Portland Parks and Recreation Commissioner Nick Fish announced at a press conference this morning that the four-month closure of the Springwater Corridor path will last for just 10 more days. The path — a vital connection for thousands of people who walk and roll between Sellwood and downtown Portland — has been closed since July 9th and is now set to open on-time on November 1st.[Read more…]
The Tram announced the change of plans today:
“Members of the repair team worked 20 hours a day in two shifts, employed innovative repair techniques and also enjoyed the benefit of excellent weather. This combination of factors led to the scheduled track rope maintenance work being completed in 16 days instead of the originally scheduled five weeks.”
The Portland Parks & Recreation bureau is bracing for budget cuts that could have a significant impact to marquee paths citywide.
There are two line items in the budget advocates are focusing on: One of them would slash funding for path maintenance; the other would offer a much-needed boost for the beloved Eastbank Esplanade.
UPDATE, 6/27: The start date of the closure has been pushed back to July 9th so the path will be open for the busy 4th of July and Waterfront Blues Festival Weekend.
“It’s going to be uncomfortable. We know that. No option will be as good as the Springwater. We know that. But it’s temporary, and at least we have options now.”
That’s how Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Program Coordinator Ronda Fast described the upcoming four-month closure of the Springwater Corridor path that will impact many Portlanders this summer. Fast was at the BAC meeting to explain how BES will handle the diversion of thousands of daily bicycling trips that currently use the Springwater to get between Sellwood and downtown Portland.
The meeting came just a few days after we reported that BES rejected a detour proposal by the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE, the neighborhood association). The disagreement stems from how best to handle thousands of bike trips per day that will be forced off the Springwater and onto other routes due to a major project to salmon habitat at Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. BES wants to direct people either to the west side of the Willamette River (on a circuitous, narrow and poorly maintained greenway path), or onto the SE 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway — which is 10 blocks east of the Springwater. The neighborhood proposed what they feel is a more direct and safer route on 14th/15th and SE Milwaukie — where they asked for temporary bike lanes in space currently used for on-street auto parking.
BES says the neighborhood’s proposal is not feasible and is “out of scope” for the project.
The Portland Bureau of Environmental Service (BES) has already broken ground on a major project to enhance the habitat of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. It’s an exciting project for fish who swim in the Willamette; but for humans who ride bicycles it comes with a relatively high cost of convenience.
A major project to improve wildlife habitat at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge will come with a full closure of one the busiest biking corridors in Portland.
Starting this July, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), Portland Parks and Recreation and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, plans to close the Springwater Corridor path between Oaks Amusement Park and the Oaks Bottom Trail for up to 120 days. Contractors will use the path to stage construction vehicles and move material.
When this same project was first proposed back in 2010 (it was ultimately delayed), it raised major concerns with the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee. Members of that committee urged BES to use the adjacent railroad right-of-way in order to keep the path open. This time around, the City and the Corps of Engineers incorporated feedback from the community and designed a plan that incorporates barge access and/or rail as a primary haul route. However, the Springwater closure is still necessary to safely complete the culvert and channel grading work in the refuge.
The latest City bike counts show that about 2,800 people ride this section of the path on an average weekday and that number more than doubles on the weekends. The closure is on the same section of path we recently highlighted as one of the top ten most popular Strava segments in the country.
One of Portland’s most iconic paths has made it on the list of Strava’s all-time busiest bikeways. Referred to as “segments” by the popular ride-logging app, a 1.6 mile section of the Springwater Corridor between the Ross Island Bridge and Oaks Bottom Park in Westmoreland has been ridden 144,392 times by 11,878 people (as of this morning).
This is how easy bikecamping can be: Just 30 easy miles east of downtown Portland lies a campground at the edge of the forest nestled between two rivers.
And the best part? The first 20 miles are on the carfree Eastbank Esplanade and Springwater Corridor paths. And by the time you leave this safe riding sanctuary, you’re far enough into the country where you can often see more horses and pigs than cars.