By Garlynn Woodsong, Concordia Neighborhood Association;
originally published in 2017
One day, my son and I will pack our panniers and jump on our trusty bicycles. We will ride south from the Concordia neighborhood, down the Alameda Ridge, through Irvington, and down into Sullivan’s Gulch, where we will turn left onto the Rose Quarter to Gorge (RQ2G) trail.
We’ll ride for a few hours east on the trail, passing through the new Gateway Green as we follow a tree-lined path adjacent to I-84, through Troutdale, and onto a new grade-separated pathway running through the forest uphill from the freeway, through and over new pedestrian/bicycle tunnels and bridges, threading a needle through the topography of the Gorge, until finally we pull into our bicycle campground in the forest near Latourelle, where we camp for the night.
The next morning, we get back on to our bicycles and pedal on in to Cascade Locks for lunch, stopping briefly to take in a few waterfalls along the way. After picking up some salmon from the Native American fishermen at the old Locks, we’ll ride to Lang State Park and pitch our tents.
On Day 3 we’ll ride to Starvation Creek, stopping for lunch on the picnic benches before riding on in to Hood River. I’ll have a microbrew in town while we wait for our train, then hang our bicycles on hooks and enjoy the quick ride on the new electrified high speed rail line running through the Columbia River Gorge, delivering us back to Gateway Transit Center within 45 minutes.
This is the vision of the Rose Quarter to Gorge Trail Project, a new initiative to link the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail project with the Historic Columbia River Highway Trail project to provide one continuous pathway from downtown Portland to downtown Hood River (and then, on in to The Dalles) via a near-water-level passage through the Columbia River Gorge.
The second phase of the Cascadia High Speed Rail project, the first phase of which is the north-south line from Oregon to British Columbia, will extend east-west from the Oregon Coast to Boise, Idaho, where trains will inter-line with other traffic on the existing, newly-electrified transcontinental rail main lines to points east.
Together, these two visions could be part of our generation’s legacy, transforming our state and our bio-region, strengthening our economy and laying the foundation for sustainable growth well into the second half of the 21st century.
Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (NECN) has taken many positions in support of this vision, dating back at least as far as the organization’s support for High Speed Rail and the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail, during the Adams administration in 2011 and 2012, respectively. This past summer, NECN again expressed support for this vision in a letter to Mayor Hales and the City Council in August of 2016. Our organization, all of us as neighbors, want to turn this vision into reality.
If you’re interested in helping with this effort, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.