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News Release: Boones Ferry restoration and bridge project to benefit fish, wildlife, people; full road closure starts in late March for up to seven months

(February 12, 2020) – The City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services is beginning a restoration and bridge-building project on Tryon Creek at SW Boones Ferry Road to restore healthy water flows to the creek and improve connections for fish, wildlife, and people.

Environmental Services advises the traveling public that construction of the project’s main feature – a 125-foot-long steel girder bridge -  will involve lane closures later this month on SW Boones Ferry Road near SW Arnold Street, and a full road closure starting in late March for up to seven months.

During lane closures, flaggers will be on site; people are asked to travel cautiously, expect some delays, observe directions of reader boards and flaggers, and use alternate routes when possible.

For the full closure, travelers are advised to use a recommended detour that directs Boones Ferry Road travelers to use SW Stephenson Street and SW 35th to reach SW Terwilliger Boulevard. The closure will be in effect all hours, all days, to all travelers, including non-motorized use. Local access will be provided.

To build the bridge, crews will remove a section of the road as well as an aging culvert underneath the roadbed. That culvert has been a longtime obstacle that blocks native fish and prevents healthy water flow, leading to erosion and storm surges along the creek.  

Crews will also build a pedestrian and wildlife trail under the bridge and along the creek that connects with the area’s existing popular trail network.

“The culvert was a barrier, the bridge will be a connector,” said Environmental Services Director Mike Jordan, “Instead of squeezing the creek into a dark corrugated pipe, the bridge will allow one of the Portland’s healthiest streams to flow freely, unlocking upstream and downstream habitat for fish.  For people and wildlife, the trail alongside the creek will create a safe pathway that connects to Southwest Portland’s extensive trail network. We thank the community for its partnership in helping us design a project that benefits both people and wildlife.”culvert to be replaced

“Community groups have been long time advocates for this project, and we are particularly delighted by the steel girder bridge solution. Walking under the bridge will be much safer than walking over SW Boones Ferry Road,” said Hans Steuch, a volunteer with SW Trails and a member of the Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association.

Tryon Creek is considered one of Portland’s healthiest streams, and is home to native cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and other native fish. The larger watershed is home to beaver, deer and other wildlife. The Boones Ferry Road culvert is one of two major fish passage barriers on the mainstem of Tryon Creek. The other is a culvert near the mouth of the creek at Highway 43 where it connects with the Willamette River. Planning is underway for that Highway 43 culvert to be removed, which would open Tryon Creek’s prime habitat for endangered Willamette River salmon and steelhead.

In addition to bridge and trail construction, therestoration project will install large wood and rock in key areas of the creek to reduce erosion and improve water quality and fish habitat. Crews under contract to Environmental Services will remove about 100 trees in the bridge construction zone, with many being reused to create wildlife habitat on the site; crews will also plant 6,050 shrubs, more than 3,000 plants, and more than 600 tree seedlings

The SW Boones Ferry Bridge and Restoration Project cost is $8.8 million, with the majority being funded by Environmental Services. Metro is providing a $650,000 grant through its Nature in the Neighborhood program.

Other project partners are: Portland Parks and Recreation, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Portland Water Bureau, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, West Multnomah Soil & Water Conservation District, and community groups including Tryon Creek Watershed Council, SW Trails PDX, Friends of Tryon Creek State Park,  SWNI Transportation Committee,  Arnold Creek Neighborhood Association and adjacent and nearby property owners.

 Updates will be provided, including the exact date of the full closure. Schedules may change due to a variety of factors, including weather, conditions underground, and other unforeseen events.

 More photos may be found at Flickr.  See the project video and find more information at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/boonesferry.

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 The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. www.portlandoregon.gov/bes and @BESPortland.

Media contact: Diane Dulken (503)457-7636 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov