Thanks for the reply GelFreak. The route you describe is pretty much what I do on the way *out*. However, I'm looking for a better route coming back, i.e. northbound on Barbur toward the Hawthorne Bridge.
One day I will try taking SW 1st as far N as I can, but I really want to find out if there's a good way to get from Barbur to the SoWa area east of I-5.