University of Portland official says they’ll build 16-foot wide greenway trail

A University of Portland official says the new path will measure 16-feet wide.
View of the parcel looking southwest from Willamette Blvd.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Earlier this month we shared a rare update in the status of the North Portland Greenway Trail — a project that’s been in the works for over a decade.

The University of Portland’s Franz Campus expansion was heralded as a huge step forward that will develop 35 acres of shoreline property on the Willamette riverfront. The new campus includes several new buildings, sports fields, a dock, and surface parking lots. But what it didn’t appear to include was space set-aside for the NP Greenway path.

Asstistant Vice President for Community Relations & Special Projects at University of Portland Jim Kuffner provided us with a statement that said he only planned to offer 8-feet for the path and that, “The land to complete the trail must come from Union Pacific.”

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Tens of millions in unused parks fees could boost bike-path projects

trail dedication ceremony- Swan Island

Swan Island, north of the Fremont Bridge on the east bank of the Willamette, is home to a lonely segment of what could be a future North Portland Greenway.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Parks and Recreation is rarely discussed as part of the answer to Portland’s transportation problems.

Instead of relying mostly on relatively costly off-street paths, which are the main channels for low-stress bike transportation in most of the United States, Portland generally prides itself on improving its actual streets for biking.

But the city’s parks bureau is currently facing a problem that many transportation advocates don’t know about: How to spend the tens of millions of dollars in fees from new development that have been pouring into city coffers for years now.

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NPGreenway hires new coordinator to speed up completion of path project

shamus

Shamus Lynsky at a Sunday Parkways
event in 2009.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Not satisfied with an official estimated project completion date of 2032, npGreenway, the group pushing for the North Portland Greenway path, has hired their first paid staffer.

Instead of 2032, npGreenway wants to have the path completed or have funding in the bank by 2020.

The person hired to step up the urgency around this project is Shamus Lynsky. A resident of St. Johns, Lynsky is the former political director of the Oregon Trial Lawyer Association and also served as executive director of the Oregon Consumers League. Far from a newcomer to the politics of bike advocacy, Lynsky served seven years as a member of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee and he co-authored the ODOT grant that brought new bike lanes and other safety improvements to N Rosa Parks Way back in 2011.

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PSU grad students will help plan Green Loop and North Portland Greenway

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
green loop options

Examples from (in order) San Francisco, Copenhagen, New York City and New York City in an online survey about preferred ideas for a “green loop” bikeway connecting the South Park Blocks with Tilikum Crossing.
(Screenshot from survey)

Two of Portland’s most visionary long-term biking projects will get a boost this spring from two teams of Portland State University planners-in-training.

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With $50k grant, North Portland Greenway shifts from planning to organizing

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
082008 npGREENWAY ride 116

Let’s get it built.
(Photo: npGreenway)

The 50-year-old vision of a continuous mixed-use path along the east bank of the Willamette River, connecting Kelley Point Park, on the tip of the St. Johns peninsula, to the Steel Bridge, has made it on all the planning maps.

Now, the little nonprofit that has brought the concept this far is preparing for the last stage: getting it on the ground.

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Greenway trail group agrees to alignment compromise through Albina rail yards

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

“It was not easy to give up our vision of a near-river side alignment… The UPRR’s willingness to surrender more than one-half mile of active rail line within the city for a multi-purpose trail is unprecedented and offers a Greenway Trail alignment, we believe, that better serves all of north Portland.”
— Friends of the North Portland Greenway Trail

The Friends of the North Portland Greenway Trail (a.k.a. npGreenway) has decided to give up their vision for a route along the Willamette River and instead will work on a compromise alignment through the Albina Yards with the City of Portland and Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR).

Back in October, a major breakthrough was forged when the City of Portland announced they had brokered a deal with UPRR to allow a path to be built along the eastern portion of the railyard. At that time however, leaders from the Friends group were skeptical and continued to push for the Cement Road.

Today, the Friends announced that they’ve agreed to give up the Cement Road and will work with UPRR and the City of Portland on the route proposed last fall which now known as the “Albina Yards alignment.”

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Progress on North Portland Greenway in St. Johns area

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

The newest piece of the North Portland Greenway
is this paved path through cedar trees in Pier Park.
(Photo by NPGreenway)

There’s progress being made on the North Portland Greenway, a project that will someday connect the existing Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge with a biking and walking path all the way to the Columbia River north of St. Johns.

According to photos and an email sent to us by NPGreenway Core Team co-chairperson Francie Royce, the City of Portland is currently building the new bridge and paved trail that will connect Chimney Park and Pier Park (north of downtown St. Johns). Currently, the two parks are separated by a gulch that provides right of way for a Union Pacific Railroad line that leads to nearby industrial areas.

As we reported last year, the Pier-Chimney Bridge that spans between the two parks attracted protests from tree conservation advocates. That dispute was resolved amicably and construction is on pace to be completed this year. The estimated price of the 120-foot long bridge is $1.7 million which was funded through a federal grant and $220,000 from the City of Portland.

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New route through rail yard could link up North Portland Greenway

The City and Union Pacific Railroad are in talks about
how to connect the NP Greenway path between
Swan Island and lower Albina.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

As the route of the long-planned North Portland Greenway comes before Portland city council this week, there’s a new possibility in the mix that could vastly improve one of the project’s most glaring gaps: the segment between Swan Island and the Eastbank Esplanade.

Union Pacific Railroad and city planners are now looking into a possible “alternative” route through UP’s Albina rail yard that could allow what the npGreenway group described as “car-free access through Lower Albina.” This development comes after Mayor Charlie Hales described on-again, off-again talks between the City and UPRR as “going very well” as of last May. Back then, the Mayor met with UPRR officials to discuss the project.

According to PBOT Active Transportation Division Manager Dan Bower, following that meeting, the president of UPRR committed to finding a solution. Their proposal is to offer the City a 20-foot wide, two mile long piece of land on the east side of the railyard adjacent to N Greeley Ave. The proposal would take path users to Interstate and Russell. Bower says PBOT has done some preliminary designs and cost estimates but they haven’t made any final decisions.

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