U.S. Route 26 in Oregon

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U.S. Highway 26 marker

U.S. Highway 26
Route information
Maintained by ODOT
Length 471.56 mi (758.90 km)
Major junctions
West end US 101 near Seaside
 

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
Counties Clatsop, Tillamook, Columbia, Washington, Multnomah, Clackamas, Wasco, Jefferson, Crook, Wheeler, Grant, Baker, Malheur
Highway system
OR 22OR 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[edit]

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.

The Sunset Highway between the Sylvan exit and the western portal of the Vista Ridge Tunnels

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. (Prior to 2005, US 26 ran through downtown Portland on the one-way couplet of Market and Clay Streets, which carry the Sunset Highway to its end at Naito Parkway (Pacific Highway West No. 1W), turning south there to reach the 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.

There were plans to construct a freeway alignment of US 26—the Mount Hood Freeway—to bypass Powell Boulevard; however this project was canceled as a result of the freeway revolts in the 1970s. A few ramp stubs from Interstate 5 (on the Marquam Bridge) stand as evidence of this project. Roadway connections between the Portland freeway network and Mount Hood remain a big problem, as there is no good direct highway connection.

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[edit]

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]

Major intersections[edit]

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.[8] 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[7]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, JewellInterchange
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, ClatskanieWest end of OR 47 overlap
Davies Junction47 49.47 OR 47 south – Banks, Forest GroveInterchange; 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[9]
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, SeattleWest end of I-405 overlap
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 AirportEast end of I-405 overlap; eastbound exit and 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, SalemInterchange
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 RiverInterchange
Wasco53 71.27 OR 216 – Bear Springs Ranger Station, Maupin, The Dalles
JeffersonMadras53 117.71
4 92.08
US 97 north – The Dalles, BiggsWest 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, BendEast 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, PendletonWest end of US 395 overlap
John Day5 162.29 US 395 south – Canyon City, BurnsEast 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, AdrianWest end of US 20 overlap
Cairo Junction7 258.20 OR 201 north to I-84 – OntarioWest end of OR 201 overlap
Nyssa7 265.97 OR 201 south – Adrian, Lake OwyheeEast end of OR 201 overlap
7 266.82Idaho state line
US 26 continues into Idaho
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  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 Department of Transportation, Public Road Inventory Archived February 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. (primarily the Digital Video Log), accessed March 2008
  8. ^ Road Inventory and Classification Services (July 2017). "Straightline Chart Legend" (PDF). Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved April 7, 2018. 
  9. ^ "U.S. 26: Brookwood Parkway/Helvetia Interchange Project". Oregon Department of Transportation. Oregon.gov. 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 

External links[edit]


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