You may have heard that Metro is putting forth a bond measure in the November election that would allow them to use $227.4 million dollars to help protect natural areas in and around Portland. I asked avid cyclist, BTA co-founder, and current Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder what this bond measure would mean for cyclists.
He said, “the bond measure, if approved, would provide funding for important trail improvements and bicycle and pedestrian connections throughout the region.” There are four main targeted trail projects that would be included:
Completing the Sellwood Gap, the one-mile corridor between the south end of the existing Springwater on the Willamette Trail and the Three Bridges project starting at SE 19th Avenue in Portland. Once completed, this will provide a continuous bicycling and pedestrian trail from downtown Portland to Boring.
This forested 4-mile corridor located between Boring and Barton Park runs along the north fork of Deep Creek and follows an historic rail line used to ship timber from Cascade forests to the Portland riverfront. Enhancement of the corridor for trail use will connect campgrounds, future inter-urban trails, and Portland (via the Springwater Corridor) to Mt. Hood and the Pacific Crest Trail.
This multi-use trail is a major north-south connection through the Gresham area. It connects the Springwater Corridor at Linneman Junction and crosses the eastside MAX light-rail line at Ruby Junction. Continuing north to Blue Lake Regional Park, the trail ends at the Columbia River and connects to the existing Lewis and Clark Discovery Greenway Trail (part of the 40-Mile Loop) along Marine Drive. Acquisition of the remaining corridor is needed to complete the trail and secure an important eastern spine of the regional trail system.
This 24-mile north/south alignment stretches from the Tualatin River in Tigard north through Beaverton, unincorporated Washington County and Multnomah Counties through Forest Park to the Willamette River. The corridor, located within one mile of over 120,000 residents, and near numerous parks, schools, regional centers and the MAX line, could become a primary westside recreation and commuter spine.
More info at: www.metro-region.org/bondmeasure.
I am highly stoked about the possibility of developing the Cazadero trail. There is all kinds of awesome riding around the Clackamas, and only like 4 routes to get to it. And all of them suck. The Caz would fix that. Seriously, I bet that the riding the Clackamas could easily become a lot like riding the HCRH is for people now. Rock the Caz, bra!
I urge bicyclists to support this and say “access to greenspaces (via trails) is what people want.”
The proposed bond would have 3 programs: 1) the regional program would purchase lands, I heard that $20 million may be enough to complete the acquisition of all of the identified regional greenways (trails.) 2) Local communities would receive money, many of them are focusing on trails. 3) A grant program where trails and urban renaturing are eligible. The BTA is interested in integrating renaturing and bike projects. More on this another time.
I thought the city already had funding to complete the Sellwood Gap in Springwater Corridor. I’ve seen bridge plans. I’ve seen schedules. Was it all just wishful thinking until now?
What about the Trolley Trail? Clackamas County doesn’t have the budget for bicycle improvements that the City of Portland does, and could benefit much more from regional funds. Those of us who live in Oak Grove, GLadstone, Jennings Lodge and Oregon City have no easy way to get from Portland to our respective communities. Our options are the steep hills on Oatfield and River Rd, a dangerous shoulder ride along McLoughlin (until the bike lane begins at Park Ave) or a muddy ride along the old trolley right-of-way next to McLoughlin. The Trolley Trail is a proposed multiuse path that appears to be stalled at the moment.
The path parallels McLoughlin until it crosses Park Ave, then runs south-southwest into the heart of Oak Grove midway between McLoughlin and River Rd. It follows the right-of-way of the former Portland Traction Company from Milwaukie to Gladstone, formerly a branch off the Springwater Corridor that ran to the paper mill in Oregon City. It is the gentlest slope through that area and a necessary path for those individuals who have difficulty with hills. (We can’t *all* train like we’re going to ride in the Tour de France)
The Cazadero Trail is an awesome project. So is Gresham-Fairview. Let’s not forget the west and south sides, however – we need some trail improvements.
Two other areas really needing improvement are the Willamette west bank and the Sellwood Bridge (I know, the Sellwood has been discussed frequently here)
Matt – If the bond measure passes, $15 million would be in the form of grants that non-profits and community organizations could apply for – Trolley Trail could be a great candidate!
Well, after looking through Metro’s website again, I’m more confused. Most of the land for the Trolley Trail was purchased in 2001 after the last big bond measure. So I have to wonder where the holdup is.
Anyone out there familiar with it?
In addition to the trail projects listed above, Regional Bond Measure funds could go to:
The Columbia Slough & Trail: Acquisition along the slough will improve water quality in its critical reaches, provide trail connections to existing recreation and wildlife corridors and
help complete an important section of the 40-Mile Loop Trail.
Willamette River Greenway. Acquisition and connections between existing public holdings along the greenway from Wilsonville to the Multnomah Channel would protect fish and wildlife habitat, water quality, scenic resources and improve public access to the river. Coupled with Portland’s local share this could include help complete trail connections from Waud’s bluff at the University of Portland north through the McCormick Baxter site, Willamette Cove, and on to Cathedral Park.
Fanno Creek Linkages. Additions to this existing west side greenway would extend the corridor from the Tualatin River into a highly urbanized, ‘walker challenged’ area of the city, and further protect water quality in one of our critical regional rivers.
And then there is the $44 million in local share projects. Many of the projects submitted by local governments are bike-trail-related.
For example, both Gresham and Fairview have
proposed spending some of their local share to complete the Gresham-Fairview Trail.
Some others: Hillsboro has proposed funding the Rock Creek Corridor Trail, Happy Valley the Mt. Scott Creek Trail, Lake Oswego the Willamette shore bike and pedestrian pathway, or Durham the trail extension to the Fanno Creek Trail.
The Trolley Trail is a great project! The design and engineering for the future trail is currently underway. Public meetings are likely to be in the fall.
Metro awarded the Park District federal grant funding to complete the design and engineering of the whole trail, and about half the construction (~3 miles). We are seeking additional funding to complete the rest. The District just recently submitted a grant to Metro for the remaining 3 miles. Please send letters, e-mails, etc to the Metro Council urging them to support completion of this project.
Contact the North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District for more info, 503-794-8004.