The Portland Bureau of Environmental Services announces the substantial completion of a major habitat restoration and bridge-building project over Tryon Creek and the reopening of SW Boones Ferry Road at SW Arnold Street on Friday evening, April 16.
The new Tryon Creek bridge allows the creek to flow freely. It replaces an aging culvert that had restricted water flow, causing erosion and flood surges while blocking fish and wildlife. The new 125-foot span includes two travel lanes, wide sidewalks and a trail for people and wildlife underneath it.
The bridge and road open around 6 p.m. Friday. Crews will continue working underneath the bridge in the coming weeks, but that work is unlikely to affect travel.
“The Tryon Creek bridge and restoration project offers much to celebrate for people, fish, and wildlife,” said Commissioner Mingus Mapps. “The opening of the bridge marks the culmination of many years of hard work and collaboration by the community and government agencies. It will serve our community for many years to come.”
To build the bridge, crews worked since February 2020, pivoting to meet new COVID-19 guidelines a month after construction began and adjusting schedules and procedures to stay safe during the pandemic.
They removed the road bed and the aging culvert, restoring the stream bed, and installed native plants along the stream banks. They also built a new pedestrian and wildlife trail under the bridge to connect with the area’s existing popular trail network.
“The culvert was a barrier, the bridge is a connector,” Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan has said, “Instead of squeezing the creek into a dark corrugated pipe, the bridge allows one of Portland’s most important streams to flow freely.”
Tryon Creek is considered one of Portland’s healthiest streams, and is home to native cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish. The larger watershed is home to beaver, deer and other wildlife.
Community groups have been long time advocates for this project.
The SW Boones Ferry Bridge and Restoration Project cost is $8.8 million, with the majority being funded by Environmental Services. Metro provided a $650,000 grant through its Nature in the Neighborhood program.
Other project partners are: Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and community groups including Tryon Creek Watershed Council, SWTrails PDX, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, SWNI Transportation Committee, Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association and adjacent and nearby property owners.
With the new bridge, only one major culvert remains downstream on Tryon Creek. Planning is underway with the US Army Corps of Engineers for removal of that Highway 43 culvert near the creek’s confluence with the Willamette River. That would open Tryon Creek’s prime habitat to endangered Willamette River salmon and steelhead.
The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.