(Image courtesy U of P)
Advocates for the North Willamette Greenway Trail that will someday go from the Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge to Kelly Point Park north of St. Johns, are celebrating a key land purchase they say will bring in a “new era in planning” for the trail.
“This land will give the University extraordinary opportunities that include adding new athletic fields, buildings, parking and playing spaces.”
— U of P president Rev. E. William Beauchamp
Yesterday, the University of Portland closed on a $6 million deal to purchase 35 acres of property along the Willamette River adjacent to its campus. The deal ends five years of negotiations with the land’s previous owner, Triangle Park, LLC.
In a press release about the sale that was sent out to the University Park Neighborhood Association yesterday, University president, Rev. E. William Beauchamp said, “This land will give the University extraordinary opportunities that include adding new athletic fields, buildings, parking and playing spaces.”
abandoned structure — will
undergo clean-up and a multi-year
(Photo © J. Maus)
Whether those “playing spaces” include the type of facility that Greenway Trail backers hope for, remains to be seen.
Scott Mizee, a core member of non-profit npGreenway (the trail’s main citizen support group), is very excited about the news.
“This purchase moves the trail forward because that property has been in limbo for two years now,” he told me via telephone this morning. Mizee says now the university can begin clean-up efforts and go head with a what’s expected to be a two-year master planning effort. “Part of that plan,” Mizee says, “hopefully includes the trail.”
undeveloped trail just south of
the newly acquired property.
Mt. Hood is in the background.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Mizee says U of P has expressed support for the trail in past meetings. Trail backers want the facility to be a minimum 12-foot wide, “surface transportation trail”. Mizee hopes that through the planning process, their vision for the trail matches up with U of P’s vision.
“We’re a bit concerned that they might have a lower-grade trail in mind, like a low-impact walking trail…but there will be opportunity now in the planning process to get all these issues out onto the table,” says Mizee.
Concerns aside, Mizee says this news represents a “new phase of planning” and, “a real opportunity to get something built.”
Members of npGreenway have already met with U of P officials to discuss how the planning process will move forward from here.
— For more about the Willamette River Greenway Trail, see npGreenway.org.