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Say it ain’t so: Water Bureau project will close access to lower Saltzman Road May-June

Posted by on March 22nd, 2017 at 5:48 pm

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A key portion of a dirt road so beloved by local riders that a bicycle and a jersey have been named after it will be closed for two months starting next month.

We just heard from the Portland Water Bureau that a construction project on NW Saltzman Road means the lower trailhead will be close to all users — including bicycle riders — from April 3rd through June 2nd. Fortunately the closure is only in effect during weekdays between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm while crews are in the area. The project will construct and replace 1,570 feet of water main pipe on the road.

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This access point into Forest Park off Highway 30 is vital. It’s relatively uncrowded and unlike most other fire roads in the park, Saltzman has a nice and gentle grade up to Leif Erikson Drive. It also provides a safe and carfree alternative to getting up and over the West Hills. In the past I’ve led groups of families on Saltzman en route to overnighters in Vernonia.

Saltzman begins as a paved road and then goes past a handful of houses before coming to the gate and trailhead. Everyone who enters the park at this location to walk, hike, or run, drives to the gate and parks on a dirt shoulder.

With so much pent-up enthusiasm for riding after a wet winter, losing this access point — even for limited hours — will be a real bummer. We’ve asked the project team if there’s any possible way a narrow path for bicycle users could remain open during the project. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

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

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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

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Brett
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Brett

So the Ronde will be ok on a Saturday morning?

Rich Fox
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Darn good question, but I’ve got bigger questions about the Ronde, since the RondePDX website says, “Canceled”. Any idea what’s going on?

Pat
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Pat

I was just going to ask the same thing!! Hoping Jonathan has the scoop.

Brett
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Brett

The website has been denying the existence of any official event for at least 5 years. The new website design is a little less circumspect but I’m sure it is still unofficially happening on the 30th.

Brett
Guest
Brett

Seven years now that the website has been both denying and promoting the ride: https://bikeportland.org/2010/02/16/the-lion-sleeps-no-ronde-ride-this-year-29567

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

The map makes it look like only the lower trailhead and the lower part of Saltzman will close, but the headline and intro make it sound like all of Saltzman will be affected. Remember there’s an upper Saltzman trailhead off Skyline, too, so you can’t really say “the Saltzman trailhead” will be closed.

Stephen Keller
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Stephen Keller

I wonder what the state of the road will be in the off hours. Passable or blocked by a bunch of parked equipment.

Smokey Bear
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Smokey Bear

Article says it will only be a problem during work hours on weekdays.

Plenty of other access points.

Mark smith
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Mark smith

I need to make a list of major roads closed for months without exhaustive measures taken for detours, flaggers or temporary closures.

Ok, done with the list.

Rich Fox
Guest

That title sent me into a minor panic. How about, “…will limit access to…” instead of “close”? Would be more accurate for the headline scanners out there!

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

There’s a short section of the Maple Trail that connects the lower Saltzman trailhead to the bottom of Firelane 4. Do you suppose PPB would temporarily allow bikes on that section of trail?

Dan
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Dan

It wouldn’t really be useful. Saltzman is smooth enough for skinny tires, an easy enough climb to sit up on, and usually has enough gravel to resist moderate traffic without having a road surface condition calamity. Maple is narrow, very steep in sections, and doesn’t have an armored surface.

Christopher Jones
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Christopher Jones

Darn. This is my favorite road. Time to get stronger and be able to climb Springville.

Travis
Guest
Travis

gears, rubber, fitness.

Travis
Guest
Travis

Those limited hours pretty much prevent commuting via Saltzman. April-May is better than May-June.

Scott Kocher
Guest

Not to go off topic but oh for a path from St Helens Rd at the borrom of Firelane 1 (the proposed visitor center) to the bottom of Saltzman. That stretch on 30 and 2 crossings is a nightmare.

Brett Yost
Guest
Brett Yost

Any updates on how this is working out?