A segment of the Wildwood Trail will be closed to hikers this spring and summer, as crews work to construct a safer crossing over a busy road.
Portland’s iconic hiking trail runs roughly 30 miles through Forest Park, past Pittock Mansion and into Washington Park, where it begins near the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial. It’s considered one of the longest urban hiking trails in the country.
But three miles from its start, at the edge of Washington Park, the trail makes a potentially dangerous crossing at a curve on West Burnside Road. That will be the site of the new Barbara Walker Crossing, which will offer hikers safe passage via a steel footbridge over the road.
Construction of the bridge will shut down a small segment of the Wildwood Trail between March and September, 2019, and will also cause lane closures on West Burnside Road, including one to two days of full closure in late August or early September.
An estimated 80,000 pedestrians use the crossing every year, according to the Portland Parks Foundation, and about 20,000 drivers pass by each day.
The Portland Parks Foundation is leading the project, working with Portland Parks & Recreation, the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Metro.
The nonprofit foundation raised two-thirds of the bridge’s $3.2 million cost, it announced in a news release, receiving contributions from more than 900 individuals as well as local philanthropic foundations. The city of Portland paid $850,000 toward the project, while Metro chipped in $200,000.
The crossing is named in honor of local parks champion Barbara Walker, who had a hand in most of Portland’s biggest parks projects, including Waterfront Park and Pioneer Courthouse Square. Her advocacy started in 1968, when she and a group of neighbors helped save a wooded ravine from development, preserving it as Marquam Nature Park. Walker died in 2014.
Updates on construction will be posted online at portlandpf.org.