Eugene’s Willamette River Recreation Corridor

Or “Tale of Three Bridges . . .
September 24, 1978

Members of this Sunday bicycle tour basked in the pleasure afforded by Eugene’s Willamette River Recreation Corridor combined with a beautiful Indian summer day.

Eleven cyclists began near the off-ramp of the Ferry St. Bridge in Alton Baker Park. One bicycle plus rider gave up the first mile. Six more joined making 16 riders at the first bridge, the Autzen Footbridge built in 1970 to accommodate a new steam line from EWEB to Chase Gardens. Coincidentally, it served football game patrons in the newly constructed stadium.

On this September Sunday, dozens of pedestrians and joggers and bicyclists vied for space on the bridge and on the connecting trails. Our caravan followed the north bank trail, the first bikeway built with 1% gas tax monies in 1971, eastward to 15 where a new bicycle bridge is under construction. This bridge is built to house a four-foot water main serving EWEB’s south Eugene customers. Named the Willie Knickerbocker Bicycle Bridge, the bridge honors Eugene’s most famous cyclist whose riding years began in 1890 and continued to 1960.

After reaching Springfield and the intake structure for the 2-mile inland canoeway, our group turned westward and followed this serene water way on the bordering bikeway. Stops included the canoe chute and the near-by science museum & parking lot under construction southwest of Autzen. Half the riders had had enough at this juncture. Eight others continued on to do the loop-de-loop at the Ferry St. Bridge and thereby reached the 5th St. Market for ice cream and outdoor music.

The last loop took us through the throngs at Skinners Butte Park and through the quiet and fading rose gardens to a third bridge, the Greenway Bike Bridge built in 1977 with federal funds. This furthest downstream bridge connects River Road to Valley River Center. A lazy pedal back to Alton Baker Park completed the 10-mile figure 8 loop trip. There may have been sore seats, but no one complained. An Obsidian trip worth repeating.

Bikers were Elizabeth Benjamin, Angela Bulgarelli, Wilma Downie, Shirley Driver, Nancy Evans, Jack Ewing, Joella Hadlund, Ellen Jackson, Dot Leland, Gina Matteri, Aaron and Justin Richmond, Kevin and Parker Riddle, Bob Walden, and John and leader Ruth Bascom.

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