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Springwater repaving starts next month: Closures, detours to follow

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 19th, 2010 at 11:07 am

Three Bridges opening celebration
The Springwater.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The $1.8 million, federal stimulus-funded repaving of the Springwater Corridor Trail is set to begin next month. Portland Parks & Recreation, who manages the trail, issued a statement about the project yesterday and shared details of the imminent closures and detours that will come with it.

The project will lay a 2-inch overlay of porous asphalt over eight miles of the existing trail and it will include new pavement markings, bollards, and signage.

According to Parks, the work will require periodic closures of the trail between SE 28th Avenue, just east of the Three Bridges section, to SE 174th and Jenn e Road near the border with the City of Gresham. In their statement, Parks says, "No continuous segment of the trail longer than two miles will be closed at any time, but several small segments could be closed simultaneously" and, "... the locations of closings may change from week to week during the project."

Detail from Springwater project detour map.

I got a look at some project maps of the planned detours. Because of geographical features like the Powell Butte Nature Park and the lack of a road grid in neighborhoods adjacent to the Springwater, some of the detours are going to be circuitous and inconvenient.

For instance, on a segment of the project adjacent to Powell Butte (between SE 122nd Ave and SE Circle) the detour will take people north on 122nd all the way up SE Powell and then back down near SE 166th.

Dry conditions are necessary for this work, but these closures will come during the busiest season on the trail. Perhaps, as a silver lining, the streams of people walking and biking on residential streets near the trail will spur talk of bike boulevards and other necessary improvement.

To keep the public updated, Parks plans to publish updates on their PortlandParks.org website and on a new Twitter account, @springwaternews, set to launch on April 1st (you can start following now).

The closures and detours are expected to last through August.


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Comments
  • Allan March 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Finally, there will be some relief for suspension bike riders :)

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  • KWW March 19, 2010 at 11:39 am

    Could you post the map, I couldn't find it. Does this affect the Corridor trail along the Willamette River?

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  • beth h March 19, 2010 at 11:54 am

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. For those seeking a more continuous route east during the closures, there's always Marine Drive. Parts of it aren't as pretty, and there's that hill near Blue Lake, but it is fairly direct.

    2. I'd like to hope that along with the surface improvements, the Parks Department will also consider defoliating sections of the path where some pretty aggressive people have been hiding in the bushes, waiting to harrass walkers and joggers and to even attempt jumping someone on a nice bike. This issue has amplified in the last few years, and while I want to be sympathetic to the fact that we have pretty rampant homelessness, I also think that folks need to feel safe when using the path. Because of this growing concern I have been less inclined to ride the Springwater alone at any time of day, especially east of 82nd Avenue.

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  • jordan March 19, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    This is good news. I rode out the Springwater on Wednesday and was reminded why I don't normally ride that way. Roughhhhhhh! My hands were vibrating for an hour after getting off my bike.

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  • h March 19, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    It will be much smoother when it is done. some are quite rough. It is like gravel stuck on the pavement.

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  • Spiffy March 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I hope they mark the detours better than the last one I encountered... a couple years ago when they were redoing the bridge entrances around mile post 13 they redirected you into a residential neighborhood and left you on your own... even coming back the other direction was a chore to try and find the trail again if you weren't familiar with the area...

    and I agree that the homeless camps are a little scary between 82nd and 174th... I've never been bothered, but I've seen homeless people arguing in the middle of the path around 82nd and it's unnerving to have to slow down to get around them on the shoulder... it would be nice to let them have a good place to camp but the few bad ones are ruining it for the rest...

    (awaiting new user forum approval)

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  • hanmade March 19, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    The temporary closeures will be a hassle but worth it to get a smoother ride. Yes!

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  • Anonymous March 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    I'm looking forward to the new pavement. I can always change my route to get to the 205 bike path but the Springwater is the most convient. Yay for porous asphalt

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  • stevenbevenbobeven March 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Why put down "porous asphalt"? The bike trail isn't wide enough to cause any run-off concerns like in a big parking lot. I am assuming the porous stuff will NOT be placed over the old non-porous ashpalt?

    I would think the primary consideration on asphalt selection should be long life and less bumps in the future.

    I do not know why "porous" asphalt is planned. Does anyone know? I would think water would get into the pores constantly and on cold nights it would freeze - that's a lot of freezing/thawing - what's wrong with normal asphalt?

    Just hoping this isn't a flop so we can actually enjoy the trail for a long time before it deteriorates. I do agree that the vegetation needs to be cut back significantly - the trail is isolated in many places and bad people should have as few places to hide in ambush as possible.

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  • Todd Boulanger March 20, 2010 at 1:20 am

    A question I would have for these detours, given the skill level of most path riders (B & C type riders, families etc.) - is has everything been done to facilitate these longer detours...much as when motorized traffic is shifted from a access controlled 'highway' ?- (that is what this path is):

    - have the park trail detours been coordinated overall with PBOT and operations, so detour signage and routes are logical and the detour facilities can accommodate the higher bike traffic (esp. of group clusters)?

    - have the detour utilized all the appropriate PBOT tools in the tool box (temp sharrows for shared lane, temp bike lanes or bike turn pockets where needed, spot parking removal for bottle necks, bike friendly signal phasing, temp. push buttons for signal calls or installation of temp half signals for arterial crossing barriers, etc.)

    - have operations been reminded to inspect the route for potholes, misoriented storm drain grates, debris, missing stop signs/ stop bars, and functioning signal detection (loops and bottons)?

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  • Todd Boulanger March 20, 2010 at 1:23 am

    I know the above is a long list...but it is a platinum quality list. ;-)

    PS. Perhaps the bike route detour signs can take a page out of the Dutch traffic manual for bike detours...for each route change in direction that is signed there is a corresponding letter of the alphabet (A leads to B leads to C or Z leads to Y to X - depending on one's direction).

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  • Stig6 March 20, 2010 at 10:11 am

    5 months to repave a trail when it would be used the most? If this was a highway, they'd have this done over a couple of nights.

    I hope they make the trail strong enough to withstand all those maintenance trucks that maraud the path from time to time.

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  • suburban March 21, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Homeless campers think your heated buildings and concept of private property are "a little scary".
    Stoned people everywhere just want to block out stimulus/feelings/people , don't take it personally.

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  • spare_wheel March 22, 2010 at 8:19 am

    "and to even attempt jumping someone on a nice bike"

    beth h, until you cite a single example of a transient assaulting "someone on a nice bike" on the springwater trail i will consider your post to be just another example of bigotry towards the homeless.

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  • rwl1776 March 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I wonder what asphalt is made from, and just how do they lay it down? I bet fossil fuels are used quite extensivley in the process. And then there is the runoff, which no doubt will contain remnants of the fossil fuel it is made from.

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  • Duncan March 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

    beth- defoliate? like with agent orange?

    I think that (while I have no issue with the homeless folks that camp there) this is illustrative of the gender divide on the springwater trail- most of my female friends will only use it during the day or when in a group (or both). I dont think that simply defoliating the trail is going to provide the fix. I think that until laws (like the one against public drunkeness or open containers) are enforced with the same vigor as they are enforced on streets then the issues out in outer SE will continue. What springwater needs is regular police patrols and the ability of the police to respond to calls out there (along with a willingness to do so) I know if I called and said that two drunk men were fighting on my street the police would come and take care of it. I am not so sure that would be the case on the springwater... I do know when someone was riding a motorcycle on the springwater with a helmetless child I was told by the park ranger that I would have to call 911 myself as he was "busy".

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  • beth h March 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    @ 14:
    Example cited -- Summer, 2008: My sister and I were biking on the Springwater at dusk, in the 160's, past a heavily-shaded area.
    Heading east toward Gresham. Two guys stepped out of the heavy brush and directly int our path, where they attempted to block our way. They demanded us to stop and hand over our bikes. My sister sped up and hollered back, I'm not stopping, so you'd better move. She barrelled towards one guy who quickly stepped aside. The other fellow tried to grab at me as I followed her. Once we arrived at our destination we notified the Gresham police and they said they'd look into it. However, without more concrete evidence (photos? a name? what? they didn't clarify) there was little they could do. The incident left me spooked.

    Other less-threatening incidents more recently have included having beer cans tossed at me by folks who were camping alongside the Springwater near OMSI, and another man stepping out in the path to try and slow me down. Being spooked from the previous incidents I did not slow down or stop, but politely asked him to step to one side of the path so I could pass. He stayed where he was, glared at me and waved his arms angrily as I passed him by going off the pavement.

    I try not be "bigoted" against people but I also don't apologize for being concerned about my personal safety.

    Before anyone flames me again, I don't want to hear about self-defense classes, guns or any other steps that I "should" have to take to defend myself.

    We're really talking about two things here: first, we're talking about safe access to public multi-use paths. Secondly, we're talking about the MANY conditions that contriubute to homelessness (drugs, poverty, untreated mental illness and more) and the steps we must take to reduce it.

    These issues do collide in public spaces, and they do affect our choices about where, when and how we travel. That's all I'm saying, and frankly I don't apologize for being spooked or for having those experiences shape my feelings about riding the Springwater.

    @16: I would suggest trimming and thinning heavy brush that lies close to the pathway to discourage camping so close to the path. Clearly "defoliate" is loaded with meaning for some folks and I'll be more careful about my word choice next time.

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  • wsbob March 23, 2010 at 10:14 am

    "...What springwater needs is regular police patrols and the ability of the police to respond to calls out there (along with a willingness to do so) I know if I called and said that two drunk men were fighting on my street the police would come and take care of it. I am not so sure that would be the case on the springwater... ..." Duncan #16

    This is the kind of situation that calls for trained, officially authorized volunteers to conduct low-key presence, observation and intervention. Area law enforcement budgets are never going to have the money to keep police officers out on this trail.

    I don't know what the Springwater currently has for location signs, but being a natural area route close to city streets, it needs something on that order. Some kind of simple signs with map co-ordinates or trailside markers, so that when people do have a problem, they can whip out the phone and tell authorities the exact location on the trail where a problem is occurring.

    Being able to know exactly where the caller was reporting a problem, law enforcement would have one less excuse not to respond.

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  • Duncan March 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    of course there is no money for bike patrols on the springwater... PoPo are to busy shooting unarmed black guys in the back...

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  • spare_wheel March 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    beth_h,
    it sounds like two guys attempted to mug you. not sure whether this has to anything to do with the homeless. i think the idea of citizen led patrols of springwater would be a good response to this issue. defoliation...not so much.

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  • [...] of the Springwater Corridor Trail for up to four months next summer. This closure is separate from the re-paving project that will come with intermittent closures through this summer starting next [...]

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  • Matt Fellows July 26, 2010 at 11:52 am

    If you're riding somewhat aggressively and over 10 MPH it is not likely any criminal is going to jump out in front of you on the trail. A lot of riders do ride in parallel on the right-hand side of the trail...really slowly...chatting between themselves...and that self-distraction can be attractive to the criminal element in ANY city--and yes--I do see some ladies doing this. It would be better for the safety of other riders and yourselves to have these little conversations post-ride or at a little Sellwood/Downtown coffee house/bistro. I'm not saying you don't have the RIGHT to chat on the trail, it just might not always be the best idea.

    I think once the trail repaving is complete you will see an increase in riders and that will discourage the criminals because there will be umpteen witnesses to any potential muggings.

    If I were a woman alone I still wouldn't feel comfortable riding alone after dark--sexist as that might sound--the reality is that a criminal perceives a female to be an easier target.

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