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Portland Parks & Recreation announced today that construction is set to begin this Monday (9/19) on the Waud Bluff Trail, a much-anticipated non-motorized connection to Swan Island from N. Willamette Blvd near the University of Portland.
The project was six years in the making, a delay that PP&R says was due to, “many years of working through the complicated details of engineering, property ownership and easements.”
Once completed (which could be as early as spring of next year), the trail will be a vital connection to Swan Island — an industrial hub with over 10,000 employees. The trail will also be a key link to the future North Willamette River Greenway trail which is currently in planning stages. Plans for the trail call for a paved path that will lead people west from Willamette Blvd near the intersection of N Olin and Harvard Street. The project will construct a bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and then head southeast where it will connect with N. Basin Avenue after going down a new stairway (which will hopefully have a tire ramp).
In addition to the trail, the project will come with a new median island and crosswalk on Willamette Blvd to address “long-standing concerns about access to the trail and the TriMet bus stop,” says PP&R in a statement.
Ironically, the trail construction comes on the same day the federal Transportation Enhancements program survived a major scare on Capitol Hill. The TE program funded the project to the tune of $1.175 million back in 2008. The project has been on the books for many years but has stalled for a variety of reasons (learn more of the background via this Neighborhood Notes article back in May).
PP&R warns that during construction, Going Street will be the sole access to Swan Island (see map above).
Veteran Swan Island transportation activist Lenny Anderson emailed me with the news today with a brief comment. “At long last!” he wrote. Anderson and many others have been waiting a long time for this project. It’s great to see it finally get underway.