Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Metro acquisition could close Cazadero Trail gap at Deep Creek

Posted by on May 18th, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Let’s close this gap! (Map graphic: BikePortland)

About 2,000 feet through a riparian forest are all that separate us from having a carfree connection between Portland, the Clackamas river, and beyond.

Metro map of acquisition boundary.

Metro just finalized the purchase of a 76-acre parcel that will close that gap. Once completed, this project will have massive impacts to bicycle riders of all persuasions.

First, some background:

The abandoned railroad line between Portland and Estacada that the City of Portland first acquired and paved in the 1990s. In 2013 pavement was extended into the small of Boring, about 20 miles from where it starts just south of OMSI. South of Boring is an dirt trail section that heads toward the Clackamas River and is known as the Cazadero Trail. Unfortunately, the trail ends just north of Highway 224. Just south of the highway, at Barton Park, the trail picks up again and follows the old railroad bed another four miles before ending in Eagle Creek (north of Estacada).

That small trail gap was created when two wooden railroad trestles over Deep Creek and North Fork Deep Creek burned down after the line was abandoned in the 1930s. For the past decade or so, state and regional agencies have applied for federal grants to construct new bridges over the creeks. The last attempt in 2013 sought $4 million for the bridges but the project was not selected for funding.

Deep Creek flowing through acquired parcel. (Photo: Metro)

Advertisement

The completed trail would let us avoid these stressful conditions on SE Amisigger Road.

Now Metro’s Park and Nature division has stepped up with an $850,000 purchase of land that clears the way for Oregon State Parks to design and build a new connector trail. The 76 acres is adjacent to Camp Kuratli and was previously owned by the Salvation Army. In 2013, Metro estimated the bridge project would serve over 327,000 annual biking and walking trips and would have an economic benefit of over $6.4 million in the first five years post-construction.

The additional land gives Metro a total of 165 acres in the area. It also gives Oregon State Parks, the agency that will ultimately design and build the project, more space to look at a solution that doesn’t require “cost-prohibitive” bridges. Instead, they’ll build a series of switchbacks to cross the canyons. Metro estimates the project will build about 2,900 linear feet of new trail.

This project is important not only because it will close a trail gap, but because current alternate routes like Richey Road, Kelso Road, and Amissiger Road between the end of the Springwater in Boring and popular destinations like Barton County Park and Milo McIver State Park are very stressful. “All of these roads have no shoulder, poor sight lines, fast moving traffic, and
sections with steep grades,” wrote Portland resident and former Cycle Wild ride leader Shawn Granton in a letter supporting the 2013 grant application. “This four-mile section of roads is the most dangerous and treacherous part of our trips out into the Clackamas River region. It can be a harrowing experience for both seasoned and new bicycle campers alike.”

This purchase by Metro provides much-needed urgency for the ultimate dream: An off-street path from Portland to Estacada and then along the Clackamas River and into the Mt. Hood National Forest. Stay tuned for opportunities to weigh in on this project. Metro cautions that, while they hope a trail is built, nothing has been finalized and it could be years before the gap is closed. That just means we need to create as much pressure on these agencies as we can to get it done.

While we wait to hear from Metro and Oregon State Parks about next steps, check the Ride With GPS map below from regional route-master Ryan Francesconi to get inspired about the future:

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
— Get our headlines delivered to your inbox.
— Support this independent community media outlet with a one-time contribution or monthly subscription.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

41
Leave a Reply

avatar
15 Comment threads
26 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
24 Comment authors
MariaJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)XAndy LVincent D. Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
todd.boulanger
Guest
todd.boulanger

Thanks Metro’s Park and Nature division! [This may be one paved trail I have not yet ridden. I will have to investigate.]

Eawriste
Guest
Eawriste

Aaaaaah! I’ve been waiting for this since I was 10 years old! Thank you Jesus Christ Superstar.

JM
Guest
JM

This is incredible news! That gap needs to get bridged ASAP…Amissiger is a death zone.

J_R
Guest
J_R

It seems like a good project, but the prediction of 327,000 annual biking and walking trips is beyond belief. 900 trips per day sounds like the volume on the Springwater Corridor near Powell Butte on a nice summer weekend. I used to commute on the Springwater Corridor to Gresham and during winter months I was often alone.

Jim Labbe
Subscriber
Jim Labbe

Great reporting. Thanks for covering this Jonathan!

doug clark
Guest
doug clark

The one downside I could see by not building bridges would be the use of switchbacks like the ones used on the Vernonia trail… These are very silly and not designed for cycling. I wouldn’t use it.

Jason Brune
Guest
Jason Brune

I’ve been dreaming of closing that gap for years. I’ve only ridin Amissiger a few times, but it’s extremely stressful. Estacada is a gateway jewel of a town to the Mt. Hood region. Yes, bridges would be better, but low stress switchbacks is 100% better than Amissiger.

Pete
Subscriber

Bravo Metro and all those who supported the purchase.

You can call me Al
Guest
You can call me Al

This is fantastic news!

Is there a way to get across Deep Creek today? I tried bridging this gap several times myself last year without success as I ended up deep in the weeds in the first yellow section of the Ride w GPS map.

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

How exciting! I really hope the whole trail can be paved so that everyone can use it!

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

I took my older child camping at Barton Park, via cargo bike, a few years ago. I wouldn’t do it again without this trail gap closed, specifically because of the uphill climb on Amisigger. Even leaving the campground before 10am on a Sunday morning, traffic was heavy enough to make it unpleasant and a bit dicey.

By the way, to the point someone made about the highway crossing at Barton Park, that’s next to nothing if you’ve already managed the ride out there. It’s not even 1/100 of the danger or problem that Amisigger Road itself is.

With the trail fixed, you’ll have a phenomenal, low-stress ride all the way from the core of the metro area to a campground. We don’t have that now, nor do many other metro areas. I have also biked to Stub Stewart and Champoeg for camping, but both of those involve several miles of riding on moderately busy roads. This is a game-changer.

X
Guest
X

Search ‘Oregon Bicycle Industry Dollars’. A 2014 survey showed that bicycle businesses have a $400,000,000+ annual gross with some segments of the market reporting excellent growth potential. Yes, stuff has happened since then. Some people are having to look at their business model but also, suddenly, it’s hard to find a bike for sale under $1000 anyway in the US. That’s a boom.

Amissiger Road has a been a stumbling block for bike travel SE from Portland for years. It limits who feels safe travelling by bike, when they travel, and in what numbers. The point is not to create a destination place to ride, but rather to open up a county, a watershed, or a major part of the state to bike travel.

I would welcome an off-road option using switchbacks on a trail but I think it is short sighted not to budget 4, or even 6 million dollars for bridges. Put money into an industry that is going to keep growing! Add connectivity to a network of bike routes that will let people travel without burning fossil fuels, and place value on the time of people who choose to travel in that way.

Tomas Quinones
Guest

I’ve been riding out to Estacada a few times a year, and each and every single fucking time I get buzzed by asshole trucks that don’t want to yield on the up or downhill of Amisigger road. I can’t believe there haven’t been any cycling deaths on that road yet.

Any time my friends discuss going out to Estacada and beyond, that gap is the element that either keeps us from going or forces us to take a motor vehicle.

Even if the gap were stairs , it would be better than having to stick to the traffic.

Even if the gap were closed by a dirt path and a rope bridge, I would take it rather than deal with traffic.

How can we help get this path built ASAP?

Andy L
Guest
Andy L

I live in Damascus and this is very promising news. I ride extensively in the area, but I never ascend Amsigger or 232nd drive, way too sketchy. Tickle Creek road out of Boring is nice, but it dumps you out on a dangerous part of Hwy 211. There simply is no safe route to the Clackamas river from the end of the Springwater in Boring. True to its name, Deep Creek has steep gorge walls at the site in question, and not passable on foot, let alone with a bike on your shoulder. The condition of the Cazadero from Boring to Deep Creek is good, but the section from Barton to Eagle Creek is pretty bad. Loose gravel, overgrown with blackberries, and chopped up by private property. It’s easier at this point to ride on Hwy 224, which has an ample shoulder all the way to Estacada. I’m sure hundreds of bikepackers would utilize this route, as it opens up hundreds of miles of gravel and camping in the Clackamas river area of Mount Hood, and nothing beats getting there by bike from your front door.

Maria
Guest
Maria

I’m curious what the status of this project is….any updates?