Joe Bike

Here’s why you can’t ride through the Springwater path right now

Posted by on September 7th, 2018 at 9:24 am

Aerial view of the Oaks Bottom Habitat Enhancement Project.
(Photos: Bureau of Environmental Services)

We’re over halfway through the 114-day closure of the Springwater Corridor path. We all knew it would be a tough closure (even city staff admitted it would be “uncomfortable”), but judging from the lack of complaints we’ve heard here at BikePortland HQ, it seems like most of you have adjusted to it.


Whatever your take is on a four-month, peak season closure of one of the most important bicycle routes in Portland, we thought it’d be helpful and/or interesting to show you why it had to happen. These aerial images (which we were reminded of thanks to subscriber djstabe) from the Bureau of Environmental Services show the vast scope of the work:

That dude in the middle is standing right where the path used to be!

If you haven’t heard, the project is intended to improve the flow of water and wildlife between the Oaks Bottom wetlands and the Willamette River. You can learn more about it here. Sit tight and make sure to know the alternate routes. The path is scheduled to re-open November 1st.

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

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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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    SilkySlim September 7, 2018 at 9:33 am

    So tired of this 8-80 infrastructure thing…. Just bunny hop it.

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    Chris I September 7, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Those pictures are old. We rode the shoreline train to Oak’s park on Labor Day, and they have the culvert in place. The train tracks are complete, but they are operating under a slow order in that section. The trail itself has been mostly graded, and seems to just be waiting on asphalt. I imagine they are keeping it closed so they can get large equipment into the job site. Several cyclists were riding through the closure on Labor Day, with most walking over the short section of gravel.

    Given the state of the trail, why aren’t they finishing the asphalt before the wet weather hits, and opening the trail on the weekends? This closure is a big deal for many commuters.

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      Tim E September 7, 2018 at 5:55 pm

      Bikes riding on the grade are likely adding to the time it takes to finish the work. Even if they have the area “mostly graded” you can’t put down AC until you have confirmed compaction (and then regraded where dipshits rode their bikes across it), and even then, if you haven’t finished adjacent work there isn’t much point. If you want something done right, have some friggin’ patience.

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      Matt September 10, 2018 at 5:46 pm

      Gravel, you say?! Why, in today’s cycling zeitgeist, that’s a feature, not a bug!

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    Paul H September 7, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I was initially skeptical of the SE 19th Av to SE 17th Av detour, but other than the seriously bumpy pavement on 19th, it’s worked just fine for me. I’ll be very happy when Springwater reopens, but the detour does the job.

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    Matthew in PDX September 7, 2018 at 11:27 am

    I’ve been riding the Springwater as far as the turn to Oak Bottom, and then riding that up to Milwaukie Ave, to 17th and rejoining the Springwater. I’ll be happy when it is open again, but the minor inconvenience for the improved ecosystem is worth it.

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    Brent September 7, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve been riding the west side path detour all summer. While it isn’t as pleasant as the Springwater and requires a fair bit more attention and work, I’ve enjoyed the change in scenery and pace. I greatly appreciate that they fixed the worst of the bumpy pavement, although there are still pretty bad places. The path also hasn’t seemed too crowded.

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    Johnny Bye Carter September 7, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Thanks djstabe for bringing this photos to our attention with a Subscriber Post.

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    q September 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    I had no idea all that was going on back there. Must be because it’s a culvert operation.

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    Gravel mining September 8, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Are they destroying one river riparian area with gravel mining to restore another riparian area?

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      X September 9, 2018 at 1:25 pm

      Good point. Concrete has a lot of environmental impact before it arrives at the place where it’s getting used. Or misused. I hope this really works for the fish after all the aggregate and diesel are expended.

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