Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Route advisory: Columbia Slough Bike/Walk Bridge to close for up to 3 months

Posted by on January 19th, 2017 at 9:45 am

The suggested detour is to use N Interstate/Denver Avenue, which is one mile east of the bridge.
(Graphic: Portland Bureau of Environmental Services)

Get ready for a closure of a popular biking and walking bridge in north Portland.

The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services needs to repair a sewage pipe near their Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant. Crews need to repair a leak in a pipe (that’s not currently carrying any sewage) and to do so they plan to close all access to the bridge on the Columbia Slough Trail just north of the plant. The project starts January 30th and is expected to last until the end of April.

Here’s more from BES:

The 11-mile force main carries flow from the Inverness Pump Station east of I-205 to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant. A 36-inch pipe splits into a 20-inch and a 30-inch main two miles from the treatment plant and both pipes run under the pedestrian bridge.

When maintenance crews discovered the corrosion-caused leak in the 30-inch pipe, BES transferred flow to the 20-inch pipe. The project will insert a 24-inch HDPE pipe into the damaged main and connect to the existing pipe at both ends of the bridge. Repairs will close the bridge to pedestrians and bicyclists for up to 90 days.


This bridge is a popular connection to Kelley Point Park, Smith and Bybee Lakes and Marine Drive. The suggested detour is to use Columbia Blvd (which has a dedicated sidewalk/path) to ride about one mile east to get to North Interstate/Denver Avenue just north of Kenton. Once across the Slough, you can access the Columbia Slough Trail which will remain open between during the project.

Learn more about the project here and you can sign up for email updates here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 19, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Columbia has a decently wide sidewalk to ride on, and Interstate has that new path that ODOT built. However, Argyle Way has no bike lane. BES should work with PBOT to set up a temporary cycle lane or protected bike lane on Argyle Way.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy January 19, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Luckily it’s a low volume time of year.

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    • Chris I January 19, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      For the sewer or the bike traffic?

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  • Travis January 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Who is that detour for? The impact is users being forced onto N. Portland Road. Thankful it’ll be finished before summer, but Interstate is a larger detour than a mile (closer to 2) + the trip back.

    I play and commute on the slough path frequently. Portland Road to Columbia Way is a not a happy route at rush hour (or any time).

    May of the users are joggers, walkers, and parents with kids.

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    • Gary B January 20, 2017 at 9:16 am

      It’s 0.8 miles from Portsmouth/Columbia across the slough on the trail, 3.8 miles going the suggested route.

      But yes, it seems like the obvious detour will be N. Portland Road, which is unpleasant. I wonder if some temporary lane narrowing (recognizing it’s a major truck route) could make enough space for a bike lane on the bridge.

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  • Glenn January 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

    HDPE…because platic pipes worked so well on other sewer projects…
    why not steel ot concrete?

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    • Chris I January 19, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      HDPE is a great solution when you are inserting a new waterproof pipe into a structurally sound concrete or steel outer pipe. It is a very common practice for residential sewer repairs (but on a smaller scale, of course).

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  • resopmok January 19, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    Furthermore, that section of the slough trail is poorly maintained. The asphalt is rough in most places and broken up into gravel in several. Agree with the sentiment that the detour is pretty inconvenient, but this route is primarily recreational as far as I can tell, so maybe not that big of a deal.

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    • Todd Boulanger January 19, 2017 at 1:10 pm

      Perhaps this is an opportunity for the CoP / PBoT / Parks to make some trail repairs?

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    • Travis January 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      The trail is in rough shape, but I see kids, walkers, joggers out all the time when. Too, it is a lot of fun on a cross bike at speed.

      Should the trail be repaired, yes. Is it used frequently by commuters — no (though I use for extra miles). Campers use too.

      Recreation matters. Scaffolding has been on the bridge for months without closure.

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  • jered January 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I ride that trail almost every weekend, it is part of my “quick exercise bike ride” loop. The trail is a great little stretch of urban gravel riding. I ride it all the time with skinny 23mm tires and have never had a problem with the trail being too rough or flats, it needs zero fixing – it is simply perfect the way it is. Bikes roll over lots of different stuff we don’t need perfect pavement to ride bikes.

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  • Madison January 19, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    If you are coming from St. Johns is there any problem riding N Portland Rd to the Columbia Slough, then riding the entire length of the Columbia Slough Trail over to N Vancouver Ave ?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 19, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      That should be fine. Only bridge is closed. Slough Trail east-west will remain open.

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    • Gary B January 20, 2017 at 9:20 am

      I assume you already know this, but if not (or for others) you’ll either be in the vehicle lane (which is fairly narrow, and a truck route) or on the elevated, very narrow shoulder while going over the slough.

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    • Chris I January 20, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      Check out the google street view for that section before you tackle it. I have done it before, but it wasn’t fun.

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  • Justin Miles January 20, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    I loved riding that trail when I lived up there. You can take surface streets to get across. Not the most ideal solution but I never found it to be too busy or dangerous. It’d be nice if they cleaned that path up a little at some point. The pavement is crumbling pretty badly.

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  • TAJ January 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    I often ride a loop that uses this bridge. The short bit of Columbia from the end of Peninsula Crossing path before turning left on Portsmouth (3-4 blocks, max) is the part I hate due to high speed cars and trucks and NO bike lane. I’ll have to find the dedicated path/sidewalk this article says is there…I haven’t seen it and I really don’t like the idea of riding N Columbia all the way to Denver/Interstate.

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  • Rosalie Roberts January 30, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    Hi all. Just a friendly bike commuter with updates about the closure. Post-ice and snow the slough trail is not efficient at all for bike commuting. Also, the stretch of North Portland without bike lanes is now covered with gravel and sticks after the storm. I would not recommend either if you actually need to get from point A to point B.

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  • Angel York May 4, 2017 at 7:57 am

    Latest announced re-open date is 5/15.

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  • Starbreaker May 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    This is open again! I rode it yesterday.

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