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Tigard receives ConnectOregon VI grant for trail project

City hopes to complete Tigard Street Heritage Trail, northwest of downtown, by late 2017.

MAP COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TIGARD - A concept map shows how the 3/4-mile Tigard Street Heritage Trail will stretch from Southwest Main Street to Southwest Tiedeman Avenue.The city of Tigard hailed a $700,000 grant award through a statewide transportation funding program on Tuesday, saying it will provide “a major boost” to the city's efforts to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and revitalize downtown.

The Oregon Transportation Commission selected the Tigard Street Heritage Trail among projects from across Oregon to receive funding from ConnectOregon VI — the sixth installment of the funding program, which provides grants to non-highway transportation projects throughout the state.

Tigard is providing $600,000 in matching funds for the project, which Tigard's economic development manager said will construct a multi-use trail about three-quarters of a mile long, along Southwest Tigard Street between Main Street and Tiedeman Avenue.

“This heritage trail connects the heart of our downtown to several neighborhoods on the northwest side of downtown Tigard,” Lloyd Purdy explained.

PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CITY OF TIGARD - A temporary asphalt path was laid last year along the same disused rail spur that the permanent Tigard Street Heritage Trail will use.Tigard has a 99-year lease agreement to use an old rail spur along Tigard Street, Purdy said. The city laid down a temporary asphalt path last year, and it has been seeing some foot traffic.

“It has proven that there's use and demand for a trail segment that does more for the city, does more for residents — a trail that acts as a venue for local heritage, identity and culture,” Purdy said.

How that local heritage, identity and culture will be expressed has yet to be determined. Now that the $1.3 million project is funded, Purdy said, the city will move into the design phase.

“We have a chance to tell the story of Tigard,” he said. “Now, there's lots of stories to be told, so we have to figure out which are the right ones to tell at this place, at this time.”

Purdy added, “You could expect to see signs and wayfinding elements that reference the identity, history and heritage of the community.”

Along with interpretive elements, the new trail will feature lighting, fencing and a small plaza area where it adjoins Southwest Main Street, according to Purdy. It will also replace the strip of blacktop put down last year.

“Right now, it's very temporary treatment that's done now,” Purdy said. “We will be able to improve on that.”

Purdy said the city's goal is to complete the Tigard Street Heritage Trail by late 2017.

“Any city striving to be more walkable, healthy and interconnected is going to rely on projects like this and therefore programs like ConnectOregon,” said Kenny Asher, Tigard's community development director, in a press release. “The Heritage Trail is going to tell the story of Tigard’s history while demonstrating the city’s candid commitment to a more active, healthy and sustainable future.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation said 39 projects from across Oregon were selected to receive a total of more than $49.5 million through ConnectOregon VI late last week.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a revised map courtesy of the city of Tigard.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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