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.
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.