Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on April 12th, 2006 at 8:38 am
SK Northwest, a seller of boats and personal watercraft currently located on NE Sandy Blvd, has filed an application to construct a new building on the Willamette just south of OMSI between SE Caruthers and SE 4th Ave. (see map). In their application to the Bureau of Development Services the company has requested an exemption from an existing greenway trail easement that runs across the property on the riverfront.
According to a representative from Portland Parks and Recreation, SK Northwest has “several concerns with the trail and trail users.” These concerns likely stem from the fact that they want to build a new dock to store their boats and they don’t want to deal with trail users coming onto their property.
Currently, this section of the Eastbank Esplanade trail (SE Caruthers to SE 4th Ave), as it transitions into the Springwater Corridor Trail, forces bicycles and pedestrians onto poorly maintained surface streets and into dangerous interactions with industrial businesses (including Ross Island Concrete).
Because of this substandard route, trail advocates have been negotiating with the City of Portland and Portland Parks and Recreation to build a new trail on the existing easement that would stay along the waterfront and go from SE Caruthers to SE Woodward (labeled “recreational trail” on the map), making a seamless connection from the Steel Bridge south onto the Springwater Corridor.
But if SK Northwest gets their way, this trail will never be built.
It’s no surprise that their application has already drawn fire from bicycle advocates and the Hosford Abernathy Neighborhood Assocation. Here’s the opinion of one concerned trail user and neighborhood resident:
“In my opinion, the current trail detour (Caruthers / SE Fourth) is not an acceptable long-term solution. The current path detour is frequently blocked by delivery trucks and other vehicles…and these roads have not been maintained by either the city or the local businesses, especially the segment on SE 4th. I don’t think the City should issue the greenway variance as requested, but rather, should require the greenway trail to be constructed on the lot as planned. I’m pretty sure the HAND neighborhood association will submit comments on the plan, opposing the greenway variance.”
Because this is such an important section of trail that could be lost forever, I strongly urge you to call, write a letter, fax, or email Kate Green at the Bureau of Development Services. Please indicate case number LU 05-178171 GW in all correspondence. Comments must be received by 5:00PM on April 27th. Her contact information is below:
ph. (503) 823-5868
fax (503) 823-5630
Bureau of Development Services
1900 SW Fourth Ave., Suite 5000
Portland, OR 97201