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Updates on Red Electric, Waud Bluff, and Westside Trail projects

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 3rd, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Cover of new brochure to
promote Red Electric Trail.

My inbox is full of updates on major multi-use path projects happening in and around Portland, so I've decided to round them up into one post. (And yes, you'll notice I don't like to refer to them as "trail" projects, even though that word is in their official names. I just feel that the word "trail" only perpetuates the false notion many people have that these paths are for recreation and shouldn't be considered serious transportation corridors... which they are.)

New brochure aims to build momentum for Red Electric Trail

When complete, the Red Electric Trail will connect the Fanno Creek Trail in Beaverton to Portland's Southwest Waterfront district. As per usual, the planning and actual construction has been agonizingly slow (Portland City Council released a study of the trail in 2007); but lately things are on the upswing. According to project volunteer Cole Trusty with SW Trails, Portland Parks & Recreation is actively negotiating right-of-way with property owners along the route, a new bridge at the western end of the project is set to be built next summer, and other pieces are falling into place. Trusty recently shared a new brochure (PDF) he just made to "develop the community support necessary to maintain momentum" on the project (PDF). The brochure is full of great background information on the project and it comes with a quality route map. He's already passed out 1,000 copies and plans to keep on giving them out. Trusty says there's also a new video on the works and there's even a new Facebook page you can "Like" to stay updated.

Red Electric Trail map in new brochure. (PDF)

Waud Bluff Trail project now set for completion by December
Waud Bluff Trail Concept Plan
(NPGreenway)

I just received an update on this project from Portland Parks & Recreation staffer Susan Watt. Construction on the Waud Bluff Trail — which will connect N. Willamette Blvd near University of Portland with Swan Island — began just over one year ago. It was originally planned to be done this past spring; then it was promised by this fall. Now, given a more complex set of construction issues than first realized, Watt says the new estimated completion date is December 31st of this year. Below is a more detailed update:

"We have completed the lower trail section with the exception of the gravel shoulders adjacent to the trail. The bridge foundations have been built on the south side of the tracks and the contractor is currently building the foundation on the north side. We anticipate beginning work on the uphill retaining wall for the upper trail section next week. That will take about 4 weeks to complete. The retaining wall for the downhill side was completed in June. The bridge has been built and will be shipped to the site sometime in October or early November for installation. The final stage of the project will be the installation of the drainage and paving of the upper trail, plantings and street improvements in Willamette Blvd."

Here's a photo from Watt showing the brand new pavement on the lower portion!

Metro announces open houses for Westside Trail
Imagine the Westside Trail.
(Photo: Metro)

With the minor controversy around the Westside Trail in the rear-view mirror, Metro is planning to share several options for the 25 mile north-south route at a series of two open houses later this month. The goal for this corridor project is to connect the Willamette River near Forest Park to the Tualatin River in Tigard/King City. The open houses will be geared to garner public feedback on how the route connects to neighborhoods and other destinations.

Here are the details:

6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29
Stoller Middle School, Cafeteria
14141 NW Laidlaw Road, Bethany
A presentation will take place at 6:15 p.m.

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30
Deer Creek Elementary School, Library
16155 SW 131st Ave., King City
A presentation will take place at 6:45 p.m.

Metro will open an online comment form on the project website between October 24th and November 9th.

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Comments
  • Lenny Anderson October 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Trees went in this week on The Captain's Walk, a half mile long 8' sidewalk along N. Channel Avenue from the Willamette Greenway Trail to the Shipyards on Swan Island. The Walk features a state of the art 90 degree crossing of the rail spur that serves the Yard...site of the Handmade Bike show in a couple of weeks. Also crews are finishing up a one block extension of the WGT from Channel Avenue to Lagoon Avenue along N. Ballast St that more or less connects the River to the Lagoon. Work will begin shortly on the widening of the Going Street sidewalk from N. Concord to N. Greeley to 10' ; real MUP standards; this work includes an activated flashing beacon at the Basin Avenue crosswalk. Finally, the Willamettte Greenway Trail from Swan Island to the Broadway Bridge is all built with new asphalt that's as smooth as a baby's butt, just waiting for permission from UPRR for use of the beautiful Ash Grove Cement Road. Opening date TBD! The RR bulls are on patrol until that happens.

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  • Joe Adamski October 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Maybe bike swarm might want to ride the cement road, ya think?

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  • GlowBoy October 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    That's great that something is finally happening on the Red Electric Trail. This will be a huge improvement for my commute between Portland and Beaverton. Right now we don't have any complete routes between these cities that -- in my humble opinion -- are BOTH safe and expedient.

    I know it's years away, but having the RET completed between Hillsdale and Olsen Rd, in particular, would change my world. Right now I choose between being relatively quick (Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway is fast but I will NOT ride it in the winter, and I'm no longer comfortable on it in the summer with all the distracted driving I see these days) or being relatively safe (alternate routes through that part of town are circuitous and involve quite a bit of additional climbing and time).

    Much of the route I seek is already there, but there are a couple of SHORT missing links that currently require extensive detours. In fact I think it may be that there are just TWO parcels of property sitting on the Red Electric alignment whose owners haven't cooperated in the past, but maybe they just need a little more monetary persuasion.

    Anyway, the new brochure is great, and a welcome update from the last RET plan I saw, which was incredibly thorough but included quite a few alternative route variations. Nice to see things are gelling a bit. Still wondering about timelines -- last I heard, this was a project targeted to complete in the 2020s.

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth October 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

    I'm doubling up my kale intake so that I live long enough to enjoy all these great projects.

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  • Paulie October 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    Anyone know what the status is on paving the last couple of miles of the Springwater to Boring, or the Cazadero Trail from Boring to Barton?

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  • Alain October 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I too am curious about the status (web link anyone?) of paving the end of the Springwater, as well as the grand plan to extend the trail all the way to Mt Hood.

    Also, the westside trail connecting the Willamette and Tualatin Rivers looks amazing. Sorry to say, I was completely unaware of this project. It's my eastside myopia I suppose that allows me to overlook westside projects. This trail, would certainly attract me to the westside more than I find myself over in this area now.

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  • Jake October 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I love off street bike paths. I've covered many a mile on some great ones.
    so awesome for new riders to find their legs and for everyone to enjoy!
    look forward to more riding. Thanks for the updates Jonathan.

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