SW Trails Year in Review, Preview of What's Ahead

[Posted December 17, 2021]


Contributed by SWTrails PDX


SWTrails PDX, a volunteer non-profit, wears many hats in the SW Community: An urban trail advocacy group, its members plan, build, and maintain new trails, map walking routes, and lead free hikes each month.


Along with an end-of-year report on items accomplished and plans for the coming year, SWTrails issues the following invitations to SW Community residents:

  • Join SWTrails to support the work of the organization and take pride in being part of the progress.

  • Take a hike. On Saturday, January 8, meet at 8:45am at the Barbur Transit Center (9712 SW Barbur Blvd) for a 6-mile hike with 770 feet elevation change. On the following Saturday, January 15, the hike starts at 9am at the Hillsdale Food Park at the north entrance to Ida B. Wells High School, at the corner of SW Sunset and Capitol Hwy. More details available at SWTrails.org.

  • Attend the monthly SWTrails board meeting via Zoom at 7pm on Thursday, January 27th. Visit SWTrails.org for the agenda and Zoom connection details.

2020-2021 SWTrails PDX Accomplishments

  • Over 3,000 volunteer hours were completed on behalf of our trails and the organization.

  • The completion of the Boones Ferry Road Bridge over Tryon Creek at Arnold provided a trail underpass of a very busy arterial. The underpass trail is a key component of the planned Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Pedestrian Trail. SWTrails advocates worked to secure Metro funding and shape the plan for a bridge to walk under rather than a culvert to walk through.

  • Construction began on the Red Electric Trail Multimodal Bridge connecting SW Capitol Highway with SW Bertha. This project is the first capital investment in the long-planned Red Electric Trail, which will connect the Fanno Creek Trail to the Willamette Greenway via Hillsdale and the Hooley Pedestrian Bridge (also known as the Gibbs St. Pedestrian Bridge). SWTrails began planning this route in 1997.

  • Funding was earmarked by State Senator Rob Wagner and State Representative Andrea Salinas to complete the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Pedestrian Trail. Funds will go to: Oregon State Parks to complete a half-mile of trail; SWTrails to improve the existing trail on SW 19th Avenue; Portland Bureau of Transportation to build a short segment of sidewalk and a crosswalk at SW 17th and Taylors Ferry Road; and SWTrails to coordinate the signage design and installation for the entire route of more than six miles. Work is expected to begin in 2023 or earlier.

  • Funding was earmarked by former Senator Ginny Burdick for planning and implementation of an additional portion of the Red Electric Trail west of Hillsdale in the Hayhurst neighborhood. This may be a 2023 project as well.

  • With a ban on social gatherings due to COVID, SWTrails volunteers mapped and wrote up directions for over 35 self-led hikes. We now offer more than 200 miles of unique hikes throughout SW Portland at our website. More than 70,000 users have visited our website to enjoy these hikes over the past 12 months.

  • SWTrails volunteers rebuilt or repaired many segments of our 46-mile trail network. Those repairs included: Trail 1 south of Fairmount; Trail 6 north of Hillsdale; Trails 1 and 7 west of 42nd; Trail 5 in Dickinson Park, as well as many others. Volunteers also helped keep the blackberries and English ivy at bay along the trails. SWTrails thanks the many members of the community who helped with this effort.

  • The signage for the 46 miles SW Urban Trail network is nearing completion with the planned installation of signs in Gabriel Park and recently-completed signage at Lewis & Clark College. This concludes a 20-year effort resulting in the installation of over 600 wayfinding signs.

  • Successful SWTrails sponsorship of an Eagle Scout trail rebuilding project in Dickinson Park.

  • Volunteers removed more than 20 trees that fell onto SWTrails and Portland Parks & Recreation trails during storms.

  • Several miles of trail routes were swept of leaves to make walking safer.

  • Twice-monthly walks resumed in June 2021 and continue to be very well attended.

SWTrails plans for 2022 and 2023 (as permits and funding are available)

  • Seek permits to repair Trail 1 from SW Twombly to SW Melville, create a new connection at SW 25th and SW Seymour, create a new trail on SW 26th from Texas north and begin efforts to improve Trail 4 at 10th and Canby.

  • Build new trail on a portion of the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Pedestrian Trail on Portland Parks property, from the north end of Marshall Park to SW 17th and Taylors Fy Rd, if Portland Parks Department obtains permits.

  • Repair a portion of the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Trail on SW 19th from Moss to Capitol Hill Road if funding from earmarks becomes available during the year and permits are forthcoming.

  • Perform trail maintenance on Portland Parks trails first Thursday each month and participate in the “Individual Volunteer” trail maintenance program of Portland Parks. Projects will include: improving the trail from the south end of Marshall Park to SW 11th; rebuild steps in Woods Park; improvements to the existing Raz Baack Crossing of Stephens Creek Natural Area; repair damaged fences in many areas.

  • If called on by Oregon State Parks, build a portion of the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Pedestrian Trail on Tryon Creek Park property after earmark funds are available.

  • Work with the SW Transportation Committee of SWNI to identify and set priorities for improving the crosswalks on city streets throughout SW Portland.

  • Add more self-led walks to our existing inventory.

  • Develop a website for Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Pedestrian Trail when earmarked funds become available.

  • Implementation of the fiscal sponsorship with the SW Volunteer Tool Library if they succeed in securing a site for the library.

  • Begin the coordination of the design, acquisition, and installation of signage for the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego Regional Trail when earmarked funding becomes available.

  • Continue monthly hikes on 2nd and 3rd Saturdays, weather permitting

  • Participate in Multnomah Days Parade; staff a booth.

  • Hold monthly meetings on the 4th Thursday of each month (the 3rd Thursday November and December).