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Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade

Portland Metro Area, Oregon

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Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade

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  • Portland's Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Weekend parking for the Eastbank Esplanade beneath I-405.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Interpretive signs communicate the human and natural history of the area.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • This section of the Willamette is home to many paddle and rowing organizations.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The distinctive Benson Bubblers are Portland icons.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • A bronze statue of Vera Katz, to whom the Eastbank Esplanade was commemorated in 2004.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The paths are wide enough to accommodate runners, pedestrians, and bikes.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • A nautilus-style path connects the Eastbank Esplanade with the Morrison Bridge.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Downtown Portland from beneath the Morrison Bridge.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • "Love locks" along Portland's Eastbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The Easbank Esplanade dives down beneath the Burnside Bridge.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The floating walkway section of the Portland's Easbank Esplanade is the nation's longest.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Looking east toward Portland's Old Town and the White Stag sign from the Easbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Downtown Portland and the Steel Bridge at sunset from the Eastbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Looking south and upstream on the Willamette from the Steel Bridge section of the Eastbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The Steel Bridge's lower walkway absorbed $10 million of the Eastbank Esplanade's $30-million total cost.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Water taxis and the public have access to the docks along the Easbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • The Eastbank Esplanade's floating walkway section north of Portland's Burnside Bridge.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • A MAX Trimet train makes its way across the Steel Bridge.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
  • Downtown Portland's city lights reflect on the Willamette just below the Eastbank Esplanade.- Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great views of bridges and downtown Portland. Easily accessible. Wide pedestrian and bike path.
Cons: 
Occasionally heavy traffic.
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Region:
Portland Metro Area, OR
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
25.00 ft (7.62 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
3.20 mi (5.15 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
20.00 ft (6.10 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Both an imperative for Portland visitors and a staple for Portland residents, the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is one of Portland’s best walks or rides. The Esplanade provides excellent views of the downtown skyline over the Willamette River and tremendous perspectives on four of the city’s distinctive bridges. While you can hop on or off of the Esplanade wherever it is convenient, the official segment runs between the Hawthorne Bridge and the Steel Bridge. Throughout, the path is wide enough to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian traffic (though it can become crowded during heavy commute times), and several micro-parks, benches, viewpoints, and interpretive areas line the banks.

Users of the Eastbank Esplanade are treated to a variety of river views courtesy of some ingenious engineering and design. Because the Burnside Bridge enjoys a historic designation that protects it from any additional structural weight, the Esplanade was not allowed to make contact with the bridge as it passed beneath. Instead, the 1,200-foot section of walkway that floats between the Burnside Bridge and the Steel Bridge is anchored with pilings and rises and falls with the Willamette’s water levels. It is still the longest floating walkway in the country. From here you can look west toward Old Town and Portland’s iconic White Stag sign, relaxing on a bench just above the surface of the river that has helped to make Portland the city it is today.

The Eastbank Esplanade was completed in 2001, and in 2004 it was named for Vera Katz, Portland’s mayor from 1993 to 2005 and a former Speaker of Oregon’s House of Representatives. It was a $30 million project, one third of which was absorbed by the construction of the Steel Bridge’s lower walkway. Predictably, the development and construction of the project was controversial, and Vera Katz was a prominent champion for its cause.

Apart from the fantastic views, the Eastbank Esplanade is an accessible and essential Portland thoroughfare. From the path you can easily cross the Hawthorne, Morrison, Burnside, or Steel Bridges to access Tom McCall Waterfront Park and Portland’s downtown, or you can stay on Portland's east side and use the Springwater Corridor to work your way farther south along the Willamette past Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge to the Sellwood Bridge and Sellwood Riverfront Park.
 

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(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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