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Skyline Drive trail will be on November ballot


Proposed trail would intersect with Wilderness Park, provide better connection to high school

As the city embarks on an effort to replace the 101-year-old Bolton Reservoir, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a potential side project to install a walking and biking path on Skyline Drive adjacent to the reservoir.

Citing safety concerns moving down the hill on Skyline Drive toward West Linn High School, the City Council voted unanimously Aug. 11 to approve a resolution that would put the sidewalk proposal on the November election ballot. A public vote is required in this case because the path would fall on the northern edge of Wilderness Park, and the city charter states that such property can only be used for “park purposes.”

“What we’re really talking about is just getting authorization to begin the process of looking at this corridor,” Public Works Director Lance Calvert said. “There’s not some preconceived design — we don’t have a layout of what this would look like yet.”

Approval of the ballot measure would not allocate any funding to the project, and the city will not have a cost estimate until a voter-approved design process is completed.

What city councilors and residents know for sure is that, as currently constructed, Skyline Drive is unsafe for pedestrians — especially children. Testifying in favor of the resolution, resident Jackie Wetzsteon said the proposal should be “a no-brainer.”

“I started looking at this issue because my (kids) go down that hill all the time, either going to high school or going to football games, and I thought, ‘Why don’t they have a better way to get down there?’”

Wetzsteon said a walking and biking path would also provide a better connection to the West Linn Public Library, and ease concerns with safety, visibility and congestion.

“It just makes a lot of sense,” Wetzsteon said. “It makes sense in terms of safety, it makes sense in terms of congestion and it makes sense because of connectivity.

“This is a prime route for us, and it really just seems like, ‘Why don’t we have this?’”

According to Assistant City Attorney Megan Thornton, the need for such a trail has been expressed at public forums for three different initiatives: the Bolton Reservoir Project, “West Linn Moves” and the Trails Master Plan. The proposed Skyline trail would provide another “safe route to school,” which was identified as a top priority in the 2013 West Linn Trails Plan.

“I live in that area, so I drive up and down Skyline several times a day,” City Councilor Jenni Tan said. “There’s been many times I’ve seen children as young as five or six riding bikes, young kids walking up and down the street when it’s foggy in the wintertime, and it’s very dangerous.”

“Are we going to wait until a child gets killed on Skyline before we put something in place?” Wetzsteon said. “This just seems like a no-brainer, let’s start somewhere.”

Contact Patrick Malee at 503-636-1281 Ext. 106 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..