Crossing construction begins March 25; parts of Wildwood Trail trail closed for duration

Utility work on West Burnside, in preparation for construction of the Barbara Walker Crossing.

Utility work on West Burnside, in preparation for construction of the Barbara Walker Crossing.

On Monday, March 25, construction of the the highly anticipated Barbara Walker Crossing will begin. If you have driven over West Burnside this week, you’ll notice that utility work is already underway. Low voltage lines are being relocated underground. Once the crossing is in place, high voltage lines will be going above it.

As construction begins, parts of the Wildwood Trail will close starting on March 25, to the south of Burnside for about 1,000 feet within Hoyt Arboretum, and north of Burnside to Verde Vista Trail (towards Pittock Mansion). The trail closures will be in place for the duration of construction. Check our sidebar for a map outlining the trail closure.

The Barbara Walker Crossing is scheduled for completion by Fall 2019.

Read more about this stage of the project in our latest press release here

Trail Closure Details during the Barbara Walker Crossing Project's Construction Phase

Construction for the Barbara Walker Crossing is scheduled to begin at the end of March 2019. The project is expected to be complete by September 2019. This highly-anticipated project will close Forest Park’s Wildwood Trail south of Burnside for about 1000 feet, and north of Burnside to Pittock Mansion. See the latest press release and the map below for details.

Forest_Park_working map for temp closure_low rez.jpg

Follow this page for Crossing construction updates

The Barbara Walker Crossing—a safe and beautiful crossing for the Wildwood Trail over Burnside between Forest Park and Washington Park—is well on its way to a fall 2019 opening!

For information about how to support the Footbridge Over Burnside campaign, please see our Campaign webpage. For all things related to the construction of the Barbara Walker Footbridge, please see below. You can also sign up to receive updates by email.

January 29, 2019 Update - Construction scheduled to begin in March

Read the latest press release on the project here.

On January 23 at the Oregon Zoo, nearly 50 people attended a public information meeting about the Barbara Walker Footbridge Over Burnside construction project. Attendees included representatives from key partners including Portland Parks Foundation, Portland Parks & Recreation, R & H Construction, Ian Walker, son of the late Barbara Walker, Charlie Swindells, and other members of the citizen steering committee. Speakers included Randy Gragg, the foundation’s new Executive Director; Robin Johnson Craig, Capital Project Manager at PP&R; and R & H Construction’s Kraig O’Connor and Shane Bliss.

The presentation included a history of the project, as well as connections between the Footbridge project and Barbara Walker’s important contributions to Portland parks and trails. Community members and government identified the need for a bridge for the Wildwood Trail decades ago. With Portland Parks Foundation as the lead partner, the project represents a unique and important public-private partnership to make the bridge a reality, with two-thirds of the funding coming from private donations. The footbridge was designed by award-winning artist and long-time Oregonian Ed Carpenter.

The team also shared high-level updates on the construction plan. The Footbridge project has been designed to be completed with as little impact as possible. The main structure will be fabricated off-site then lifted into place, reducing construction time. The Wildwood Trail will be closed for the duration of construction. West Burnside will have occasional lane closures for onsite work and will be closed entirely for 1-2 days in August when the bridge span is lifted into place. Other impacts will include removal of trees, a powerline relocation, and, for safety, decommissioning of the trail spurs between the footbridge and Burnside and the gravel turn-out on the south side of Burnside. Construction is scheduled to begin in late March with a targeted completion date of mid-September.

Here’s how to stay connected to the Barbara Walker Footbridge project:

About the project:

Website: www.portlandpf.org
Footbridge email list: sign up here
Twitter: @PDXParksFound
Facebook: PortlandParksFoundation

About traffic closures:

Twitter: @PBOTinfo
Facebook: PBOTinfo
Email updates: sign up here

December 18, 2018 Update - Progress towards Footbridge construction

Here’s the latest on progress toward making the Barbara Walker Footbridge a reality.

We’re almost ready to begin! In just a few more weeks we’ll give the go-ahead for construction! Here’s what you need to know:

  • 6:30 pm, Wednesday, January 23, 2019 PPF will host a public information meeting at the Oregon Zoo. We’ll outline the construction schedule beginning this winter, including impacts on West Burnside and the Wildwood Trail--all trail and arterial lane closures necessary for the bridge’s construction. More details and a reminder will be sent out in January.   Please join us! As we move into construction, PPF’s contractor will be doing all it can to minimize inconvenience to drivers and trail users while this beautiful work of design--and critical public safety measure—takes shape. As we know, great things seldom happen without a little sacrifice! Our deep thanks in advance for your patience.

  • In addition to the nearly $2.1 million in generous private donations for the Footbridge, the Portland City Council transferred  $1,050,000 of City and Metro funds on Dec. 5. These included $500,000 from Portland’s general fund, $350,000 in transportation Systems Development Charge funds from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and $200,000 from Metro’s Open Space Bond Measure. Parks commissioner Nick Fish, past parks commissioner Amanda Fritz, and transportation commissioner Chloe Eudaly, along with their staff and their respective bureaus, have provided critical support—a true public/private partnership!

  • Staff at Portland Parks & Recreation and PBOT continue to work with the Foundation to finalize permits for the Footbridge.  PBOT issued notice to PGE that utility lines on the north side of West Burnside Street will have to be relocated for the bridge, and PGE has already convened its team to complete that work prior to beginning work on the Footbridge landings and supporting pylon.  

  • We are moving to a two-phase construction schedule. We will still break ground in February as planned to build the landings.  But due to our steel fabricator’s capacity and scheduling issues, we will lift the bridge into place a little later. The completed Footbridge is now slated to open in late summer.  We are still exploring the impacts of the new schedule on access to the Wildwood Trail near the construction site. We’ll have more details at the January public meeting.

Our continuing thanks go out to the community, our donors, our design and construction partners, the City, Metro, and all who have had a hand in this terrific project!

November 13, 2018 Update - "60% design" approval

Progress on Footbridge permitting continues!  In late October PPF received PBOT approval for its “60% design” submission. The 90% design documents are currently submitted and under review by PBOT and PP&R. 

Approval of the 60% design has several important impacts.  

(1)  It prompts formal notice by the City of the need for utility line relocation. 
(2)  It allows PPF to work with its general contractor on a near-final estimate of the project’s actual construction costs. 
(3)  It brings us closer to issuing the "notice to proceed" for steel fabrication off-site. On-site construction of the Footbridge's concrete pier and landings will begin this winter.

PPF is planning a public meeting in January 2019 to answer questions about the project and let the community know what to expect when construction on West Burnside begins.  We will send email announcements and post public service announcements of the meeting in coming weeks, as well as provide details here.

Continuing thanks to our donors, our project partners (especially kpff, Inc., R&H Construction, Ed Carpenter, Walker Macy, and Shiels Obletz Johnsen), the staff at PBOT and PP&R, and everyone else who is helping to make this project possible!

August 14, 2018 Update - PPF incorporating comments from PP&R and PBOT

We have submitted what are known as "60% design" documents to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), and we are now incorporating comments from PBOT and Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) in preparation to submit "90% design" documents.  PP&R will own and maintain the Footbridge once it's completed.

When we are assured that no further significant design changes will be required, Portland Parks Foundation (PPF) can purchase steel for the bridge structure and authorize a start to off-site fabrication this fall.  We are also developing the construction contract that will include a guaranteed maximum price.  We expect to complete this process in September.

The adage "time is money" has never been truer than for this project.  Estimated costs of construction have escalated 20% since 2017.  PPF and its contractors are identifying potential savings, but the final budget for the entire Footbridge campaign since 2014 is likely to exceed $3 million.  Recent grants from the Wheeler Foundation and Travel Oregon have brought private funding past the $2 million mark, along with $700,000 in funds committed from the City of Portland and Metro.  PPF is working with the city to identify additional funding, as well as approaching foundations with proposals for the final funds needed.  Warm thanks to the nearly 1,000 generous individuals and organizations who have helped bring us so close to the finish line!  

Stay tuned for updates on the construction process, trail or lane closures, and other information about the progress on the Footbridge. We appreciate the community’s patience and support as this important safety measure and art work is brought to completion!

May 15, 2018 Update - Public works permitting process and design documents

Good news!  The Footbridge Over Burnside, connecting the Wildwood Trail between Forest Park and Washington Park, is well into the public works permitting process and slated tentatively for groundbreaking this winter.

The Footbridge, to be named for the late parks volunteer and tireless advocate Barbara Walker, is a long overdue safety measure for the estimated 80,000 pedestrians who cross West Burnside at the Wildwood Trail annually.  It will also reduce the danger for 20,000 drivers each day who pass the trailheads and often need to brake suddenly as they round blind curves and catch sight of crossers. The Footbridge has been cited in several city studies as a priority for safety.

This project of the Portland Parks Foundation (PPF) and local community leaders has been supported by nearly 1,000 private gifts totaling over $2 million, as well as generous commitments from City of Portland and Metro.  The bridge will be not only a safe and practical solution to the danger on the Wildwood—it’s also a virtual work of art, designed by Ed Carpenter of Northwest Portland, whose public art installations can be seen in numerous cities from Florida to Hawaii, as well as Asia.

As the construction phase comes closer, PPF will be holding a community meeting in NW Portland to inform residents of the project’s impact on traffic patterns and trail usage.  Much of the Footbridge’s steel construction will occur off-site, but construction of the supporting pylon (on the south side gravel shoulder) and each landing on the Wildwood Trail will create inconveniences for drivers and trail users.  

We wish it weren’t so, but use of the Wildwood Trail between Pittock Mansion and Washington Park will be limited during construction.  PPF will be working with our contractor and Portland Parks & Recreation to post signs informing hikers and runners about trail access. We will also work with our community partners such as Forest Park Conservancy, Pittock Mansion, Hoyt Arboretum, the Portland Japanese Garden, World Forestry Center, the Oregon Zoo, trail and running organizations, and others to ensure that Wildwood Trail users know what to expect.  

Please stay tuned to this web page for updates on the construction process, trail or lane closures, and other information about the progress on the Footbridge.

PPF appreciates the community’s patience and support as this important safety measure and art work is brought to completion!

Design Documents