Metro has stopped plans to build a trail through Troutdale from Depot Park to Mt. Hood Community College. The decision was in response to opposition from city residents, who voiced their opinions at an open house and through an online survey.
As a part of the planning process, which was led by Metro and the City of Troutdale, residents were asked their preferences on trail routes, types of trails and other elements of the project. A majority of participants said they wanted no trail at all.
In a letter to Troutdale City Manager Ray Young, Metro Chief Operating Officer Martha Bennett wrote, “Given this feedback, we understand and respect that it would be difficult for the City to move forward with the project at this time. That’s why I have directed Metro staff to suspend work on the project, honoring our commitment to listen to community input and work collaboratively with local partners whenever we plan trails.”
Residents’ major concern was safety along the trail, with illegal camping cited often. Many critics said they were worried by a camping crisis along the Springwater Corridor trail last year, which was sparked by a temporary change to Portland’s illegal camping rules enforcement. Based on similar concerns about safety, Gresham recently pulled out of a closely related trail planning project with Metro.
When those concerns have been addressed, Metro hopes to return to the trail planning project and deliver a master plan to expand the 40-Mile Loop.
That’s because the trail remains a regional priority based on its inclusion in the East Metro Connections Plan, which was adopted by Troutdale, Gresham, Multnomah County, Metro and other local governments in 2012. The plan identified a north-to-south walking and bicycling trail as a major commuting and recreating need for residents without cars.
“Someday, the trail will help provide safe ways for people to get around on foot and on bike,” Bennett wrote in her letter.