Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Six-week closure of popular River View Cemetery route starts August 12th

Posted by on August 5th, 2013 at 4:01 pm

river view cemetery

Take note: Six week closure coming soon.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A popular bicycle route through River View Cemetery is set to close on August 12th and not re-open until September 27th. Multnomah County officials sent out the traffic alert today, saying the closure is necessary so construction crews can build the new entrance to the Cemetery along Highway 43 that’s coming with the Sellwood Bridge project.

To make room for this work, the road just above the funeral home will be closed. “Unfortunately,” writes County spokesman Mike Pullen, “this work in a very steep area will also close the trail that bicyclists and pedestrians use in the cemetery.”

As alternate routes during the closure, Pullen recommends the West Side Trail and Taylors Ferry Road, which will lead users to the north entrance of the cemetery. To the south, Highway 43 (SW Macadam) can connect users to SW Palatine Hill Road and destinations such as Lewis & Clark College. Unfortunately, neither of these detours is all that great (which is why the cemetery is so popular to begin with).

In an email to BikePortland today, Pullen wrote, “We realize these alternate routes are far from ideal in this very steep area. Taylors Ferry is steep and traffic can be heavy.” Unfortunately, he added, “The grade differential in the work zone prevents us from creating an alternate route within the cemetery.”

The County doesn’t plan to produce an official detour map (“because of the various directions riders may be traveling”), but Pullen did share a Google Earth image with us showing where to expect the closure signs (click to enlarge):

Map of closure
(Graphic: Multnomah County)
Click to enlarge

The Executive Director of River View Cemetery David Noble, who has worked to keep the roads open to bicycling for the past several years, says he’s concerned about people bicycling up Taylors Ferry Road because of the lack of a shoulder. He is working with the County to try and get temporary “Bikes on Roadway” warning signs during the upcoming closure.

Hundreds of people use the roads in River View every day to avoid the hair-raising riding conditions on nearby roads. Pullen says the County is well aware of how important these roads are for bicycling and added via email today, “We are asking the contractor to do what they can to shorten the closure as much as possible for bicyclists.”

If you’d like to contact Mike Pullen to offer feedback, he can be reached at or via phone at (503) 209-4111.

This is just the latest in a series of inconvenient detours in the Portland area this summer. Check our “Detours” page for more info and advisories.

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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

  • Jean M August 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe PedalPalooza could organize a “Tour de Detours” during next year’s construction season.

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  • davemess August 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    For the improvement we’re getting I think we can deal with this. Granted the options in either direction are not great, with heavily trafficked roads.

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    • Yuri Nashun August 5, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      They have been very accommodating. And to think because of a few inconsiderate cyclists we could have all lost out on this great shortcut.

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  • Kiel Johnson
    Kiel Johnson August 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    I can just imagine a poor Lewis and Clark freshman thinking they are arriving in the best bicycling city in the USA and then having to ride up Taylors Ferry…

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    • davemess August 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

      I think anyone living in the SW thinks that every day! (or frankly anyone that doesn’t live close in on the east side).

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  • Paul Souders August 5, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    There are a couple alternatives to Taylor’s Ferry just to the north. I’m one of those “strong and fearless” riders and you couldn’t pay me to ride uphill on Taylor’s Ferry. Or SR 43 for that matter. (Downhill on Taylor’s Ferry is zippy, but safe if you take the lane)

    My favorite route, from Willamette park around Nevada st:

    South on Virginia
    Right on Taylor’s Ferry (just one short block)
    Right on La View — easy to miss, looks like a driveway
    Left on Corbett
    Right on Custer
    Right on Brier to Barbur
    (There’s a shortcut under the freeway that misses Barbur on Custer from Brier but it involves a gravel footpath and stairs).

    This is hugely out of the way but much less hair-raising than Taylors Ferry.

    I’ll be glad when they’re done with that bridge.

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  • Chris I August 6, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Taylors Ferry really doesn’t need two uphill lanes until just before the signal at the top of the hill. I think this would be a good opportunity to cone off the right lane and make it into a two-way cycle track. If it doesn’t measurably affect traffic flow, throw down barricades and make it permanent. The speeds on Taylors Ferry are excessive, and removing one lane will do wonders to keep things in check.

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    • annefi August 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

      Good idea!

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    • jeff August 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

      ain’t gonna happen.

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  • JL August 6, 2013 at 10:04 am

    That way up Corbett has been my favorite. It is not as long of a climb and gets you to the terwilliger intersection pretty quick.

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  • EE August 6, 2013 at 10:30 am

    A detour up Taylors Ferry Road is a very, very bad idea.

    Mike Pullen needs to drive up and down the stretch of Taylors Ferry Road he’s recommended as a detour.

    It is not a safe alternative for cyclists. The steepest part of the incline pins cyclists between a lane of high speed traffic and an open culvert.

    There is no shoulder.

    Very few cyclists take this route because it is so dangerous and steep.

    When there’s late afternoon sun — during rush hour, there is a stretch of TFR where motorists are blinded by a full western exposure.

    If the right lane were barricaded to protect cyclists — even temporarily during construction, it could prevent fatalities.

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  • Chuck L August 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    I will second that – a detour up Taylors Ferry Road is a very very bad idea.
    I sincerley hope there are no fatalities resulting from this poor decision making.
    Johnathan- can you post Mr Pullens e-mail address? He needs to hear direct feedback from riders well in advance -before fatalities allow folks to take a look at this proposal.

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  • Karl Edwards August 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    I live at the top of the cemetery and ride that route regularly. My fear is that an inconvenience in the contractor’s ability to construct a simple, albeit compromised, bike route into the cemetery, could very well end up in the death or injury of a cyclist on Taylor’s Ferry. It seems that so many “solutions” occur only after someone is killed.

    Let’s avoid such a scenario, please.

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  • Drew August 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Looks like 6 weeks of getting buzzed by and honked at on hwy 43.
    Thanks Mr Noble for stepping up to help. The city/county doesn’t seem to be interested in doing anything about these treacherous roads.

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  • EE August 7, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Mike Pullen’s contact information:; Cell: 503-209-4111

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  • Hillsons August 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I’m not sure whether to be thankful that the importance of this essential route is at least understood, or outraged that there still isn’t an actual public route around Taylors Ferry, and we’re losing the only route there is without at least some sort of sanctioned replacement.

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  • o/o August 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Good news! The route will be open during the construction. It will be re-routed at the edge of the construction. you probably have to walk your bicycle in the zone. failure to cooperation can lead to closure

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  • Kristen Leask September 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I will be attempting this route for the first time this week. Can anyone please tell me if this shortcut through the cemetery will be open? I start classes next week and the thought of taking Taylors Ferry is making me re-think my riding decision.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Hi Kristen,

      The route through the cemetery is open for bicycling. There is just a small gravel section down at the bottom.

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      • Kristen Leask September 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

        Thanks so much for the timely response.

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