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Greenway Gap Completion not quite complete

Trail substantially finished, set for opening, but connection at east end will have to wait


TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - A boardwalk that is part of the new segment of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail dead-ends at the fence around the defunct RV Park of Portland. The city of Tualatin says the segment will eventually meet up with another section of trail accessing Browns Ferry Park to the east, but the timeline is not yet known.There's good news and bad news for Tualatin trail users.

Here's the good news: The three-quarter-mile segment of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail filling in a gap through the downtown business area and underneath Interstate 5 is almost complete.

And here's the bad news: It's going to stay that way for a while longer.

Tualatin is moving toward a “soft opening” of the new trail segment next Tuesday, with the Tualatin City Council expected to adopt the trail and place it under the city's insurance policy. Even now, although the trail has not officially opened to the public, there is considerable pedestrian and bicycle traffic on it during the day.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Gregg Webber, left, and his daughter Denali come down the ramp that links the Nyberg Woods shopping center with a new segment of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail.The new segment of the trail extends from Southwest Barngrover Way, across from the Tualatin Public Library, to the defunct RV Park of Portland property in east Tualatin. It accesses apartments and business complexes, including the popular Nyberg Rivers and Nyberg Woods shopping centers, and passes beneath the I-5 freeway along the way.

But the trail dead-ends at the property line of the old RV park, with several hundred feet of a wide, elevated boardwalk coming abruptly to a halt just above the fence.

“Basically, the timing for the construction of the trail is not known across the RV property,” said Paul Hennon, Tualatin's community services director.

Last October, Hennon said the property's owners would allow a temporary crossing across the north end of the old RV park, where the trail is eventually expected to make a permanent connection to an already-built section of trail in east Tualatin that accesses Browns Ferry Park. But the property is zoned for apartments, and with the owners doing some preliminary work to redevelop it, it was determined that a temporary crossing for public use was not feasible, he explained.

Tom Clarey, who identified himself as a representative for the RV property's ownership group, said Tuesday, “There was never going to be a temporary access.”

Even still, Clarey said, the owners are fully supportive of the project. He noted that they actually allowed work crews to use their property as a staging area for trail construction.

“The other thing that we've agreed to do is move expeditiously with the city to finish our project and ultimately finish the trail,” Clarey said.

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Seeded blue glass running through a portion of the new segment of the Tualatin River Greenway Trail behind the Nyberg Rivers shopping center represents the Missoula glacial floods during the last Ice Age, which repeatedly covered the Tualatin area beneath hundreds of feet of water.Clarey said the plan is for the last 1,000 feet to quarter-mile connecting the trail segments to be built and dedicated to the city as part of the redevelopment project for the property. A number of agencies have to sign off on their plans, Clarey noted, and the details of the project itself haven't been announced yet, so the timeframe is still uncertain.

“I think we're going to be hard-pressed to start by the fall, but I would like to try to start by the fall,” Clarey said.

A neighborhood meeting to discuss the redevelopment will likely be held in the coming weeks, according to Clarey. He said a project website will also be set up.

The elevated boardwalk east of the Nyberg Woods access ramp and north of the Forest Rim Apartments was included in the project and built in anticipation of the connection across the RV Park of Portland property being built in the near future, Hennon said.

“By doing it the way that we're doing it, it's actually costing the city the lowest possible amount to build it,” said Hennon.

The roughly $3.76 million project is largely funded by grants, including from the Washington County Visitors Association, which has its name on interpretive signage along the trail segment, and from the Oregon Department of Transportation.

A number of people took advantage of a sunny afternoon on Presidents Day Monday to jog, walk their dogs, bike or stroll along the section. Many were Tualatin residents, but some had come from neighboring communities to enjoy the trail.

“I think this is outstanding,” said Steve Holte, who lives in Tigard. “And I'd like to see more of this.”

Gregg Webber, exploring the trail for the first time with his daughter Denali and their husky Loki, said he's happy to have the segment opening and looks forward to it eventually connecting through to Browns Ferry Park so that he can run or bike its length.

“I've been actually waiting for this for years,” he said.

Once the Tualatin River Greenway Trail Gap Completion project, including the missing link through the RV property, is complete, the Tualatin River Greenway Trail will run for more than 4½ contiguous miles through Tualatin, Durham and Tigard.

For now, users can walk along Southwest Nyberg Lane and Street and cut through the Nyberg Woods shopping center to get between the new trail segment and the preexisting portion of the trail in east Tualatin.

Hennon said work is actually ahead of schedule, with just some minor landscaping, cleanup and other work to do ahead of the trail's grand opening at 1 p.m. April 9.

“We're getting done a little bit sooner than we actually anticipated,” he said. “So we're delighted to get the facility open and get the public out there enjoying the health and nature benefits of being on the Tualatin River Greenway Trail.”

TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Nick Levee of Lake Oswego shows his buddies, Joe Lukens, left, and Zack Proffitt where they traveled along the Tualatin River Greenway Trail on Monday.