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It's about the Tourism

posted Apr 8, 2012, 9:56 PM by Simon Springall
I just submitted this to the Wilsonville Spokesman.


Wilsonville had a good start with planning for the Wilsonville-French Prairie Bridge in early studies from an in-depth studies performed by the advisory committee.  There was very strong support from the community, businesses, emergency services, neighboring cities, dating back to 2006.  A couple of years ago we received the news that the city secured a $1.25 million grant in flexible funds for a feasibility study and design of the bridge.


The City’s Transportation Systems Plan Update open house and citizen feedback process was held in February this year, and produced a flurry of feedback in favour of progressing with design and construction of the bridge. Around 50% of all citizen comments received on any subject were in favour of the bridge.

In the same month the Chamber of Commerce with Travel Oregon and the Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affair held a ‘Bicycle Tourism Studio’ for Clackamas County, right here in the Wilsonville Library.  This was well attended by local businesses as well tourism representatives from the Wilsonville Chamber.  Economic impact of 2009 bicycle tourism in Oregon is estimated to be $223 million, and this sector is growing rapidly.

Meanwhile regional trails are being developed, many in part in response to the city’s stated plan for this bridge (it is in an all the city-wide master planning documents).  The Tonquin trail will end at the Willamette River on Boone’s Ferry Road.  The Champoeg trail will eventually pick up from the other side.  

But for the tourism dollars, look to the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.   This idyllic long-distance bike trail extends to Salem and then to Eugene.  The opportunity for Wilsonville as the jumping-off-point for out of state bicycle tour groups taking advantage of this trail network cannot be ignored.    Groups could stay in Wilsonville Hotels, eat in Wilsonville restaurants, stock up on supplies from Wilsonville stores, before hopping over the bridge to tour the nationally famous scenery, vineyards and historic sites of the northern Willamette valley.

Without this bridge, none of this will happen.  Clackamas, Washington, and Marion counties would find another way to connect the accessibility of Portland to the tourism destination of the Willamette Valley.  Oregon City, Sherwood and Newberg would be winners instead.

If the city council fails to accept the $1.25 million grant for the bridge study we would be leaving much more than that on the table.  Up to $200 million, per year.

More information is at http://www.frenchprairiebridge.org
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