river view
June 2012
 In This Issue: 



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.  


The following is an excerpt from the poem, "Builders of Highways", by Anthony Euwer published in History of Hood River County, Oregon 1852-1982. These lines describe the original work on the Columbia River Highway and are an inspiration for the Reconnection projects.


Come oh you people! Look upon

McCord Creek Falls

The bountiful sweep of the Oregon,

Forcing a pass through the blue Cascades,

Lapping the Walls of her palisades,

Cradled in sand-dunes, gleaming white,

Girdling her islands of malachite!

And high on the hills where a thrush's song

Tells out of its gladness, there winds along

Like a sinuous serpent - twist and bend,

Following the river's trend,

The lordliest highway that ever ran

Through the hills of the worked since the dawn

of man.

Pride of the West! Sublime event!

Columbia the magnificent!

Conceived by a poet who believed

Dreams should be dreamed then achieved.


GetInvolvedGet Involved in the Preservation of the

Historic Columbia River Highway


Join us at the next Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, from 10:00 AM-2:00 PM, at the Cascade Locks Community Center at Marine Park in the Lock Tenders House #1.


To request the full agenda or the minutes of the previous meeting, contact Kristen Stallman 


Agenda items will include:

  • Committee members will share the recommendations and ideas generated at the June 8, "Unlocking the Possibilities" workshop where ideas were developed to leverage the trail connections impact on the local economies. 
  • Tova Peltz, ODOT Geo Technical Engineer will share initial findings of a geo technical report that analyzing rock fall hazards along the proposed trail alignment.   
  • Jose Villapando will provide construction updates on the John B. Yeon to Moffett Creek Trail connection.

To learn more, check out the Milepost 2016 Reconnection Strategy  here

For more information on the Advisory Committee, click here  


Blaze Blazing A New Trail Connection 

If you have been on I-84 in the Gorge lately, you probably have wondered what is happening on the southside of I-84, just west of Bonneville Dam. Construction crews are hard at work building the missing piece in the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail between Warrendale and Cascade Locks. The contractor is putting the finishing touches on the rock wall near the J.B. Yeon State Park Trail head. Crews have been removing overhanging ryeon to moffett aerialock from the steep cliffs adjacent McCord Creek and the first phases of bridge construction over McCord Creek are well underway. Trail construction will move east towards Moffett Creek as the summer progresses. Walls will be constructed to allow the trail to switch back under the I-84 Moffett Creek eastbound bridge. Getting under the I-84 westbound bridge will be a little trickier--a complicated wall system will be constructed to maneuver past some steep terrain allowing the trail to "pop" out adjacent to the historic Moffett Creek Bridge - where the trail presently dead ends. From the historic bridge it is smooth sailing all the way into Cascade Locks on the existing Trail. Once construction of this 1.6 mile trail is complete in summer 2013, cyclists and pedestrians will no longer be forced to travel on the shoulder of I-84 between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. For more information, click here 

salamanderSharing with Salamanders


During construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail,  ODOT contractors and engineers have had an eye out for a mysterious creature--the elusive Larch Mountain Salamander. They have a new found appreciation for this salamander species, unique to the Gorge. This understanding has resulted in changes to some construction techniques benefiting these sensitive creatures.


Larch Mountain Salamanders thrive in the talus, rocky slopes and forested slopes of the Columbia River Gorge. They are found on both sides of the Columbia River. In the summer and wiLarch Mt. Salamandernter, the salamanders retreat into deep rock crevices beneath the rocks.   However once the rain and cool nights return in spring and autumn they become active at the surface. After heavy rains in March and April, before construction began each day, the ODOT inspectors would walk the construction access roads looking for the 4 inch salamanders. Whenever they found one, they carefully moved it out of the way of equipment. 


Trail construction through the rocky talus slope areas is scheduled to happen in the heat of July when the salamanders are deep underground.   The trail will be constructed primarily over the existing ground to allow the salamanders to migrate back and forth through the rocky substrates beneath the trail.   ODOT's goal is to avoid the salamander habitat and if necessary minimize any impacts the  trail construction project might have and even enhance salamander habitats whenever possible.


  Connect Cascade LocksCL


A team of graduate students from the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program at Portland State University worked with the Port of Cascade Locks to develop a plan identifying potential areas for economic growth tied to bicycling and other recreational opportunities. The team, working under the name Celilo Planning Studio, has completed a new planning process, "Connect Cascade Locks: a Recreational Trails Plan for Economic Development."


Given that the City of Cascade Locks is a point of entry for regional and national trail systems, the team developed recommendations for improved trail connections, wayfinding, the development of a downtown trail hub and various maps to better inform vis

Bridge of the Gods at Cascade Locks 

itors of local amenities. Business opportunities include pursuing the development of a brewery and coffee shop in the downtown area, establishing a web presence for existing businesses and stores carrying basic cycling and hiking supplies. Stewardship activities are highlighted with community members stepping forward and becoming ambassadors for the place in which they live. Additional material, including a case study document and grant toolbox have also been developed by the team.  For more information on this project check out their website 


ErnieBillHistoric Highway Trail Blazers


When trails in Oregon are discussed, the name Ernie Drapela will find its way into the conversation.  Ernie Drapela, the Governor's representative for Multnomah County has served on the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee since 2003.  When he is not working on the Historic Highway, he is probably working on a parallel mission - Vista House.   Ernie's passion for the Columbia River Gorge has no boundaries.  He is president of the Friends of Vista House and is a founding member of the Friends of the Historic Highway.  His understanding of recreational trails and cycling make him a perfect fit for the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee.  In 1971, due to his efforts enhancing bicycling in Eugene and staffing their Bicycle Advisory Committee, Governor Tom McCall's office appointed Ernie a charter member of the Oregon Recreational Trails Advisory Council (ORTAC) and the Oregon Bicycle Committee. Ernie served as chairman of each committee.  He is a renowned recreational planner with ties across the state, region, nation and world and his breadth of experience is an asset to the Historic Highway. 

Bill Pattison (left) and Ernie Drapela HCRH trail blazers

Our very own Bill Pattison (former chair and present vice chair of the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee) was recently featured in an Oregon Field Guide episode, titled, Mt. Hood, Oregon's Highest Peak. Bill has been active the past 65 years on Mt. Hood, climbing, skiing, volunteering for the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol and performing search and rescue with the Hood River Crag Rats.  He is currently chairman of the 10-year program to restore historic Cloud Cap Inn on the north side of Mt. Hood.  If you missed the show you can watch it online 

Last month, Oregon Field Guide's Vince Patton and videographer, Michael Bendixson, toured the Historic Highway with Kristen Stallman and Tom Kloster and a small group of hikers for a future field guide episode on Hole-in-the-Wall Falls. The film crew made their way to Hole-in-the-Wall Falls and scrambled to the top to catch a glimpse of the "trash rack" the  ingenious yet severe engineering solution built in 1939 to divert water from Warren Falls. Click for more information

  Old Wall--Good As Newwall  


In the twelve years since the Twin Tunnel Section of the State Trail between Hood River and Mosier opened, there have been several significant rock falls that damaged the the Historic Highway's iconic arched rock walls.  In 2011 the Friends of the Historic Highway received a $5,000 donation from Marcia Kraus, with a request that it be used for stone work along the Highway.  The Friends then worked with Oregon State Parks to confirm the scope of work needed and hired Michael Byrne of MB Stonework. Thanks to Mike's craftsmanship the old wall looks new once again.

mason wall repair

News from the Friends of the Historic HighwayFirends

Lend a Hand and Promote the Historic Highway


The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway are seeking volunteers for the Gorge Ride (June 16), work parties, Edgefield concerts, Rooster Rock Star Parties, the Seattle to Portland bike ride finish line and Multnomah Falls.  Contact the Friends for more information or check their web site.


Third Annual Antique Car Tour
The third annual antique car tour will be July 14th. Antique cars will carry passengers on a tour from the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum south of Hood River, through the Mosier Twin Tunnels to Rowena Crest and return. Last year, the stop for ice cream in Mosier was a big hit and will be repeated. Contact the Friends  to register antique cars (1949 and older) and/or passengers.


Cascade to Crown Bike Ride

WHAT: 2012 Cascade to Crown Bicycle Ride, presented by Port of Cascade Locks. A family friendly recreational bicycle ride. The 2012 Cascade to Crown Bike Ride offers Pacific NW cyclist a day of fun, fitness, and healthy family activities. Now in its 2nd year, this ride is one of the Columbia River Gorge's most fun recreational cycling events/family/social gatherings.  
WHEN: Sunday, July 1, 2012, rides start at 7:00 am and 8:00 am.
WHERE: Start/finish at Marine Park in Cascade Locks, Oregon.
WHY: Enjoy a day of cycling and outdoor fun with family and friends. Proceeds benefit Parkinson's Resources of Oregon. Enjoy car-free biking on the Family Route via the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to Bonneville Dam.  Click for more information.  

Your Thoughts
  • 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. 
  • Tell us what you think of this update.  What would you like to see in future issues? 
Kristen Stallman, Historic Columbia River Highway Coordinator
Oregon Department of Transportation, Region 1