Ross Island Sand & Gravel site up for sale, raising possibility of Springwater path connection

Ross Island Sand & Gravel site up for sale, raising possibility of Springwater path connection

This orphan section of the Springwater Corridor path build in 2011, is just north of the Ross Island Sand & Gravel parcel that is now for sale.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

(Map: BikePortland/PortlandMaps)

A three-acre parcel on the Willamette River adjacent to the Springwater Corridor path is up for sale. If the property changes hands, it could hasten development of a key section of riverfront path that would bring us closer to filling the gap between the Eastbank Esplanade and the Springwater that currently forces a detour onto surface streets.

According to a sales brochure published by real estate company CBRE, the former Ross Island Sand & Gravel facility at 2611 SE 4th Avenue is being sold for $3.195 million. The listing boasts of access to public transit, riverfront views, and a “rare” large waterfront development site.

In early 2019 Ross Island Sand & Gravel owner RB Pamplin Corporation closed the company’s concrete division based at this location, laid off dozens of workers and sold off most of the equipment.

This is one of four properties on the riverfront between the end of the Eastbank Esplanade at the Portland Opera building and the Springwater Corridor path at the Ross Island Bridge. The City of Portland owns a trail easement on the riverfront, but has been unable to fully connect this 1,800 foot gap.



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(Left: Looking north toward OMSI on path adjacent to SK Northwest, just 400 feet away from end of Eastbank Esplanade. Right: A family navigates the surface street route currently in use today.)

In 2006 when another one of these four properties changed hands the owners fought tooth-and-nail against building the path. A 29-month legal battle ensued before watercraft retailer SK Northwest finally relented. In 2011, five years after the fight started, the company paved a section of the Springwater Corridor that currently sits as an unused island between two undeveloped parcels.

The SK Northwest path is about 350 feet. The Ross Island Sand & Gravel parcel would be another 600 feet. If the new owners built a path that would leave only about 850 feet remaining. Unfortunately one of the remaining parcels is owned by American Waterways, Inc., the parent company of Portland Spirit, a cruise boat operator that has been ardently opposed to building the path in the past.

If a buyer for the Sand & Gravel parcel steps forward they’ll face a lot of public pressure to build the path. Will it help topple the remaining two dominoes and get us a fully connected Esplanade-Springwater? Time will tell. We’ve got feelers out to Portland Parks & Recreation (they manage the paths) and the Bureau of Development Services to learn more. Stay tuned.

Screen grab of CBRE listing.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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