FAQ

  1. I enjoy hiking the trails of SW Portland.  How can I help maintain them?
    SWTrails hosts monthly work parties.  We welcome volunteers of any ability or skillset.  See our Help the Trails page for more information, and our Events Calendar for the next work party.

 

  1. Where do I find maps of trails in southwest Portland?
    Visit our GIS & Mapping page for SWTrails PDX trail maps.  You  can also find links to other maps produced by Portland Parks and PBOT.

 

  1. How did SWTrails get started?
    Our founder, Don Baack, has been walking the streets of  southwest Portland since 1972.  He found his way hindered by busy streets with no sidewalks and no one seemed to know if safer alternative pedestrian routes existed.  He also found that about 75% of the 280 miles of streets in southwest Portland lacked sidewalks. It was clear to him that City funding  to put sidewalks on all the streets was not going to happen. Southwest Portland still needed safer, more comfortable routes to walk, however. Don took up the challenge and started SWTrails PDX.  SWTrails then began the massive task of working with all the southwest neighborhoods to identify where they wanted to walk.  The gathered data was presented to the City Council, and eventually an  Urban Trails Plan was developed.  Volunteers  began constructing key connections on unbuilt rights-of-way with City permission and collaboration. Southwest Portland now has an over 40-mile-long network  of walkable urban trails.

 

  1. Why are directional trail signs not posted in some areas?
    Sign placement varies based on the jurisdiction in which they are located. Signs on a public right-of-way are the responsibility of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT).  Signs in city parks are the responsibility of Parks & Recreation.  SWTrails PDX continues to work with all landowners and land managers to have signs that are consistent throughout the trail network.

 

  1. How do I become a member of SWTrails?
    Visit our Join Page for details on how to become a member. Membership costs $10 annually, with all proceeds going toward support of our mission.

 

  1. How do I donate to SWTrails?
    All donations are greatly appreciated to further our work in improving walking in SW Portland.  See our Donate Page for more details.

 

  1. Are there plans to expand the Urban trail network?
    The simple answer is, yes.  There are plans to extend trail 6 into downtown Lake Oswego, Trail 1 into Beaverton and Trail 5 into Tigard.  However, when trails cross into different land manager areas (PBOT, Portland Parks, etc.), Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) are needed between the jurisdictions and are difficult to come by.  We  are also working on completing a few missing connections  important to creating a safer and better walking network.

 

  1. There’s a trail near me that needs improving, how can I get it fixed?
    Go to our Report Problems page, and leave a comment.

 

  1. Are there similar organizations in other parts of Portland (i.e. SE/NE, or NW Portland)?
    No, we are a one-of-a-kind organization and serve the neighborhoods included in the SW Neighborhoods Inc (SWNI) area.

 

  1. How do I stay informed of events that SWTrails is planning?
    There are three ways to stay up-to-date:
  1. When is the “Red Electric” Trail scheduled to be open?
    The Red Electric Trail, named for the train line that ran along roughly the same route, will be part of the urban trail system once all portions are complete.  The route must somehow cross the gully in George Himes park on a bridge as the existing Barbur bridges cannot be modified to do the job.  We are waiting for the SW Corridor bridge to be built to finish that portion of the trail. Some easements still need to be negotiated. The pedestrian bridge that crosses the headwaters of Fanno Creek has just begun construction and is due to be finished in spring of 2022.  You can find the sections of the trail that are open now on City maps and our GIS Red Electric Trail map.   the remaining portions are listed in the Transportation System Plan for planned for construction sometime in the next two decades.  Detailed information can be found by visiting our Red Electric Trail  page.

 

  1. Where can I find more information about hiking the world-famous 4T Trail?
    The “Trail, Tram, Trolley, Train” Trail is among Portland’s highlights for locals and visitors alike.  More information on operating hours, directions to trailheads, parking, history, etc. can be found by visiting the 4-T Trail website: 4T-Trail.org.