Build Inspiring Trails

Most of us are familiar with the Springwater Trail. It is both a recreational destination and daily transportation corridor. The trail helps people get from their homes and through the southern part of Portland to jobs downtown and destinations across the city.The Springwater Trail, and trails like it, are very popular with residents and tourists. We need to learn from this type of trail. We need to recognize their popularity and potential and plan accordingly by offering dedicated space for people walking or rolling more slowly.

An inspiring network of trails will connect town centers, residential neighborhoods, and outdoor destinations with smooth, paved space for everyone including daily commuters, families headed to the park, and senior citizens on a stroll.


North Portland GreenwayA safe, flat, scenic, direct route between St Johns and downtown Portland would serve thousands of commuters and connect residents throughout the area with jobs in downtown and on Swan Island. The Swan Island Industrial District alone is home to over 11,000 jobs, yet bicycle access to the area is currently restricted to one narrow sidewalk and a steep climb up N Going St.

Construction of the North Portland Greenway Trail, including an alignment with the Ash Grove Cement Road, will continue the popular eastside waterfront trail from Kelly Point Park and St. Johns down to the Steel Bridge and the Eastbank Esplanade, creating a regional trail over 12 miles long.

The completed route will also be a popular with families to wanting to reach Pier Park skatepark and the beaches of Kelly Point Park and will provide an important connection between downtown and Forest Park via the St Johns Bridge.

Portland to Lake Oswego
Less than four miles south of the Sellwood bridge, Lake Oswego is Portland’s most difficult suburb to reach by bike. The most direct route, Hwy 43, is so unpleasant that many people opt to ride further and climb twice as high on SW Terwilliger Blvd. There is a 3.5-mile route that would allow easy, flat access from Lake Oswego to the Sellwood Bridge.By converting the old Lake Oswego Trolley line and tunnel into to a multi-use path, the trip between the Sellwood Bridge and Lake Oswego would turn from a grueling climb to a safe, pleasant, family-friendly trip by bicycle or a mere hour-long walk.

North of the Sellwood Bridge, there is also work to be done on the existing Willamette Greenway trail. Sharp turns, narrow paths, and rough pavement will not safely accommodate the high volumes of bicycle and foot traffic expected after the new Sellwood Bridge is complete.

Gresham-Fairview Trail
As a key north-south connector in east Multnomah County, the 5 mile trail will ultimately connect the Springwater Trail and the Marine Drive Trail, two existing trails with regional significance. Three miles of the Gresham-Fairview Trail have already been built and only an additional 2 miles, north of the existing trail, need to be constructed.Once this missing gap is completed, people will be able to ride a 40-mile loop around east Multnomah County, providing access the natural areas along Johnson Creek, Fairview Creek, the Columbia Slough, and the Columbia River.

Westside Trail
Washington County residents are hungry for off-street opportunities to ride bikes for transportation and recreation. There is a plan for a much-needed off-street, north-south connector in Washington County known as the Westside Trail.Nine non-consecutive miles of the 24-mile trail have been constructed but the plan is to extend the existing trail segments to connect the Tualatin River to the Willamette River at the St. John’s Bridge. The completed trail will connect nearly 120,000 residents to jobs, services, schools, natural areas, and public transit hubs.

We need to build all 24 planned miles of the trail and anticipate its wild popularity by building separate bicycle and pedestrian paths and safe mid-block crossings.

An inspiring long term trail vision: Hood to Coast Trail Network
While not specifically one of our Blueprint projects because of its broader scope and timeline, we offer the following bold vision for trails.In 2011, the Portland metro area welcomed close to 8 million visitors who generated nearly $4 billion in direct spending. Portland’s bicycle-friendliness is a well-known part of its identity and many tourists visiting Portland ride bicycles during their visit.

We envision a trail network where people can ride bikes the 130 miles from Government Camp to the Oregon Coast. By linking existing trails and building out the missing pieces, people will travel to Oregon for this destination trail as they do for Missouri’s Katy Trail or Quebec’s Route Vert.