The City of Canby is seeking input on a planned 3.3-mile extension to its popular Logging Road Trail, which follows the historic Molalla Forest Road connecting Canby and Molalla.
Earlier this year, the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee secured a $35,000 grant from Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs to create a plan for trail improvements along the Traverso section of the MFR.
The project will explore trail ideas along the Traverso section of the MFR and lay the groundwork for future design and construction work, the city said in a press release Monday.
“Trail improvements on the Traverso section would provide a scenic and historic trail for residents to walk, bike, or ride horses,” city officials said in the release. “The pathway could also improve local access to the Molalla River.
“The future trail will be a major asset for the community, providing a new and unique recreation opportunity.”
A master plan exists for the development of the MFR, one first championed in 1994 by Congressman Kurt Schrader, who was a state representative at the time. The earlier plans ran into trouble with lands that were privately owned and being used commercially.
One of these major barriers was removed in December 2017 by the Traverso family’s generous donation of 81.4 acres of land, including a sizable portion of the Molalla Forest Road trail.
If fully developed, the Traverso donation would effectively double the existing Molalla River Forest Trail, which currently terminates at 13th Avenue. The Traverso addition would extend the trail all the way to Macksburg Road.
City officials have acknowledged resistance to the plan, with one councilor describing it as “controversial” — particularly among neighboring property owners, who do not want to see the trail developed or opened up for public use out of fear it would attract transients and other crime.
“I think I can sum up their arguments by saying, ‘No, we don’t want anything to change out there,'” Councilor Greg Parker, the city’s liaison to the Bike and Ped Committee, said at a City Council meeting earlier this year.
Parker said he had also spoken about the issue with Clackamas County Undersheriff and Sheriff-elect Angela Brandenburg, whose office would be responsible for policing complaints along the corridor.
“She said there’s no reason the city should not pursue a recreational amenity such as a trail over concerns over safety or potential criminal activity,” Parker said. “She said it will her department’s responsibility to deal with public safety issues in the unincoporated area.”
Respecting private property owners and their needs along the route is a key priority, the city’s press release this week said.
Parker had previously estimated that the committee’s grant-funded consultant for the project, Parametrix, would spend as much of a quarter of its time engaging with neighboring property owners to understand their concerns and make adjustments as necessary.
“This project will engage residents, property owners, and businesses to create a community-supported pathway concept,” the city said. “Public participation is critical to the development of a community-supported plan.”
The city is also hosting an online open house to share information and gather feedback on the project from the general public. Find out more on the project webpage: www.MFRTrail.org.
The virtual open house and survey will be open through Jan. 15, 2021.
For questions, please contact Economic Development and Tourism Coordinator Calvin LeSueur at 503-266-0772 or LeSueurC@canbyoregon.gov.
Click to access MFR_Newsletter_Fall-Winter_2020-2.pdf
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