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Category: parks and trails

A Hyatt, a levy and development everywhere: Metro's 2013 stories of the year

The Portland region's government was busy on projects stretching across the area, from studying a transit line to Tualatin, to negotiating to build a hotel in Portland's Lloyd District, to helping with the planning process for a site near Willamette Falls, to figuring out how to curb the region's tailpipe emissions.

Nature park in Hillsboro receives strong support from Metro Council, community

Elementary schooler's depiction of Orenco Woods Nature ParkPerhaps the most endearing example of community support for the Orenco Woods Nature Park in Hillsboro is a local student's drawing of a master plan for the park, rendered carefully in crayon. Orenco Woods Nature Park will be a 30-acre park in central Hillsboro, a project two years in the making whose master plan was enthusiastically sanctioned by the Metro Council Thursday.

Brownfield program helps former gas station takes step toward new life as park

Eichler park expansionThe fenced-off empty lot next to Eichler Park in Beaverton may look about the same as it has for years. But for staff at Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District, the unassuming enclosure, formerly a gas station, just became a lot more promising.

Independent committee: Metro is making ‘steady progress’ on natural areas bond measure

GOAbout 71 percent of a $227.4 million natural areas bond measure has been invested, according to the latest report from the Natural Areas Program Performance Oversight Committee. The committee said Metro is on track to meet goals in three major areas: buying regional natural areas, supporting local nature projects and awarding community grants.

Regional fall favorites: places to visit this season

Fall in Oregon is a quick flash of bright leaves and crisp, sunny afternoons, here and gone again all too quickly. Before this ephemeral season slips once more through our fingers, view this list of Metro employee favorite fall places for outdoor adventure ideas this autumn.

Harrington to be recognized for pedestrian advocacy this weekend

HarringtonHarrington has been a steadfast supporter of the development of a regional plan for sidewalks, trails and bike lanes, now called the Regional Active Transportation Plan. For her advocacy, she'll be recognized this weekend at the Oregon Walks Weston Awards.

Railroad deal helps trail, freight projects in North Portland

Two transportation projects got a boost Thursday after the Metro Council approved a land deal with the Union Pacific Corp.

M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp revitalization complete

PaversMetro has completed construction of the additional single car parking area at the M. James Gleason Memorial Boat Ramp.

Suburban mayors ask for changes in Active Transportation Plan

A plan to integrate the region's network of trails and bike paths hit a detour this week, with most of the region's mayors expressing concern that the plan could turn into a mandate.

In a letter to Metro Council President Tom Hughes, 21 of the region's 25 mayors, who represent about a third of the region's residents, said the region's Active Transportation Plan is a valuable effort.

"It acknowledges the necessary safety, health and economic vitality components, and specifically works to balance the pedestrian, bicycle, transit freight and motor vehicle needs in the future," the letter said.

But, the mayors said, the plan contains five policies of concern, primarily related to local control over implementation of active transportation planning.

Read the mayors' letter (PDF)

"Leave matters of implementation to local decision makers," the mayors say. "Neither the ATP nor its policies, goals or guidelines should be tied to federal funding." They also suggested that road narrowing projects are unpopular and questioned the mandatory nature of policies.

mayors

From left, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax and Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey talk after Wednesday's meeting of the Metro Policy Advisory Committee. Truax and Willey, along with 19 other mayors, co-signed a letter asking for changes to the Regional Active Transportation Plan; Hales and three other mayors declined to sign it.

They pointed to Action Item 2.10 of the draft Active Transportation Plan, which called for Metro to update the region's transportation plans "to include requirements that will implement the recommended networks and policies of the ATP."

At a meeting of regional leaders Wednesday, interim Metro planning director Steve Wheeler said the Active Transportation Plan does not mandate specific project funding. But, he said, the plan will remain in draft form until mid-2014 to give regional leaders more time to review it.

He said the language in item 2.10 has been "softened." A list of changes to the plan, as of Wednesday, included a number of places where local input had been called out.

That pleased Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey, who was one of the regional leaders at Wednesday's meeting of the Metro Policy Advisory Committee.

"That needs to be absolutely emphasized, how much we appreciate it when, instead of 'implement,' you say 'support,'" Willey said. "Instead of 'include' you say 'encourage.' All of those words imply you're much more receptive to all the regional input that I think needs to happen."

Clackamas County Commissioner Martha Schrader stressed that there is a local component to the regional plan. She said that Clackamas County and Metro should collaborate to ensure that there's adequate citizen input into the plan.

"For example, the Boring CPO is one of our really big centers for trails. They're also, bless their hearts, one of our most vocal groups of folks that can really get themselves up in arms," Schrader said. "How we approach this within our jurisdiction is going to have to be in a really direct way, including these people, or I can guarantee you we will be fomenting rebellion."

Four of the region's mayors did not sign the letter: Beaverton's Denny Doyle, Johnson City's Kay Mordock, Portland's Charlie Hales and West Linn's John Kovash, who collectively represent about 705,000 of the region's 1.5 million residents. The mayors who signed the letter collectively represent about 507,000 people.

After the meeting, Hales said he didn't sign the letter because he didn't think the plan is prescriptive, and that people who are walking or riding bikes don't pay attention to city boundaries.

"They want to get from here to there, so Metro's doing what it needs to do in this case, which is lay down those maps of existing conditions and needed improvements in each mode," Hales said. "I'm not interested in any erosion of that basic principle."

He said some of his mayoral colleagues have an "underlying fear of Metro's authority."

"In this case, it's just the authority to get us to work together," Hales said. "I was just talking to a couple of the mayors after the meeting, and I think the revisions we've made to the draft have calmed those fears enough. I hope so."

The Metro Council still has to vote on part of the plan next month. Councilor Craig Dirksen explained to MPAC members Wednesday night that the council has to acknowledge the work that's been done on the plan, as part of a federal grant process.

'We're not looking for confirmation, approval or even acceptance of the plan, but just an acknowledgement of the work that's been done up until now with that grant money," Dirksen said.

Metro News editor Nick Christensen can be reached at nick.christensen@oregonmetro.gov or 503-813-7583. Follow Metro on Twitter @oregonmetro.

Learn more about the Regional Active Transportation Plan

See also:

Could bikes be the key to reaching climate goals? (Dec. 26, 2012)
Planners moving toward regional look at active transportation (Feb. 6, 2012)
Grant funds project to create a Regional Active Transportation Plan (July 6, 2011)

Come count with us: Volunteers needed for regional trail counts

countCalling all trail lovers – volunteer for a shift the week of Sept. 10 and help count how many people are using our trails throughout the region.