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More criticism leveled at proposed Greenway Trail route

Posted by on September 21st, 2012 at 10:44 am

“N. Greeley as an alternative to the Cement Road is unacceptable. The trail is to be a Willamette River Greenway Trail, not a tour of a truck route.”
— NPGreenway statement

The alignment for the North Portland Greenway Trail project being proposed by the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is continuing to draw sharp criticism from activists and advocacy groups.

PP&R is hosting an online comment form to get feedback, and — as the comments to our story yesterday make clear — many people are not impressed that several segments of the proposed alignment use heavily trafficked streets and conventional bike lanes. The idea of a “trail” — or what I prefer to call a path — is that people can expect a dedicated, non-motorized facility away form the dangers and stresses of automobiles.

The North Portland Greenway Trail has been envisioned since the beginning as an extension of the Eastbank Esplanade — which is a dedicated, carfree path its entire length. But the alignment being proposed would put users on several streets — N. Basin, Going, Greeley, Interstate, and so on. There are options available (and even a much more carfree, riverfront route already adopted in the City’s North Reach River Plan); but PP&R currently lists “right of way acquisition” as a barrier to taking it.

This compromise has raised serious concerns from NPGreenway, the non-profit group that has championed this project for years. Yesterday, that group’s director, Jason Starman, sent an email to members, saying, “… we have concerns that south of Waud Bluff [just south of University of Portland] PP&R loses the vision of a trail along the Willamette River.” Starman is urging members to make the following comments:

– The Cement Road south of Swan Island is the preferred route. This route was selected following the North Reach of the River Plan’s years of public involvement.

– N. Greeley as an alternative to the Cement Road is unacceptable. The trail is to be a Willamette River Greenway Trail, not a tour of a truck route on N Greeley.

– A trail east of the Rose Quarter as shown on the PP&R maps is totally unacceptable. Both the Near Term Alignment and the Preferred Alignment must be closer to the Willamette River. The maps miss the opportunity of the former Thunderbird Motel site and a connection to the Steel Bridge and the Eastbank Esplanade.

Also yesterday, veteran activist and head of the Swan Island Business Association Lenny Anderson left a comment here on BikePortland saying, “A document that represents the will of the people of this city should ask for (demand? well Portland doesn’t do that!) an alignment that makes for a world class riverside greenway trail. It may take a long time to get it, but if you do not ask for it, you will never get it.”

The online comment form is open until September 26th. The next meeting of the PP&R project advisory committee is October 3rd at 6:30pm in the Chiles Center at the University of Portland.

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Nick Falbo September 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

    A trail along the Willamette River is a Statewide interest. In 1975, the state passed a set of planning goals, including Statewide Planning Goal #15: Willamette River Greenway. It’s been 37 years, and we’re still waiting…

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    • Arem September 21, 2012 at 11:37 am

      Hopefully for not much longer! I think there’s been enough patience for so many decades! It would be grand to avoid a lot of areas and enjoy a pathup that way.

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  • Andyc September 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Hear hear! I believe that this proposed trail and the Sullivan’s Gulch corridor are integral to our growth as a bikable/walkable city. I filled out the form yesterday, and urge everyone to do the same. Thanks NP Greenway.

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  • dwainedibbly September 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    This is what I love about Portland: anywhere else, people who ride bikes or walk would be thrilled to get any sort of ill-designed project at all. Here, we make sure that what we get is going to be much, much better.

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  • Hart Noecker September 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Parks and Wrecks Bureau. Somebody will wind up getting killed with this plan.

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  • dmc September 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I am willing to wait to see that it is don’t right.

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    • dmc September 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm


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  • Max D November 27, 2012 at 11:51 am

    N light of what is happening with Memorial Coliseum, it seems urgent to get an ambitious trail ALONG THE RIVER, connected under the Steel Bridge, and through the Rose Quarter in place.
    There is an open house for the North Portland Greenway coming up in January (I think), it would be great to have some advocates there!

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