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On a mission to build more trails, Metro assembles Blue Ribbon Committee

Posted by on May 1st, 2008 at 10:34 am

Platinum Press Conference-7.jpg

Metro Council President David Bragdon — seen
here at the Platinum press conference on Tuesday —
has big plans for trails in our region.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Metro — an elected regional government that manages everything from parks and trails to solid waste and the Oregon Zoo — has launched a new effort to improve our regional trails network.

Last week, members of the Metro Council confirmed the selection of a Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails.

The 20-member committee includes a range of leaders — from local companies like Keen Footwear, Nau, and New Seasons Market, as well as politicians, advocates, developers, an architect, and the manager of a major hotel and conference center.

The mission of this diverse group will be to evaluate the existing trail system, determine the benefits trails bring to the region, and to propose a funding strategy to fully build out the trail system.

Tour of Tomorrow

Bragdon (in yellow) and bike planning
consultant Mia Birk riding along the Burnt
Bridge Creek trail in Vancouver Washington.

“Imagine extending the Springwater trail beyond Gresham so that you could cycle from Pioneer Courthouse Square all the way out through Deep Canyon,” wrote Metro Council President David Bragdon in an email to me this morning, “and then ride quietly into an entirely non-motorized campground in a glade of trees along the banks of the Clackamas River.”

Bragdon says he wants the trail system to “benefit all sorts of cyclists.” He says by focusing the committee’s efforts on connecting missing links and by extending the trail system even further “all sorts of cyclists will benefit, whether it’s the daily commuter who wants to cycle to Intel each day, or the seven year-old and her dad out for a first ride on the Fanno Creek Trail on a Saturday afternoon.”

The Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails meets for the first time next Monday (5/5) and will continue to meet each month through October 2008. If you’re interested in this effort, the public is welcome to attend the meetings.

    Blue Ribbon Committee for Trails
    Monday, May 5
    Metro Headquarters
    Council Chambers (600 Northeast Grand Ave. in Portland)
    4:00 – 6:00 pm

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Mmann May 1, 2008 at 10:51 am

    One of my dreams since the Springwater opened is to see a trail that used the entire existing railbed. It used to extend from Boring out across Deep Creek (crossing a trestle that\’s no longer there) to Barton and then east all the way to Estacada. How cool would it be to load up a touring bike and ride – on trails – all the way from Portland to a campground on the upper Clackamas? One step closer…

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  • Icarus Falling May 1, 2008 at 10:55 am

    All sorts of trails, as in single track also, I should hope.

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  • RS May 1, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    single track will be up to local park districts. single track bike trails don\’t have as much of a transportation function as regional trails, so it\’s harder to make the case for them.

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  • Coaster May 1, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Un-paved trails, as in Single track, are much less expensive to build and take very little maintainence to boot! Let\’s built em!

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  • Jill May 1, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    If it\’s a linear trail, whether singletrack or paved path, it IS transportation, as well as recreation.

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  • Bill May 1, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I\’m all for some more mountain bike options, but does PUMP pay people to flood bikeportland with \”More single track\” comments? They\’re on every post…

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  • Roger W. Louton May 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    RS: the Portland Parks and Recreation Trails Plan of last year focused solely on paved pathways to be used for transportation. So, my question is: if the Parks and RECREATION Department is spending all of it\’s \’trails planning\’ time/budget on Transportation Trails (lets define \’Trail\’ in another post), then what is the Transportation Department doing? Seems to me that also leaves the Parks and Recreation left with no time or money to plan/build trails for…..recreation, which is their middle name……

    Believe it or not, some people ride their bikes for FUN! Hence the smile on our face while doing so.

    \’Ride to Where You Ride\’

    Roger W. Louton, and I never post anonomously here.

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  • casey May 1, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    Very good point, Roger… if \’Parks and Recreation\’ are focusing solely on transportation trail funding, where will funds for Recreactional trails come from?

    That, Bill (post #6), is why you keep hearing from the mountain bike community on these posts. It\’s very frustrating for us to not have anywhere worth while to ride within an hour from town. Also, why shouldn\’t we have a voice on a site about cycling in Portland? We need to start realizing that mountain bikers are cyclists, too…

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  • RS May 1, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Sorry for posting anonymously. I\’ve never posted here before and I guess I\’m a little nervous, even if that sounds silly. I\’d love to start riding single track. I\’ve always been an avid hiker, but lately my knees have kept me off the trails. But when it comes to bike advocacy, I\’m entering the discussion as a commuter, and my inspiration and vision for Portland has always been the Netherlands, Germany, and a few other European countries I\’ve biked around in. I want to reduce automobile dependence, create a denser metro area with more mixed use development, and lower VMT and trip length. Right now, a big barrier to that goal is the comfort level of potential bike riders. Most people don\’t feel safe riding on streets. If we build more regional trails, will attract more people to bikes, because nearly everyone feels safe on off-street paths. Also, we can connect suburban town centers to the central city for longer trips.
    I\’m not ignoring the regional trail systems recreational component; I just haven\’t gotten to that yet. I\’m not using any methodology for quantifying trail benefits, but I\’ll loosely say that I think regional trails\’ recreational benefits are actually greater than their transportation benefits. These trails will connect all major greenspaces and natural areas in the region, such as Smith & Bybee, THPRD Nature Park, Oxbow, the Slough, the Tualatin River, the Clackamas River, Powell Butte, and of course, Forest Park. Closing the gaps between our regions natural areas will create one cohessive accessway to nature and outdoor recreation, with a single identity, rather that a patchwork of isolated parks. The kind of single track opportunities people want to ride on are better located in some of the afformentioned greenspaces than along old railroad corridors and river banks (which is where most regional trails are built). Other good locations could be Stubb Stewart State Park, Gateway Green, and Mt. Hood Nat\’l Forest, all of which will oneday be accessible directly from one of the regional trails. Roger: as far as the definition of trails, I think park planners and maintenance staff in Oregon decided long ago on the ambiguous use of the word. In this place, people use \”trail\” to mean anything from the Marquam Trail to the East Bank Esplenade. And in terms of funding, as far as I know, neither PDOT nor Parks has time or money for building or maintaining trails. Trails of any kind have simply never been the city\’s or the region\’s priority, which is exactly why David Bragdon\’s announcement is so exciting!!! We\’re all finally getting some attention, no matter what type of trail we like. We\’re all on the same team, working toward the same goal!!

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  • RS May 1, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    Oh, the other thing I\’d like to add is that transportation funds can only be used for trails with a transportation component. Recreational trail grants are a totally different pot of money. It\’s not like money is being diverted from single track projects to pay for regional trails. I\’d love it if we could find more funding for all types of trails. I\’m happy anytime people are outdoors, away from cars, and on bikes.

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  • SD May 1, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Sullivan\’s Gulch Trail from 205 to the Esplanade would be the one investment that would result in the greatest increase in ridership. Imagine pedaling from 205 to the Esplanade without having to put a foot on the ground. This should be the highest priority.

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  • KT May 2, 2008 at 9:49 am

    Making the Fanno Creek Trail longer, better connected, and easier to ride (as in, better road crossings at Hall, North Dakota, etc) would be awesome.

    Being able to ride the Springwater through Boring and out the other side would also be awesome.

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  • Lenny Anderson May 2, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Build an arterial bridge with light rail and a bike/ped promanade across the Columbia and dump the big DOT\’s $4.2 Billion CRC monster. Think of all the dough we\’d have for a real regional trail network…Nort Portland Greenway, Sullivan\’s Gulch Trail, Red Electric, Springwater to Clackamas and so on.
    If the CRC\’s proposal goes forward it will suck up every transportation dollar for the rest of our lives.
    If Metro is serious about trails, it should follow the lead of Councilor Liberty and send the CRC back to the drawing board for a low cost solution, maybe starting with HOV lanes on I-5. Paint is cheap.

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  • Allison May 5, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Maybe I\’m just silly, but I think transportation trails *are* recreational. Can\’t I have fun on the way to work or to go shopping, too?

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