Self-powered citizens celebrate ‘Three Bridges’ trail section

No one drove to this party! Learn why several organizations got together to throw a springtime bash for the newest portion of the SpringwaterTrail that links inner SE Portland  to the trail leading to Gresham‚

Sisters Pat Farris, Barbara Swails and Michaele Gregg take their Saturday morning “power walk” across the McLaughlin Blvd. Bridge.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Although the inner SE Portland Three Bridges section portion of the Springwater Trail was dedicated last fall, that didn’t stop Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) from coordinating a “Springtime Three Bridges Celebration” on May 19.

The new Three Bridges section, connects Portland to Milwaukie via bridges over SE McLoughlin Boulevard, the Union Pacific Railroad and Johnson Creek.

“With the advent of spring,” explains Beth Sorensen, PP&R media and events officer, “we wanted to have a celebration that helps people learn about national environment along the trail, bike safety, the recreational opportunities out in this area and the neighborhoods.”

The 1.5 mile celebration route soon filled with pedestrians, bicyclists and in-line skaters. Along the route, participants were treated to snacks, water and information from a variety of participants, including the Portland Office of Transportation and Bureau of Environmental Services, the City of Milwaukie, METRO, SMILE and neighborhood associations.

Oregon State Senator Rod Monroe bikes the Springwater Trail with brothers Dale and Duane.

Along the Sellwood side of the bridges, local resident, Senator Rod Monroe bicycled up to say hello, accompanied by his brothers Dale and Duane.

“I was chair of the Transportation committee at METRO,” enthuses Senator Monroe. “I was responsible for getting the federal funding for this project.”

Trails are vital to the recreational enjoyment of the area, the senator says. “These bridges were crucial to connect inner Southeast Portland to the Springwater Trail.”

The project is important, Monroe continues, “Because when we build light rail down the corridor, this trail will give pedestrians access from both neighborhoods.”

Grady Wheeler, City of Milwaukie and Bob Akers, president of the 40 Mile Loop Land Trust talk with Joe Campwall, Ardenwald Neighborhood Association’s treasurer.

Further up the trail, we meet Grady Wheeler, with City of Milwaukie. He’s showing the promotional literature produced by his city to promote the trail. “This is a great project; a real cause for celebration,” he says.

At the same stop, Bob Akers, president of the 40 Mile Loop Land Trust tells us they’ve promoted the Springwater Trail from the start. “Because of the Three Bridges project, you’ll be able to walk or ride without having to cross any major streets ‚Äì like the Tacoma Street overpass.”

Ardenwals’s Marianne Colgrove talks with Brentwood-Darlington residents Deborah and Morgan Eberley.

A big celebration site is at the SE 45th Ave. and Johnson Creek Blvd. Trailhead. Bike Gallery displays new “shiftless” bicycles, a band plays, and neighborhood associations present information about their services.

“This trail is important to Ardenwald,” says their association’s webmaster, Marianne Colgrove, “because it goes through Tideman Johnson Park here in our neighborhood. Because we’re partly in the City of Portland, and partly in the City of Milwaukie, we’re here helping people who live here learn about their neighborhood. Johnson Creek and the Springwater trail run right through it.”

Keith Ticknor, riding a Penny-Farthing High Wheeler is escorted by his sons, Scott and Alexander.

If you haven’t taken the trail, give it a try. It’s a relatively level, paved path. And, the unique views are spectacular.

Encore Brass plays rousing marches and toe-tapping tunes, conducted by Glenn Taylor.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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