U.S. Route 26 in Oregon

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U.S. Highway 26

US 26 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by ODOT
Length471.56 mi (758.90 km)
Major junctions
West end US 101 near Seaside
Major intersections OR 217 in Beaverton

I-405 in Portland
I-5 in Portland
I-205 in Portland
US 97 in Madras
OR 126 in Prineville
US 395 in John Day

US 20 in Vale
East end US 20 / US 26 at the Idaho state line
Location
CountryUnited States
StateOregon
CountiesClatsop, Tillamook, Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Wasco, Jefferson, Crook, Wheeler, Grant, Baker, Malheur
Highway system
OR 22 OR 27

U.S. Route 26 (US 26) is a major cross-state United States highway with its western terminus in the U.S. state of Oregon, connecting U.S. Route 101 on the Oregon Coast near Seaside with the Idaho state line east of Nyssa. Local highway names (see Oregon highways and routes) include the Sunset Highway No. 47, Mount Hood Highway No. 26, and John Day Highway No. 5 before continuing into Idaho and beyond.

Route description

Start of US 26 in Oregon near Seaside
Quartz Creek Bridge in Clatsop County, 1944

The western terminus of the highway (and of US 26) is at an interchange with U.S. Route 101 between Seaside and Cannon Beach. The highway heads east from there through the Oregon Coast Range, providing access to Saddle Mountain and passing through the valleys of the Necanicum and Nehalem rivers. It then crosses over the Oregon Coast Range, where it passes through the Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel, descending into the Tualatin Valley, into the community of Banks.[1]

East of Banks, the highway merges with Oregon Route 6 and becomes a freeway, which passes through the high-tech regions of Washington County. The freeway enters the Portland metropolitan area in the northeast corner of Hillsboro, then passes through the northern part of the city of Beaverton and the communities of Cedar Hills and Cedar Mill near the intersection with the northern terminus of Oregon Route 217. Also at this point, MAX Light Rail is adjacent on the north side of the highway for nearly two miles until it submerges into Robertson Tunnel.

The highway enters the Portland city limits near the Sylvan neighborhood, where it is also joined by Oregon Route 8; east of here the highway descends a steep grade through a canyon which penetrates Portland's West Hills; this stretch of the Sunset is coincident with Canyon Road. The highway skirts the southern edge of Portland's Washington Park, providing access to the Oregon Zoo and other attractions. At the bottom of the grade, the highway passes through the Vista Ridge Tunnel into downtown Portland. Immediately east of the tunnel is an interchange with I-405; this interchange is the end of the Sunset Highway.

File:US 26 (OR) between Sylvan and Vista Ridge Tunnels.webm

In Portland, the route overlaps Interstate 405 (Stadium Freeway No. 61) for a short distance before exiting onto city streets, including Arthur Street, to reach the Ross Island Bridge. US 26 leaves the bridge, which is at the beginning of the Mount Hood Highway No. 26, and follows Powell Boulevard, a surface street, to Gresham.

An expressway begins near Gresham and carries US 26 southeast to near Sandy. From Sandy to near Government Camp and Bennett Pass, where US 26 intersects Oregon Route 35, it closely follows the historic Barlow Road through the Mount Hood Corridor, and is part of the Mount Hood Scenic Byway. The Mount Hood Highway branches off to the north along OR 35, and the Warm Springs Highway No. 53 carries US 26 southeast through Wapinitia Pass (where it crosses the Pacific Crest Trail), Blue Box Pass, the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, and Agency Plains to Madras. After a short overlap with US 97 (The Dalles-California Highway No. 4), the short Madras-Prineville Highway No. 360 continues southeast to a junction with OR 126 in Prineville.

At that junction, US 26 picks up the Ochoco Highway No. 41, which also follows OR 126 west to US 97 in Redmond. The Ochoco Highway ends at OR 19 near Dayville, from which US 26 follows the John Day Highway No. 5 through John Day to US 20 in Vale. The remainder of US 26 in Oregon overlaps US 20 on the Central Oregon Highway No. 7 to the Idaho state line.

History

Picture Gorge in eastern Oregon, with US 26 at left and the John Day River at right

An ancient trail passed through the section of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation as part of an extensive Indian trade network linking peoples of the northern Great Basin and Columbia Plateau to those living west of the Cascade Range. Obsidian, bear grass, and slaves were transported over these trails to major trading locations along the Columbia River in exchange for dried salmon, smelt, sturgeon, and decorative sea shells. The long established route was later used by Peter Skene Ogden's fur trapping expeditions in 1825 and 1826. Fur trader Nathaniel Wyeth was here in the 1830s. Captain John C. Frémont followed this route on his 1843 explorations for the United States and Lieutenant Henry Larcom Abbot headed a Pacific Railroad survey party along it in 1855.[2]

The Sunset Highway portion was under construction by January 1933.[3] Both the Works Progress Administration[4] and the Civilian Conservation Corps participated in the construction during the Great Depression.[3] Portions of highway officially opened to the public on September 19, 1941. In 1949, the highway was completed.

The highway was originally named the Wolf Creek Highway after a nearby creek of the same name. The Oregon State Highway Commission renamed it the Sunset Highway at their January 17, 1946, meeting by a unanimous vote. The name is drawn from both the nickname and insignia of the 41st Infantry Division, which was largely drawn from Oregon,[5] and because the highway leads towards the setting sun.[6] The highway was rededicated in honor of the 41st Infantry Division in 1995.[7]

In the 1960s, Powell Boulevard in Portland was proposed as the corridor of the Mount Hood Freeway, which would have replaced US 26. It was cancelled in 1974 following a protests and local opposition. A few ramp stubs from Interstate 5 on the Marquam Bridge were built to prepare for the new freeway and remained in place until the 2010s.[8][9] The state and county government later considered moving US 26 to Division Street between I-205 and Gresham to improve freeway access.[10] The cancelled freeway included plans to bypass Sandy, which were later revived in the 2000s and 2010s to address congestion issues in the area.[11]

US 26 formerly terminated at a junction with US 30 in Astoria, sharing an alignment with US 101 north of Cannon Beach. The highway was truncated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in 2005 following a request from the Oregon Department of Transportation.[12] Prior to 2005, US 26 ran through downtown Portland on the one-way couplet of Market and Clay streets, which carried the Sunset Highway to its end at Naito Parkway (Pacific Highway West No. 1W), turning south there to reach the Ross Island Bridge.

In 2020, US 26 was designated POW/MIA Memorial Highway by the state legislature following a request from the Bend Heroes Foundation and Oregon Veterans Motorcycle Association.[13]

Major intersections

Milepoints are as reported by ODOT and do not necessarily reflect current mileage. Z indicates overlapping mileage due to construction longer than established route, and – indicates negative mileage behind established beginning point.[15] Segments that are locally maintained may be omitted. For routes traversing multiple named state highways, each milepoint is preceded by the corresponding state highway number. 

CountyLocationMilepoint[14]ExitDestinationsNotes
ClatsopCannon Beach Junction47 -0.10 US 101 – Seaside, Astoria, Cannon Beach, TillamookInterchange; Western terminus
Necanicum Junction47 9.42 OR 53 – Wheeler, Tillamook
Jewell Junction47 21.78
OR 103 north – Mist, Jewell
Interchange
Tillamook
No major junctions
Washington
No major junctions
Columbia
No major junctions
Washington47 40.91Dennis L. Edwards Tunnel
Staleys Junction47 45.51
OR 47 north – Vernonia, Clatskanie
West end of OR 47 overlap
Davies Junction47 49.47
OR 47 south – Banks, Forest Grove
Interchange; east end of OR 47 overlap
Tillamook Junction47 53.33 OR 6 – Banks, TillamookInterchange; no westbound entrance
47 53.62West end of freeway
47 55.1955Dersham Road – Mountaindale
North Plains47 57.1657Glencoe Road – North Plains
47 58.7459Jackson School Road
Hillsboro47 61.0661Helvetia Road, Brookwood Parkway[16]
47 62.4662Cornelius Pass Road – Cornelius Pass, West UnionSigned as exits 62A (south) and 62B (north) westbound
47 64.2964185th Avenue – PCC-Rock Creek
Beaverton47 65.67–
64.91
65Bethany Boulevard, Cornell Road
47 67.1467Murray Boulevard
47 68.3468Cedar Hills Boulevard – Beaverton
47 69.1969A


OR 217 south to I-5 south – Beaverton, Tigard, Salem
47 69.2169BPark Way, Barnes Road
47 70.8371A OR 8 (Canyon Road)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance
MultnomahPortland47 71.3071BSylvanSigned as exit 71 eastbound
47 72.1872Oregon Zoo, World Forestry Center
47 73.3973Canyon Road – Providence ParkEastbound exit and westbound entrance
47 73.53Vista Ridge Tunnels
47 73.7574Market Street (Sunset Highway east) – Portland City CenterEastbound exit and westbound entrance
47 74.05
61 1.41




I-405 north to I-5 north / US 30 – St. Helens, Seattle
West end of I-405 overlap, exit 1D
61 1.3912th AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
61 1.29
(city street)






I-405 south to I-5 south / I-84 east / US 30 – The Dalles, Salem, Portland Airport
East end of I-405 overlap, exit 1C; eastbound exit & westbound entrance
East end of freeway
Broadway Drive – Council CrestNo access from US 26 west
6th Avenue, Terwilliger Boulevard – Portland City Center, Keller Auditorium, Oregon Health & Science University, University and V.A. Hospitals
(city street)
26 0.01
Naito Parkway (Pacific Highway West north)Interchange; westbound exit and eastbound entrance
26 0.18
OR 10 west (Barbur Boulevard)
Interchange
26 0.45


OR 43 south (Macadam Avenue) to I-5 south – Lake Oswego, Salem
Interchange
26 0.76Ross Island Bridge over the Willamette River
26 1.01 OR 99E – Milwaukie, Oregon CityInterchange; eastbound exit to OR 99E north is via 17th Avenue south
26 1.6017th Avenue southInterchange; eastbound exit and westbound entrance
26 1.7617th Avenue northWestbound exit only
26 5.04 OR 213 (82nd Avenue)
26 5.74 I-205 / Division Street – Seattle, SalemI-205 exit 19.
Gresham26 14.18
To I-84 / Burnside Road, Powell Valley Road
Clackamas26 19.54 OR 212 – Boring, Oregon CityInterchange
Sandy26 24.40 OR 211 – Estacada, Molalla
26 54.23Timberline Lodge National Historic Landmark (OR 173)
26 57.45
53 57.45

OR 35 north – Hood River
Interchange
Wasco53 71.27 OR 216 – Bear Springs Ranger Station, Maupin, The Dalles
JeffersonMadras53 117.71
4 92.08

US 97 north – The Dalles, Biggs
West end of US 97 overlap
4 92.46D Street (OR 361) – Metolius, The Cove Palisades State Park
4 97.29
360 0.09

US 97 south – Redmond, Bend
East end of US 97 overlap
CrookPrineville360 26.28
41 18.16

OR 126 west – Redmond, Bend
41 18.75 OR 27 – Bowman Dam
41 19.75Prineville Reservoir, Paulina (OR 380)
WheelerMitchell41 65.94 OR 207 – Spray, Service Creek, Fossil
Grant41 98.36
5 124.17

OR 19 north – Kimberly, Spray
Mount Vernon5 154.03
US 395 north – Long Creek, Pendleton
West end of US 395 overlap
John Day5 162.29
US 395 south – Canyon City, Burns
East end of US 395 overlap
Austin Junction5 190.67 OR 7 – Sumpter, Baker City
Baker5 210.54 OR 245 – Hereford, Baker City
Malheur5 223.22Eldorado Pass
Vale5 278.21
7 246.39

US 20 west – Vale City Center, Burns, Adrian
West end of US 20 overlap
Cairo Junction7 258.20

OR 201 north to I-84 – Ontario
West end of OR 201 overlap
Nyssa7 265.97
OR 201 south – Adrian, Lake Owyhee
East end of OR 201 overlap
7 266.82Idaho state line


US 20 east / US 26 east continue into Idaho
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References

  1. ^ The Oregon Trail
  2. ^ "Oregon History sign, Indian Trails, located at 44.863983°,-121.311867°". Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  3. ^ a b Alexander, Paul. Highways, roads played vital role. The Hillsboro Argus, October 19, 1976.
  4. ^ Robbins, William G. (2002). "Subtopic : Oregon in Depression and War, 1925-1945: The Most Visible of Relief Agencies". The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  5. ^ Tucker, Kathy (2002). "Workmen Battle Mud, Wolf Creek Highway". The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
  6. ^ "Minutes". Oregon State Highway Commission: 12846. January 17, 1946.
  7. ^ "Oregon's Sunste Hwy. rededicated to Army's 41st Infantry Division". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. September 24, 1995. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  8. ^ Killen, John (January 15, 2015). "Throwback Thursday: Portland freeway system has roots in Eisenhower vision". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  9. ^ "The Death of the Mt. Hood Freeway and the Birth of MAX Light Rail". TriMet Blog. TriMet. December 10, 2021. Retrieved April 13, 2023.
  10. ^ McCowan, Karen (December 30, 1980). "I-205 stretch to open, relieve heavy traffic in Lents district". The Oregonian. p. ME4.
  11. ^ Allen, Brittany (June 20, 2019). "Will Sandy jump on U.S. 26 bypass bandwagon?". Sandy Post. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  12. ^ Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering (May 6, 2005). "Report of the Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering" (PDF) (Report). Washington, DC: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2017. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Steven (September 16, 2020). "POW/MIA Highway 26 sign dedication ceremony Friday". Blue Mountain Eagle. Retrieved August 20, 2022.
  14. ^ Oregon Department of Transportation, Public Road Inventory Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (primarily the Digital Video Log), accessed March 2008
  15. ^ Road Inventory and Classification Services (July 2017). "Straightline Chart Legend" (PDF). Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
  16. ^ "U.S. 26: Brookwood Parkway/Helvetia Interchange Project". Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon.gov. 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-14.

External links


U.S. Route 26
Previous state:
Terminus
Oregon Next state:
Idaho