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Traffic Advisory: West Burnside to remain CLOSED through the weekend after landslide damages power lines, sends large trees and hundreds of yards of debris onto roadway

Traffic Advisory


(12:35 p.m., Jan. 13, 2020) The Portland Bureau of Transportation advises the traveling public that a landslide has led to the closure of West Burnside, which will remain closed until trees, power lines and other debris can be cleared. The roadway may reopen by Monday morning, Jan. 18.

At about 11 p.m. Tuesday night, a landslide pushed what appears to be hundreds of cubic yards of debris from Forest Park onto West Burnside. About a half dozen large trees are down, with others looming over the roadway. At least one appears to be leaning on the Barbara Walker Crossing, Portland Parks & Recreation’s pedestrian bridge that opened in 2019 to safely connect the popular Wildwood Trail across West Burnside.

Electric utility crews are securing the area today, removing power lines and poles. Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry crews expect to need around two days of work to clear the trees. It could take additional days for PBOT crews to clear the remaining debris in and alongside the roadway, clear debris and trees that threaten the road, and make the hillside safe. A guardrail appears to be damaged and drainage ditches in the area are overflowing.

We urge the public to avoid the area if at all possible. Use alternate routes, including U.S. 26, U.S. 30 and NW Cornell Road. Use extreme caution on detour routes nearest the closure, which may include narrow streets in the area.

Obey all traffic signage, road closures and detours. Eastbound traffic is detoured at Skyline Road. Westbound traffic is detoured at SW Tichner Drive.

Trees and other debris created disruptions across Portland. Northwest Germantown Road is closed between Skyline and U.S. 30, SW Council Crest is closed between Beaverton Ave and Chehalem Ave, and SW Montgomery is closed from SW Vista to SW 16th Ave. Work on those incidents is on-going and estimates on reopening are not available.

The City expects that the Barbara Walker Crossing and the adjacent portions of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R)’s Wildwood Trail will need to remain closed for about a week. We ask that people help us respond safely and swiftly to this emergency by staying out of the area.  Before the trail and bridge can safely open, PGE must complete their work to alleviate any electrical safety issues, Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry crews must remove all trees and branches, and the City must complete a structural engineering assessment on the bridge, which is stationed above West Burnside. PP&R will post updates on social media and on our Trail Closures page, portland.gov/parks/nature/trail-closures-and-delays.

PP&R Urban Forestry estimates that work to safely remove the fallen trees in the area may take two days, but that is an estimate. Urban Forestry crews have received  nearly 100 reports of tree emergencies citywide and thank Portlanders for their patience while they work to address them all, with attention to the largest impacts first.

Please call 503-823-TREE or email trees@portlandoregon.gov if you see a tree emergency anywhere on public roads or City property in Portland. With multiple emergencies, the City prioritizes those which affect the most people first, mitigating hazards and clearing major roads and thoroughfares for emergency vehicle use. Crews work their way from the largest boulevards to smaller roads and streets. Please remain on the lookout for Portland Parks & Recreation tree crews and for unexpected hazards, such as downed trees or branches which have not yet been addressed.

Barbara Walker Crossing in January 2021, when it sustained damage from a landslide and falling trees.
Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR
Photo showing three city staff in hard hats, masks, and safety vests at the site of a landslide on W Burnside Street. In the background you can see fallen trees, including one against the Barbara Walker Crossing over the road.
Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR
Photo of Barbara Walker Crossing over W Burnside Street, showing effects of landslide, including a tree fallen on the bridge
Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR
Photo of Barbara Walker Crossing over W Burnside Street, showing large tree fallen on the bridge
Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR


Dylan Rivera

Public Information Officer, PBOT