Kronberg Park path finally comes to fruition
The grand opening of the Kronberg Park Multi-Use Walkway is set for 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, and Kelly Brooks is looking forward to seeing people walking and biking safely to downtown Milwaukie "through a natural area that has been off limits for quite some time."
Brooks, Milwaukie's assistant city manager, noted that the new walkway, located between Kellogg Lake and Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard, will provide "a new connection to downtown for the Island Station neighborhood and Trolley Trail users."
It also will increase safety for pedestrians and bicyclists who need to use McLoughlin Boulevard, while allowing access to new views of Kellogg Creek, previously unseen by most people.
The walkway will "be a unique, elevated path that takes you into the tree canopy," Brooks said.
For direct access to the path, organizers of the event are asking people to use the crosswalk at Southeast River Road, if they're coming from the river side (west side) of McLoughlin Boulevard, or to use the Kellogg Creek Bike-Pedestrian Bridge along Main Street near the food carts and Orange Line MAX station.
Those interested in biking on the new pathway are encouraged to join Maitri Dirmeyer and Jay Panagos of Bike Milwaukie at noon to ride either 3 or 6.5 miles, depending on the weather, before the celebration kicks off at 1 p.m. Riders will meet at the Southeast Johnson Creek trailhead, 4401 S.E. Johnson Creek Blvd., and finish at the event in Kronberg Park. Visit Bike Milwaukie's Facebook page for more information.
Starting at 1 p.m., "we'll use the first 20 minutes to gather, warm up and dry off. We'll have a tent, heaters, hand warmers and refreshments to help fight back against winter," Brooks said.
State and local officials will speak from 1:20-1:40 p.m. and then the ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place. Following that, attendees will be encouraged to explore the new walkway.
"The grand opening event is a fun way to celebrate the completion of a much-needed connection to the downtown area, and hear a little bit about the tremendous effort community members and project partners put in to make the Kronberg Multi-Use Trail a reality," said Jordan Imlah, the city of Milwaukie's public affairs specialist.
He noted that the pathway is in a picturesque area of Milwaukie that hasn't really been accessible until now.
"So I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's reactions as they first see the area and use the elevated bridge to move into the tree canopy. I imagine people will be a bit awestruck," he said.
Robert Kronberg Park is on 5 acres located between Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin Boulevard, just south of downtown Milwaukie. The property includes land deeded to the city in 1991 by Robert Kronberg and his wife, Dena Swanson, and land purchased by the city of Milwaukie with funds from Metro's voter-approved 1995 natural areas bond measure.
Drivers heading back and forth on McLoughlin Boulevard have been watching construction of the new walkway on the site since May 2019.
"Construction cost was $2.1 million, with design cost of $300,000. The city received nearly $1.2 million from ODOT's Connect Oregon Program, a lottery-backed bond initiative, and the remainder of the project was funded by the city of Milwaukie," Brooks said.
The southern connection of the trail is located at Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard at the crosswalk for the intersection of Highway 99E and Southeast Bluebird Road.
The trail then curves through the forested area on an elevated bridge with a lookout. The meadow section of the trail is a ground-level path constructed with porous asphalt and a soft path connection.
These paths connect to the Kellogg Creek Bike-Pedestrian Bridge, which was constructed along with the TriMet MAX Orange Line. The northern connection of the trail ends on Southeast Main Street in downtown Milwaukie, Brooks said.
The bridge spans use two weathering steel beams with a concrete deck. Over time, the weathering steel produces a natural rust-colored appearance that blends well with the surrounding environment and reduces the need for painting in the future.
The bridge is supported on hammerhead-style concrete piers with round columns. The columns, in turn, are supported on concrete footings with driven pile foundations. The railings are galvanized steel in a pattern similar to those used for the Kellogg Lake Bike-Pedestrian Bridge at the north end of the park.
"We worked closely with North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District on this project. (They) led the way on designing the soft path, and will be instrumental in planting and wayfinding signage that will be installed this spring," Brooks said.
"We have a lot of people to thank, but two entities in particular are the state of Oregon, who provided the Connect Oregon dollars, and residents of Milwaukie, who funded this important project," she said.
"We also had strong advocates from our Neighborhood District Associations who stepped up to fight for project funding at key moments."
"The Kronberg path creates a better connection between the Main Street MAX station and the Trolley Trail, for people coming from the south to get to downtown Milwaukie, whether on foot or by bike. This is especially crucial for the folks living in the apartment complexes on the east side of 99E, as there has never been a sidewalk on that side of the street north of the River Road intersection," said Lisa Batey, Milwaukie City Councilor.
She noted that she has seen people, even with children, walking in the bike lane, so now she is glad there is a safer and faster access to get into downtown.
Batey added, "January isn't the most conducive time for an outdoor celebration, but it will be a fun opportunity to celebrate the completion — it's been a long wait!"
Kronberg Park Multi-Use Pathway
WHAT: Ribbon cutting and grand opening
WHEN: 1-2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25
WHERE: Trail site. For direct access to the path, attendees are asked to use the crosswalk at Southeast River Road, if they're coming from the river side (west side) of McLoughlin Boulevard, or use the Kellogg Creek Bike-Pedestrian Bridge along Main Street near the food carts and Orange Line MAX station.
WHAT: NCPRD will hold a work party where volunteers will remove invasive species, plant native plants, and place Christmas trees for fish habitat.
WHEN: 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Jan. 25
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