Forest Park to get new visitor center

Forest Park to get a new visitor's center

PORTLAND, Ore. -- If you hike or bike the trails of Portland's Forest Park, get ready for some big changes.

One includes the construction of a brand new entrance and visitor center. It's something the city has wanted to do for decades.

The idea is for the new entrance to go in near Highway 30 and Northwest St. Helens Road. It would give visitors an easy way to find and get into the 5,200-acre park.

Right now, finding an entrance to the park can sometimes be a challenge for those who are not familiar with it.

"There's no front door to Forest Park. It's got like 29 back doors," said Mark Ross with Portland Parks & Recreation.

Ross said the city envisions a place where visitors would be able to park their cars or bikes and explore much more than just the park trails.

Inside the center, visitors would be able to learn about the park.

"We're imagining classrooms, interpretative kiosks, a boardwalk, a place to repair your bike or wash it after your trip in forest park," said Ross.

And that's not all.

In addition to a new visitor center, crews have already started work to install several new bridges in the park and replace old, decaying ones.

"The new bridges we're bringing in, they have a fiber glass deck, but their primary material is steel with a wood hand railing, so they will be very durable," said Maija Spencer with Portland Parks & Recreation.

And speaking of bridges, plans are still moving forward for a new footbridge over West Burnside.

When built, the bridge will connect the Wildwood Trail so people won't have to dodge cars running across the busy road.

According to the city, some of the plan is still in the concept stages and that includes the visitor center renderings.

But if the designs and funding can get nailed down, Ross said construction on the center could start as early as the end of 2018.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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