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Parks & Recreation

Healthy Parks, Healthy Portland

Phone: 503-823-PLAY (7529)

Fax: 503-823-6007

1120 SW Fifth Ave., Suite 1302, Portland, OR 97204

Stephens Creek East Trail


Develop a north-south trail roughly parallel to Stephens Creek that provides an accessible route from the east end of the boardwalk up to SW Bertha Blvd. Add a sign with the name of the park and the Raz-Baack Crossing from SW Capitol Hill to SW Bertha.

Project Partners
Portland Parks & Recreation, SWNI Parks Committee, SW Trails, Hillsdale Neighborhood Assn, Hillsdale Business Assn, PP&R Disability Advisory Committee, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Bureau of Environmental Services

Project Managers
Allison Rouse, 503-823-5598,
Rachel Felice, 503-823-9423,

Summer 2013
Procure contractor
September - November 2013
Complete construction

PROJECT UPDATE - September 2013
Good news! Construction of the Stephens Creek East Trail will begin next week. PP&R hired a contractor to install the gravel trail located at the east end of the boardwalk and connecting to SW Bertha Blvd. Proposed Trail Alignment 

Initial activities, including surveying, trail staking, brush clearing, and delivery of materials, take place in September. Trail construction will begin in October. We expect the trail to be complete in November. Equipment and materials used in the project will be stored on two level areas along SW Bertha Blvd. The sidewalk will be closed intermittently for short periods of time (15-30 minutes) to move materials and equipment to the trail head from the staging area. Sidewalk closures will be avoided during school commute times. The park sign will also be installed as part of this project.

The budget for this work is $140,000. This covers the cost of the trail design, permitting, management, and construction. This does not include building the timber steps. While we do not currently have the budget to construct the steps, they have been designed and permitted.

The 2005 Functional Plan for Stephens Creek Nature Park was developed by a community and City staff partnership that included representatives from the Southwest Neighborhood, Incorporated (SWNI) Parks Committee, Hillsdale Neighborhood Association, the Friends of Stephens Creek Nature Park (a subcommittee of the Hillsdale Neighborhood Association), and staff from the PP&R Natural Resource Program, now known as City Nature. The Functional Plan places habitat value and environmental function as the highest priority for the site but also anticipated creating both a direct and a more accessible route across the park.

Stephens Creek Nature Park is an approximately 4-acre site located in the Hillsdale neighborhood in southwest Portland, west of SW Bertha Blvd and east of SW Capitol Hill Rd. Stephens Creek, a perennial creek with an average depth of 6.5 inches, is part of the Willamette watershed and is one of three major watersheds in southwest Portland. The creek is in the center of the park and flows in a northwest to southeast direction. Custer Creek empties into the park also; the confluence of Custer and Stephens Creeks is located within the park. Two municipal storm drains originating in the residential area east of SW Bertha Blvd empty into Stephens Creek.

The site is owned by the City of Portland and managed by PP&R City Nature West. However, the Bureau of Environmental Services has an easement encompassing the creek and its banks for stormwater purposes. A 55-ft-wide undeveloped public right-of-way bisects the site and the easement east to west. Adjacent parcels to the north, west, and south are owned by several private landowners. The entire site has a restrictive environmental zoning overlay and strict tree protections are applied by PP&R Urban Forestry.

The site is a nature park and is managed for its habitat value. Its primary amenity is its natural character. But it is also valuable as neighborhood open space and for the connectivity it provides between neighborhoods along SW Capitol Hill Rd and the schools across Bertha, and for the access along Bertha to Hillsdale and the Terwilliger area. The park is under renovation by City Nature to improve its ecological functioning, with the assistance of neighbors and other interested stakeholders. In 2007, the SW Trails group accomplished a major project to build the stairs and boardwalk that form the present east-west path system between Capitol Hill and Bertha.

A portion of PP&R's share of Metro's 2006 Greenspaces Bond Measure was allocated to pay for installation of a path to make a more accessible north-south connection through the Nature Park. Design goals include:

  • Preserve the functional and scenic values of the Nature Park as dictated by its Environmental Zoning Overlay, BES drainageway regulations, and Urban Forestry tree protection requirements
  • Follow the 2009 PP&R Trail Design Guidelines to ensure long-term maintainability
  • Provide an accessible route from the east end of the boardwalk up to SW Bertha

The landscape architects are Group MacKenzie, and surveying has been provided by Kpff Consulting Engineers. The total project cost estimate is approximately $125,000 including administration, design, permitting, and construction costs.

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