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Ahead of launch, new program limiting drivers along Historic Highway now begins at Bridal Veil.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The restricted access to the Waterfall Corridor this summer has been scaled back after public feedback. A new ticket system to address congestion along the Historic Columbia River Highway this summer has already been refined after feedback and outcry from the public.

The Waterfall Corridor Timed-Use Permits will go into effect Tuesday, May 24. The program will require all private vehicles to have purchased a $2 ticket to drive along the "Waterfall Corridor" in the Columbia River Gorge between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. from the Bridal Veil off-ramp (Interstate 84 Exit 28) and Ainsworth State Park (Exit 35).

That stretch of the Historic Columbia River Highway has long been a headache for officials as visitors will idle waiting for a parking space, leave cars on the side of the narrow roadway, and generally ignore many of the rules of the road while seeking views of places like Multnomah Falls.

"Our community raised concerns about congestion in the Gorge," said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann. "This pilot represents how multiple governmental agencies can come together to develop a solution for our residents and visitors."

The program is being co-launched by Multnomah County, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The key difference from what was first announced this spring is the scope of the restricted access. Before the program began at Vista House, but by shortening the scope, officials are hoping to curb some immediate concerns from the public.

Only blocking access between Bridal Veil and Ainsworth State Park minimizes many of the impacts for residents and businesses near Vista House. It reduces staffing needs at the manned access stations and creates better turnaround locations for vehicles.

The permits will be available online at recreation.gov once the program launches. You can buy a pass two weeks prior to visiting, and there will be a limited amount of in-person, same-day permits for free at places like the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale and the Cascade Locks Historical Museum — though the amount of those passes will be highly unreliable.

Anyone who does not have a permit or misses their entry window into the Waterfall Corridor will be turned away. The permits also do not guarantee parking at any of the trailheads.

People living or working within the zone will not need a pass — more information will be given to those residents in early May. Anyone providing a service to a residence or business will also be voided from having to secure a permit.


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