‘Going Green’ project would transform Swan Island access

Red area shows location of ‘Going Green’ corridor. Note Willamette River in lower left and N. Interstate Ave (MAX line) on the right.

A newly proposed project that’s gaining steam would dramatically transform a half-mile long stretch of a six-lane industrial arterial street in North Portland into a multi-modal transportation and recreation corridor. The proposal is known as ‘Going Green’ and it’s being spearheaded by the Swan Island Transportation Management Association.

Project director and head of the Swan Island TMA, Lenny Anderson, says “I believe the City is taking a serious look at this.” Anderson sees the project as a way to tackle many problems at once while providing key connections between Swan Island and nearby neighborhoods. Here’s an excerpt from a project outlined forwarded to me by Anderson:

“The project includes improved pedestrian and bicycle access, a more attractive and inviting park-like design, more effective potentially cost saving stormwater management solutions, as well as public safety enhancements.”

As part of making the natural area adjacent to Going Street more “attractive and inviting,” there is talk of making an off-road singletrack trail that would connect Interstate Avenue to Madrone Park (which is situated on a bluff overlooking Swan Island).

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-10

Lenny Anderson is the project director.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Anderson also points out this half-mile stretch of Going Street contains about 4.7 acres of impervious concrete that generates over 4.5 million gallons of stormwater each year, making the case that the addition of bioswales could, “manage this significant amount of stormwater without hindering vehicular operations on the street.”

Anderson sees improved biking and walking access on Going Street as ways to free up road space for the thousands of trucks that come in and out of Swan Island. With 10,000 people currently employed on Swan Island, there is a need to provide an attractive option to single-occupancy vehicles. Interstate Avenue has light rail and the new Concord Bike Boulevard also crosses this stretch of Going Street.

Bike Fashion Show_ride and afterparty-73

Improved access on Going Street
would lead more people to
this portion of the Willamette
River Greenway Trail.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Project backers also say that improvements to Going Street would allow more people to connect to the Willamette River Greenway Trail, a one-mile stretch of 12-foot wide trail that is the only public access to the river between the Steel Bridge and Cathedral Park in St. Johns (yet it’s unknown to most people because Swan Island is so difficult to bike and walk to).

The project is just at proposal stage at this point, but Anderson feels many stars are aligning and that the project has all the elements of success. He already has design consultants on board as well as support from local businesses, interest from Metro’s Intertwine initiative, and the possibility of funding from the Portland Development Commission through their Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area fund. Anderson hopes to have a 25% design completed by the end of this year.

Stay tuned for opportunities to get involved and lend your support to this exciting new project.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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14 years ago

Willamette River Greenway Trail? I hadn’t even heard of that one… just found npgreenway.org but the maps there aren’t very good… the vision map is pretty nice though…

I don’t get up that way very often anyways…

Lenny Anderson
14 years ago

Swan Island is a huge engine for the Portland economy with Daimler Trucks NA HQ and Western Star Trucks plant (formerly Freightliner), Vigor Industrial (shipyards), UPS and adidas NA, just to mention the big players. It is also the location of the wholesale Flower market, major beer/wine distributors, Kroger’s Dairy, printing companies and the Swan Island bike races!
And it also has some great access to the working portion of the Willamette River with the one mile of Willamette Greenway Trail and Lagoon boat launch. I have had the pleasure of walking on that trail everyday for over 20 years.
The Swan Island TMA has been working for ten years with area businesses to improve the movement of freight by reducing SOV congestion and improving bike/ped/transit access. Going Street is the only legal, all weather route for bicycle commuters and pedestrians. “Going Green” is a huge opportunity to improve that access, reduce storm water and upgrade a fine piece of urban forest canopy. A rare triple win!

14 years ago

….and once npgreenway is done, going green can provide a vital connection point from inner nopo to st j’s, downtown and se. great job!

14 years ago

now….are many of the riders who read this site going to start openly complaining when the construction starts?

of course they are….

14 years ago

Here we go again.
Just to be clear, I’m a bike commuter and recreational biker.
But the plan of:
Let’s just spend some money and “they” will come isn’t sustainable.
Hey, Going Street is behind my house. Yes, I get tired of the noise, traffic, etc. BUT, I’m not ready to commit our hard earned money to something that doesn’t have a shown need/ use.
Just look at the 1 mile that nobody knows about now. Was that a good use of money? Probably NOT.
How about the $1.9 million we just spend on the Morrison Bridge Bike/Ped crossing. WASTED funds. Very few people use it. Hawthorne is WAY better and only a few blocks away. WAY BETTER!!!
We need to prioritize the highest value places to enhance bike commuting and recreational biking. NOT just keep throwing money at everyone’s pet project.

Tom Archer
14 years ago

A point of clarification. I have had brief discussions with Lenny about the off-road component of the project. We’ve looked at this property before as a possible location for a small bike park. It has the potential to include a small skills area, a pump track and possibly a “flow trail”. It could complement the bigger project at little or no added cost to the City. We have not discussed the possibility of connecting this to Madrona Park, and from my previous discussion with Portland Parks, they are not that excited about creating a soft surface connection through the park to connect Greeley and Going.

Tom Archer
President – Northwest Trail Alliance