Council Creek Trail open house draws healthy crowd, mixed feelings

Elaine Cole was conflicted about which route the Council Creek Regional Trail should follow on its way from Hillsboro to Forest Grove.

The Forest Grove resident’s practical side favored a street route or railroad right-of-way, which she guessed would be cheapest and fastest to construct and would bother neighbors least.

“But my heart wants to take the trail along the scenic route,” she said. That would be the creek route.

Cole was one of roughly 60 people who showed up at an open house Wednesday, June 4. Their comments will help shape the proposed trail, which would run west from Hillsboro through Cornelius and Forest Grove, then north to Banks.

While Cole was conflicted, a group of people who live north and east of Cornelius were absolutely clear and heated in their opposition to the trail, at one point prompting audience member Chas Hundley of Gales Creek to call for “civility” in the conversation.

“What are you going to do about the quality of life you’re changing for us?” asked Matt Heinrich, whose county property — between Hillsboro and Cornelius — borders the Portland & Western rail line north of Highway 8. Heinrich worries about the trail bringing crime and litter and other invasions of privacy to his property.

Later in the evening, following the official presentation, Heinrich and Project Manager Derek Robbins had a long talk that resulted in an alternate route out of Hillsboro. Their compromise would take the trail south, behind Winco, following the old Southern Pacific rail line over to 345th Ave., where it could then turn north until it connected with Council Creek.

That route wouldn’t bother as many neighbors and would avoid the need for a trestle, Heinrich said.

But it wouldn’t keep the trail away from Mike and Lauren Petit’s five acres just north of Council Creek and east of Susbauer Road. The Petits share Heinrich’s concerns about strangers and crime and litter and would prefer a trail along a street route.

But other audience members said they’d seen no evidence of crime or litter or rough-looking people hanging around other such trails. And many welcomed the idea of a creek or rail-line trail as a safer place to bicycle than roads.

Rosa Rodriguez of Hillsboro said she now has to go all the way up to the Banks-Vernonia trail with her two children, 5 and 16, when they go on a family bike outing. She’s excited about a closer option.

Trail planners will narrow the alternative routes down to three by July, then analyze the finalists for their differences in cost, construction, timing and other factors, in order to recommend a single route by November, at which point they will gather more public comments.

They will use that input to refine and then publish a trail master plan early in 2015.

Robbins will continue collecting public comments through June at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, go to

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