County says NW Newberry Rd could be fixed — and reopened to drivers — by summer

It looks bad, but it’s good on a bike.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I have some bad news. Unless, that is, you drive a car on NW Newberry Road.

Slide is marked with a star. Newberry is about a half-mile south of Sauvie Island exit off Highway 30.

One of our area’s most popular climbs has been carfree since a major landslide destroyed a section of it one year ago. Newberry Road snakes up from Highway 30 about 10 miles north of downtown Portland. It’s part of many nice routes from Skyline Road and other destinations well beyond. It’s so well loved that River City Bicycles even made a short video about it recently (which has a great shot of the damaged section of road):

During major storms last year, half the pavement fell into the hillside. The damage is about a half-mile up from Highway 30 and Multnomah County was forced to close the road to auto users. People can still drive their homes from the top or the bottom, but no through driving is allowed. The result has been a blissfully quiet road you can climb without the stress of passing drivers or the toxic fumes that come out of their tailpipes. Being carfree has made a good climb, great.

Unfortunately Newberry’s carfree days are numbered. If things go according to the County’s plan they’ll have it rebuilt by this summer next winter.

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According to Chris Fick, chief of staff for Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, they’ve nailed down the $1.8 million needed for the rebuild (with funds from the Federal Highway Administration).

Fick says there are two property owners the County is currently negotation right-of-way issues with, but the design work is 90 percent complete. Once construction begins (either this summer or fall) it should take about four months to finish. At the latest, it will be re-opened to drivers by this coming fall winter 2019.

So get out there and enjoy those peaceful pedal strokes while you can.

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

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rick
rick
4 years ago

Acres of the adjacent residential property is just grass opposite of that landslide. Not much is holding the earth.

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

That’s a bummer – have been riding that a lot lately and it is so nice to not have the normal traffic on it. I wonder if the locals care.

Chris
Chris
4 years ago

Dang. Hopefully the signs announcing its reopening are subtle/nonexistent.

A.Criss
A.Criss
4 years ago

Yeah we sure like it the way it is also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdvkKhp3Nho

bikeninja
bikeninja
4 years ago

That photo makes me feel as if I am getting a glimpse of the future of automobile infrastructure.

Allan Rudwick
4 years ago

I feel like strongtowns would tell us to investigate whether we want to maintain this road long-term. there are other options like not rebuilding that would be a lot cheaper. However it does shave a few minutes off my commute when US-26 is backed up so maybe I should be in favor of this? But not in the current financial climate of road maintenance

rick
rick
4 years ago
Reply to  Allan Rudwick

Cornelius Pass

Eric Leifsdad
Eric Leifsdad
4 years ago
Reply to  Allan Rudwick

What do you mean drivers’ user fees don’t pay for roads?

Stephen Keller
Stephen Keller
4 years ago

I wish we could keep one paved road from 30 to Skyline car free. Sadly, I guess not.

rick
rick
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

Multnomah County is transferring Cornelius Pass to ODOT. They are tired of dealing with the cost of crashes and the mess.

Dan A
Dan A
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

Logie Trail seems like a good candidate. Semi truck got stuck in the turns up there a few years ago.

Swan Island Runner
Swan Island Runner
4 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Keller

Not paved, but I would rate Saltzman as car free and able to accommodate any bike tire.

bikeninja
bikeninja
4 years ago

I sure hope that a rascally band of vandals does not take this an inspiration and “deconstruct” strategic bits of Portland streets to create defacto safe bikeways.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
4 years ago
Reply to  bikeninja

Let’s hope not…because other bands of rascals may take it upon themselves to remove bike infrastructure.

Peter W
4 years ago

Dang… if only ODOT could fix the Barbur viaducts just as quickly.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
4 years ago

Any chance a narrow slice of the road could remain open to bikes during construction?