Newsletter header
June 2011
 In This Issue:

--Bringing Back the Highway's Iconic Viewpoints


--More Funding for the "Missing Link"
--Jerry Igo's 
Contributions to the Advisory Committee
--Join in Events to Celebrate the 25th Birthday of the Gorge National Scenic Area








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 Falls

Latourell Falls


"Grades, curvature, distance and even expense were sacrificed to reach some scenic vista or to develop a particularly interesting point.  All the natural beauty spots were fixed as control points and the location adjusted to include them.  . . The one prevailing idea in the location and construction was to make this highway a great scenic boulevard surpassing all other highways of the world.." 


John Arhur Elliot, Historic Columbia Highway Engineer.


Get Involved in the Preservation of

the Historic Columbia River Highway


Join us at the next Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee meeting on June 23, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Pavilion in the Cascade Locks Marine Park.  The full agenda can be viewed here

Highlights of the meeting will include....

  • Presentation on the Viewshed Management Plan
  • Funding and final design updates on the State Trail "Missing Link" (John B. Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek)
  • A proposals for safer white two-rail wooden guardrail design
  • A proposal to bring Warren Creek Falls back to life

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


The minutes from the February 2011 meeting are available here


Bringing Back the Highway's Iconic Viewpoints


When Samuel Lancaster first designed the Columbia River Highway, he first identified the "beauty spots" and developed the Columbia River Highway as a way to connect visitors with the beauty of the Gorge.  Today, many of these viewpoints such as Portland Women's Forum, Vista House, and Latourell Falls are compromised by trees and dense vegetation.  The Historic Highway Advisory Committee has identified the Viewshed Management Strategy as a high priority. 

Women's Forum Viewpoint--Before

Portland Women's Forum Viewpoint--

Before and After


The Oregon Department of Transportation has recently been working with its partners at the US Forest Service, Oregon State Parks and the Gorge Commission to develop a viewshed plan that maintains these iconic viewpoints while minimizing the human impact on the Gorge's lush foliage. With the help of Sandra Koike (Landscape Architecture, University of Oregon 2010), we have been working to identify key locations along the Historic Highway where historic viewpoints have been lost and current viewpoints are beginning to disappear. 


Through this study, ODOT will develop 2 or 3 pilot projects to maintain and restore these key viewpoints while avoiding environmental impacts to the surrounding flora and fauna.  Sandra will be presenting the findings of her viewshed surveys to the Advisory Committee on June 23rd.

Construction of the State Trail "Missing Link" is Just around the Corner!


Final design plans for the 1.6 mile segment of Historic Highway State Trail between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek are set to be completed by the end of June.  It is anticipated that construction of this trail segment will begin in February 2012 and that the project will be

McCord Creek Bridge Details
McCord Bridge elements

completed in the spring of 2013.  ODOT engineers have been working over the past several months to finalize plans for a trail that traverses challenging terrain while maintaining the aesthetic value of the Historic Highway and provides an optimal experience for future trail users. When this 1.6 mile "missing link" is completed, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to travel from Troutdale to Cascade Locks without ever having to travel along the shoulder of Interstate 84.  The design includes a new bridge over McCord Creek which will draw upon the classic bridges along the Historic Highway. 


In May 2011, the Oregon Transportation Commission awarded another $800,000 from the Transportation Enhancement Program towards this project.  

Celebrating Jerry Igo's Contributions to the

Historic Highway Advisory Committee


This spring, Jerry Igo stepped down as the Wasco County representative to the Historic Highway Advisory Committee.  Jerry spent 11 years as an Advisory Committee member and many more years working to preserve the landscape of the Columbia River Gorge.  Jerry's background as a botanist and naturalist in the Gorge provided a unique and enduring contribution to the work of the Advisory Committee.  Jerry Igo

On April 29th, Jerry's fellow Committee members presented him with a gift of a hand-carved walking stick as a token of thanks for the valuable work he has done on behalf of the Committee.  His enthusiastic commitment to the preservation of the Historic Highway and passion for environmental stewardship in the Gorge will be greatly missed. However, Jerry has promised to continue to participate at upcoming meetings as a member of the public and we look forward to his continued involvement.   

Happenings along the Historic Highway


Gorge 25th Anniversary Events 

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act turns 25 this year.  In 1986, the Act established 292,500 acres of the Columbia River Scenic Area 25 logoGorge as a protected scenic area.  It spans two states, extreme southern Washington and northern Oregon, and runs from the mouths of Sandy River to the Deschutes River. The Columbia River Gorge is unique in both its natural and cultural history, as well as its designation as a National Scenic Area.


A coalition of Gorge organizations is working together this year to coordinate a series of events in celebration of this 25th Anniversary.  Further information on these events can be found at here.


25 Trails, 25 Years

The Friends ofspring hike the Columbia Gorge is celebrating the anniversary of the National Scenic Area Act by challenging Gorge lovers to hike the Top 25 Trails in the Gorge between now and October 31st. Those that complete all 25 trails will be entered into a raffle drawing for outstanding prizes, including a grand prize of a two-night stay at Skamania Lodge. For more information and to see a list of the Top 25 Trails, click here.



The 5th Annual Gorge Ride

The fifth annual Gorge Ride sponsored by the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway will be held Saturday, June 11, 2011, begGorge Ride Logoinning at the Gorge Discovery Center, 5000 Discovery Drive, in The Dalles, Oregon.  It extends 19.25 miles along west the Historic Highway and State Trail to the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead, just east of Hood River.

The route is a combination of the Historic Highway that is open to motor vehicles and the Historic Highway State Trail that is open only to hikers and bicyclists. For more information on the Gorge Rider, click here.


Cascade to Crown Ride

Join the Sternwheeler Days celebrations in Cascade Locks on June 26, 2011 for a bike ride from the community of Cascade Locks to the panoramic Crown Point Vista House along the drivable and trail sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway. This ride benefits the Lions Club of Cascade Locks.  For more information, click here.


posterHistoric Highway Posters Available


Thanks to funding from a National Scenic Byway Grant, Paul Platosh of Platosh Design, in collaboration with professor Jason Resch and students from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, designed a poster depicting the Historic Highway's tagline, "Remember, Restore, and Reconnect," set against iconic images of scenes along the Highway. This free poster is now available.


For copies, contact: Email Kristen  and she will mail you a poster. 

Historic Highway State Trail Design Guidelines are Complete!

In February 2011, the Historic Highway State Trail Design Guidelines were completed and approved by the Historic Highway Advisory Committee.  These guidelines were developed through a collaboration between ODOT, Oregon State Parks, the State Historic Preservation Office, the US Forest Service, and the Historic Highway Advisory Committee.  This document will help ensure that the new segments of the Historic Highway State Trail are designed to provide the optimal user experience, accommodate all types of visitors, and maintain the historic integrity of the original Columbia River Highway.  To see the entire set of guidelines, click here.

Your Thoughts

Tell us what you think of this update.  What would you like to see in future issues? 


Email Kristen
Share this newsletter with your friends and colleagues by clicking on the Forward email link below.  Please email Kristen if you want to be added to the mailing list. Names are not shared. 
Contact Info
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
ODOT Region 1