Historic Highway scene

 In This Issue:

--Get Involved in the Preservation of the Historic Columbia River Highway

--Grants Received for Trail Segments

--State Trail Plan Finalized

--Tour for Friends of the Columbia Gorge Hikers

 --Meet Wayne Stewart 

--Friends of the Highway Update

--Pacific Northwest College of Art Explores the Highway through Art!








The Historic Columbia River Highway News is your source for updates and information regarding efforts to remember, restore and reconnect the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail, a world class adventure from Portland to The Dalles.  


Latourell Bridge
Latourell Bridge


 "We will cash in, year after year, on our crop of scenic beauty without depleting it in any way."


Sam Hill

Historic Highway Road Builder



Get Involved in the Preservation of the Historic
Columbia River Highway

Join us at the next quarterly Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee meeting on December 09, 2010 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Bonneville Dam Auditorium.  The full meeting agenda can be viewed online 

The public is encouraged to attend.


Highlights of the meeting will include:

  • Final Review of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail Plan
  • Design Progress for the 'Missing Link' State Trail of Warrendale to Moffett Creek
  • Announcement of Grants Awarded
  • Presentation of a Historic Highway Poster by the Pacific Northwest College of Art
  • Project Updates

The minutes from the September 23, 2010 meeting are available online

For more information on the Advisory Committee, click here 

To learn more, check out the Milepost 2016 Reconnection Strategy here or watch a 9-minute video about this project here

A Fall Full of Grants!


ODOT staff have been hard at work writing and submitting grant applications this past fall to receive funding for the Historic Highway State Trail and their work has paid off! ODOT has received a number of grants and funding to use toward the reconnection of the State Trail including:


         Western Federal Lands Highway Division allocated $3.4 million to the construction of the Reconnection Strategy's number one priority project: John B. Yeon to Moffett Creek. This 1.6 mile trail segment provides the missing link between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. Design work for this segment is currently underway and construction will begin next summer.


         Oregon Bicycle & Pedestrian Program awarded ODOT $600,000 for the construction of the necessary retaining walls along the John B. Yeon to Moffett Creek State Trail. There are some geotechnical challenges along this trail segment and this funding will allow stable and aesthetically appropriate retaining walls to be constructed.


         The Forest Highway Enhancement Program has allocated $1.1 million to the design and construction of the State Trail from Starvation Creek to Hole-in-the-Wall Falls. This trail segment will allow visitors to access two scenic waterfalls.  


Thank you to everyone who submitted letters of support for the projects - this was a key component that led to the success of the grant applications.  It is fantastic to have such a supportive community!


State Trail Plan is Finalized


Over the past several months Brian Bainnson of Quatrofoil, Inc. has been working with the ODOT to develop a State Trail Plan for the unfinished State Trail sections between Wyeth and Hood River.  These plans are now being finalized which will bring us one large step closer to realizing the completion of an uninterrupted State Trail by 2016.

 Proposed Overlook at Cabin Creek Falls

The State Trail Plan provides an exciting insight into the experience of future trail users.  From the stunning vistas along the Mitchell Point Tunnel to the mature forests around Perham Creek, the State Trail Plan confirms that redevelopment of these final segments will enhance the unparalleled beauty of the State Trail while preserving and maintaining the historic legacy of the original Highway.

Fall Tour of the Historic Highway

 Gorge Friends Tour

Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, this fall, joined Kristen Stallman and Sara Morrissey from ODOT to explore the 'undiscovered' segments of the Historic Highway. Tour highlights included visiting the newly restored Oneonta Tunnel, walking along the restored State Trail from Eagle Creek to Cascade Locks and traveling atop the mossy roadbed at Starvation Creek to view historic ovens as well as Cabin Creek Falls and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls. Lunch was enjoyed at the base of Starvation Falls and the tour culminated with a visit to the future location of the new five-windowed Mitchell Point Tunnel. Tour participants enjoyed the gorgeous weather and the opportunity to learn more about the Historic Highway and current restoration efforts.

Meet the Vice-Chair of the Historic Highway

Advisory Committee


Perhaps you've met Wayne Stewart at an Advisory Committee meeting or on a land survey over talus slopes west of Moffett Creek.  Either way, you probably haven't missed Wayne's enthusiasm, hard work and commitment to seeing the completion of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.  

  Wayne Stewart, Vice Chair, Advisory Committe

Before becoming involved with the Historic Highway Advisory Committee more than nine years ago, Wayne worked as a civil engineer for Walker Macy.  Wayne's dual passions for landscape architecture and responsible land development helped spark his interest in the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail redevelopment project.  He was recently designated as  Multnomah County's representative to the Committee.


Appointed to the Historic Highway Advisory Committee by the Governor, Wayne has served as the Vice-Chair for several years. Wayne recalls his favorite experience as the day he first walked with a group of Citizen Advisory Committee members on the south side of I-84 between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek.  Before that hike, development of the Trail on the north side of I-84 had been delayed by major engineering challenges.  After bushwhacking through this segment, Wayne and the other committee members realized that a south side trail could provide an excellent alternative to reconnect this critical trail segment.  Today, thanks to the hard work of Wayne and other members of the committee, final preparations are being made to complete this missing link to the south of I-84 by fall 2011.

Friends of the Historic Highway to Receive Funds from the Echelon Gran Fondo
Friends logo 
On September 26, over 700 riders participated in the first Oregon Echelon Gran Fondo, leaving from Hood River and traveling along the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and the HCRH.  This European-style participation cycling event raised nearly $40,000 in net donations, a portion of which will be given to the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway!  The 2011 event will be September 23-24 and includes a "challenge" in Portland as well as a road race in Hood River.  Echelo Gran Fondo


Upcoming Friends events include the 5th annual Gorge bicycle ride on June 11, 2011 and Adopt-a-Park Work Parties. Make sure to check out the Friends website at www.hcrh.org for additional details and dates!

Pacific Northwest College of Art Explores
the Highway through Art!

ODOT and Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) students have joined forces in creating a unique poster series for the Historic Columbia River Highway. PNCA students, led by their instructor Jason Resch, have been hard at work creating a new 'look' to inspire people to 'remember, restore and reconnect' the Historic Highway. ODOT staff provided historic background and information for the students who have taken on the endeavor of creating multiple draft concepts to bring a new and fresh spirit to the Historic Highway. Be on the lookout for the release of the poster series this spring!

The Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) was the country's first scenic highway, constructed between 1913 and 1922.  It served millions of travelers and took advantage of the Columbia River Gorge's natural beauty to become one of our nation's grandest roads.  Less than 31 years later, construction of a water level route, now known as Interstate 84, obliterated many sections of the Historic Highway, leaving it disconnected and abandoned. 
Today the remaining segments of the HCRH and State Trail receive over 2 million visitors per year.  Its attractions are Pacific Northwest icons.  The Historic Highway and State Trail is our portal to recreational opportunities connecting us with historic communities and sites in the Gorge.  The restored, drivable portions maintain their 1920s character and appearance.
Eleven miles of State Trail have been constructed during the past 18 years.  However, the old highway remains disconnected.
It took Samuel Hill and Samuel Lancaster only nine years to build 73 miles of highway between Portland and The Dalles.  Twelve challenging miles of new trail await reconnection in time for the highway's centennial in 2016.  This undertaking will require the support of local communities and trail advocates throughout Oregon. 
ODOT is seeking an earmark for $23 million through the surface transportation authorizing legislation to construct the Reconnection Strategy's top three priority projects including: the John Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek Trail Connection, a new tunnel at Mitchell Point and a trail connection between Lindsey Creek State Park and the Starvation Creek State Trailhead.   
Your Thoughts 
Tell us what you think of this update.  What would you like to see in future issues? 
Email Kristen
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Contact Info
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
ODOT Region 1