Meet the people who want to tear down the walls and make our beach trails accessible again.
On a sun-washed mid-April afternoon earlier this year, a pair of disgruntled property owners decided to build an ominous-looking fence, replete with No Trespassing signs and surveillance cameras, to prevent the people of our coastal community from hiking the Doris Davis Trail.
Many residents were startled. After all, for more than 40 years, residents of Classic Ridge and surrounding communities – and the public at large – had come to rely on the trail for leisurely hikes to and from the beach, for bird- and wildlife-watching, or to simply enjoy a walk in the woods.
There are just two accessible trails from Classic Ridge to the beach. The Doris Davis Trail, a dirt path that runs into the woods, from University Avenue to Beach Street, at the bottom of the ridge, exists solely in Neakahnie, an unincorporated part of Tillamook County.
The other trail, west of Cherry Street, the so-called Dune Trail, has also been closed due to the sale of a home.
The Classic Ridge Trail Access Campaign (TAC) was formed in late April and is run entirely by a talented group of people. They are volunteers who live and own homes in Classic Ridge and adjacent neighborhoods. And they are passionate about reopening the Doris Davis and Cherry Street trails.
The group is moving quickly on multiple fronts.
On September 1, 2020, one TAC member, Ralph Bloemers, filed suit in Tillamook County Circuit Court asking that the property owners, Rodney & Maralene Oullette and Roy & Joann Simmons, to remove the fences and cease any further interference with the easement and the public’s right to use the trail.
As our Community Outreach coordinator Rob Jordan has written before, the Oregon Supreme Court has stated that if the public openly uses a trail for more than 10 years, without permission of the property owners, “then the public can acquire a prescriptive easement across public land.”
TAC is also looking to raise $15,000 from community members to support the legal effort. Donations to support TAC can be made online here.
At the same time, the group is considering petitioning the City of Manzanita, asking that they build a proper hiking trail through the designated city right-of-way on vacated Ocean Avenue, west of Cherry Street.
Now that you see what kind of progress is being made, let’s take a moment to call out some of the people who are making TAC a force to be reckoned with (In alphabetical order).
RALPH BLOEMERS (Doris Davis Trail Oversight)
Any and all oversight related to the research and development of the Doris Davis Trail is under Ralph’s direction. Thanks to Ralph, a senior staff attorney for a non-profit law center that represents communities working to protect Oregon’s rivers, forests and wildlife, he has made it possible to navigate the legal hurdles and challenges related to removing the fences. Ralph has made significant contributions of time toward the blazes in the gorge and the recent fires that suffocated Portland, including but not limited to the Riverside Fire. He commitment to the safety of the community go above and beyond and we are grateful to have him support our campaign.
ELLIS CONKLIN (Content Curator)
Ellis is a longtime journalist, working primarily as a political reporter at the Anchorage Times, UPI, the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He will be writing weekly blogs for the website, etc. He and his wife, Lynn, and little daughter Mariel, came to Manzanita for the first time in 1995, as renters, and finally settled here five years ago, without Mariel, but with a beach-loving Australian Shepherd named Piper.
DEREEN DESCHRYVER (Volunteer Administrator)
If there is anything at all that the TAC team is unable to do because of time constraints, Dereen steps up to the plate. Whether it be producing flyers, proofreading, or canvassing, Dereen is always there. She is a former elementary school teacher whose passion for the outdoors is only matched by her keen ability at community fundraising. Dereen owns a home on University Street and is committed to seeing our trails accessible again.
ROB JORDAN (Communications Outreach)
Rob is overseeing all communications related to website contact, press releases and newspaper interviews. He is the voice of the Classic Ridge Trail Access Campaign. He is CEO of a NPO consulting firm dedicated to supporting non-profits, ranging from the Wounded Warriors to the World Food Program. As a returning Peace Corps volunteer and Red Cross DAT Captain for 9/11 tragedy, he brings an appreciation for the need to nurture and support community. He has owned a home in Manzanita for the last 6 years.
LAURIE MURPHY (Trail Development Support)
Laurie, a retired arts educator for Portland Public Schools, has given TAC a significant and much-appreciated amount of her time steering us through the bureaucracy of Tillamook County. Without her efforts and expertise, the initial efforts to take back the Doris Davis trial might have been insurmountable. A retired Art teacher from PPS and an Oregon native Laurie has ties to Manzanita as far back as 1967. If you have a question about Manzanita there is a good chance Laurie has the answer.
STAN MYERS (Cherry Trail Oversight)
Stan is charged with all activities related to developing the Cherry Trail. In fact, he is the face of that trail, scouring public surveys, attending endless City Hall meetings, and getting things done. Stan is a graduate of U of O (BA) and PSU (MBA) bringing a wide range of experience. From an Eagle Scout, to the Beaverton Budget Committee, to commercial lending... Stand brings a perspective that is essential to this campaigns success. His commitment to the Classic Ridge community extends back as for as 1974 when his parents bought a home in the area.
SARAH STETTNER (Canvassing)
For those of you who have found a flyer on your doorstep, chances are that Sarah put it there. Like a veteran grizzled postal worker, neither snow nor rain, nor heat nor gloom of night can stop this energetic and conscientious woman from her appointment rounds. Sarah works in one of the most established Non Profits in Portland ensuring the hospitals around the nation are able to facilitate their practice efficiently and effectively. An essential and noble mission that cant get enough attention these days. Originally from Virginia Sarah moved to Oregon over eight years ago and has never looked back!