The Sellwood Gap (SE Umatilla to SE 13th Avenue) trail project will help close the gap between the Springwater on the Willamette Trail with the Springwater Corridor Trail by providing an off-street 12-foot path parallel to the Oregon Pacific mainline track from SE Umatilla to SE 13th Avenue.
Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) values our urban tree canopy and recognizes all the things trees give us – clean air and water, shade, habitat for wildlife, beauty, and more. Removing trees is not a decision PP&R makes lightly. PP&R evaluated many alternatives to try and keep the trees, but the site conditions - such as soil and slope – along with state and federal regulations (like ADA) inform our needed actions.
We have worked with our Urban Forestry Manager closely on this project, and at this time PP&R anticipates removing 34 trees – many already in poor condition, at the end of their life cycles, or located underneath power lines - to provide a safe and functional trail. 54 trees remain. PP&R plans to plant 37 new, native trees nearby to help mitigate the impact, along with making a payment to the City’s tree mitigation fund for a further 39 new trees.
Additionally, we are working with the USDA to ensure the wildlife are not affected, specifically relating to the Migratory Bird Act. The to-be-planted trees will be native and hybridized species which will provide a larger opportunity for environmental benefits, and possible nesting habitats in years to come.
The Springwater Corridor consists of 17 miles of paved trail and is one of the most heavily used multi-modal recreational and commuter trails in Oregon.
The western-most three-mile section of the trail, known as Springwater on the Willamette, was completed in the fall of 2002. This segment of the trail extends from SE 4th Avenue and Ivon Street near the Ross Island Bridge to SE Umatilla Street, just south of the Sellwood Bridge.
Another segment of the trail called the Three Bridges Section extends from east of SE 19th Avenue and Ochoco Street which then connects to the original section of the Springwater Corridor Trail that continues through Gresham to just past the Clackamas County line at Rugg Road. Presently, a gap exists between the Springwater on the Willamette Trail (ending at SE Umatilla) and the Three Bridges portion of the Springwater Corridor Trail (starting at SE 19th Avenue). The 2006 Metro Springwater Missing Gap Study recommended an alignment that would connect the trail segments utilizing the same railroad corridor and provide a direct and seamless connection. In the mean-time an interim “on street” route that starts at SE Umatilla and heads east and then south on SE 19th Avenue serves as the connection with the Three Bridges Section and the rest of the Springwater Corridor.
Wednesday, February 27 | 7:30pm – 9:00pm
SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Avenue
Thank you to all who joined Portland Parks & Recreation for an open house public information session on the project to learn about any impacts to the neighborhood during construction and what neighbors can expect in the way of added benefits from the new Sellwood Gap Trail. If you have continuing questions or concerns, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator, Ken Rumbaugh at 503-823-5131 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Portland Parks Urban Forestry representative, Dylan Saito, has contacted all residents who will experience any loss of trees and/or shrubs in the right of way adjacent to their home. The Approved Street Tree Lists has been shared with all parties, and we look forward to continuing to work with these families to replace any trees removed to accommodate the required ADA improvements for our project.
- All YIELD signs on the roadway (where a road crosses the trail) will be replaced with STOP signs. Automobile traffic will be required to come to a complete stop before crossing any point of the trail. At this point, for cyclist and pedestrian safety, there will also be STOP signs on the trail at all crossings. In these instances, the cyclist(s) and/or pedestrian(s) will have the right of way.
- Portland Parks & Recreation re-examined the proposed cut slope, and subsequent need to remove trees from the Metro property between SE 9th Ave. and SE 11th Ave. After on on-site meeting with Portland Parks & Recreation, PP&R Land Stewardship representatives, PP&R Urban Forestry staff, and Planning and Construction Division staff to discuss the possible use of a 1:1 foot cut slope (45 degrees), initial and long-term impacts to trees, and wildlife and pollinator habitat. We also discussed the feasibility of establishing a new landscape planted on a 1:1 cut slope, erosion concerns, the risk to adjacent trees roots remaining after using a 1:1 cut slope, and the short and long-term effects of cost, safety, operation, maintenance and function of that section of trail. We concluded that it is in the best interest of all stakeholders - trail users, PP&R and Metro (the property owner) - to keep the 3:1 (H:V) graded slope on that section of trail.
- A 3:1 (H:V; meaning for every 3 feet of horizontal distance, it raises vertically by 1 foot) is an acceptable standard for shared use paths that can be easily established with plants, as a low risk of erosion and is a slope that is reasonable to maintain adjacent to a trail while providing a higher level of comfort to cyclists.
- Because there is adequate Metro property or grading a flatter slope, using a retaining wall was ruled out. A retaining wall would increase cost, design and construction complexity due to railroad tracks and PGE transmission poles and towers without sufficient justification to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for additional funding. A retaining wall is included on the design drawings for the section between SE 13th and SE 17th because private property is directly adjacent to the trail, and there was no option but to use a retaining wall on that stretch.
- We have worked with our Urban Forestry Manager closely on this project, and at this time PP&R anticipates removing 34 trees – many already in poor condition, at the end of their life cycles, or located underneath power lines - to provide a safe and functional trail. 54 trees remain. PP&R plans to plant 37 new, native trees nearby to help mitigate the impact, along with making a payment to the City’s tree mitigation fund for a further 39 new trees.
- As part of the original design of the project, new landscaping will be installed between SE Marion and SE 11th Ave. This landscaping will consist of the following:
- 200 Creeping Mahonia (Oregon Grape), 200 Common Strawberry, 200 Red Twig Dogwood, 200 Pacific Ninebark, 200 Red flowering Currant (in clusters of 3-5 along the trail)
- Seeding for Blue Wildrye, California Brome Grass, and Bluebunch Fescue (Wheatgrass) along the trail edges.
- We are working with the USDA to ensure the wildlife are not affected, specifically relating to the Migratory Bird Act. The to-be-planted trees will be native and hybridized species which will provide a larger opportunity for environmental benefits, and possible nesting habitats in years to come.
February – July 2019