07-15-2024  4:26 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather

Photos of the Columbia Slough Trail project after completion are courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR.
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 16 February 2024

Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) recently completed a project to improve nearly a mile of Portland’s popular Columbia Slough Trail. The segment that crosses the Big Four Corners Natural Area was in bad condition. In addition to ruts in the trail, encroaching vegetation narrowed the trail width. The worn condition of the trail limited accessibility and public use, and was impacting the quality of the area’s habitat and wildlife.

The entire project, which cost just over $1 million, was funded by Parks System Development Charges (SDCs), not General Fund tax dollars. SDCs are one-time fees assessed on new development in Portland. These fees help ensure that, as the city grows in population, its quality of life keeps pace with its infrastructure needs.

Vibrant Communities Commissioner Dan Ryan directed the final allocation of development funds to bring the project across the finish line.

“The project brings this popular trail into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards,” said Commissioner Ryan. “It also makes the trail more appealing for people walking, pushing strollers, and using mobility devices.”

Two more key benefits of the trail improvement project are that it gives first responders much easier access to the area, and that the new trail surface reduces maintenance needs considerably.

Along with PP&R’s trail improvement efforts, the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services Natural Systems team is doing restoration work in the area. Their goal is to enhance the habitat and water quality in the Morrow Pond area for the benefit of western painted turtles and other wildlife.

The City of Portland acquired the Columbia Slough Trail property in portions between 2002 and 2005. Since then, the Bureau of Environmental Services and PP&R have coordinated on trail and natural area management of the property to maximize Morrow Pond’s ability to absorb stormwater, enhance the quality of the area’s habitat and wildlife, and provide recreation opportunities and enjoyment of the area by the public. 

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