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Progress on North Portland Greenway in St. Johns area

Posted by on January 9th, 2014 at 4:04 pm

The newest piece of the North Portland Greenway
is this paved path through cedar trees in Pier Park.
(Photo by NPGreenway)

There’s progress being made on the North Portland Greenway, a project that will someday connect the existing Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge with a biking and walking path all the way to the Columbia River north of St. Johns.

According to photos and an email sent to us by NPGreenway Core Team co-chairperson Francie Royce, the City of Portland is currently building the new bridge and paved trail that will connect Chimney Park and Pier Park (north of downtown St. Johns). Currently, the two parks are separated by a gulch that provides right of way for a Union Pacific Railroad line that leads to nearby industrial areas.

As we reported last year, the Pier-Chimney Bridge that spans between the two parks attracted protests from tree conservation advocates. That dispute was resolved amicably and construction is on pace to be completed this year. The estimated price of the 120-foot long bridge is $1.7 million which was funded through a federal grant and $220,000 from the City of Portland.

Another bridge that will connect greenway users from Chimney Park over Columbia Blvd and into the St. Johns Prairie (formerly known as the St. Johns landfill), is also funded and slated for construction in 2016. Portland Parks initially had an at-grade crossing planned where greenway users would have had to cross Columbia Blvd via a signal or other crossing treatment. But advocates — including Metro Councilor Sam Chase — successfully lobbied for the bridge.

Check out the detail map below of Portland Parks’ Trail Segment 2 to better understand the context of the new path and bridges:

Learn more about the North Portland Greenway on the City’s official project website.

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Comments
  • Art Fuldodger January 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    Very exciting! One question – will the 2016 bridge over Columbia Blvd. also include a connection to the dead-end Port trail (NW edge of landfill)? It should, because a bridge to the old landfill alone doesn’t seem that valuable.

    This will be a superb ride loop when it’s all connected up.

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    • dmc January 9, 2014 at 5:21 pm

      There is a dyke in the NE corner of the landfill that is a gravel trail/road that connects to the paved port trail you speak of. I wonder if that is the planned route the paved trail will be

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      • MaxD January 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm

        from what I have seen, the water control structure will get upgraded for people portaging a canoe or kayak, and the bridge will be at the NW corner, directly across from where the existing port trail dead ends.

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    • adventure! January 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      Yeah, that would be nice! Currently the “stub” trail you talk of is closed because of a washout near the end. I’m guessing there’s no point to repair a “Trail To Nowhere” just yet. Though it’s a shame that they spent all that $$ to build that trail and now they’re letting it go to seed.

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  • MaxD January 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    This bridge is going to be great! It is not “on time”, however; it was supposed to open in Decemebr, 2013. There are plans for a path around the east side of the landfill, an overlook, and a new bridge over the slough (no funding, yet). I think the landfill is a really good destination, though. If they let people cruise around the gravel road at the base, there are really interesting spots along the slough and great views.

    Hopefully we can get the City to redesign the lower stretch of this trail, specifically between Tillamook and the Esplanade. The Cement Road has gotten a lot of press, but the Parks proposal for this stretch is, in my mind, even worse than their Greeley “option”. I would love to see the esplanade connect from the east side of the espalande bridge over the RR tracks UNDER the Steel Bridge (over the RR service road), up to the top of the Bluff along the former Thunderbird Hotel property, to the Broadway Bridge. At this point, I recommend closing Interstate Ave southbound to motorists between Tillamook Ave and Larrabee Ave (motorists heading southbound would use the Larrabee Viaduct to access Broadway, I-5, or get back to Interstate Ave). THis stretch of road could comfortably handle 2-way bikes and peds and there is some great opportunities for overlooks!

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  • Lenny Anderson January 9, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    The Ash Grove Cement Road is there, its built and its a beautiful ride.
    Now if the powers that be can bring the UPRR to its senses and work out a deal on security; we’ll have got the toughest section of the WGT done. River Street is public ROW with room for a 12′ bike/ped path on the upland side and needs only 1 RR crossing than can be at 90 degrees.
    Then its up the Flyover to that big wide stretch of Larrabee with 4 lanes of asphalt where two will do…could be a beautiful meadow overlooking the river before you head across the Broadway Bridge or on to the Esplanade. It will happen if everyone pulls together.

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    • Panda January 9, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      Lenny, would you skip the Thunderbird property completely? I agree with the cement road as the only option, but I also think a path along the river through the Rose Quarter is the only option. I am baffled why more people are not upset by the third rate, vision-less plan for the np greenway from Tillamook south. Why is it ok to use this stretch of riverbank for cars, trucks and buses? Let them take that glorious flyover!

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  • Scott Mizée January 10, 2014 at 5:56 am

    MaxD said: “I would love to see the esplanade connect from the east side of the espalande bridge over the RR tracks UNDER the Steel Bridge (over the RR service road), up to the top of the Bluff along the former Thunderbird Hotel property, to the Broadway Bridge.”

    I’m with you on this, MaxD. It would be expensive, but so was the whole Eastbank Esplanade and the pedestrian/bicycle facility along the lower deck of the Steel Bridge. It will reap economic returns that people aren’t even considering right now. It is a bold vision and we need to pursue it.

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  • MaxD January 10, 2014 at 10:23 am

    I just checked out the construction plans, it looks like they have designed a trail from the bridgehead in Chimney Park down the slope to Columbia Blvd. I do not think they are accommodating or planning for the bridge over Columbia Blvd! If this is true, it is shockly lack of foresight and a waste of resources.If anyone has info to the contrary, please post.

    construction plans: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/article/438861

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    • Scott Mizée January 10, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      MaxD, You are correct that the design plans for the bridge from Chimney Park to Pier Park do not mesh with a bridge over Columbia Blvd. The bridge over Columbia Blvd is a recent development due to persistent advocating from citizens. Folks pointed out that dumping people out of Chimney Park only to have to navigate a surface crossing of a busy freight corridor just doesn’t make any sense–for the “freight community”, or the “pedestrian and bicycle community”.

      Unfortunately the Chimney/Pier Park bridge was already well underway at that time. I too, am eager to see what solution will be proposed now that the bridge over Columbia Blvd has funding.

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      • MaxD January 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        Scott,
        that is very generous of you! I know that these issues were raised with Parks, but they refused to think broadly enough about this (or the NP Greenway) to create a plan with vision that could accommodate future improvements. I am afraid that Parks is not equipped to plan or design transportation-related projects.

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  • Lenny Anderson January 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    The Flyover gets you to the “Grassy Knoll” (as I call it), what could be a lovely meadow overlooking the River AND to the Broadway Bridge and maybe someday to a new dedicated bike/ped bridge across the Willamette. I am all for the WGT’s return to Interstate north of Broadway via Larrabee and then to the River side. But until the grain elevator can be relocated to a brownfield site down river, I’m not sure there is that much that can be done in the Rose Quarter area.

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