SW Trails
September 27, 2012

The Watershed Building in Hillsdale
6388 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland OR 97239

Attendance: Lee Buhler, Sharon Fekety, Virginia Hendrikson, Cole Trusty, Diane Mays, Chris Mays, Arnie Pantich, Doug Rogers, Don Baack, Kathy Turner, Mark Turner, Michael Kiser

Don called the meeting to order at: 7:01

Doug Rogers talked about trains that ran in southwest Portland.  He got interested in rails in southwest when he moved into a house near an old railroad bed for the Red Electric train.  He walked the rail line and got very interested in the history and started to research train travel in southwest. He said much of the right of way and train bed is still there. It belonged to the Southern Pacific Railroad  It was built between 1869 and 1900 by the Oregon California railway. It is about 140 years old. It was built with manual labor. It is the first railroad in southwest Portland. He says to can actually see what was done and it is better than reading it in the book. The rails were pulled in early 1932. The last passenger run was in 1929. The city purchased the right of way (Barbur and Bertha) and built roads on it. Rail traffic died due to the automobile and buses. Southern Pacific started running buses in the 1920s. The Oregon Electric, which followed I5 from downtown then what is now Multnomah Blvd to points west and south all the way to Eugene  It carried carried  passengers from 1908 to 1933, the year that Barbur Blvd opened as a four lane street. They continued freight service until 1944.  It was very popular and went to Eugene. Doug handed out some information he prepared as well as maps of the old rail lines. Mark asked if the roads (streets)  on the maps were all built and Doug said some of them are unbuilt right-of-ways. He said builders submitted plats to the city that were not built. He said in 1927 there were a lot of dairies and then by 1944 those were “hobby” farms. Doug talked about the West Portland Park railroad.  Thomas Wood bought property in West Portland Park and he built the railroad for people to get there. Doug handed out a paper and map about the company. It only rain for about 10 years and was not very successful.  Doug described the route and still visible portions of the route. It was a steam locomotive. It was used mostly to bring cord word to downtown Portland. Don said he heard that some of the tracks were wood. Arnie suggested that Wood’s park and Wood’s creek were named for Thomas Wood. He pointed out that the standard lot size in Chicago is 25′. Michael said there are small lots around 45th and Garden Road, and some in West Portland Park

Doug talked about the Fulton Park cemetery street car  line. It was built in 1889.  There was a electric generating plant at the Fulton Park Community gardens. It went out of Corbett and branched off at Slaven Road. It follows what is now I-5 as well where the Oregon electric went as well. There was a large wood trestle across what is now I-5. At time, the city did not want cemeteries in downtown as it was prime real estate. They had graves moved to Riverview Cemetery. The street car  was discontinued and replaced by a bus in 1937. Arnie said there was a unified cemetery moving movement all over the country where they moved cemeteries out of central cities. They were viewed as parks at the time. There are five cemeteries in the location South of Taylors Ferry Road and west of Highway 43/MacAdam.

Don asked what people thought about SW Trails listing the coordinates for the old railway sights,where one can still see the original railroad grade etc,  maybe as a geo cashe like game?  He suggested we put out an email asking for volunteers for the project.   Anyone interested in doing something like this contact Don.

The agenda was approved.

Minutes: Sharon made a motion to approve the previous months minutes. Cole seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Hooley Pedestrian Bridge: Sharon said the bike gutters are not adequate. Don suggested adding the pedestrian elevator with an electronic sign saying when the elevator is closed. He said it is a problem for people in a wheel chair. Arnie asked why the elevator is closed and Don said there was a safety feature that was not put in and they have to remove the doors. Problems can be reported at safe@portlandoregon.gov

Don made a motion to write a letter to add an electronic sign warning of closure at the west end of the Hooley Pedestrian Bridge Cole seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Red Electric Brochure: Don talked about the Red Electric Brochure and said we need to get it out to the public. He said we have the money to print a couple thousand more. He said Liz Mahon also said she can also print a couple more thousand at the city printing office.  Don talked about other ways to distribute the brochure. Michael suggested the Hillsdale and Capital Hill libraries. Cole said he plans to take them door to door. Cole said he wrote bikeportland.org and they would like some. Diane will add a link to the .pdf brochure to emails. Diane suggested asking Parks to put them in the rec. centers.

Walks: Sharon said she would lead on October 13, Diane and Chris will lead November and Lee will lead December.

Sharon said she contacted Lisa Deiber at BDS about the problem on Terwilliger.  She is in charge of sidewalks and vegetation compliance. The problem has been resolved.

Don said there will be re-paving of bike ways on Barbur in the area just south of Sheridan by Duniway Park and south a bit. There will also be some parking on Barbur. The crosswalk at Natio and Whitaker will be constructed in about 6 months with an actual HAWK signal which will require cars to stop.    The design for the Red Electric bridge at Nebraska and 21st  to Bertha west is getting underway. There is a complication in that they plan to do sewer improvements at the same time for a pipe under BH Hwy at SW 21st.

Don and Cathy Turner talked about the pedestrian audit at Hillsdale. Cathy said she the accessibility issue came up with some good ideas. Don said they got a lot of data and people were very interested in the project.

Don asked people to see if anyone they knew wanted to be a member of SW Trails.

Don said we are still waiting on the IRS for our 501c3 status. It may take another 3 to 6 months.

They are moving ahead on the crosswalk on Multnomah at 25st.

Treasurer’s Report: Chris reported there is $1481 in the bank account and there was an additional $10.00 of cash to be deposited.

Don said there will be a Barbur Concepts meeting at SWNI on Oct 4.  There are several areas they are looking at for more concentrated development. It will go to council in the next three to four months. He said there will also be a SW Corridor meeting on October 9

Don said a representative from TriMet would come next month to discuss a mapping project that will put walking maps on Googlemaps. Cathy asked why TriMet is doing this and Don said they want to know where people have to walk to get to a bus. Sharon said some of this is available now. Don said it would be very helpful to have the urban trails digitized so people could look at the portion they are interested in.

Don said we may be able to get an intern from Wilson if we are interested.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:52

Respectfully submitted,

Lee Buhler



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