By Garlynn Woodsong | CNA Board Member, SW1 CNA LUTC Chair
For years, neighbors in Concordia have joined with folks in other northeast Portland neighborhoods to advocate for the construction of more regional bicycle and pedestrian trail connections.
One trail in particular has captured the imagination of many: a trail connecting downtown Portland, through northeast Portland east to the Rocky Butte area and beyond, ultimately to the Columbia River Gorge to connect up with the historic highway state trail there.
This was called the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail Project when Portland City Council voted in 2012 in favor of it. It has since evolved to become known as the Rose Quarter to the Gorge Trail Project, and now the Coast to the Gorge Trail.
Indeed, Metro has previously discussed a concept known as the Infinity Loop for multi-day excursions. It would involve multiple trails heading out of Portland in all directions, connecting with one another at their ends to loop back and return to Portland without needing to retrace steps.
All of these visions for greater bicycle and pedestrian network connectivity could soon take one step closer to reality.
In June the Metro Council voted to send a ballot measure to voters to renew the parks and nature bond. If voters approve the bond measure in November, it would maintain the current tax rate of 19.cents per $1,000 of assessed value (about $4 a month for a home assessed at $250,000).
Among many other worthy funding categories – such as the purchase and restoration of new land from willing sellers to improve water, fish and wildlife habitat – the bond would include $40 million in funding for walking and biking trails. Metro would secure rights to build new trails and construct missing trail sections to complete projects identified in Metro’s regional plan for a network of walking and biking paths.
The Coast to the Gorge Trail would fall entirely on trail sections identified in Metro’s regional trail plan, so this funding could be applied to begin acquiring rights of way and engaging in trail planning if the bond passes.
Voters approved Metro parks and nature bond measures in 1995 and 2006, and local-option levies in 2013 and 2016, to protect and care for land, improve water quality and increase access to nature for people close to home.
As with those measures, all spending of a potential 2019 bond would be monitored by a community oversight committee and subject to annual audits.
Garlynn Woodsong lives on 29th Avenue, serves on the CNA board and is an avid bicyclist. He also is a dad who is passionate about the city his son will inherit. He is the planning + development partner with Cascadia Partners LLC, a local urban planning firm. Contact him at LandUse@ConcordiaPDX.org.