In Oregon, Historical Trolley Line Reborn as Rail-Trail

Posted 05/26/12 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in America's Trails

Historic photo - known to be one of the oldest ever taken of Oregon City © Oregon Historical Society

National Trails Day, June 2, is really shaping up as being a big one for rail-trails. In northern Oregon, the people of Clackamas County are getting ready to celebrate the opening of the much-anticipated Trolley Trail, a six-mile multi-use trail that follows a historical streetcar line from Milwaukie to Gladstone through the heart of Oak Grove.

"The completion of the Trolley Trail project is the product of local determination to turn an unused tract of land from our proud past into a landmark that can be used for future generations," said Clackamas County Commission Chair Charlotte Lehan.

Well said. This is, of course, what rail-trails are all about--recycling and reusing these important corridors and keeping them alive in the American communities of today.

The North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District and Portland's Metro will be hosting a free ribbon-cutting and dedication event from 10 to 11:30 a.m., June 2, at Oak Grove Elementary School, 2150 S.E. Torbank Road, Milwaukie.

In addition to tours of a historical 1932 trolley, there will be bicycle safety information and demonstrations from the fire department, a guided historical walk along the Trolley Trail, entertainment and snacks.oregon-trolley-map.jpg

Map of North Clackamas © North Clackamas Parks and Recreation District

The idea of developing a trail within this right-of-way has been a dream in the community for decades. The trail now connects with existing bike lanes in Milwaukie and Gladstone to complete an essential link in Metro's regional trails system. Ultimately, the trail will be part of a continuous 20-mile loop connecting Portland, Milwaukie, Gladstone, Oregon City and Gresham.

"I love to see trails open that pass right through neighborhoods and connect the cities that grew up along the rail lines," says Steve Schweigerdt, manager of trail development for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Western Regional Office. "Now residents can take the Trolley to get to their neighborhood destinations, explore the 20-mile regional loop, or even take the Springwater Corridor all the way out of the metro area. Just the name Trolley Trail conjures a sense of history, and a feeling you can hop on and get where you want to go."

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