Plan for 15-mile Council Creek Trail is getting under way

Imagine riding a bike from Forest Grove to Hillsboro and never once struggling along the shoulder of TV Highway.

Sound like a pipe dream? Think again. The Council Creek Trail, a 15-mile parkway linking Banks, Forest Grove, Cornelius and Hillsboro is actively being planned by the cities.

The Cornelius City Council unanimously signed off on taking the first step toward developing a master plan for the project at their meeting Monday night.

The trail would connect the four Washington County cities with a 15-mile walking and bicycling corridor that would run beside Highway 8 and Highway 47 and along Council Creek, and eventually connect with the Banks-Vernonia Trail.

An intergovernmental agreement between Forest Grove and Cornelius stresses collaboration between the cities and Washington County, while making Forest Grove the lead agency on the project, which will be mostly funded by federal grant money with the Oregon Department of Transportation controlling the funds.

The trail has been in the works for more than a decade after former Cornelius Development and Planning Director Richard Meyer walked from Cornelius to Hillsboro along Council Creek north of town. Since then, Metro, Washington County and the cities of Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Cornelius, have been taking small steps to make the trail a reality.

A $243,446 grant from Metro will help fund the master planning process, which will last approximately a year and a half, according to Derek Robbins, a Forest Grove civil engineer.

Robbins said the cities are currently negotiating contracts with consultants and once ODOT signs off on the intergovernmental agreement, they can hire a lead consultant.

The trail will offer a safer trail for bikers and walkers and an alternate transportation route and method, will encourage healthy physical activity and will promote green transportation.

The cities will need to balance environmental concerns and working with private property owners about right-of-way concerns.

“We are connecting a lot in just 15 miles,” said Robins.

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