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OR-224 closure update – Fall 2021

Recovery work from the 2020 Riverside Fire continues to progress along OR-224 in Clackamas County with the roadway expected to reopen as scheduled later this fall.

The Riverside Fire burned extremely hot through the canyon that surrounds the wild and scenic area of the Clackamas River along Highway 224, destroying tens of thousands of trees in its path. The hazard trees, most of which are perched high above the roadway on steep cliffs, along with falling rocks and extremely damaged roadway, have made the corridor unsafe for public access since the fire.

As part of our statewide effort to remove dead and dying hazard trees from Oregon’s state highways, the Debris Management Task Force (Task Force) has been working in this corridor since last December. Initial assessments indicated that it may be necessary to remove as many as 75,000 trees from this 25-mile stretch of highway. After significant work by Task Force certified arborists to assess every impacted tree, including those along the Big Cliffs area that required drone assessment, the number of hazard trees needing to be removed was reduced to 25,000.

As of mid-September, Task Force crews have removed nearly 70% of those hazard trees. Most of the remaining trees to be removed are located in the upper 10 miles and in a four-mile section between the initial closure point at milepost 31 and the Promontory Park campground (this stretch was added to the original scope of work).

Contractors are also working to mitigate the significant rock fall hazards throughout the corridor. This work includes rock fencing replacement as well as new fence installation in areas where the cliff landscape was altered by the fire.

The roadway itself, as well as the safety infrastructure, including the guardrail throughout the 25-mile stretch, were significantly damaged in both the fire and the subsequent rock falls. The Task Force is coordinating with Oregon Department of Transportation maintenance and geo-technical staffs to facilitate those repairs before reopening the highway.

All public access recreation areas in the corridor also remain closed.

Highway 224 is closed between mileposts from approximately five miles east of Estacada. We strongly recommend visiting TripCheck for the latest traffic delay updates statewide and using alternate routes to avoid fire corridors.



Wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.

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