Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 16th, 2011 at 10:38 am
This just in from Portland Parks & Recreation (see our story from Tuesday for background):
Eastside Floating Walkway to Remain Closed at Least Over the Weekend
(Portland, OR) –
A team of PP&R operations supervisors and engineers on-site this morning has determined that the floating walkway along the Vera Katz Eastside Esplanade from north of the Morrison Bridge to South of the Steel bridge shall remain closed to all traffic (bike, foot, boats) at least until Monday. The area affected is approximately 1000-to-1500 feet of floating territory that the rising water has made impassable.
The closure was initiated on May 31st due to high and fast water conditions on the Willamette. 2010 Parks & Recreation data show that 2,750 bike trips are made daily on the Eastside Esplanade, plus countless numbers of walkers and joggers. Portland Parks & Recreation’s primary concern is for the safety of everyone using the area, and will keep the floating platform closed until the water subsides. High water may be exacerbated by the recent rains, and hot weather could accelerate snowmelt, further prolonging high water conditions. Survey teams will evaluate conditions once again on Monday morning and determine a further course of action.
PP&R engineers and survey teams are using on-site inspections as well as National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data and predictions to determine when the river will lower to a safe condition. As of the morning of June 16, 2011, the Willamette had risen due to recent rains. Engineering teams have determined that the water level must be below 16 feet for the transitions from the fixed concrete sidewalk to the floating wooden platform to be at acceptable angles for users’ safety.
Signs mark the closure ahead along the Esplanade path well ahead of the closure. Walkers, runners and cyclists may cross over to the west side of the river via the Hawthorne Bridge, the Steel Bridge, and the Burnside Bridge, and there’s a trough on the side of the stairs for bike tires to be guided up the Burnside Bridge as riders carry their bikes.
Once on a bridge, walkers, runners and cyclists will find they can either travel into southeast Portland, or they may cross the river to the west side waterfront trail and beyond. PP&R has no jurisdiction over bridges or city streets, therefore our teams cannot put any detour signage in place. We encourage all park users to stay alert and aware, and to exercise caution.
The Esplanade was built in 2001. This has been, and continues to be, the first time in the walkway’s history that rising water has forced such a closure. Terri Davis, PP&R’s West Services Zone manager, says water has not been at this high a level since the floods of 1996. More info on the Esplanade is below.