Tigard Street Heritage Trail delays grand opening
The city of Tigard has pushed back the grand opening for the Tigard Street Heritage Trail as work continues on the long-anticipated project.
When they broke ground last August, city officials projected the trail would be ready by the end of 2019, with a grand opening tentatively planned for December. However, due to winter weather conditions and other setbacks that have delayed construction, the city now plans to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 29.
Work on the trail — which replaces a temporary asphalt pathway connecting downtown Tigard with residential neighborhoods north of Southwest Pacific Highway, or Highway 99W — is mostly finished at this point.
"For the most part, if you go out to the trail and look at it, it's pretty much there — we just have some corrective work to finish it," said project manager Jeff Peck.
The Tigard Street Heritage Trail is currently open to pedestrians and bicyclists. The city is working on some finishing touches along the trail before they can say the project is officially completed.
Since the city purchased the land that runs parallel to Southwest Tigard Street in 2013, it has gradually developed the ¾-mile strip into a multiuse trail that connects pedestrians and bikers to Tigard's downtown commercial core.
For Tigard officials, the trail is more than just a way for pedestrians to get downtown safely. During the design process, the city received input from community members via organized meetings called "Walk and Talks." In collaboration with downtown business leaders and the Five Oaks Museum — then called the Washington County Museum — city officials decided that in addition to serving as a path for pedestrians, the Tigard Street Heritage Trail would display local history and art.
The remaining items to be finished reflect the trail's dual purpose as a functional trail and artistic community space.
Tualatin completed a similar project in 2016, building a ¾-mile segment in the Tualatin River Greenway Trail replete with public art and installations, including "erratic" boulders swept from lands distant to the Tualatin Valley millennia ago by the Missoula floods.
On the engineering side for the Tigard Street Heritage Trail, Peck said work crews are currently installing a restroom at Rotary Plaza, a gathering area adjacent to Southwest Main Street that marks the Tigard Street Heritage Trail's southern terminus.
Additionally, debris still needs to be cleared and some parts of the trail need to be repaved, according to Peck.
On the public arts end, three large public art pieces that were funded by a National Endowment of the Arts still need to be completed and installed along the trail.
"There will be three sculptures along the trails and two murals on either side of Highway 99 overpass, right by the end of the Rotary Plaza area," said Tigard community engagement coordinator Lauren Scott.
However, those who visit the trail today will see that the trail is already populated with interpretive art elements that were installed last December.
"They were created by designer Suenn Ho and tell the story of six different Tigard residents over the long history of Tigard," Scott said.
The project is also still waiting to have a specially designed clock, a contribution from the Rotary Club of Tigard, to be installed in Rotary Plaza.
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