[Posted November 13, 2020]
Submitted by William Gallagher/SW Trails PDX
One of the future benefits of the new Boones Ferry Bridge currently being built next to Tryon Creek State Park could be the completion of a six-mile regional trail passing through a coniferous canyon and connecting the Hillsdale neighborhood and Lake Oswego.
The bridge is being built by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Service and will accommodate cars and bicycles. It’s the centerpiece of an $8.8 million project designed to improve fish flows in Tryon Creek. A detour for traffic on Boones Ferry Road is expected to last several more months.
Conceived 25 years ago, the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail has been a work in progress since SWTrails PDX first laid out Trail Six of the Southwest Urban Trail Plan in the year 2000. That was the year the Portland City Council approved the plan. In 2005 the regional government Metro designated it as a Regional Pedestrian Trail.
Now, a team of volunteers is petitioning the Oregon Department of Transportation for a grant to help build two new trail sections along Arnold Creek and Owl Creek west of that new bridge. Hikers will have access to those trails from a pedestrian path under the bridge. Blazing those two trails would mean hikers could make it through the stretch between Taylors Ferry Road and Boones Ferry Road without ever leaving Marshall Park.
Don Baack, SWTrails PDX founder and lead advocate, said the possibility of a grant from the Oregon Community Paths Program run by the Oregon Department of Transportation could finally make the difference.
“Yes, there are some hurdles, but given I have been at this for 25 plus years, the light at the end of the tunnel is now an LED with fully charged batteries,” he said.
Details of the funding request are still being worked out with project partners. The parcels of forest land involved are owned by the City of Portland, the State of Oregon and Metro. The proposal from SWTrails PDX will include hundreds of volunteer hours considered to be worth thousands of dollars. If funding is secured, SWTrails PDX volunteers could get to work building the trails by the summer of 2021, pandemic conditions permitting.
Major stretches of the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail have already been built and are maintained by those same volunteers. These include the Raz-Baack Crossing at Stephens Creek between Bertha Boulevard and SW 19th Street.
Because Trail Six runs from Goose Hollow to Tryon Creek State Park, it’s currently possible to hike from Hillsdale to Lake Oswego, but the route that will be designated the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail includes some stretches of pedestrian-unfriendly walking along Taylors Ferry Road and Southwest 18th Street.
For a map and more details of the planned Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Trail visit the SWTrails PDX website at SWTrails.org.
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