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Columbia River Gorge

New Columbia Gorge Express will carry you — and your bike — to Historic Highway destinations

by on May 20th, 2016 at 9:22 am

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

2016 is a huge year for the Columbia River Gorge. 100 years ago Oregon celebrated the opening of Route 30 — the Columbia River Highway — and this year we’ll celebrate its grand re-opening as a State Trail with miles of new biking and walking-only paths that open up exciting carfree exploration opportunities.

But even as new pieces of the State Trail are completed, our overuse of cars is killing the Gorge vibe. In an effort to reduce automobiling’s impacts to this historic natural resource we all share, the Oregon Department of Transportation has launched a new public transit line.

The Columbia Gorge Express opens next Friday. The new line will have 12 departures a day Friday through Sunday from the Gateway Transit Center with stops in Rooster Rock State Park (25 miles east of Portland) and Multnomah Falls (30 miles east of Portland). It’s just $5 for a round-trip ticket and bicycle riders are welcome aboard: Each transit vehicle has capacity for three bikes on the rack.
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Construction begins on 1.3 mile section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

by on March 7th, 2016 at 11:55 am

hwy-path-trailheadrawing
(Image: ODOT)

2016 will be a big year for the Historic Columbia River Highway. The legendary road was a scenic precursor to Interstate 84 when it opened 100 years ago, but it fell into disrepair and was largely forgotten until the past decade or so when an effort to rebuild it as a (mostly) walking and biking path took hold. Proponents of the highway hoped to have all 73 miles of the original route from Troutdale to The Dalles completed by this year in time for a big centennial celebration. While they’re about 10 miles short of their goal, the celebration will still happen and there’s more progress this month as construction begins on a new 1.3-mile section of the trail.
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Travel Oregon tourism workshops and better transit coming to the Gorge in 2016

by on January 12th, 2016 at 9:41 am

Gorge Roubaix - Sunday-13
More bikes in the Gorge is a very good thing.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re interested in helping the Columbia Gorge keep ascending into the pantheon of world-class cycling destinations, Travel Oregon wants to help you.

The extremely bike-friendly state tourism organization has selected the Columbia Gorge for its “Tourism Studio Program” in 2016. This is “a professional bi-state development program designed to bolster the region’s tourism economy while maintaining its rich environmental and cultural assets.” After the same program was implemented in Clackamas County in 2011, that region witnessed a blossoming of bike-related tourism projects and initiatives.

The Oregon Department of Transportation’s continued connection and improvement of the Historic Columbia River Highway has been combining with enthusiasm by people up and down the Gorge who see their area’s huge potential for tourism that has low environmental impact but big economic impact. We’ve been covering all of this as it has come together in recent years, and it looks like we’ll have plenty more to cover in the years to come.
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Advocate: County survey needs input from rural road users, not just residents

by on September 29th, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Family trip to Stub Stewart State Park-15-15
Riding on the County-maintained Skyline Blvd.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to one of the first in our series of occasional “Advocate” posts. These are quick, simple opportunities to get involved in making the Portland area better for biking.

Multnomah County is updating its wide-reaching long-range plans in ways that matter deeply to residents of the relatively few urban streets owned by the county government.

The result is that people who live on those streets — notably for bike users, Northwest Skyline Boulevard and Corbett in the western Colombia Gorge — have weighed in about the importance of bike transportation to the county, but most residents of the county haven’t.

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State parks office will sponsor a free beginners’ bike tour through the Gorge

by on August 12th, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Biking Break in Lee Vining Ca
Ride leader Stephen Dodson.
(Photo courtesy Dodson)

A seasonal Oregon State Parks employee is leading a free introduction to bike touring in the Colombia River Gorge this month.

The 30-mile trip on Saturday, Aug. 22, will start at 9 a.m. outside Hood River, and loops to Mayer State Park and back by 5 p.m. Here’s the description from Oregon State Parks:

You will learn what equipment is necessary, how do you plan a route and pack panniers or a trailer to be successful. We will discuss the light impact of bike touring is on the environment and other traffic, and the positive effects on small town economies. By the end of the program you’ll have resources to take away and learn more about this exciting way to see the world around you!

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Fatal collision spurs new calls to complete the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

by on August 27th, 2014 at 10:30 am

Ellen Dittebrandt.

The death this past Sunday of Ellen Dittebrandt, killed while bicycling on Interstate 84 west of Hood River, has stunned her large community of friends in the Gorge, many of whom are now focused on completing the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail in her memory.

Dittebrandt’s death also comes on the heels of a scary month in Oregon. Just last week we reported that there were four major rear-end collisions in the span of just one week.

This latest collision happened early Sunday morning. According to Oregon State Police investigators, Dittebrandt, a 52-year old volunteer firefighter (named Firefighter of the Year in 2010), artist and triathlete who lived in Mosier, was riding westbound in the shoulder of I-84. Friends say she was training for a triathlon and was riding from Rowena Crest to Crown Point and back.
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Day 3 with Treo Bike Tours: Hardman to the Columbia River

by on July 17th, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Treo Bike Ranch trip day 3 - Hardman to Columbia River-38
Mike Bernard rides in the mirage just a few miles south of the Columbia River on Highway 74.

This is the third in a series of four posts on riding in eastern Oregon with the support of Treo Bike Tours. See the other posts here.
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New I-84 bridge over Sandy River comes with new bike connections

by on July 1st, 2014 at 1:24 pm

ODOT officials and assorted dignitaries walk across the path alongside the new I-84 bridge over the Sandy River.
(Photo: ODOT)

Things are looking up for bicycle access in Troutdale along I-84 and the Sandy River.
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Skamania County’s bike-friendly transit to the Gorge expands to weekends

by on April 28th, 2014 at 10:35 am

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-71
Starting May 1, you’ll have transit access to
Cascade Locks seven days a week.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

As bike tourism booms in and around Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge areas, there’s a growing interest in transit service. With a reliable way to integrate transit into a bike trip, people can reach destinations that are further away and complete longer loops — all without the hassle and expense of using a car.

Earlier this year we reported on new bus service in Sandy that offers access to Timberline and other Mt. Hood destinations. Now a transit option on the Washington side of the river is set to expand, offering great promise for people looking to access the Gorge, Cascade Locks and more.
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Columbia River Hwy State Trail gets major endorsement

by on February 25th, 2014 at 10:43 am

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-58
A new section of the path just opened last fall.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The momentum to complete the remaining 10 miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail — a route that will ultimately provide a pleasant bicycling connection between Troutdale and Hood River without ever forcing riders onto Interstate 84 — got a major boost on Friday. In a unanimous vote, the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) approved a resolution (PDF) that puts the project atop the Department of Transportation’s priority list.

The resolution calls for ODOT to fund and construct the final segments and called it, “a project of statewide and national significance.” (more…)