Northwest Trail Alliance v. City of Portland

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Land Use
  • Date Filed: 06-03-2015
  • Case #: Northwest Trail Alliance v. City of Portland
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Opinion by Bassham
  • Full Text Opinion

LUBA should exercise review jurisdiction over a decision under the significant impacts test only if the petitioner identifies the non-land use standards that the petitioner believes apply to the decision and would govern LUBA’s review.

The River View Natural Area (RVNA) is 146-acres in southwest Portland, bordered by SW Macadam Avenue to the east, SW Palatine Hill Road to the west, River View Cemetery to the north and Lewis and Clark College to the south. For many years, mountain bikers have used seven miles of trails developed and maintained by the biking community in the RVNA for single-track biking, on. In 2011, the City of Portland acquired the RVNA from Metro and in return the city granted Metro a conservation easement over the RVNA. The easement prohibits all development, except in support of “permitted uses such as environmental education or nature-based recreation including soft-surface trails, viewing platforms, kiosks and signage.” On March 2, 2015, the Portland Parks and Recreation and Bureau of Environmental Services city commissioners sent a letter to the RVNA stakeholders, including Northwest Trail Alliance, informing them that by March 16, 2015, mountain biking will no longer be an allowed use at RVNA. Northwest appealed the letter to LUBA.

LUBA agreed with the city that the March 2, 2015 letter does not appear to concern the application or amendment of any statewide planning goal, comprehensive plan provision or land use regulation, and for that reason does not constitute a “land use decision” as defined at ORS 197.015(10)(a)(A). Northwest Trail Alliance argued that even if the letter is not a “land use decision,” the letter nonetheless falls within LUBA’s jurisdiction under the “significant impacts” test outlined in City of Pendleton v. Kerns, 294 Or 126 (1982). LUBA held that Northwest Trail Alliance had failed to satisfy the test by not identifying statutes or other applicable laws that would provide land use standards under which LUBA would conduct its review. DISMISSED.