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State completes new section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

by on September 21st, 2016 at 9:03 am

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.(Photo: State of Oregon)

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.
(Photo: State of Oregon)

The State of Oregon is inching ever closer to re-connecting the Historic Columbia River Highway — an engineering marvel that opened 100 years ago this year but fell into disrepair when Interstate 84 was built.

On Saturday the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and Western Federal Lands will come together to dedicate the latest new piece of the state trail that will eventually connect Troutdale to The Dalles.
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ODOT’s new Columbia Gorge Express bus has already carried thousands of riders

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

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“There was a really great energy in the bus,” our contributor Kate Laudermilk wrote about her trip. “I overheard a lot of conversations between complete strangers.”
(Photo: Kiel Johnson)

Three weekends in, the new bus line that offers $5 round trips between Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls is going gangbusters.

The buses, subsidized in part by the Oregon Department of Transportation, offer 12 departures a day from Friday to Sunday and each one has a rack that carries up to three bicycles.

Conceived as a way to cut congestion on Interstate 84 and take pressure off parking space in the Gorge, the buses carried more than 4,600 rides during their four-day launch weekend, including Memorial Day. Last weekend, the buses carried 1,477 rides.

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Centennial event marks a new era for the Historic Columbia River Highway

by on June 7th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

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Bicycle riders pose in front of Multnomah Falls Lodge to mark the centennial of the Historic Columbia River Highway. From left to right: Rob Sadowsky, Jessica Horning, Arthur Tetteh, Mychal Tetteh, Patrick Loftus, Carl Larson, AJ “Jerry” Zelada, Scott Poindexter, Greg Baker, Dick Weber, Jerry Smith, Sheila Lyons, Maggie Trout, Dana Canaday, Craig Beebe, Sandra Hikari, Kristin Dahl, April Streeter, Philip Mascher, Marilyn Harlow, Julia Daser, Isabel Daser.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“While this highway was built for Model-Ts, its future is meant for cyclists, walkers, and hikers…”
— Barbara Roberts, former Oregon Governor

100 years ago today the State of Oregon dedicated the 73-mile Historic Columbia River Highway. It was a marvel of its time, the nation’s first Scenic Highway, and it was known simply as the “King of Roads.” Its 73-miles of curves and sweeping gorge views from Troutdale to The Dalles were an inspiration to engineers and explorers alike.

Then it was all but forgotten in the 1950s when Interstate 84 bullied its way through the gorge. The new interstate cut off sections of the old highway and it fell into disrepair. In 1987 the state legislature established the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and work began in earnest to restore the highway to its former glory.

When it was rededicated today at a Centennial Celebration held at Multnomah Falls, there was one major difference this time around: Instead of automobiles marking the future, they now mark the past.
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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

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(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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Portland to the Dalles: A low-stress birthday ride to remember

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 5th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

4 Horse Tail Falls
Linda Hill at Horse Tail Falls last month.
(Photos courtesy Hill)

It takes years of advocacy and patience to create an out-of-town bike route like the one gradually being extended along the Historic Columbia River Highway. But once it’s built, the benefits are too big to measure.

Linda Hill, an Oregon biking lover, decided to celebrate her 61st birthday with a four-day trek last month that took that route through the Columbia River Gorge, which was vastly improved in 2013 by opening of a section of the highway to bikes and removing the need to bike along the shoulder of Interstate 84.

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‘Reconnecting the Gorge’ films debut amid enthusiasm for Historic Hwy completion

by on July 15th, 2015 at 11:57 am

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 1/6 – From Historic Road to Trail, by Path Less Pedaled

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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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Columbia River Hwy State Trail gets major endorsement

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

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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…)

It’s official! New section of Historic Columbia River Hwy State Trail now open

by on November 14th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-57
This path is now open.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

A gorgeous new segment of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is now officially open to the public. The new paved path is 12 feet wide and 1.6 miles long. It goes from the John B Yeon State Park trailhead to the Moffett Creek Bridge. Its completion marks a significant milestone because it’s now possible to ride a bicycle between Troutdale and Cascade Locks without ever having to ride on the shoulder of Interstate 84.

We got a sneak peek at this back in August and it is a truly stunning place to ride. The new shared-use path is 12-feet wide and is ADA compatible. There’s also a new 76-foot long, 16-foot wide bridge over McCord Creek that ODOT says, “reflects the craftsmanship of the original highway design.” Other features include a new picnic and rest area with views of Beacon Rock and a link to US Forest Service Trail 400 that connects to Elowah Falls. (more…)