historic columbia river highway

“A pit in my stomach”: ODOT official shares latest on fire damage to Historic Columbia River Hwy

by on September 7th, 2017 at 9:34 am

The beautiful Oneonta Tunnel that just re-opened to biking and walking in 2009 isn’t looking so good right now.
(Photo: ODOT)

The Eagle Creek Fire is still raging in the Gorge and we’ve been reaching out to sources to find out how much impact it has had on the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail. Just one year ago we joined a big group of riders and dignitaries for a triumphant centennial celebration of the legendary road. And today it feels like it’ll be another hundred years before things are back to normal.

The good news is not all has been lost. Reports yesterday from fire officials were heartening. But what about those pictures of our dear Oneonta Tunnel engulfed in flames?! We’ve been as eager as you to know more.

This morning I heard back from Kristen Stallman, the outgoing Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation. Stallman has worked on the Historic Highway project for years and her connection to it transcends her job title. Here’s what she had to say about where things stand today (emphases mine): [Read more…]

Not so fast e-bike riders: Motors aren’t allowed on bike paths in Oregon State Parks

by on July 6th, 2017 at 1:32 pm

Policymakers Ride - Gorge Edition-57

Riders on the Historic Columbia River State Trail.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last week we posted a story about how electric bicycles have opened up new riding opportunities\ in the Columbia River Gorge. But it turns out it’s illegal to ride an e-bike on the Historic Columbia River State Trail — or on any other paved bike path within the Oregon State Parks system.

We’ve since updated that story with a note after learning about the issue from a commenter (Park Chambers, who happens to own Fat Tire Farm and Hood River Bikes) and then confirming the facts in a phone call with an Oregon State Parks spokesperson.

This prohibition of e-bikes on paved trails caught me off-guard. As pedal-assisted bikes gain in popularity, I think the issue merits a closer look.
[Read more…]

Rock slide on Rowena Curves closes Historic Highway for up to 3 weeks

by on May 9th, 2017 at 9:26 am

Yikes! ODOT says it could be up to three weeks before the road opens.
(Photo: ODOT)

A major rock slide has closed a popular bicycling route just east of the Rowena Curves overlook on the Historic Columbia River Highway (US 30). It happened Sunday evening and there were no injuries.

The Rowena Curves are between Hood River and The Dalles.

Here’s the latest from ODOT:
[Read more…]

ODOT wins $28 million federal grant for Historic Highway project

by on November 23rd, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Not many gaps left.

Not many gaps left.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has inched ever closer to its goal of reconnecting a 75-mile paved path and low-volume road between Troutdale and The Dalles. Their Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail project just won a $28 million grant from the US Department of Transportation for the Mitchell Point Crossing.
[Read more…]

State completes new section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

by on September 21st, 2016 at 9:03 am

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.(Photo: State of Oregon)

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.
(Photo: State of Oregon)

The State of Oregon is inching ever closer to re-connecting the Historic Columbia River Highway — an engineering marvel that opened 100 years ago this year but fell into disrepair when Interstate 84 was built.

On Saturday the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and Western Federal Lands will come together to dedicate the latest new piece of the state trail that will eventually connect Troutdale to The Dalles.
[Read more…]

ODOT’s new Columbia Gorge Express bus has already carried thousands of riders

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 14th, 2016 at 12:14 pm

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“There was a really great energy in the bus,” our contributor Kate Laudermilk wrote about her trip. “I overheard a lot of conversations between complete strangers.”
(Photo: Kiel Johnson)

Three weekends in, the new bus line that offers $5 round trips between Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls is going gangbusters.

The buses, subsidized in part by the Oregon Department of Transportation, offer 12 departures a day from Friday to Sunday and each one has a rack that carries up to three bicycles.

Conceived as a way to cut congestion on Interstate 84 and take pressure off parking space in the Gorge, the buses carried more than 4,600 rides during their four-day launch weekend, including Memorial Day. Last weekend, the buses carried 1,477 rides.

[Read more…]

Centennial event marks a new era for the Historic Columbia River Highway

by on June 7th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Historic Columbia River Hwy Centennial Celebration-30.jpg

Bicycle riders pose in front of Multnomah Falls Lodge to mark the centennial of the Historic Columbia River Highway. From left to right: Rob Sadowsky, Jessica Horning, Arthur Tetteh, Mychal Tetteh, Patrick Loftus, Carl Larson, AJ “Jerry” Zelada, Scott Poindexter, Greg Baker, Dick Weber, Jerry Smith, Sheila Lyons, Maggie Trout, Dana Canaday, Craig Beebe, Sandra Hikari, Kristin Dahl, April Streeter, Philip Mascher, Marilyn Harlow, Julia Daser, Isabel Daser.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

“While this highway was built for Model-Ts, its future is meant for cyclists, walkers, and hikers…”
— Barbara Roberts, former Oregon Governor

100 years ago today the State of Oregon dedicated the 73-mile Historic Columbia River Highway. It was a marvel of its time, the nation’s first Scenic Highway, and it was known simply as the “King of Roads.” Its 73-miles of curves and sweeping gorge views from Troutdale to The Dalles were an inspiration to engineers and explorers alike.

Then it was all but forgotten in the 1950s when Interstate 84 bullied its way through the gorge. The new interstate cut off sections of the old highway and it fell into disrepair. In 1987 the state legislature established the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and work began in earnest to restore the highway to its former glory.

When it was rededicated today at a Centennial Celebration held at Multnomah Falls, there was one major difference this time around: Instead of automobiles marking the future, they now mark the past.
[Read more…]

New Columbia Gorge Express will carry you — and your bike — to Historic Highway destinations

by on May 20th, 2016 at 9:22 am

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

Another way to explore the Gorge without a car.

2016 is a huge year for the Columbia River Gorge. 100 years ago Oregon celebrated the opening of Route 30 — the Columbia River Highway — and this year we’ll celebrate its grand re-opening as a State Trail with miles of new biking and walking-only paths that open up exciting carfree exploration opportunities.

But even as new pieces of the State Trail are completed, our overuse of cars is killing the Gorge vibe. In an effort to reduce automobiling’s impacts to this historic natural resource we all share, the Oregon Department of Transportation has launched a new public transit line.

The Columbia Gorge Express opens next Friday. The new line will have 12 departures a day Friday through Sunday from the Gateway Transit Center with stops in Rooster Rock State Park (25 miles east of Portland) and Multnomah Falls (30 miles east of Portland). It’s just $5 for a round-trip ticket and bicycle riders are welcome aboard: Each transit vehicle has capacity for three bikes on the rack.
[Read more…]

Construction begins on 1.3 mile section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

by on March 7th, 2016 at 11:55 am

hwy-path-trailheadrawing

(Image: ODOT)

2016 will be a big year for the Historic Columbia River Highway. The legendary road was a scenic precursor to Interstate 84 when it opened 100 years ago, but it fell into disrepair and was largely forgotten until the past decade or so when an effort to rebuild it as a (mostly) walking and biking path took hold. Proponents of the highway hoped to have all 73 miles of the original route from Troutdale to The Dalles completed by this year in time for a big centennial celebration. While they’re about 10 miles short of their goal, the celebration will still happen and there’s more progress this month as construction begins on a new 1.3-mile section of the trail.
[Read more…]

Portland to the Dalles: A low-stress birthday ride to remember

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 5th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

4 Horse Tail Falls

Linda Hill at Horse Tail Falls last month.
(Photos courtesy Hill)

It takes years of advocacy and patience to create an out-of-town bike route like the one gradually being extended along the Historic Columbia River Highway. But once it’s built, the benefits are too big to measure.

Linda Hill, an Oregon biking lover, decided to celebrate her 61st birthday with a four-day trek last month that took that route through the Columbia River Gorge, which was vastly improved in 2013 by opening of a section of the highway to bikes and removing the need to bike along the shoulder of Interstate 84.

[Read more…]