Jul 30, 2005

Save Troutdale's Sunrise Park? (aka Cougar Park)

At the July 26 Troutdale City Council meeting, we held the first reading of the proposed updates to Troutdale's master transportation plan. The council chambers were completely full with many residents standing in the aisle.

What was the cause of this sudden interest in city business? Buried inside the transportation plan was a proposal to constuct a road through Troutdale's Sunrise Park. Although the 1995 version of the city's transportation plan also included a proposal to build a road through the park, the city never actually followed through with construction.

This is actually a great little park, with a wonderful view of Mt. Hood. I've been there quite a few times, but today my wife and I visited the park to try and visualize what effects a road would have (sorry, Troutdale police-- I know the park is closed due to the cougar sitings, but we cheated a little!)

If the proposed road is constructed, the great majority of Sunrise Park would remain untouched. However, even at the estimated 2-3 cars per minute of traffic, the quiet stillness of the park would be ruined. Today at the park, we heard birds, the rush of the wind through the grasses, but for the most part we listened to silence.

I have spent several hours studying the entire transportation plan. It is an extremely complex document, and some proposed items are absolute necessities. Highest in the list of priorities is a proposed fix to the dangerous, confusing, and downright idiotic onramp/offramp that is Interstate 84 exit 17, also known as the Frontage Road vortex of painful hell.

However, after a long study of the entire transportation plan, I fail to find a real problem that the proposed road through Sunrise Park is supposed to fix. Why fix a problem that doesn't exist? This new road won't solve anything. It won't have any impact on solving Troutdale's transportation issues.

But Sunrise Park, in all its natural glory, is an obvious solution to living in an urban world. It's a quiet, undeveloped place where people can just "be". That's good enough for me.

I'm against that road.

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