Time to weigh in on future carfree bridge between Oak Grove and Lake Oswego

Looking north from Foothills Park in Lake Oswego at the potential future site of a new bridge. (Existing railroad bridge in in the background).
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Clackamas County wants to know if they should move forward with a new, carfree bridge over the Willamette River that would connect Oak Grove/Milwaukie to Lake Oswego. Known as “OGLO,” the project has been on the radar since 2009 when a Metro study found strong public support for the idea.

Clackamas County has opened an online open house and will host two open houses next week to garner feedback as part of a Metro-funded feasibility study.

Possible alignment locations.

While the County knows people want a new connection over the river, questions loom over how and where to do it . Challenges include: a lack of publicly-owned property on both sides of the river; questions over who would fund, own, and maintain the facility; how to connect a bridge to existing paths, and so on.

A railroad bridge exists just north of the study area; but it’s not an option because it would be difficult to access with biking and walking paths and its owners say they don’t want the added liability of public use. That leaves a nine-mile stretch of the Willamette River — from Sellwood to Oregon City — without a way for bicycle users to cross. The OGLO Bridge has the potential to dramatically improve our regional bicycling network by making a direct connection to the existing Tryon Creek and Trolley Trail paths.

Clackamas County has come up with 10 alignment options for a potential new bridge (see them all below). The online survey gives future bridge users basic details about each option and asks whether or not it’s worth pursuing further.

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The only decisions that have been made so far is that the new bridge would be for walkers and rollers only. Transit vehicle use has been ruled out due to cost concerns and emergency vehicle access is still a possibility.

Here are the 10 alignment options under consideration (click to enlarge):










According to Clackamas County, feedback from the online survey and upcoming open houses will be taken to the project’s policy committee later this month where they’ll narrow down the alignment options and “dig deeper into the feasibility of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across the Willamette River.” This feasibility study process will be completed by the end of this year. If it’s a “go”, the next steps would include design, permitting, and more public outreach.

The online open house is open through August 9th. Open houses are set for Monday August 5th, 7:00 to 9:00 pm at Lake Oswego Maintenance Center and Wednesday August 7th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Oak Grove Performing Arts Center. Learn more at the official project website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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