I had breakfast with Paul and Amy Jo yesterday morning at Broder on Clinton (which is apparently a sister restaurant to Savoy). Over baked eggs and Swedish pancakes, we chatted about life. I mentioned that Thursdays were my days for walking the 2-1/2 miles into Milwaukie and back. “I go to the comic-book store and have cheap tacos at Cha Cha Cha,” I explained.

“Have you checked out the railroad bridge into Lake Oswego?” asked Paul. Oak Grove is directly across the Willamette River from Lake Oswego, but there’s no easy way to get from one community to the other. It takes about 25 minutes to make the drive. It would be a two-minute drive if there were a bridge.

“No,” I said. “I’ve always wanted to. But it’s illegal to cross, isn’t it?”

“I don’t think so,” he said. “There’s a pedestrian path on the side. And one of our neighbors used to work in Lake Oswego. She walked used the bridge to walk to work every day for years.”

Paul and I decided to check it out. Instead of walking into Milwaukie on the Trolley Trail, I would join him for an adventure into Lake Oswego. When I posted about our plans on Facebook, Tiffany warned: “FYI, It is a federal trespassing charge if you are caught.” We were undaunted.

I was a little more daunted, though, by the actual posted prohibition:

No Tresspassing

I think it’s funny that the Portland and Western Railroad have mis-spelled trespassing as “tresspassing”. Anyhow, because there were wide shoulders along the tracks, we played scofflaw and proceeded to the bridge. Where the rails were elevated above the ground, there was a metal grating along one side — the “pedestrian path” that Paul’s neighbor must have used to get to Lake Oswego.

We walked up to the bridge itself and snapped a few photos:

Railroad Bridge

But then we chickened out. (Well, I chickened out. Paul may have been willing to continue.) We turned around and walked back the way we’d come.

Rather than pull out where we’d started, though, we followed the tracks toward Milwaukie. It’s actually a lovely stretch of land, that mile beneath the bluff and along the shore. (Sorry, no photos.) Paul pulled out at Elk Rock Island, and I continued along the rails, across the bridge that goes over 99e and the lake, and into downtown. I didn’t see a train the entire time.

It was a fun walk, and I intend to do it again in the future. (The “to Milwaukie” part, not the “bridge to Lake Oswego” part. I may do the latter at some point, but not regularly.) On the way home, though, I played it safe and took the Trolley Trail.

4 Replies to “A Very Small Summer Adventure”

  1. I’m impressed that you wrote this whole entry without mentioning Stephen King’s “The Body” (which I recently read, so I thought about it the whole way through). 🙂

  2. Paul J. says:

    else where there was a “Stand by me” reference so I did want to start singing it but I refrained. I too was disappointed at the sign on the bridge (that it existed) and that the “path” that was put in by the RR was so uncomfortable. From the vantage point of our house it appears solid but it is just a series of grates with holes 1″ x 3″, probably larger. These holes were large enough that I wouldn’t want to ride my bike on it for fear of having the wheels get stuck.

    How lame is it that I’ve live here for 2 years and that was the first time I’ve bothered to take a look–thanks for the nudge JD.

  3. jdroth says:

    Michael, did you take a look at the tags at the foot of this post? 🙂

    I may not have made a blatant Stand By Me reference, but I made one…

  4. Paul J. says:

    Here’s the wiki:


    Looks like the BTA has tried to make this a commuter priority.

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