Marquam Nature Park Trails Planning and Design

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Part of the City of Portland’s vision for Marquam Hill in 2030 is to maintain “undeveloped open areas that surround the Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) campus and provide an abundance of nature that is accessible to residents, employees, students and visitors alike through a network of trails that provide both commuter and recreational pedestrian routes.” Beginning in 2003 and refined by a public process in 2007, Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) identified the development potential of several trails funded by a local share of Metro’s 2002 Greenspaces Bond Measure.

ESA assisted PP&R with feasibility services for a successful trail system. We identified constraints such as historic and current landslide activity, excessively steep terrain, wetlands, and the potential for habitat fragmentation. In the next phase ESA designed a trail system that includes approximately 2.5 miles of Type A (high challenge) hiking trails crossing multiple creek drainages, with five bridges and one boardwalk. For each trail segment we considered impacts on hydrology and habitat, safety and maintenance issues, scenic impacts, pedestrian and recreation connections, natural places accessibility, permitting issues, and construction costs. Each trail segment route was simultaneously checked for its profile using AutoCAD Civil 3D to ensure that trails met PP&R slope standards. We developed and sited low-maintenance drainage features such as grade reversals and rolling grade dips that will prevent trail erosion and protect water quality per the USDA Forest Service Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook, 2007 Edition. We also assessed potential bridge locations and bridge lengths to help contain construction costs and assisted with permitting.

ESA has been a long-time partner of PP&R working toward a vision of accessible nature, meandering trails, and habitat restoration and protection for the Marquam Nature Park.

Specialized Services

  • Design specifications and construction bid packages
  • Engineering design and construction documents
  • Native plant revegetation
  • Permitting assistance
  • Public access, trail analysis and design