Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on December 9th, 2008 at 2:13 pm
npGreenway core member Pam
Arden at a 2007 meeting.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Tonight, the Portland Planning Commission -- a nine-member body appointed by the Mayor that advises the city on all planning issues -- will hold a public hearing for the "North Reach" phase of Portland's River Plan.
The River Plan is a massive planning project for all land along the Willamette River in Portland.
Buried among the many volumes and reams of pages in the North Reach section of the plan is language that would help establish easements and official policy for the northern section of the Willamette River Greenway Trail (which currently ends at the Steel Bridge).
npGreenway is a non-profit group of citizens who are advocating for the trail. Their vision is a new, multi-use path along the Willamette from the Steel Bridge to Kelley Point Park north of St. Johns (read more about npGreenway in, North Portland greenway trail moves toward vision).
Scott Mizee, a core member of the npGreenway group, says having the trail pass as an official part of the River Plan is a "big deal".
near University of Portland.
(Photo: Scott Mizee)npGreenway
Seven members of npGreenway signed onto a letter the Planning Commission in advance of the hearing. Also included in the letter were letters of support from several agencies and individuals including Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, the Swan Island Business Association, and Adidas America (whose headquarters are in North Portland).
The letter stated that the Greenway Trail is a "vital link in the regional trail and transportation system". They also emphasized to the Commissioners that the trail would have an economic impact on the area:
...The Willamette River Greenway Trail is a piece of infrastructure that will ensure the economic viability of the industrial zoned parcels on the North Portland peninsula connecting residents with jobs on the working waterfront while also affording a connection to the rest of the city.
Mizee says he plans to testify tonight and encourages other to do so as well. "It would be great to have cyclists come out," he told me this morning, "and voice there opinions about where the trail should be and how important it is to us for transportation -- not just a recreational trail with occasional scenic viewpoints."
Another reason Mizee says the community should do everything it can to support this trail is because of the dire need for a safe north-south commuting route as an alternative to N Greeley Ave. Mizee is among many community members who have voiced concern over the safety issues on Greeley (which includes a very high-speed, freeway on-ramp/bike lane merge).
"Greeley is intimidating and not safe for those that are not "hard core" cyclists. That's why it is especially important that something be worked out along the river near the Albina Railyards onward to Swan Island."
If the Planning Commission approves the River Plan, it will most likely also pass a City Council vote. The plan is expected to be on the Council's agenda this spring.
strong>Portland Planning Commission
December 9, 2008
6:00 – 9:30 pm
1900 SW 4th Avenue
Room 2500a, 2nd floor
Meeting agenda online