope,” she added.
If the site does create security problems, the solution is simple, she added. “If it creates an issue, we can just bulldoze it over.”
Board member Marcus Denney also expressed enthusiasm for the pump park.
“I grew up (in the neighborhood of Sorosis) and we rode bicycles and motor bikes in that exact same area. We took shovels and made our own track, we rode there all the time.”
Green noted that the pump park would, like the rest of the park, be closed to users from dusk to dawn.
Neighboring orchardists also expressed concern that users of a pump park so close to the orchards would perceive spraying of the orchards in a negative light, potentially raising concerns in regards to overspray and health. Although orchardists noted the spray is nontoxic, public complaints could have impacts on the orchard, the reported.
Romney noted that the jogging trail already runs very close to the orchard, and is similarly impacted by orchard spray.
“It seems that this is mostly a matter of education, letting people know that the spray is nontoxic and is not a health issue,” she said.
After a discussion, the board agreed to revisit the issue with the two property owners who had raised concerns and try to address their concerns.
If their concerns are addressed, then planning and work on the park could begin following the May board meeting.