(*Note: This map is a work in progress and includes several sections that are incorrectly labeled.)
The City of Portland has embarked on a project that will give bicycle riders more separation from auto and truck drivers on Northeast Marine Drive.
Multnomah County and Metro recently worked together to construct a nice new piece of the 40-Mile Loop on NE Marine Drive in Troutdale. And it’s not the only sign of progress for riding in this area — which happens to be a popular gateway to the Historic Columbia River Highway.
“We understood that this was more forward momentum than we have seen in many years.”
— Jim Sjulin, 40-Mile Loop Land Trust
Marine Drive is a gem in our cycling network and a thorn in our cycling socks at the same time. For as great as it is in some spots — and as valuable as it is as an east-west connection between St. Johns and Troutdale — it remains neglected and riddled with dangerous gaps that prevent it from being a truly great route for cycling.
If you love/hate riding on Marine Drive, we’ve got two bits of great news: There’s a new advocacy effort afoot to close the gaps, and the City of Portland has just put real money on the table to close a few of them by next summer.
Fears of crime and of “undesirables doing bad things” have fueled another city in the eastern part of our region to say no to a major multi-use path project.
After tallying public feedback from an open house late last month, Metro has decided to suspend all planning efforts for the Troutdale section of their 40-Mile Loop Master Plan because of local opposition. This is a carbon copy of concerns that fueled opposition from the City of Gresham to the same project back in January.
Now, after a year of planning, public events and committee meetings, Metro will pull the plug and put this project on the shelf.
The City of Gresham is more worried about the potential impacts of illegal camping along a path than they are about the benefits of closing a major gap in the 40-Mile Loop.
After Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis* announced his opposition to the Troutdale to Gresham Master Plan last week, Metro has decided to postpone a scheduled planning meeting for the project and they will not move forward with planning in Gresham. The news was first reported by the Gresham Outlook.
“While I have always been a fan of recreational amenities and I enjoy running regularly on the trail, I cannot in good conscience support this proposal at this point in time,” Bemis shared on his Facebook page last week. “There are far too many chronic issues currently extending along the entire trail alignment.”
Filling a six-mile gap between Troutdale and Gresham would put a serious dent in the “40-mile Loop” — a trail concept that’s been in regional planning dreams for well over a century. And Metro is creating a plan to do just that.
But where some see an historic opportunity for a new, low-stress place to walk and roll, others see a perfect place for people who live outside to pitch tents and build encampments.
A Port of Portland project in Troutdale will include a significant extension to the 40-Mile Loop path along the Sandy and Columbia Rivers.
The extension totals 2.1 miles and will finally make it possible to walk and roll on a paved path between Marine Drive near Blue Lake Park (via NE 223rd Ave) and the new paths along the Sandy River constructed by the Oregon Department of Transportation in 2014.
Things are looking up for bicycle access in Troutdale along I-84 and the Sandy River.