Tour the Gresham-Fairview Trail: East Portland's Newest Trail Link

Metro Councilor Shirley Craddick joined staff from the City of Gresham, Metro, and the Intertwine Alliance on National Bike to Work Day on a bike tour to learn more about the Gresham-Fairview Trail in east Multnomah County. Funded through the 2006 Metro Bond Measure levy and the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Gresham-Fairview Trail is currently 3.3 miles of uninterrupted bicycle and pedestrian right of way that will extend an additional 1.9 miles north once completed to its full length. This trail will provide an important link between the Springwater Corridor and NE Marine Drive, two important bicycle and pedestrian routes that help comprise the Portland region’s signature 40-Mile Loop.

The tour began at the Linnemann Station Trailhead, named for Oregon Trail settlers and early Gresham-area residents Catherine and John Linnemann, which was formerly a railroad station on the 1903 Springwater Division rail line. Councilor Craddick noted that she remembers as a child riding the Troutdale branch of the Inter-Urban streetcar, whose right of way the Springwater Corridor now follows.

The tour group headed north, stopping to allow the City of Gresham’s staff to discuss the newly opened trail crossing over Powell Boulevard. This bridge, funded through the federal Transportation Enhancement funds and the City of Gresham’s System Development Charges, provides excellent views of nearby Grant Butte, Mt Hood and Gresham’s Southwest Community Park from above the busy street. Gresham staff noted that this bridge also marks the edges of two different watersheds; rainwater north of Powell Boulevard flows along trail on Fairview Creek before eventually meeting the Columbia Slough and River, while rainwater south of Powell drains west through Johnson Creek into the Willamette. The nearby Southwest Community Park is also home to a variety of wetlands wildlife, including herons and turtles.
On the next stop on the tour, the Gresham-Fairview Trail crossed the MAX Blue Line Light Rail near the Ruby Junction light rail stop. Gresham staffers noted excitedly that the city is currently planning the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian path that would parallel the MAX Line heading east from the Gresham-Fairview trail and connecting to downtown Gresham. Councilor Craddick noted that this 2.3 mile trail expansion provides a significant opportunity for economic development around Gresham’s transit stations and would providing increased mobility and recreation options for east county residents.
Gresham’s staff discussed the future expansion of the trail from NE Halsey Street to NE Marine Drive, highlighting that a segment of the trail had already been completed and that the city was continuing to work on the final phases of acquisition and planning. The tour ended by exploring the Columbia Slough Regional Stormwater Treatment Facility, which provides habitat for native species and uses native vegetation to filter runoff water from the nearby industrial sites before it enters the Columbia River. The Gresham-Fairview Trail will eventually cross through this beautiful natural space, providing a large park only a short bike ride from residential neighborhoods in east Multnomah County.