|Volume 13, Issue 12||
Neighbors fight to retain trail
The West Haven neighborhood, located just north of Providence St. Vincent Hospital (St. V), is concerned about J. Peterkort Company’s recent attempts to block public access to the 95th Ave trail. The company has constructed fences and created other obstacles on their Sunset Station Area property, obstructing a trail the community has openly and continuously used to access Barnes Road and Cedar Hills since at least the early 1950s.
Neighborhood medical professionals have taken this path to work, and patients have used it to access medical services since St. V moved to its Barnes Road location in 1971. The 1998 opening of Sunset Transit Center (STC) and the buildout of West Haven’s high density Transit Oriented (TO) community have made the trail an essential pedestrian thoroughfare to the STC. Washington County recognized this by designating West Haven a Pedestrian District and classifying the 95th Ave Trail as a Regional Trail in the 2014 Transportation System Plan (TSP) update and subsequently adopted an ordinance that considers Regional Trails to be essential services on par with schools, arterials (including state highways), collectors, and state highways.
To ensure continued pedestrian access, West Haven neighbors and local community groups have signed a letter to the City of Beaverton (which annexed the Peterkort property in 2011) to take action to protect public passage along this essential pedestrian corridor by requiring that the fencing is removed and public access is protected. In addition, they request that the Peterkort’s development plan maps be amended to include the County’s planned 95th Ave Regional Trail, and that improvement of the trail—to meet Regional Trail specifications—be required in any future Sunset Station development application. The stories and quotes included in this article are from some of the many West Haven neighbors who signed that letter.
A sample of the many stories of how neighbors have used the trail over the years is shared below.
A Leahy Road neighbor recalls her childhood, when she lived on the property that is now Catlin Gabel School. From about 1965, she walked and rode her horse throughout the neighborhood, including up and down the 95th Ave trail. Another resident shares that her family moved here when she was three years old. She recalls those carefree years in the 1960s when she would ride her horse, Doc, all over the neighborhood. One of her favorite routes was the 95th Ave path, through the hay fields where St. V now stands, and through the Peterkort holly fields. Sharing a picture of herself with Doc, she smiles as she describes how the Peterkorts would use a jeep to chase them off the property as she and Doc raced down the path.
“We live adjacent to the West Haven trailhead at 95th Ave and Spring Crest Dr. Since moving here in 2004, we’ve marveled at the steady stream of people walking to and from the 95th Ave Trail.”
“I’ve used the trail for over 35 years. Prior to the STC, we would catch the bus at the Wilshire St Transit Station behind Cedar Hills Shopping Center.”
“We mostly use the trail to get to light rail but have also walked to doctor visits, and our son took the path to get to school at Cedar Park.”
“Our children use MAX for their daily commute to school in Portland.”
“Our first trail experience was in the winter of 2004, during a break in a storm, to make sure we could get to the hospital for the pending birth of our first child.”
“I moved to Creekside at West Haven TO Community because of light rail access. There are no other reasonable walking routes to the station and, without the trail, I’d be forced to commute daily, by car, to classes at PSU because Sunset’s parking structure is full by 6:30 am on weekdays.”
“We walk to MAX to get to places like PDX, Beaverton services, and Blazer Games without depending on a car or parking.”
“We have used the trail often, including to attend public meetings in St. Vincent’s Souther Hall, such as the Sunset Station Area planning sessions during the mid-1990s.”
“We have lived in West Haven since the mid-1950s. Through the years, family members have used the trail to access transit, get to work in Portland and at St. V, visit family at the hospital, and for recreational walks through the natural corridor.”
“I am a staff physician at St. V. On multiple occasions, access to this trail has been the sole reason that I have been able to report to work. I have even become the default practice backup physician when others are unable to reach the hospital due to inclement weather. I also used the trail in walking with my children to daycare at the medical center for six years, and I know others do as well.”
“Our Air-BNB guests traveling from all over the world often arrive by transit, use Google to find the pedestrian path along the 95th Ave path, and arrive on foot to enjoy a comfortable, car-free holiday.”
Additional information is available online at neighborsforsmartgrowth.org. We invite everyone to share your own trail stories, or donate to the 95th Ave Trail Support Fund on the site.
Cedar Mill News
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