The Missing Link – A stroll along the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor

When not consulting or teaching computer classes, MJ Coe spends his time as a board member of the Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association, as President of Portland Progressive Toastmasters, and as a member of the Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor Steering Committee.

Travel down the I-84 corridor/Banfield Highway between the Convention Center and Gateway during rush hour, and what do you see? (Besides brake lights and gridlock, that is). Well, you’ll see two sets of adjacent railroad tracks — light rail and freight. Anything missing here? What about all those overgrown weeds and blackberries sitting idly by the side, doing absolutely nothing?

A group of east-side citizen activists have a vision for reclaiming that industrial wasteland, and creating something useful, productive and special for our region. It’s called The Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor — a proposed multi-modal transportation path for bicyclists, pedestrians, and others, running through the heart of our region. Considered by many as a “missing link” to an important east-west alternative transportation network, this corridor will connect downtown Portland and the Willamette River with Gateway, Rocky Butte, the I-205 Bike Path/Springwater Corridor network, Portland International Airport, Gresham, and beyond.

Just imagine a trek along this new corridor section…you’ve just gotten off work in the Lloyd District, or you’re headed from a new Gateway community development center to the Rose Garden for a concert. You enter the corridor where a state-of-the-art bioswale is capturing rainwater runoff — water that would normally be taxing our storm drainage system and polluting the Willamette River. Blackberries have been replaced by native plant species, and you’re beginning to notice more and more bird songs on your route.

You pass innovative community developments of mixed retail, affordable housing and commercial ventures that encourage alternative modes of transportation. You’re happy that you’re not on the Banfield Freeway as you pass the traffic gridlock below. Your property values continue to rise.

You seem to have more energy now that you’ve decided to walk or ride your bike to work.
And it’s so much easier, safer, and quicker now to get to all parts of the city…
just imagine.

Our region is preparing for the growth of nearly one million citizens in the next 25+ years. A project of this magnitude and quality will be a valuable asset for meeting many of our regional growth goals, i.e.; strategic infill, economic development, innovative community development projects, alternative modes of transportation that promote the health of its citizens…where work, life and play are all in closer proximity. Quality of life issues can be addressed, like clean air and water quality standards, abundant nature experiences, healthier citizens gaining less weight, expanded greenways…all contributing to the livability of our region.

The Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor Steering Committee is currently soliciting support for this exciting project from neighborhood, and business associations, as well as public/private stakeholders along the corridor. For more specifics, please visit the corridor’s web page at:

There you will find links to an online brochure (.pdf Acrobat Reader file), a map (web page), and an online powerpoint presentation.

Your support for this project is needed soon. Our regional public officials are currently in the process of deciding which alternative transportation projects will be funded in the foreseeable future. The Sullivan’s Gulch Corridor Steering Committee is asking that our regional representatives recommend allocating federal transportation (MTIP) funds totaling $250,000 to start a master planning process. Your letters of support and public testimony during the public comment period starting mid-October at METRO with help get this project rolling. For more information on how you can offer support, or become involved in this project, please contact any of the following steering committee members:

MJ Coe:, 503-233-1911 Brad Perkins:, 503-317-6455 Dan Lerch-Walters:, 503-284-7605

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