Parks bureau will clean up Peninsula Crossing Trail as new housing village opens

Riding on the Peninsula Crossing Trail, July 2021. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The bad news is that a one-mile stretch of the Peninsula Crossing Trail will be closed for the next three weeks.

The good news is that when it reopens the once popular cycling path will look much better than it has in recent years.

The PCT (no relation to the famous hiking trail of course) is a cherished part of the 40-Mile Loop network of bike routes. It provides an important, north-south, carfree connection to many neighborhoods, parks, and businesses. But over the past several years, conditions have deteriorated to the point where many people avoid the path altogether. Like many of Portland’s off-street paths, the City has taken a hands-off approach to encampments and the considerable amount of trash, illegal driving, and other behaviors that often come along with them. Some people who live in tents adjacent to the path make some riders feel uncomfortable.

Last August we shared how the problem of people driving cars on and around these paths had gotten so bad that Portland Parks & Recreation had to install large iron gates to keep cars out.

(Map: Portland Parks)

The upcoming closure of the trail between N Princeton (the Willamette Blvd entrance) and Columbia Blvd (where it connects via a sidewalk to the Columbia Slough Path) is necessary so that workers can get ready for the opening a new Safe Rest Village. According to OPB, the new temporary housing includes 60 sleeping pods and a community gathering area.

As public attention turns to the village, Parks wants to clean up the path and the area around it. They plan to install new fencing along the trail, remove invasive blackberry bushes, and prune and mow vegetation near the trail. They will also complete “minor surface repairs and cleaning” of the trail surface along with installing new trail signage and “cleaning up trails features.” Since there are still people living along the trail who won’t be living in the new village, the City and other service providers will remove their tents and campsites and force them out of the area.

40-Mile Loop Land Trust Board Member Scott Mizee is thrilled at the news. “I’m so excited that the trail is finally going to be cleaned up and ready to welcome back the broader Portland community to this very important section of the North Portland Greenway and the 40 Mile Loop!”

Parks has sent out a detour map to help folks get around the closure. The route uses Princeton, Wall, Fessenden and Clarendon streets to connect between Willamette and Columbia by bike. Learn more on their website.

We’ll keep an eye out once the trail re-opens to see how it looks. Last time I rode it in summer of 2021, it was in very bad shape.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Randi J
Randi J
10 months ago

The problem is the city cleans up the mess left by the homeless (using a lot of tax dollars) and then they come right back and it starts over. It’s just a non stop cycle of senselessness. It’s past time to offer shelter and ban the inhumanity of unsanctioned street camping. Allowing it is not compassionate to the unhoused, nor the housed.

cc_rider
cc_rider
10 months ago

The whole way the city has handled the PCT is the epitome of failure. The way they allowed the camp to become a dangerous shanty town. The way they abandoned the people around it because they aren’t wealthy enough to buy influence in the city. The way they saddled these taxpayers with a permanent shanty town after letting them suffer for 3+ years with gunshots, crime, violence, and pollution on their door stops. The gross, and honestly disgusting level of contempt and condescension city workers have displayed to the people who live in the immediate area.

I wrote asking basic questions about how they were going to enforce their rules and the emails I got back showed that they wont, and they don’t even care to pretend too. The PCT is permanently gone, at least until we have a new mayor and/or system of government. Such a shame, it was really nice before it became a superfund site.

The campers will be back and so will the violence and danger.

This part

Parks has sent out a detour map to help folks get around the closure. The route uses Princeton, Wall, Fessenden and Clarendon streets to connect between Willamette and Columbia by bike. Learn more on their website.

is breathtakingly out of touch. Anyone not looking to buy drugs has been detouring around this place for three years. I don’t think we need a detour map at this point.

Randi J
Randi J
10 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I nominate this for “Comment of the week”!

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  cc_rider

As Jonathan noted above, the pendulum is starting to swing the other way on how the city responds to these situations. I doubt having 12 city council members bickering about this would be more effective — what we need is a majority who is willing to act, and we now seem to have that.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

We threw the baby out with the bathwater. It’s going to undermine positive change and unfortunately some people are going to celebrate that.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
10 months ago

Heck yes!

Pierre Lathau
Pierre Lathau
10 months ago

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”

This is what we have being dong in Portland in regards to the homeless. It truly has reached the point of insanity. Areas of our community become unsafe and trash filled. Once it reaches a boiling point, those that made an area unsafe and unsanitary are moved and the mess gets cleaned up by taxpayers. Then the same folks that caused the problem are free to return and do the exact same thing.

Ask yourself, is this working for our community?

In my opinion, it is past time to offer shelter and BAN street/trail/open space and RV “camping” in Portland with enforcement of our no camping laws. It’s a humanitarian crisis and we need to put and end to the suffering of both the unhoused and the community at large. We need to act NOW and not keep repeating this insanity.

Watts
Watts
10 months ago
Reply to  Pierre Lathau

offer shelter and BAN street/trail/open space and RV “camping” in Portland with enforcement of our no camping laws. 

I believe the city has started working toward just this end.

Randi J
Randi J
10 months ago
Reply to  Watts

True. But unfortunately Multnomah County is not supportive and they have the actual responsibility and the millions of taxpayer dollars from the the Homeless tax. Vega-Pederson and crew are still obsessed with passing out free tents and building permanent housing at $390,000/unit.
https://pamplinmedia.com/pt/528451-422494

Mark Patterson
Mark Patterson
10 months ago

The good news is that when it reopens the once popular cycling path will look much better than it has in recent years.

Boy Jonathan those are some rose colored glasses you’re wearing. I used to ride that trail. Don’t anymore. How long will be until the PCT just returns to the current level of depravity? 2 weeks? 1 month. It will really just be sad to see it clean and useable once again and then return to a “no go” zone of lawlessness.

Matt P
Matt P
10 months ago

I feel for the folks who will have that camp right next to their back yard.

Aaron
10 months ago

I was riding there the day they were closing off the trail and politely asked to leave so they could block it off for this work. I’m really glad to see this happening, I stubbornly ride this and all the questionable MUPs and past the existing SRV this was the sketchiest trail I’ve ridden in the city. If after this work the rest of the trail can be as clean and safe feeling as the entrance area with the existing SRV then I would be thrilled.

Dave Fronk
Dave Fronk
10 months ago

Illegal camping is a huge part of the reason I’ve been riding less and less in Portland and I’m not alone. Would much rather load my bike into my automobile and drive out to some quiet country roads than deal with hostile persons, trail obstructions, smoke from trash and drug fires, the constant risk of a puncture or worse. I’d “ride to the ride” if it wasn’t so absolutely depressing and downright dangerous.

Andrew
Andrew
7 months ago

My timing might have just lined up with a cleaning, but I rode the trail today, which was very clean. I saw maybe two possibly homeless people, and neither was camping. There was almost no trash. It was also super quiet. I was the only biker at the time. I hope more people start using it!