Portland’s Springwater Trail has become dangerous

by Jeff Anderson

A couple of years ago, this would have made me angry. Not anymore.

horse manure photo_Jeff Anderson

I used to complain about horse-crap on the trail – problems now are much more serious

For years I would ride my bike on the Springwater Trail. This was a great trail to ride, walk or jog.

The trail runs about 18 miles from Oaks Park in Portland to Boring, Oregon. It follows Johnson Creek for much of the way.

Over the years I would complain about the piles of horse-crap that would be on the path around the Powell Butte area. I will never complain about the horse-crap again.

The trail has drastically changed, from Gresham to Boring it is OK, but the trail west of Gresham to Sellwood is disgusting.

Portland / Multnomah County has allowed this recreational trail to become a dangerous path that dissects HUNDREDS of “camps” of tarps, tents and forts that have illegally taken over. Riding the path Saturday was not the type of adventure anybody desires. GARBAGE WAS EVERYWHERE. Tons of garbage.

The “campers” have taken over – they gather in the middle of the trail, they drink, smoke and carry on as if this is their private property and the people attempting to use the trail in the manner in which it was intended are violating their space.

The trail has become a joke, it is dangerous.

I hope that people will take time to explore the trail and see what has happened in a very short period of time. If you go, don’t go alone and be aware at all times of your surroundings.

I hope that the Portland City Council and METRO can find the will and take appropriate actions to reclaim The Springwater Trail.

I pray for the day that the only issue that users of the trail will have is avoiding the occasional pile of horse-crap.

Jeff Anderson

Jeff Anderson

UPDATE (4/18/2016): KATU – Bike camp on hold over security concerns at Springwater Corridor

  • WorthKnowing

    You should have taken a picture or two of the messy trail.

  • thevillageidiot

    Don’t you just love “public” property. The homeless do. so what is your problem? it is open to the public or is it open to just a few public we like.?

    • JJ

      Apparently you don’t understand the concept of public property. It does not mean land that is free for anyone to use however they wish. It means land that is owned and maintained collectively by the community (taxpayers).

      It’s not like these people are out there doing trail work, maintaining the property, improving the area, or performing any useful services….

      The gatherings of homeless people ‘camping’ on these lands is illegal, meaning these people are, by defenition, criminals.

      And the criminal acts don’t stop there, as evidenced by the recent rape of an unfortunate young woman, and the ongoing destruction of land and property that costs taxpayers 100’s of thousands of dollars.

      So should the people who pay for these “public” lands through their hard earned income taxes be unable to make any use of them due to the destruction and unsafe conditions created by other people who, to a large extent, do not contribute at all to their maintenance?

      • thevillageidiot

        So you feel the same way about illegal immigrants. criminals trespassing on sovereign US land?
        “The gatherings of homeless people ‘camping’ on these lands is illegal, meaning these people are, by defenition, criminals.’
        By criminals you mean they don’t pay taxes and therefore have no right to public property? and if camping is illegal why are they allowed to stay?

      • Eric Blair

        Since the homeless have nowhere else to go, isn’t that in fact making them criminals by virtue of being homeless?

  • Howlin’ Sass

    Back in the 40’s when LA became infested with Zoot Suitors, squads of USMC (firemen) were dispatched to flush streets of the distinctive vermin.

    End of problem.

    Today, along the Springwater Travail, horse-mounted deputies should be dispatched to collar off the beastly insurgents – and, they’ll even haul off the road Appells fallen off their equestrian behinds.

  • MrBill

    I used to bike that trail all the time. I think I’d want fenders if I rode it now.

  • Bob Clark

    Horse manure. Could be worse, and probably is. It does point up a problem with longer distance bike paths and trails in “remote” segments. You might only feel safe riding in numbers with others you know, or otherwise it becomes a desperado trail. Even packing heat might not help as the villain can jump you from a tree or rock structure; orover whelm you in numbers.

    I moved to Milwaukie from Portland recently, and the western end of the springwater corridor is very nice to have. I can be in Sellwood in 20 minutes on a bike, or be over to West Moreland park in the same amount of time on bike. The bikers can be kind of crazy though sometimes squeezing runners/walkers off the path.

    • Roger Enout

      Can the photograph be changed? A photo of Shrillary would ‘do’ and remain stable provided her scatology is bagged and her whinnying gagged.

  • I think it is safe to say that I have been riding the Springwater trail far longer than most people, since it was first paved. There never have been “HUNDREDS” of camps on the trail. There always have been campers on or near the trail – there was always a hobo jungle where it crosses Foster until the brush was cleared a few years ago. It’s true that there have been more campers in the past two years, but seeing one thing we don’t like to see one day on the trail tends to override the memory of the dozens of times we rode the trail and didn’t see anything we didn’t like. I rode it again last week and saw no campsites at all, from McLaughlin to Powell Butte. People won’t fix a thing that’s a little bit messed up – they wait until it is a disaster and then freak out because somebody else should have done something a long time ago. That’s what is happening now with campers and transients. It seems to me that if you go out prepared to be angry about something, you will find it. A guy that gets angry about seeing horse manure is probably going to find all kinds of other things to flip his lid over.

  • Arele

    The author is not kidding about this trail not being safe! This sexual assault just happened last month on the very stretch of trail he was talking about: https://www.kgw.com/news/local/gresham/police-woman-sexually-assaulted-along-springwater-corridor-bike-trail/93001373

  • Arele

    Looks like the author isn’t the only one citing issues with this trail. KOIN TV posted this today:

    A local nonprofit director is canceling his annual summer bike camp for kids due to ongoing safety concerns along the Springwater Corridor.

    Joe Kurmaskie made the announcement on his Facebook page Monday, citing personal experiences with threats, weapons and open drug use while biking on the trail.

    “The Springwater Corridor has become too unsafe and it is our main pipeline to all the bike adventures we do for the kids each summer,” Kurmaskie wrote. “My heart breaks for my community and for the kids who will not get this experience.”

    Kurmaskie has hosted “Camp Creative: No Child Left Inside” for the past 4 summers in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation.

    He tells KOIN 6 News he’s not willing to risk other people’s safety.

    “I’ve had incidents with my children where people [throw] bottles at us, running at us with wolverine knives duct taped onto their hands,” Kurmaskie recalled.

    PP&R will reportedly meet with Kurmaskie to discuss options for relocating the camp.

    In the meantime, Kurmaskie says local police should do more to patrol the area.

    “We should put teams on bikes,” he said. “Social workers, police, advocates that could be helping them.”

    The City of Portland recently hired the nonprofit Oregon Solutions to assess the situation along the Springwater Trail.