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Fence shuts off Willamette Park entrance, neighbors upset

A fence greets cyclist Robert Nicholl at the entrance to Willamette Park in Southwest Portland on Monday. (KATU Photo)

A popular bike path has been cut off to cyclists because of a fence, infuriating neighbors in one Southwest Portland neighborhood.

"It didn't make much sense," said Don Kool, who was walking his dog Alice around the fence Monday. "It's not going to keep me out."

The Oregon Department of Transportation said it recommended the entrance to Willamette Park, just off Macadam Avenue and Nevada Street, be closed off because it went over railroad tracks and violated federal safety guidelines.

Portland Parks & Recreation had put up smaller barriers, which proved to be ineffective at stopping people from entering the park. One Monday, the bureau said it put up the fence, which will stay in place until spring, until other improvements are made to the park.

"That's something we've been working on, trying to say we need pavement, but the fence being there right now doesn't make any sense," said cyclist Robert Nicholl.

The parks bureau said it will improve its signage alerting park users that the entrance off Nevada Street is closed.

Nicholl said the entrance closure won't change how he rides. He'll just dismount and walk around the fence.

"Probably take the inconvenience, it's easiest," Nicholl said.

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