Masthead #2 bridge on left
December 2011
 In This Issue:
~~ Trails in the Works
~~ Jeanette Kloos--
Historic Highway Road Warrior

~~ Crown Point Roadway Repairs


~~ Exploring the

Abandoned Highway


~~ Biking to The Dalles















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.  


Crown Point Viaduct
Crown Point Viaduct


"An observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite."




Sam Lancaster describing the outcropping at Crown Point where Vista House is located today.

Get Involved in the Preservation of the

Historic Columbia River Highway


Join us at the next Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee meeting on December 15th, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Bonneville Dam Auditorium (at I-84, exit 40). The full agenda can be viewed online.


 Highlights of the meeting will include: 

  • A review of State Trail design plans between Starvation Creek and Hole in the Wall Falls
  • A proposal to create a commemorative Columbia River Highway USPS Stamp
  • A proposal to address bicycle safety concerns on the west end of The Dalles
  • and much more. . .

The minutes from the September 8, 2011 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


 Paving the Way for New Trails


In September 2011, ODOT received construction bids to complete the Historic Highway State Trail connection between John B. Yeon State Park and Moffett Creek. It is anticipated that construction of this 1.6 mile "missing link" will begin this winter and be completed in the summer of 2013. Once completed, cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities  will no longer be forced to share the shoulder of I-84 with cars and trucks between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. The trail design was influenced by Sam Lancaster's design philosophy to lay lightly on the land. Click here to learn more about this project and to track the construction progress.


Old Moffett Creek Bridge
Historic Moffett Creek Bridge

Just as the John B Yeon to Moffett section of trail went to bid, Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration (WFLHD) started the initial surveys and trail layout for a 1-mile extension of the State Trail between Starvation Creek and Hole-in-the-Wall Falls. This project will extend from the existing State Trail between Viento State Park and Starvation Creek.  Construction is expected to begin in 2013. This project is being funded through the Forest Highway Enhancement Program.

Historic Highway Road Warrior--Jeanette Kloos

 Jeanette Kloos

When Jeanette Kloos first started working for ODOT in 1985, plans to restore abandoned sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway were merely dreams in the minds of Gorge enthusiasts and history buffs. In the 25 years since the National Scenic Area Act first directed the Oregon Department of Transportation to rehabilitate the drivable parts of the 75 mile highway and connect those sections with a system of hiking a cycling trails, Jeanette has been at the forefront of efforts to make those dreams a reality. During her years as the ODOT Scenic Area Coordinator, Jeanette oversaw the completion of 11 miles of those trails including the restoration of the Mosier Twin Tunnels and the trail connections west of Cascade Locks.


Although Jeanette retired from the Oregon Department of Transportation in 2006, she certainly never quit working. With 10 miles of Historic Highway waiting reconnection as a trail and countless historic sites along the highway awaiting restoration, Jeanette founded Friends of The Historic Columbia River Highway, a non-profit dedicated to seeing the restoration and complete reconnection of the Historic Highway as a trail through the Gorge.


Today, the Friends of the Historic Highway, with Jeanette at the helm as the group's president, are a key partner in the continued effort to reconnect the Historic Highway as trail by 2016. The Friends booth is now a standard at festivals and community gatherings up and down the Gorge, often with Jeanette there to answer questions and share stories. The Gorge Ride, the Friends largest fund raiser, is an excellent way to support the cause and become a Friend of the Highway. The 2012 ride is set for June 16. Thanks for all your efforts, Jeanette. Your passion for the Historic Highway is contagious, as more and more people seem to be coming down with the old road fever. For more information on the Friends of the Highway, click here 


Aging Crown Point Viaduct to be Restored

A two-phased construction project, to repair the aging Crown Point Viaduct and restore historic rock features along the Historic Columbia River Highway between Larch Mountain Road and Latourell Falls, will begin this spring. 


The Viaduct is the 600-foot-long concrete half-bridge that supports the sidewalk around Vista House. Nearly one hundred years old, the Crown Point Viaduct structure and retaining walls are deteriorating. If left unrepaired, the structure and walls could fail and have significant safety impacts. Vista House at Crown Point was recently remodeled and no additional work is proposed as part of this road project. 



Given the unique nature of this construction, partial and full road closures will be necessary in the fall of 2012 and spring of 2013. Western Federal Lands Highway Division of  the Federal Highway Administration, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are working together to minimize impacts.  





 For more information about this project, please refer to the project website  or contact Mike Odom, Project Manager, at 360-619-7568 or





Wyeth 1Exploring the Abandoned


The day was beautiful but cold when a group of explorers decided to go where no one has gone for at least a long while. In early October, Historic Highway enthusiasts including members of the Advisory Committee--fellow Highway supporters and State Park and ODOT staff--explored an abandoned section of the old Highway just east of Wyeth (I-84, Exit 51). Negotiating the railroad, poison oak and blackberry brambles, the group soon discovered pavement under several inches of duff. More surprisingly, the second generation guardrail still exists along this quarter-mile section of old highway alignment. Trees have grown, obscuring what must have been fantastic views to the Columbia River when the highway was in its glory.

 Wyeth 2

Because this section of Historic Highway is located north of I-84, it is not envisioned to become part of the future State Trail. Much like archeologists, the group was thrilled to dig down and find original pavement still in excellent condition. Perhaps the appropriate thing to do is retain the thrill of discovery by leaving this section of highway buried under duff for future generations to explore.


ODOT Planner Bikes from Portland to The Dalles... and Back


In late September, before the fall weather veiled the gorge once more behind mist and fog, ODOT Planner Sam Haffner decided it would be a good idea to ride his bicycle from Portland to The Dalles in a single day. Armed with saddle bags full of camping gear and two of his bike-enthusiast compatriots, Sam's mission was two-fold; have a fun time taking in the splendor of the Historic Highway on pedal power, and experience firsthand the challenges of biking through the Gorge in the present day without the complete reconnection of the Historic Highway State Trail.

Sam Haffner
Sam on the Mosier Plateau


Among Sam's favorite memories along the bike ride were the stunning waterfall at

Starvation Creek and the exhilarating descent downhill from Rowena Crest. However, Sam recalls that the best moment of the entire trip was when, after cycling along the   I-84 shoulder for three miles between John B. Yeon State Park and Bonneville Dam, he was able to brag to his fellow cyclists that by the summer of 2013, there would be a State Trail that could take them all the way to Cascade Locks from Troutdale without ever having to ride along the freeway.


After giving his legs a good rest, Sam returned to ODOT this October with a unique perspective on the importance of completing the Milepost 2016 Reconnection Strategy and the tremendous recreational opportunities that that the reconnection will bring about. Sam hopes that by 2016, a completed State Trail through the Gorge will allow others the opportunity to experience the Gorge as he did, but without the risks and challenges associated with cycling along the shoulder of I-84.


As for Sam's return trip, he and his friends thought it might be a good idea to bike back to Portland in two days via Barlow Pass and Government Camp. Their exhausting 4,000 ft. climb over Barlow Pass (another historic road) reminded them of why the Historic Highway--with its soft curves and gentle grades-- is such a unique and pleasant place to ride a bike.


Congratulations Springdale School


In June 2011, the Oregon State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended that the Springdale School and Community Center be added to the National Register of Historic Places. In November, the Springdale School became the 31st school in the State of Oregon to be listed in the National Register. The community of Springdale is located on the Historic Columbia River Highway between Troutdale and Corbett.


Springdale School
Springdale School

Built in 1931 to replace an earlier school in the same area, the school and its subsequent additions serve as a reminder of the area's population growth in the mid-twentieth century. From 1960 until 1996, Springdale School served as both a Corbett School District elementary school and a community center and gathering place for area residents.


The Springdale School joins countless other sites, along the Historic Highway between Troutdale and The Dalles, recognized for their contributions to the Gorge's rich history.

Other Trail Projects in the Gorge


Proponents of the Historic Highway State Trail reconnection are not the only ones working tirelessly to bring more trails and recreational opportunities to the Gorge. Here are just a couple of examples of other trail projects happening in the Gorge right now:

 Mosier Trail building

In late October, Friends of the Columbia Gorge hosted a series of work parties to begin construction of a new Mosier Plateau Trail. Upon completion, this two-mile trail will link the town of Mosier's Pocket Park with the Mosier Plateau east of town. This trail will give way to unmatched vistas west toward Hood River and provide extraordinary wildflower viewing opportunities.


This trail is part of a larger vision of the Friends of the Gorge called "Towns to Trails," which would link communities across the Gorge through an uninterrupted network of hiking trails. For more information, click here. 


In November, the Port of Cascade Locks, in collaboration with the Northwest Trails Alliance, hosted a work party to complete a two-mile multipurpose trail loop at the end of Industrial Park Way in Cascade Locks. This trail, dubbed "Easy CLIMB," is appropriate for mountain bikes and pedestrians and gives way to stunning vistas along the waterfront. This trail is the first in a network of mountain bike trails planned for the Cascade Locks area. For more information, check out


Your Thoughts

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Contact Info
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
ODOT Region 1