by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - City of Wilsonville employee Sean Gertz surveys a section of the Boeckman Creek Crossing trail currently undergoing repair. The trail will be closed through May. With spring finally breaking through during the past week, odds are that some Wilsonville residents have thought about hitting the Boeckman Creek Crossing trail.

In fact, there’s plenty of good evidence that many have taken the plunge and headed down the hillside from the Courtside neighborhood and into the Boeckman Creek riparian area that runs north-south through the center of the city. Or, they could have headed west from the Meadows neighborhood and over a 60-foot bridge across the wetland.

Anyone who did, however, almost certainly ran up against a series of barriers erected to mark the beginning of a lengthy maintenance project that will leave the entire trail closed through the month of May.

According to Sean Gertz, the city engineering intern responsible for overseeing the project, significant erosion at several points along the trail before and after a short bridge near the Courtside end of the trail took place over the past year. This eventually led to the collapse of a portion of a retaining wall and the undercutting of sections of the paved trail.

“There’s a serious erosion problem on the upper part of the trail,” Gertz said last week as he surveyed a five-foot deep trench dug into part of the trail to help stop the loss of soil. “There used to be a retaining wall made of concrete blocks, and it has been destroyed over time. That trail has been there for years ... and there’s been some destructive activity.”

On top of erosion, he said, vandals removed a number of stones from the retaining wall and hurled them down the hillside. Combined with people creating their own boot paths between sections of trail that switch back, the existing problem rapidly grew worse.

“People are cutting down the slope, and that would erode it away even more,” Gertz said. “It was a growing issue, and it was starting to eat away at the actual trail itself, so we’re going down there right now, and we’re going to put in a different type of retaining wall.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - This trench in the Boeckman Creek Crossing trail will be filled with gabions - thick wire mesh cages filled with stones - are used to control erosion. The trail closed on April 2, and the roughly $36,000 project officially kicked off April 7. Work is being carried out by Daneal Construction of Newberg. Gertz said the city expects work to be completed in advance of the trail reopening, which is tentatively scheduled for the end of May.

Last week, Dave Erickson of Daneal Construction could be seen digging the aforementioned trench with a tractor. Afterward he installed a number of wire mesh gabion baskets filled with large rocks in the trench for long-term erosion control. Later in the project the entire trail will be re-paved, erasing any evidence of the gabions or their cargo.

Gabions are favored over loose riprap for erosion control along shorelines and slopes for their modularity. Being much heavier than indivdual riprap boulders, the baskets also are less prone to being washed away in heavy water flows or by other typical sources of erosion.

The Boeckman Creek Crossing project is relatively bare bones, Gertz said. There won’t be any landscaping work or other aesthetic improvements. Just the basics.

“It’s not too much more than what’s necessary for now,” he said. “It’s making sure the trail doesn’t fall off the side of the hill or anything.”

by: SPOKESMAN PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Erosion has damaged the Boeckman Creek Crossing trail in Wilsonville to the point where it is undercutting the paved trail. The trail will be closed through May for repairs.

By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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