Letters: Please protect Upper Luther Burbank Park

Thank you for publishing the article about the proposed mountain bike park in Upper Luther Burbank Park. Friends of Luther Burbank Park appreciates the opportunity for Islanders to read about this issue, but we would like to correct a few errors and say why we do not support this facility.

First, the story gave the impression the plan is approved as part of the massive Park PROS plan, but it is not. The design needs review by the Parks Commissioners before this (unbudgeted) $215,000 project comes to the city council for their ultimate decision.

The story also implies that the mountain bike clubs are middle and high school clubs. While the members are middle and high school aged, the clubs are private organizations. The club’s website says riders practice at some local parks and lists eleven huge area parks available off island. These riders are not without considerable options.

Twenty-acre Upper Luther Burbank Park is one of the few remaining undeveloped natural parks on the Island, and the only one on the north end. Its silty soils are unsuitable for a built bike-riding facility. The article says the city would bring in more suitable soils. This need illustrates the unsuitability of the park for this facility.

Casual passersby along 84th Ave SE cannot see the location of the bike trails, which are deeper into the park. This location presents a problem should a rider be injured — not a remote possibility — not only for an emergency response but for liability to the city.

For these reasons — environmental damage, unbudgeted funds, potential liability, and more — Friends proposes that Upper Luther be protected as an open space park in the forthcoming Comprehensive Plan.

Please visit our website and sign our protection petition, then share it with like-minded islanders: https://www.lutherburbankpark.com/blog

Sue Stewart, President, Friends of Luther Burbank Park (a 501(c)3 organization)

Board members: Amanda Clark, Elliot Newman, Rita Moore, Bharat Shyam, Judy Roan