For the next four months the Springwater Trail will be closed through Oaks Bottom

DAVID F. ASHTON - Bicyclist Steven Tuttle told THE BEE he appreciated getting the information about the July closure of the Springwater Trail, and will find a new way to get to work, down by OMSI. Bicyclists and walkers along the Springwater Corridor Trail through the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge started seeing sequential signs, starting in early June. They were not advertising Burma Shave, though they followed that familiar formula. . .

For example:

Summer Springwater Closure / Oh yes, it's true /

But don't be too blue / There are options for you!

"It's important for people to know that during the Oaks Bottom Habitat Restoration Project, the trail will be open up to the refuge, but closed as a through route," said Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Environmental Program Coordinator Ronda Fast.

At the intersection of S.E. Spokane Street and Oaks Park Way, Fast and the BES "Street Team" were out answering questions from bike commuters and walkers bound northward on the morning of June 5.

"The trail be closed starting July 9, and will remain closed through October 31 so we can do the important work that will bring salmon back to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge," Fast said.

The Springwater Corridor Trail goes directly over the old culvert that will be removed this summer, and replaced with a large open culvert – as well as directing water channels, and replanting thousands of trees and shrubs, Fast pointed out. "Our contractors are mobilizing heavy equipment for the culvert replacement by both SamTrak rail and barges on the Willamette River."

An alternate route map features two main options for people on bicycle and other non-motorized travel:

· The new Sellwood Bridge provides a connection to the west side Greenway Trail  a good option for commuters traveling to and from South Waterfront and Downtown  but speed on that trail is strictly limited to 10 m.p.h.

· The nearly-complete S.E 19th Avenue Neighborhood Greenway in Sellwood and Westmoreland connects to 17th Avenue bike lane for those who want to stay on the east side, and return to the Springwater Trail at S.E. Mitchell Street.

With the advisory signage installed, Fast said, "Hopefully, everybody will know in advance about the trail closure, and can plan accordingly."

The habitat restoration project in Oaks Bottom is intended to reopen the lagoon there to a direct connection to the Willamette River, and thereby to provide a refuge for young salmon on the way down the river to the Columbia, and eventually the ocean. It also should improve the mosquito problem near the pond. The project is a collaborative effort between the City of Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland Parks & Recreation and the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which will manage the construction.

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