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City's plan envisions loop trail around Hillsboro

Proposal would add 70 miles of trails to city


A handful of residents got a glimpse last week of a comprehensive draft of the city of Hillsboro’s Trail System Master Plan.HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - A handful of residents attended last week's meeting at the Hillsboro Main Library to take a look at the city's draft Trail Master Plan.

The final of three public input open houses drew a dozen or so citizens to check out what’s in store for walkers and bicyclists over the coming decades.

Much like a freeway system for pedestrians, the master plan envisions the Crescent Park Greenway, a trail system that will eventually be mostly off-street trails fully encircling the city and connecting neighborhoods and businesses. The trails would also connect to regional trails such as the planned Council Creek Trail west to Forest Grove and Banks.

A second part of the plan defines the future alignment route of the Rock Creek Trail between its current terminus at Northwest Wilkins Street, southwest to the future Orenco Woods Nature Park — and eventually five miles further south, crossing Tualatin Valley Highway to Rood Bridge Park.

All told, the plan proposes adding more than 70 miles of trails to the city’s existing 30 miles.

"It’s a big vision,” said Hillsboro Parks & Recreation project manager Mary Ordal.

Some of the trails, she said, “could take decades.”

Other portions — like the North Hillsboro Industrial area, already poised for development — could be completed as construction begins in the area, she said. “There are real opportunities there in planning for future development,” Ordal said.

The Crescent Park Greenway would start at the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex and run along Waible Creek to McKay Creek, south to Dairy Creek through Jackson Bottom Wetlands, and eventually into the South Hillsboro area, which is also poised for residential and retail development.

More immediate is the quarter-mile extension of the Rock Creek Trail to Orenco Woods Nature Park (the former Orenco Woods Golf Course land) slated for construction in 2016.

The trail is currently about two miles in length, beginning north of Highway 26 and ending just south of Orchard Park.

“We’re recognizing Rock Creek is really a major trail, a spine through Hillsboro," Ordal said.

Ordal added that the public has voiced strong support for extending the Rock Creek Trail.

"Some are saying, 'build it now,'" Ordal said.

Others say they want it “done right” with careful consideration about trail placement and connections.

It will be a long process, Ordal pointed out. The city owns some land along the alignment route, but most of it sits in a floodplain. Other land along the route is privately owned.

"It'll be a challenge," Ordal conceded.

Creating a walkable city with paths and trails emerged as a top idea during the city's Imagine Hillsboro 2035 process, which gathered input from citizens on the future of Hillsboro.

According to Ordal, the master plan process began in August 2014 and is slated to be finalized by fall.

“We’ll be looking at changes we might need to make and considering public input,” she said.

Anyone with questions or wanting to comment on the trails plan can contact Ordal at Mary.Ordal@Hillsboro-oregon.gov.

More information is available at Hillsboro-Oregon.gov/TrailsPlan.


kfuller@hillsborotribune.com
On Twitter: @ReporterFuller

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