SW Trails has been successful in getting things done: either by direct volunteer action or by working to get the Portland city government to focus on trails projects.  See a map of where these projects are located.

SW Trails has had an impact on the neighborhood. For example, one family chose a house because of SW Trails.

Recent Projects (finished in 2013)

  • Becoming a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization
  • Conducting volunteer led, monthly walks around SW Portland
  • Hosting signage work parties to repair and replace missing signs throughout the 40 + miles of SW Trails
  • Working with city government to put extended shoulders on Maplewood Road and Capitol Hill Road
  • Hosting work parties for Red Electric trail, Wilson High School trail, and Raz-Baack crossing on Stephens Creek.

Larger projects which often took years of effort to bring about.

SW Trails 6

Marked trail routes throughout SW Portland

4-T tail sign

4-T Trail A most spectacular journey through SW Portland on the 4 T’s: Trail, Tram, Trolley and Train.

Raz-Baack crossing  — a path, stairs, and boardwalk across the Stephens Creek natural area.

Trail liability — SW trails lobbied the state legislature to change the law: Portland land owners are now immune from liability for injuries to pedestrians on trails adjacent to their property.  So are nonprofit volunteer organizations like SW Trails who build the trails.


SW Trails over the years.

The following is a partial list of projects that have been accomplished by SW Trails.

  1. Developed the neighborhood walkway map in 1998 with the input of all 17 SW neighborhoods including SWHRL which was not a part of SWNI at the time.  This map showed for each neighborhood where people want to walk.
  2. Successfully prevented the vacation of a number of unbuilt rights of way where they could be used as current or future trails.
  3. Developed the SW Urban Trails Plan of about 40 miles of linear trails in SW Portland connecting key activity centers like town centers and main streets with schools, parks viewpoints along walkable streets.
  4. Designed, with PBOT, the sign layout for the SWTrails signs to mark the 7 linear trails in SW Portland.
  5. Did the field engineering for the location of the signs along 6 of  the 7 SWTrail routes.   Trail number 2, the Red Electric, is still in the process of being developed.
  6. Organized and led 30 to 40 major projects to develop key connections along the SWTrails routes and on other important pedestrian connections on unbuilt rights of way and within parks.  An estimated 200 to 300 volunteers have been involved in these efforts across SW Portland.  Among the larger projects were
    • the Raz Baack Crossing of Stephens Creek,
    • the 70 plus stairs under the Terwilliger northbound on ramp to I-5,
    • trails in Woods, Dickinson and Marquam Parks,
    • the Buhler Cutoff from Barbur to Terwilliger and many other key connections.
  7. Built 600 plus steps and over 2 miles of trails in the course of doing the above projects.
  8. Led the effort to develop the SW part of the 2030 Bicycle Master Plan which was adopted by City Council in 2009.
  9. Led the effort to develop the SW Walking map and contracted with PBOT to provide valuable local knowledge of the thousands of connections and cut-throughs that exist in SW Portland.  The first walking map was published in 2003, and there have been 5 revisions since the original map was published.
  10. Organized and led monthly hikes throughout SW Portland beginning in 2000 and continue today.  Many hundreds of people have taken advantage of these hikes to see parts of SW Portland they would otherwise never see.
  11. Lobbied for safe crossing of many streets, most recently to secure the soon to be installed crosswalk improvements at 4900 SW Barbur.
  12. Supported the effort to develop, sign and improve the 4T trail being led by Don Baack and Bruce Murray.
  13. Brought focus on the poor infrastructure on Barbur, most recently focusing attention on the need to improve several Barbur Bridges, especially the Newbury and Vermont structures which are very narrow and do not have bicycle paths on them.
  14. Led the effort to obtain funding for the Red Electric Planning effort and for the funding for the bridge in Hillsdale soon to be designed.
  15. Developed the SWNI Policy for Safe Routes to school,  lobbied for standard and non standard street and trail improvements to make it safer for children to walk and bicycle to school.  In some cases constructing trail connections to make it safer for children to walk to school.
  16. Worked with The City of Portland and Metro to raise awareness of the transportation needs of SW Portland where 46 percent of our arterials do not have sidewalks and only 15% of our streets have sidewalks.
  17. Worked with several city bureaus to address vegetation management issues along our streets, sidewalks and trails.
  18. Worked with the City of Portland and the Oregon State Legislature to pass the trails liability in the 2011 legislature to expand the liability exemption to include all uses of the trails, and to provide liability protection for volunteers working to improve the trails on city rights of way.