Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 19th, 2009 at 10:52 am
should be a fully connected and
(Photo © J. Maus)
The North Portland Greenway Trail is on the cover of the “InPortland” section of The Oregonian today. The exposure for the project is an important boost to the project — whose backers need more political support to make it a reality.
The story lays out how the trail has made some small steps of progress, but that its actual construction is still far off (the advocacy effort behind the trail is already four years old):
“Even its lead advocate, however, sets 10 years as an optimistic timetable for the Greenway to receive funding and be fully constructed.”
While the trail is mentioned in a number of key city planning documents (it’s also a favorite of Metro) and its benefits as both a recreation and transportation corridor are numerous and sorely needed, it is still languishing in limbo.
Leader of the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition Steph Routh is quoted in the story as saying the issue is funding, which she rightly points out is just “a matter of political will.” Added to funding though, are a myriad of other complicated issues including garnering right-of-way easements from a number of different property owners and navigating through a former toxic waste dump site.
But projects like this are never easy and excuses are always easy to come by. This project — which shares many of the same challenges as its cousin, the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail — lacks more than just funding and right-of-way. It lacks a political champion who will put it on their shoulders and carry it to the front of the line.
We got the Eastbank Esplanade in large part because former Transportation Commissioner and now U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer and former Mayor Vera Katz made it a priority. It was expensive, scoffed at by critics, and it floats on water for crying out loud! But it got built because Blumenauer and Katz believed in it and helped make it so.
There’s a race for Metro president looming, now would be a great time for one of the front-runners to capture the excitement around either one of these big trail projects and use some of their political capital to push it forward. Or how about Mayor Adams?
Which savvy local politician will make the North Portland Greenway Trail or the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail their legacy?