A community-driven effort to utilize new public lands along the Springwater Corridor Trail

THE LATEST: VIEW THE LANDSCAPE DESIGN that will get implemented as a pilot project at SE 9th between Marion and Linn!


Background: The Springwater Corridor Trail is one of the crown jewels in the region’s trail system. This popular bicycle and pedestrian path parallels the historic Springwater Line rail route from inner southeast Portland near OMSI all the way to Boring. The “Sellwood Gap” refers to an incomplete section of the trail as it runs through Portland’s Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood. The Sellwood Gap begins just south of the Sellwood Bridge at SE Umatilla Street and extends along the railroad tracks to SE 19th Avenue at Ochoco Street. Through voter-approved bond measures, Metro purchased six vacant parcels of land within the Sellwood Gap to enable the City of Portland to pave the trail from SE Umatilla Street to 13th Avenue. Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will manage the trail and the lands under the terms of an Intergovernmental Agreement. Though construction of the trail is expected to begin in 2016, neither the City nor Metro has plans for the use of the land adjacent to the trail once this gap is closed.

(Click to see larger version) VIEW ADDITIONAL MAPS HERE.

springwater-corridor-map showing Sellwood Gap

Community Interest: Residents of the Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood – acting through the neighborhood association’s Stewardship of Natural Amenities Committee (SNAC) – have formed a Sellwood Gap Working Group to coordinate a community-driven process for deciding how these public lands will be developed and maintained by neighbors and trail users in collaboration with PP&R. In neighborhood meetings, proposed uses for the land have included restoring native landscapes, preserving wildlife habitat, creating community gathering spaces, preserving passive open space, incorporating edible landscaping, ensuring safety and visibility, and recognizing the area’s historic significance, among other values.

THANK YOU to the 500+ people who sent e-mails and letters, completed two surveys,  and attended two on-site events and two community forums for expressing their priorities for this land. 

Among all the goals and values identified for this project, preserving wildlife corridors and ensuring safety and visibility received the highest levels of support and will be prioritized in the designs for these spaces.  Since the spring of 2014 the Sellwood Gap Working Group has worked on developing designs for an initial project on the triangular parcel located between SE Linn and Marion Streets at 9th Avenue. An community forum will be held at the SMILE Station on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 to share two design ideas and gather community feedback. After a final design is chosen by the public, a Technical Advisory Committee will help guide the design implementation and long-term maintenance plan.

Want to get involved? Participate in the Sellwood Gap listserve (see link above) to stay informed of opportunities to participate. Join us!





View Maps from the Public Forum Presentation

Concerned about safety? Evidence from hundreds of rail-trail projects around the country demonstrates that trails like the Springwater Corridor are safe and valuable community amenities. Read Rails-Trails and Safe Communities, the recent Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Study, or this summary from the Burke-Gilman Trail’s Effect on Property Values and Crime in Seattle.

Read SMILE’s Sellwood Gap Public Involvement Plan

Read SMILE’s draft Demonstration Site Narrative

Have an idea or want to volunteer? Email nancichamplin@sellwood.org.

Read the City of Portland’s 1992 Master Plan for the Springwater Corridor

Read Metro’s 2006 Sellwood Gap trail alignment assessment

Want to learn more? Check out the trail map, Portland Parks & Recreation, Metro and  The Intertwine.