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Tigard City Council votes in support of new rail-trail

Posted by on June 11th, 2009 at 2:53 pm

“Paving that section of abandoned rail would go a long way to making it easier for residents of that part of Tigard to get into downtown.”
— KT, from a comment on our story last week

On Tuesday, the Tigard City Council approved a resolution that would allow them to assume responsibility for an abandoned railroad line and they will now chalk up plans to convert it into a non-motorized trail.

News of the vote comes from Tigard city planner Duane Roberts. Roberts said they’ll still have to wait for Pacific Western Railroad to submit an official request to abandon the line to federal authorities, but that is expected to happen soon.

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We wrote about this opportunity last week and Roberts said the story generated ten support letters; letters which will now be attached to Tigard’s official rail use permit to “demonstrate community support,” Roberts said. Nice work BikePortland readers!

Once complete, the new trail will stretch nearly one-mile. It will follow Tigard Street and will run from Tiedeman to Main Streets (see map here).

One commenter to our story last week who wrote a letter of suport said that, “Paving that section of abandoned rail would go a long way to making it easier for residents of that part of Tigard to get into downtown… and since the City has large expensive plans to revitalise their downtown core, anything that gets people to shop and eat down there is a good thing!”

The official resolution echoes that comment. It states that the trail will have many benefits including:

“…providing children and seniors a safe, off-street alternative to the adjacent Tigard Street, which includes no sidewalks along eighty percent of its length and also includes a narrow, substandard bike lane on one side of the street only.”

Yellow has marks denote location of potential rail trail. (Google Map link)

Learn more about this project in the comments left on our story last week.

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

  • Nicky V June 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I always see rails-to-trails projects as both good and bad. Yeah, it’s great for us cyclists but boy howdy I wish this whole country used trains more often, especially on the coasts. I spent 6 months in Europe where commuting by train is pretty much the norm, is far more enjoyable and cheaper than driving or flying, and is probably greener. An “abandoned” line leads me to believe that train travel here is that much less of a possibility.

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  • Joe June 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Nicky V I’m with you 🙂

    This country is car based.. sad if you ask me.

    love to see rails-to-trails projects!


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  • anna June 11, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    well if we expand our train systems perhaps we could do away with megalo highway systems instead of continuing to tolerate them on such a massive scale. Highway maintenance is highway robbery. lol.

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  • anna June 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    >wistfully recalling the bullet train ride<

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  • Joe June 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    yes it is anna, I think most are stuck
    with the windows rolled up.. lol

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  • Matt Picio June 11, 2009 at 5:37 pm

    That should be “Portland & Western Railroad”. P&W is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Genesse & Wyoming.


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  • Mark June 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm


    Pretty sure that rail line was abandoned to redo the freight line that goes through there and the WES train that is Wilsonville to Hillsboro.

    I *think* that line was a spur for storing cars short term. Like overnight or a few hours. They have done a lot of work in that area. and I think they moved the main line & the spur over.

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  • bikesalot June 11, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Mark is correct – the abandoned section parallels the Wes tracks on the west side. Commuter rail is very much alive through there. Mine was one of the ten letters – I am very glad to see it seems to have helped, as that is on my commute route home several days a week. It would be nice to get the two-way bike and foot traffic off the street and out of that very narrow “bike” lane.

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  • carless in pdx June 12, 2009 at 2:33 am

    I ride the WES to Tualatin, and there are very much active, modernized freight + commuter rail line that runs 50 feet east of this to-be-abandoned line.

    So no worries! We’re getting our cake and eating it too. Now I’m just waiting for them to extend the WES down to Woodburn and Salem.

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  • Ben June 12, 2009 at 9:16 am

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think there’s a stretch of about a mile that has a rail trail already built! It goes approximately from Hall to downtown (the same railway bed as in the article, but it’s the section south of Hwy 99). It’s lit and has a fence and some plants separating the path from the WES rails.

    I can’t see any reason NOT to build this path. It would make the downtown core more accessible and pedestrian friendly, (somewhat like the idea of River Place on the waterfront in downtown Portland, where there’s no loud/smelly cars whizzing by). However, Tigard has some work to do on making the downtown core interesting; I live a mile away, but it’s BORING so I never go there. I’d like to see them model it after River Place or the 21st/23rd street areas – get rid of the large box stores and the day labor shop and add upscale botique stores, plus some restaurants that are actually good.

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  • Kt June 12, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    bikesalot– Mine was also one of those ten letters! 🙂 It’s also part of my commute home, and it would be nice not to have to play dodge-em with the pedestrians.

    Ben: I’m not familiar with the section you are talking about. From maps and my own experience, I think you are talking about the sidewalk through the transit center, or Commercial St. Please help me out here! 🙂

    The only other trail from downtown to Hall is the Fanno Creek Trail– on Main St it picks up next to Max’s Brewpub (yum yum) and dumps you off just before the bridge over the creek on Hall.

    Tigard definitely has a lot of work to do to revitalise their downtown, and I’ve seen the plans– they are extensive, and should create a nice destination for shopping, eating, living. Plus, they want to move the Tigard Farmer’s Market down there, once they create a spot for it (but any place would be better than the current spot, the parking lot for a funeral home!)

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  • vequinox 6 July 15, 2009 at 2:54 am

    They need more good restaurants like Cafe Allegro!

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