Our 21st route explores explores three features with significance to our organization:
1) The very first steps built by SWT (Canby steps)
2) A pedestrian-only R/W named after our founder (the “Raz-Baack Crossing”)
3) Our next big improvement projects (19th Ave R/W)
This walk starts at Mary Rieke Elementary School and takes you across SW Barbur Blvd and the I-5 freeway, to Burlingame Park. After you have explored the South Burlingame Neighborhood you’ll return via the unique SW 19th Ave right-of-way trail.
Starting at Rieke School on SW Vermont St and SW 13th Ave, turn left to head east on SW Vermont (note SW Vermont becomes SW Chestnut at the curve). When you reach SW Terwilliger, carefully cross to use the sidewalks on the East side. Continue along Terwilliger and cross SW Barbur and the I-5 freeway. At the south end of the Terwilliger overpass, follow signs for SWTrails route #4 by taking the stairs on your left down to SW Canby Street. Turn left on Canby and follow it (Trail 4 route) until the road ends. The trail beyond the road blockades will take you up the Canby Stairs, one of SWTrail’s first-ever projects. The 20-year-old stairs have served the community well and are in need of rebuilding; if you, or anyone you know, would like to help rebuild these steps, contact us here. At the top of the steps you will come out onto another segment of SW Canby. Turn right and follow the street until it turns, and look for a trail proceeding roughly west into the forest ahead. Follow this short trail and you will go past the tennis courts and playground of Burlingame Park, one of the best hidden parks in Portland. Continue west on the paved pathway through the park to SW Falcon St; turn right to SW 14th Ave and follow it around to SW Hume St. where you will turn right. Hume curves around and becomes SW 17th Ave (you will pass Capitol Hill Elementary School). At SW Spring Garden turn right and continue west along the north edge of St. Clare School and Church on your left. At SW 19th Ave. turn right and continue on the marked route for Trails 4 and 6 over I-5 to SW Barbur Blvd.
Cross Barbur Blvd and follow the signs for Trails 4 and 6 down the wooden stairs and then continue on SW 19th up the hill to SW Moss St where Trail 4 turns to the west to go to Multnomah Village. Stay on Trail 6 as you pass through this right-of-way along various trail connections and short street segments. As this section of trail is also in need of repairs, we hope to do some improvements in the near future. The trail climbs over the top of the hill and down to SW Capitol Hill Rd where you will turn right and proceed to the entrance of the Stephens Creek Natural area. This park exists due to the work of the Wilson Park (now Hillsdale) Neighborhood Association led by Wes Risher, who personally financed several land use appeals to prevent this important natural area from being developed into a low-income housing area. The development was moved 4 blocks north where the Neighborhood had initially proposed to have it located. After the housing development was moved, the area became a City of Portland Park.
Continue into the Stephens Creek Natural area and cross the creek at the Raz-Baack Crossing. The crossing was funded and built by local citizens in lieu of a PBOT bicycle/pedestrian bridge project estimated at a cost of $900,000. After 9 years of planning, Portland Parks gained permits to build the connection. SWTrails volunteers built the steps in 30 days, and constructed the 92-ft walkway in 11 days! Trudie Raz gathered the contributions to build the project, and Don Baack led the design and construction effort for a total cost of $10,000. To honor their efforts, the Hillsdale Neighborhood decided to name it the Raz-Baack Crossing.
At the east end of the crossing, at the top of the stairs, you will come to the dangerous crossing of SW Bertha. Notice how wide the right of way is in this area. This is the location of an important siding of the Red Electric Railroad. In May, 1920, the eastbound train failed to take the siding as required and was met head on by the westbound train. Several people were killed, including the engineer of the westbound train.
Once you cross Bertha, proceed up the hill on SW Chestnut Dr to SW 13th Ave where you will turn left and walk north to Vermont. Cross SW Vermont where you will see Mary Rieke Elementary School on your left, and you have made it back to where you began! From here, take a side trip and visit the food carts at Wilson High School for a well-deserved snack after your walk.
*To follow this route, use the Explorer for ArcGIS App to follow along. Simply Download the Explorer for ArcGIS app and touch here on any mobile device. The route is highlighted on an interactive map.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #swtrails to share your very best pictures.