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Bike Advisory Committee airs concerns over Springwater Trail closure plans

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 14th, 2010 at 9:36 am

BTA New Year's Day Ride-13
Riders roll by the junction with the
Oaks Bottom Trail.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As I reported back in March, next summer, from June to the end of September, the Springwater Corridor Trail on the Willamette River will be closed for a major project at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.

As a vital link from Sellwood to downtown Portland and the preferred commute route for an estimated 2,000 daily weekday commuters and around 5,000 daily users on the weekends, the closure is not being taken lightly. Last night, staff from the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and City Nature came to the City's Bike Advisory Committee meeting to share details about the project and to present their latest thinking on detour plans.

"Take this [detour] as seriously as you would take a road."
-- Andrew Halliburton, BAC member

Sean Bistoff with BES told the committee that the goal of their Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Enhancement Project is to reestablish the tidal connection between the Willamette River and the 170 acres of wetlands at Oaks Bottom. Bistoff also explained that the wetlands are crucial habitat for many animals and that the existing culvert and railroad berm between the two bodies of water are a barrier for fish. As part of the project, BES will replace the culvert, remove the berm, and do a major revegetation of the area.

Here's a map of the project area:

The project, which BES has been planning for three years, has to be done during summer (which is unfortunately the busiest time on the trail) due to "in-water work window" regulations. Bistoff explained that they had to close the trail entirely because the project will put a 30 by 30 foot hole in the trail and an estimated 800 truckloads of material will be hauled in and out of the work area via the trail.

According to Bistoff, all those trucks are expected to severely damage the paved trail. "We're accepting the fact that we'll have to repave the path."

"Any improvements we'd make [on the detour route] would be permanent. We could fast-track some of them."
-- Roger Geller, PBOT bike coordinator

Bike Advisory Committee Chair Matt Arnold asked Bistoff (and ecologist Mark Wilson from City Nature, who co-presented with Bistoff) whether or not they'd considered using the adjacent railroad line to transport the materials. Bistoff explained that the the line is privately owned (little-known fact: Its owner is the top distributor of frozen chicken to Portland) and that using it would be a challenge. For starters, he said, the project will also impact the rail line so if it was to be used a temporary bridge would have to be built. They'd also have to enter into negotiations about costs and access with the owner of the line, who some around the table said can be difficult to work with.

The main reason Bistoff cited for not using the rail line was that it's not as easy (or efficient) as it seems. "We have a 120-day work window and putting all this stuff on a rail line means you're handling everything two more times [loading it onto a truck, then onto a railcar, then back onto a truck]." He also said they'd have to rent a different type of railcar than are currently available on the existing line.

With a full closure of the trail imminent, the discussion turned to detours. Currently there are two detour options being hashed out and both present significant concerns and challenges. One option takes people completely around the closed trail via surface streets (I'll update this post with a PDF of the route ASAP) and the other uses the northern portion of the trail that will remain open during the project (from the Oaks Bottom Trail juncture north to the beginning of the trail near SE Fourth Ave and Division) for half the detour before it meets up with the surface street route.

The on-street detour has some difficult crossings and other safety issues, while increased bike traffic on the Oaks Bottom Trail and adjacent park is a concern due to potential collisions between trail users on the steep hill below the parking lot.

Bistoff and Wilson worked with City Bike Coordinator Roger Geller extensively on the surface street detour, but it's still far from ideal. One major concern voiced by the committee is that the detour directs bike traffic onto the SE 9th Avenue overcrossing of SE Powell (which is a state highway). The biking and walking bridge is considered "sub-standard" by the City due to its narrow width. Improvements to the bridge and/or a safer way to cross Powell seem unlikely by the time this detour is needed.

With a year until the project begins, Geller and BES staff are considering bikeway improvements on other portions of the detour where bike projects are already planned. "Any improvements we'd make," Geller said, "Would be permanent. We could fast-track some of them."

Another major point of feedback voiced by several Bike Advisory Committee members was the need for high-quality detour maps and wayfinding signs. Committee member Andrew Halliburton told Bistoff and Wilson to, "Take this as seriously as you would take a road."

There was also a strong chorus of feedback that -- since they plan to repave the Springwater Trail after the project is completed -- BES should seriously consider the opportunity to widen the trail. There are plans to create turn-outs for birdwatching and BES will consider adding bike parking to them, but it didn't seem as though they are seriously considering any larger-scale widening at this time.

Committee Vice-Chair Robert Pickett said they plan to write a letter to BES voicing their concerns and will invite the project manager back to a future committee meeting to further discuss the detour route and other issues.

The committee made it clear that they support the goals of this project and understand why it's necessary, but since this is such a major biking artery, they are working to limit the closure's impact on bike traffic as much as possible. Mark Wilson aknowledged the inevitable gripes that lie ahead saying, "We know this will frustrate and tax many people... But we ask for your patience and support."

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Comments
  • Bob_M July 14, 2010 at 9:55 am

    Wildlife habitat in the city is one of the things that make Portland special. I have seen deer, eagles and many other species of birds from common to rare. Speaking only for myself, I am happy to accept the temporary detours to improve the wildlife habitat

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  • naomi July 14, 2010 at 10:08 am

    Bob_M: I agree!

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  • another trail user July 14, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I think taking the opportunity to widen this trail when it gets repaved is the smart and prudent thing to do. Lets hope that is what happens.

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  • cyclist July 14, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Which portions of the trail need widening? I ride this trail every workday, in "rush hour traffic" (north in the morning, south at night) and while it's more crowded in the summer, it's never so crowded that I feel the need to increase the size of the trail. One of the things I like about the trail is that the proximity of Oaks Bottom and the river makes it feel more like you're riding through a nature preserve than riding in an urban environment. I feel that widening the trail (and thus adding additional blacktop to the environment) would take away from that.

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  • West Cougar July 14, 2010 at 10:45 am

    Are they still accepting comments? Have they considered using barges to load and off load on the river?

    Seems to me that would allow use of larger, off-highway dump trucks which would result in both fewer trips and shorter trips. The fuel and labor savings (fewer truck drivers) would help offset the cost of any temporary piers that might have to be placed. Not sure it would necessarily be cheaper overall, but it would save a lot of diesel.

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  • Marcus Griffith July 14, 2010 at 11:08 am

    While I am looking forward to the end state, the construction impacts will be a pain. I hope the bike route concerns can be mitigated.

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  • are July 14, 2010 at 11:23 am

    my understanding was there was one particular pinch point just north of the wildlife refuge that someone suggested widening, not so much the trail generally.

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  • Dave July 14, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I wondered about the barge idea too. They're close to Ross Island already, which has infrastructure for just that kind of operation. You could barge dirt to their dock, or possibly even use it as fill in the lagoon.

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  • david....no! the other one July 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    If the city is willing to make detour improvments now would be a good time to make a giant leap in crossing powell, or Maclaughlin blvd.

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  • PoPo July 14, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Good article.

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  • BURR July 14, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    They could easily do this by barge and bore the new culvert horizontally under the trail rather than excavating from the surface.

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  • Duncan July 14, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    That this is an issue highlights the need for more good ways to bike around portland. That some new bike improvements may come out of this is great, however That is probably my favorite bike ride in Portland, so losing it for a summer will suck.

    Over all though- the improvement in habitat cannot be over looked or understated.

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  • are July 14, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    re comment 9, although "improve overcrossing" at powell is shown on the map to which jonathan has provided a link as a "potential bikeway improvement," last night roger geller said there is actually no money committed or necessarily available to actually do anything here. katja dillmann from the mayor's office commented that she bikes through here all the time and simply takes the light at milwaukie (as do i on the occasions when i find myself down thataway). roger suggested that this is not a viable alternative for a lot of people, but basically the question what to do was left open . . .

    very well written story, jonathan, thanks.

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  • q`Tzal July 14, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Is this project intended to permanently fix this problem or is going to be a recurring issue where BES has to shut down the trail every few years and dig out the silt and debris that WILL clog this culvert?

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  • bikieboy July 14, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Improving the access to the connecting trail down the bluff off of Milwaukie Ave. is a pretty nice plus, and it's permanent. Right now, that path is pretty difficult to get to by bike.

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  • She July 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Comment #14

    My understand was that this is probably a one time needed fix, evidently there was stuff dumped there, the clog did not happen "naturally".

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  • hanmade July 14, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    This probably isn't possible, but it would be great if they could work at night and then leave the trail open during the day, like to do for roadwork on other major byways.

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  • freeman July 14, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    What would they do if there were no trail access there at all? Like it had never been paved...was there tracks there or an 'ad-hoc' trail before? I haven't lived here that long i guess...

    Can't they build themselves a road for this project? That's what they'd be forced to do if there were no trail. Seems the convienance of cycling/pedestrian infrastructure is paying off for 'road crews' everywhere...from bike lanes being used for heavy equipment on 7th in the Loyd area, to the corridor being used in the same manner for their ease, this is getting aggravating...

    Would McGloughlan be closed for weeks leaving drivers a proportionally distant detour (miles for bikes being dozens of miles for cars) for an environmental "fix"?

    Drivers would have a fit!! Just leave the trail alone...do we have to lay down in front of bulldozers; Arthur Dent style; to get a little respect?

    That Milwaukee @ Powell crossing is deadly on a good biking day...not to mention hot days coming and angry drivers to boot - the recipe can be disastrous. Remember, most drivers won't know why there are suddenly hundreds more bikers on that stretch on any given day...no posted notice of the trail closure will make the local news, and for that reason a lot of 'fair-weather' bikers may be turned off not knowing whats up with their weekend fun trail and give up biking altogether....

    thats why this is so frustrating on so many levels...

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  • KWW July 14, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Let's not paint the RR as being hard to deal with. It is more complicated than that. The RR wanted to install a museum opposite the amusement park on land they already own. The city won't agree to it, and haven't budged in years, so don't expect the RR to forget that.

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  • CC July 14, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I'm not crossing Powell unless I go over that pedestrian bridge. Powell is just too dangerous and I consider myself a strong rider. If they close that ped bridge to cyclists then it looks like I'm back in the car next summer.

    This is going to turn off ALOT of riders.

    Push it to 2012 and make improvements on Powell!

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  • KWW July 14, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Correction to my comment above, the land is city owned, not RR. Regardless, the land is not part of the wetlands project, compare the maps:
    http://www.oregonpacificrr.com/images/OPRmuseumair.GIF

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  • elaine July 14, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I'm curious what the deal is with the Powell overpass at 17th. I seem to recall you can cross Powell going north via 17th, but not going south. I'm looking at Google maps right now, and that area just north of powell looks kinda industrial... but I wonder if some bike route could be made through this area?

    I haven't ridden SE 17th for a while, but I seem to recall some of it has bike lanes (or maybe it's just a bike route?), and not really too much auto traffic. Seems like it might be a good place for a good, dedicated, north-south bike route through SE, especially since it already crosses Powell.

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  • q`Tzal July 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    #16:
    ...evidently there was stuff dumped there...

    Where does it say this?

    From project website:
    * Excavating tidal slough channels and enhancing wetland habitats at the southern end of the refuge to provide off-channel refuge for ESA-listed salmon
    * Removing invasive vegetation, such as purple loosestrife, and revegetating with native species to improve wildlife habitat

    Now I fancy myself as educated on all manners of science so when I see the word "tidal" I know that with the rising and falling water levels will come silt and sediment deposits that will clog the culvert. It will require cleaning on a continual basis to remain open.
    Same with the invasive vegetation. It might be cheapest, and environmentally responsible, to genetically engineer an amphibious goat and tether it to the culvert area.

    Where in fact are project comprehensive details online?

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  • Red Five July 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    I'm planning a nude ride of the path in protest. Who is with me?!

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  • Blah Blah Blah July 14, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    How about reopening the trail along the hillside to bikes?

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  • Pat Franz July 14, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Could a platform be build on the railroad to let it become the detour? It is right there after all, and while the tracks are narrow, they'd certainly support a wider platform...

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  • CaptainKarma July 15, 2010 at 12:04 am

    So....in order to pave the path, they have to destroy the path.... hmm. Just thinking. Maybe they should pave it world-class right away so the the trucks or whatever won't do damage in the first place, and then the Springwater will be permanently endowed (love that word) with a heavy duty section. It really does sound like they'll be going back in again at some point to do more un-forseen work in that area. And when gas hits $10 (it will), we really want Quality Bike Infrastructure. So the detour and all may suck, but to get a permanent upgrade might be a good thing, eh?
    As for getting across Powell, why not hire a few of the legion of unemployed sign holders, or a springwater bum or two, to be crossing guards like in other, more civilized countries?

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  • GlowBoy July 15, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I very much recognize the need for this (and maybe tidal inflows will reduce the rampant mosquito breeding that happens at Oaks Bottom in extremely wet years like this one?) but it still stinks. Sure wish we could find an alternative.

    In the summertime I take my young child down the Springwater on almost weekly, just for fun or to go to Oaks Park or ride the steam trains when they run twice a year, so we'll be very heavily impacted.

    The published detour route is NOT very safe with a child in a trailer (at least without MAJOR improvements at critical intersections), and I actually have my own on-street route that I believe is safer (and considerably shorter). At a minimum there needs to be a bike-activated signal at Bybee, where getting across can be a nightmare, and 17th north of McLoughlin either needs a bike lane, or relocation of a couple of poorly placed signposts so the sidewalk is wide enough to ride on with a cargo bike or trailer. The SE Mitchell/Milwaukie intersection (at the top of the connector trail) is also EXTREMELY dangerous and needs a total redesign (major curb extensions to shorten crossing distances, and decreased turn radius for northbound traffic heading onto Mitchell are needed) but I imagine this is beyond the scope of what they can get done by next summer.

    Up at Powell (a major impediment to my daily commute), the 9th street overcrossing does indeed suck. Not only is it steep, twisty and narrow (expect lots of collisions next summer), there are also serious security problems including creepy people camping in the bushes on the south end. I will NOT ride this bridge at night.

    Crossing at 12th is less of a hassle but more dangerous. Southbound, if there's someone behind you in the right lane you're better off crossing up onto the sidewalk (unless there's a line for an Aladdin show). Northbound that isn't an option, so you just have to take the lane and put the down until the lane widens about 100 yards out. So far I haven't been honked at for doing this but I know it will happen eventually.

    My usual northbound route across Powell (when my child isn't with me) is to ride in the "bike lane" (aka shoulder) along McLoughlin, then take the right (turn-only) lane of McLoughlin going under the end of the Ross Island bridge. Fortunately not too hard since it's a slight downhill grade. Southbound is trickier - I get onto the sidewalk under the bridge, and then where it ends (yes, it DEAD ENDS - WTF, ODOT?!) I hop onto the northbound ramp to Powell and take a right up 7th Ave into the neighborhood. Nasty, but no worse than crossing at 9th or 12th, and more efficient for my route.

    Let's not forget that besides being a major commute route, the Springwater is one of the most popular recreational trails in Portland. A lot of weekend riders won't know about about this until they try to go ride it next summer, and are going to be in for one hell of a disappointment.

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  • Seth Alford July 15, 2010 at 6:51 am

    BES also has their fingerprints on a trail closure on the west side. They are, or they are about to, close the Fanno Creek trail so that they can re-lay sewer pipe. Yes "re-lay" since the sewer pipe they contracted to put in a few years ago leaks. I understand that they tore up the Fanno Creek trail for the original work.

    Here's what the Washington County July, 2010, Citizens Participation Organization #3 newsletter says about this (skip past the nonsense about the bow-wow bash, Metro congratulating itself for writing a report on urban reserves, and on page 7 you'll find the following:)

    "Fanno Pump Station Expansion: A hearing was held on May 3 in front of Washington County land use hearings officer
    on the application by City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services to expand the Fanno Pump Station. The City of
    Portland presented information, the Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation presented a staff
    report and community members provided testimony. The record was held open until May 10 for additional new
    information and until May 20th for the final argument from the City of Portland. The Hearings Officer issued a final
    decision on June 14th to deny the requested Special Use and Development Review for the Fanno Pump Station expansion
    and associated Flood Plain alterations. The hearings officer’s decision may be appealed to the State Land Use Board of
    Appeals (LUBA). The city of Portland filed a Notice of Intent to Appeal to LUBA on July 2, 2010. Links to the Hearings
    Officer’s Final Order and other related documents and updates are posted at
    http://extension.oregonstate.edu/washington/cpo-3-hot-topics. To receive updates from City of Portland see the contact
    information at the end of the article.

    Fanno Pressure Sewer Improvments: Garden Home Segment Update: Construction began on June 22, 2010 on the
    Fanno Trail near SW 86th Avenue. The City of Portland’s contractor is clearing vegetation and installing erosion control
    fencing near the trail until mid-July 2010. The contractor is currently working near SW 78th Avenue. Portions of the trail
    will close where the vegetation removal is going on, but will re-open as the contractor finishes clearing one segment and
    moves to the next.
    The contractor will begin installing the new sewer pipe on the trail around the end of July 2010 and will be working on the
    trail until mid-September 2010. Pipe work will begin at the Fanno Pump Station and will move east along the trail to SW
    77th Avenue where the sewer pipe alignment turns south (see map below). [That map is available in the on-line copy, follow the link above. --Seth]

    The entire project will last until mid-November 2010.

    While the contractor works on the trail, pedestrians and cyclists are encouraged to use an alternate route or a detour that
    uses the paved path next to SW Garden Home Road. The contractor will keep the path clear of vegetation and debris
    while construction is underway on the Fanno trail. Please be aware of pedestrians crossing at SW Garden Home Road
    intersections.

    For more information about this project call the construction hotline at 503-823-1312, or contact Stephen Sykes at 503-
    823-7898 or stephen.sykes@portlandoregon.gov."

    Similar to the Springwater, the alternative to the Fanno trail is much less desirable. The Garden Home Road path is (I believe) a relic from the 70s. It's my reference example of why grade separated bicycle paths are a bad idea. It's narrow. It's on one side of the street. And there's a stop sign on the path for every street that enters onto Garden Home Road. That is, the cars on Garden Home Road get top priority, the cars entering Garden Home Road get next priority, and the bicyclists get last priority.

    As has been pointed out above, government bureaucracies, particularly Portland's BES, seem to view these grade separated paths as convenient access points or right of way for whatever project they have in mind. This is yet another reason why I don't like grade separated bicycle infrastructure.

    Were I in charge, BES would put in a proper bicycle lane on Garden Home Road before they again tore up the Fanno trail. Similarly, for the Springwater trail, since the project has been in the planning stages for 3 years, it can remain in the planning stages for a few more years until equivalent alternate bicycle infrastructure is in place.

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  • Stig July 15, 2010 at 8:56 am

    800 truckloads of material
    Trail will be destroyed and repaved (more trucks and construction material)
    Active transportation and recreation disrupted for months and compromises in safety

    Considering its negative impacts, how many hundreds of years will it take for this greater good environmental effort to break even?

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  • Noah Genda July 15, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Take 17th, I do everyday. There is an underpass that takes you under the railroad and over Powell, be careful under there for other bikes and sleeping peoples. Traffic is low, there is no bike lane, but its completely flat (downhill even going North) and I have been doing it for two years and have only had one (major) incident.

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  • bArbaroo July 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Having worked on some river and ESA issues for the City I definitelly understand the need to make these improvements. What I find atorcious is how at the same time City resources are being dedicated to critical Oaks Bottom habitat (which I believe is absolutely justified) the City is making deals that will lead to the distruction (i.e paving) of critical habitat on West Hayden Island. I don't get that. Well actually I know why it's happening but am outraged that it is happening. So for me, rather than being angry that the convenience of the Springwater trail is disrupted I'm pissed off that the City is not taking the same habitat preservation/restoration stand in protecting equally critical habitat on West Hayden Island.

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  • bArbaroo July 15, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I know it's quite a sidebar but if you do want info about what's happening with West Hayden Island visit: http://audubonportland.org/issues/hayden

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  • matt picio July 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

    hanmade (#17) - a 20'-30' hole in the trail will take multiple days to correct. No matter what, at some point a detour will have to happen.

    freeman (#18) - Agreed. This is analagous to driving 100-ton coal trucks on McLoughlin and busting up all the pavement.

    KWW (#19) Dick Samuels and the Oregon Pacific RR have a number of sticking points with the city regarding the trail. Samuels wanted to buy the rest of the alignment along what is now the Springwater Trail in 1991, and the city undercut him and basically exercised eminant domain.

    The RR museum was never going to happen in the location opposite Oaks Bottom Amusement Park - that land is landfill from freeway construction, and the potential environmental impact of disturbing the site is pretty big. The RR and the Pacific Railroad Preservation Association (PRPA) have found an alternate site on land Samuels owns, and the parties appear happy with the proposed new location, which is roughly where Samuels used to run "Samtrack" next to OMSI.

    Elaine (#22) - SE 17th has no bike lanes to speak of. The section north of 99E has on-street parking which causes pinch points with the Tri-Met buses that use the street. The section south of 99E has micro-bike lanes at each pedestrian island. South of 99E is pretty low-traffic, and it's actually my preferred route south - I don't take the Springwater on the river in summer most times due to all the bugs.

    Other than all the traffic near Tri-Met HG and PGE's repair facility, it's really quite nice, and it goes past Showers Pass' offices.

    Pat Franz (#26) - Unfortunately, it's an active railroad. It only sees 3 or 4 trains a week, but OPRR is a small line, and any affected train affects their bottom line.

    Noah (#31) - I enjoy the Powell/17th underpass, but that area will be too sketchy for many users to want to use, especially at night. The city needs to come up with a solution that takes those users into account and provides them with an acceptable alternative.

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  • Rob July 15, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Seth (#29):

    The trail runs adjacent to the Fanno Creek pump station. When the contractor laid the original pipe a few years ago, they didn't follow the appropriate spec for the job, so the pipe subsequently leaks and causes issues along the line all the way along SW Multnomah Blvd. into southwest Portland. So now they need to rip up Multnomah (which they are currently in-progress on), and eventually the trail (sometime this fall/winter) to replace a pipe that should have lasted for 25 years. I'm okay with that, since it'll protect Fanno Creek from sewer runoff during heavy rain.

    But BES can't really think about making Garden Home wider to stripe a bike lane, because there isn't enough room or resources. They would need to remove culverts on both sides of the road, get it signed-off from the neighborhood association, and work with the property owners. All for a temporary workaround that will become essentially irrelevant once the Fanno Creek Trail extension reopens after construction. Not really productive.

    The city has been very proactive in sending representatives to the local neighborhood association meetings and answering questions regarding detours and road/trail closures related to the project. It's not something they're trying to keep a big secret from my experience.

    During the construction, I'd have no problem taking the lane on Garden Home, or riding Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway/Scholls Ferry instead.

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  • KWW July 15, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Thanks for the update Matt!

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  • jim July 15, 2010 at 11:22 am

    how about gutting out one of those chicken haauling RR cars and putting in bike racks?

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  • freeman July 15, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    q`Tzal

    ---an amphibious goat---- and tether it to the culvert area...

    L-O-F'ING-LOUD!!!

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  • eric July 15, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    17th is a great alternative for the cost of a few sharrows. It does get sketchy around powell, but i'm sure the city can come up with something. ;)

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  • Duncan July 15, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    My alternate route is 17th to 21st to cross powell... there is a light there and everything (and your only a few blocks from HUB)

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  • Duncan July 15, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    and Burr- (11) There is nothing "simple" about getting a barge involved in anything. and tunneling under the existing roadway (substandard chip seal on soft footing) is dubious at best. Using a barge would require a special permit... from ORDEQ, ORFW, USACE... at least. The big issue with in water construction work is increased turbidity.

    Losing the springwater for the summer sucks balls, but there are ways around it, it is a plus the environment. If they were cutting us off to build condos, that would be another story.

    As to sediment building up in the culvert, that would be unlikely as water will run faster through restrictions (think about it, the tide runs out, the water backs up against the levee and seeks to get out through the culvert, the force of the backed up water will flush sediment build up in the culvert. Seriously, the water will only be stagnant there for short periods of time (high and low slack) if even then- as tides moving through restrictions often delay the end of the tide. . .

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  • A.K. July 15, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    I'm surprised to hear that the line along the Springwater is still active. For all my riding down there, I've NEVER seen a train go by. Very interesting.

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  • Velophile in Exile July 16, 2010 at 9:00 am

    Ironically, the people who complain about not getting highways widened and new bridges and highways built to move their freight faster are the same people who have access to move freight on the rail lines -- where there is no "competition" from other users.

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  • GlowBoy July 16, 2010 at 11:21 am

    I thought the Fanno Creek trail was already closed for this project. I tried to ride it a couple weeks ago and got detoured.

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  • KWW July 16, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    So I looked up the tidal fluctuations here:
    http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/get_predictions.cgi?year=2010&stn=1038%20Astoria&secstn=Portland,%20Willamette%20River,%20Oreg.&thh=+5&thm=5&tlh=+7&tlm=37&hh=*0.00&hl=*0.00&size=small
    and it seems to me that there will be essentially no tidal flux to stimulate flow through the wildlife refuge.

    Will there be active flow controls?

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  • matt picio July 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    A.K. (#42) - OPRR tends to run about 6:30am or so, 1-3x a week. Down at Ochoco street on the Milawukie/Portland border, you'll see more activity, where OPRR switches the industries they serve. I'm not surprised you haven't seen activity on the line, since it's not very common. 1-2 weekends a year in December and a few select other times the line plays host to the SP4449 and/or the SP&S700 steam locomotives that are owned by the city and maintained by volunteers. Samuels allows them to run on his line without the onerous insurance requirements that UP and BNSF require.

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  • Richard July 16, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I commute on the Springwater Corridor every weekday, but I live in Westmoreland and already use the Oaks Bottom trail to connect to the Springwater Corridor. I don't find it that bad, EXCEPT for getting into the parking lot at the top of the Oaks Bottom trail. Cars and trucks tend to go rather fast through that wide section of road.

    And matters have been made substantially worse during the morning commute by the addition of the "TrackersNW" summer camp in the building on the east side of S.E. McLaughlin. There are lots of parents dropping off their youngsters for day camp (generally 8:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.), and they are using the Oaks Bottom parking lot as their parking lot for dropping off kids. Assuming they are still there next summer, that will be a bad combination: fast traffic, lots of bike commuters, and large numbers of parents dropping off young kids. I hope the City is aware of the TrackersNW day camps, and taking that into consideration.

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  • Duncan July 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    KWW there is indeed tidal flow. Remember that these are estimates, as the flow of the river cannot be determined more than a few days in advance:

    Lets take today

    07/16/2010 Fri
    07:02AM LDT 0.8 L
    10:19AM LDT 7.9 H
    07:14PM LDT -0.6 L
    11:09PM LDT 8.6 H

    There are actually pretty big tides this week (minus tides are unusual). So between 7 and 10 am they predict a seven foot tide change. That equates to a wall of water big enough to fill a doorway. Assuming they use a standard 60" culvert it will be shooting through there.

    a better (visual) ref, can be found here:
    http://www.protides.com/oregon/2181/

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  • Duncan July 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    oops. I am going to correct myself here. after writing my last comment i felt like it wasnt right. Currently I am working in Skamokawa WA and tides like that are the norm here. So I did a little poking around and found this http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/river/station/flowplot/flowplot.cgi?PRTO3 at this website: http://www.nwrfc.noaa.gov/ whicj is hella cool. while it shows MUCH lower tides, it does show a clear tidal pattern along with the rise and fall of the river.

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  • zuckerdog July 17, 2010 at 8:19 am

    The Willamette River is tidally influenced up to Oregon City. The tidal fluctuations are more pronounced during low flows. The USGS gauge on the Morrison Bridge is the best place to see the tidal effects for this project.

    http://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=14211720

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