Located on North Willamette Boulevard and North Harvard Street, near the southeast corner of the University of Portland, Waud Bluff, a steep bluff rises over Swan Island. This is the point of origin for the Waud Bluff Trail, a 1,700 ft. path that will enable commuters and other trail users to enjoy improved grading and a paved surface down to swan Island once it is completed. Other benefits of the Waud Bluff Trail project include the addition of native plantings, a concrete landing at the trailhead on Willamette Blvd, and creation of a pedestrian island and crosswalk on Willamette Blvd to address longstanding concerns about access to the trail and the TriMet bus stop.
Construction efforts on the long-anticipated trail began in September 2011 and are slated for completion late summer/early fall 2012. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) began survey and preliminary work on the new Waud Bluff Trail in North Portland during late September 2011 and secured a construction contract with Colf Construction to complete the work.
“The Waud Bluff project will provide a vital and safe connection to Swan Island, the Willamette River, and the future North Portland Greenway Trail,” says PP&R Project Manager and Landscape Architect George Lozovoy. “Without this new connector, the only safe route down the bluff for neighbors and commuters is to use North Going Street – three miles away. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on this project.”
New retaining walls will help stabilize the trail on the steep bluff, and a new bridge will allow users safer access over active Union Pacific railroad tracks. The US Coast Guard station on Swan Island plans to use the steep trail for physical training.
*Due to the construction, commuters to Swan Island should note that access to Swan Island will only be accessible via Going Street, a 3 mile detour (see above map), from now through late summer/early fall 2012. Construction fencing is expected to go up in November 2011. Once the project fencing is in place, access will be closed from Willamette Blvd to Swan Island via the Waud Bluff trail for the duration of the project (Fall 2012). During construction, the bus stop will be temporarily moved to a nearby location.
Work on the Waud Bluff Trail has begun after many years of working through the complicated details of engineering, property ownership, and easements. PP&R thanks the community for their support and advocacy for this effort, and we look forward to celebrating the re-opening of this trail with you.
PP&R recognizes its valued partners in this project:
The Swan Island Business Association, UPS, the US Coast Guard and Adidas have been strong and vocal advocates of the project ever since PP&R applied for project funding.
The Waud Bluff Trail project evolved from several previous planning efforts including the North Beach Study, the North Portland Willamette Greenway Feasibility Study, and the Swan Island Trails Action Plan. As a result, City Council approved inclusion of this trail in the Transportation System Plan. MTIP (Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Project) funding of $1,175,376 (with $134,524 local match) was secured in 2005.
Metro provided $202,936 for the trail project via a Congressional Earmark to Metro for trail construction. The earmark was sponsored by Representative Earl Blumenauer. Metro is working with ODOT and PP&R to secure the funding to the City. Metro supported PPR’s request for funding for the trail, and the Waud Bluff project could not have proceeded without the “Metro Earmark” funds. We are pleased that Meeky Blizzard, Sustainable Cities staffer to Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Portland, will attend. Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder has been invited.
Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services created a Community Benefit Opportunity (CBO) grant that helped with nearly $200,000 in funding for the Waud Bluff trail project.
The Oregon Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration contributed a further $1,966,950 towards the total project cost of $3,207,129.
For further information about this project, please contact Susan Watt, Construction Manager, Portland Parks & Recreation