Where Primrose Street meets Terwilliger Boulevard

Primrose Crossing Overview

A two-block stretch of asphalt between Terwilliger and Boones Ferry Road carries more than 400 trips per day ― which is surprising unless you live in east Collins View (i.e east of Terwilliger). Primrose Street is one of the few ways in and out. The east end, at Boones Ferry Road, will be the subject of a future article.

Please consider this diagram of what all is Happening at the west end, where Primrose meets Terwilliger.

Arrows showing cars, bikes, pedestrians in action at Primrose.

Cars (drivers)

A significant number of drivers turn from Terwilliger into Primrose, after yielding to any oncoming northbound traffic.

Westbound drivers on Primrose usually turn right onto Terwilliger when leaving the East Collins View - Palatine Hill Road area.

Bikes (cyclists)

Cyclists turn into Primrose from Terwilliger when connecting to the Sellwood bridge via River View Cemetery or en route to Lewis & Clark College. Northbound cyclists never turn onto Primrose.

Westbound cyclists on Primrose tend to turn sharp right into the bike lane on Terwilliger (without stopping).


Blue Dashed Lines denote Pedestrians. Peeps with dogs, families with Strollers, HS X-country runners must cross Terwilliger here to use Primrose to get to Greenwood Hills Cemetery or other places.

Bus Stops (Blue Icons)

Transit riders in East Collins View must walk along Primrose to TriMet stop 5801 to wait for a #38 or #39 northbound buses. Persons waiting for a bus put themselves at some risk. (Riders living in West Collins View must cross Terwilliger to get to stop 5801.)

When Southbound buses stop at Primrose, a transit rider can go home along the sidewalk into West Collins View, or must cross Terwilliger and walk on Primrose to Boones Ferry and Palatine Hill Road for places in East Collins View.

The 5801 bus stop itself doesn’t qualify for improvement (eg shelter) due to the low number of boardings ― the proverbial chicken and egg. See 'A Hazardous Bus Stop' below.

Orange Arrow - Passing on the right, using bike lane / shoulder

Tailgaters heading southbound away from the light may encounter a driver who is stopped on Terwilliger at Primrose, yielding to northbound oncoming traffic. Some tailgaters hastily pass the waiting vehicle on the right, entering the bike lane, dipping down to where west Primrose drops off steeply.

On the west side of Terwilliger, Primrose is a much less used, narrow, steep, unimproved roadway. The sidewalk there has rounded curb cuts — that may be why cars have gone off the road or flipped there. This passing behavior needs to be prevented to eliminate this hazard. (Police say it's legal for a driver to do this, unless a bike is using the bike lane.)

When things go wrong

Here is an example of what happens when speed is involved and things go wrong.

Roll Over On Terwilliger - Photo by Alex Skorohodov

Anyone know the real story behind this accident?

Complications due to backup of traffic

Now please consider this special diagram that shows two ways traffic backs up on Terwilliger between Taylors Ferry and Primrose.

Terwilliger between Primrose and its intersection with Taylors Ferry Road

PURPLE ARROW - Southbound Terwilliger Traffic, leaving traffic light.

After merging and accelerating away from the traffic light at Taylor's Ferry, drivers often find traffic stalling again, because someone (or two) are stopped, signaling to turn onto Primrose. This slowdown can be observed every rush hour, and is mentioned in the Cross Roads blog article.

See Purple Arrow again - Traffic congestion backs up toward Lobelia, sometimes north of Lobelia! This slowdown affects the southbound flow away from the big intersection at Taylors Ferry, because traffic ahead needs to be moving along, or accelerating, to make room for more southbound vehicles.

In other words, there is an interaction between events at the two places that affects the performance of an orderly merge leaving the business zone. There is a negative ripple effect.

ORANGE ARROW - Northbound Terwilliger Traffic, toward traffic light.

In the morning you may see NB traffic backing up all the way to Primrose from the light at Taylors Ferry Road... Traffic backs up even beyond Primrose. That's why there is a DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION sign. At least then drivers can turn into Primrose, between gap in cars.

DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION sign on Terwilliger at Primrose, for northbound traffic

You can observe all of this by standing at the Primrose bus stop (while fearing for your life) and from the sidewalk across from the Terwilliger Center.

What can be done? Some Impractical Improvements?

A holistic solution would provide a crosswalk, a bus shelter, safe passage for cyclists, and something to calm auto traffic to reduce or eliminate crashes.

If a turn lane were provided on Terwilliger, for turning onto Primrose, more cars would speed by on the right, and it would be less safe for peds who sometimes depend on some stopped traffic to cross. Plus, it could create a hazard for cyclists.

Closing off Primrose on the west side of Terwilliger by extending the curb would to prevent drivers from dipping in there, but it would also cut off access for Fire Engines and Waste Management if they use west Primrose, not to mention folks who live down there, and delivery vehicles, etc.. (Comments?)

Signalization at this place would be (somewhat eXpensive to put sensors IN THE ROAD, but perhaps that could be done less intrusively with some kind of intelligent camera, sensing when someone is Signaling to turn and traffic is backing up behind that car -- activating on a RED LIGHT signal for north bound traffic, and let southbound traffic flow, whether turning or not. Think about that. It's not clear if this exact signal system has been done anywhere in the world, but it seems like it would be possible technically, and not unlike other places where one side of an intersection waits, while the other side gets to turn or go straight.

A Hazardous Bus Stop

There are a pair of TriMet stops at Primrose (northbound and southbound). The one on the west side is safely located along the sidewalk. The one on the east side of Terwilliger, at Primrose, is hazardous.

TriMet Bus Stop #5801. Note undercut pavement.

There's a culvert with eroding pavement that should be repaired (again). This Bus stop could be greatly improved at the same time, with little added expense. See question below.

TriMet Response (2019)

Below is TriMet's response to a litany of complains about stop 5801. (This was Prior to the Greenway project. We're not sure if the Greenway project includes any bus stop safety.)

Thank you for your patience while I researched improvement options for Stop ID 5801 – SW Terwilliger & Primrose northbound. This stop has an average of 9 people per day getting on the bus, an average of zero people per day get off the bus, and one time per month the lift is deployed for riders with mobility devices.

For shelter requests, we evaluate ridership and infrastructure. To consider shelter placement, we require an average of at least 50 people per day getting on the bus and the existing infrastructure to support a shelter. This stop does not have this level of ridership and could not support a shelter without significant upgrades. Unfortunately, we do not have the resources for this work.

It is generally up to the local jurisdiction or the neighboring property owners to install sidewalks.

The City of Portland has marked this location as a high priority for a crossing enhancement, but there is no funding allocated or timeline for implementation. Nor is it clear if this would result in a significant improvement to the bus stop area.

With this in mind, our options are to keep the bus stop where it is, or to remove the stop and require customers to walk along Terwilliger to access the neighboring bus stops.

Is there any wonder why many people don't board there? You can't even walk safely on Primrose, though quite a few people do. To be fair, many drivers are cautious and considerate, but the space is not well defined. It would help everyone if it were better defined.

TriMet says that if the danger is truly great, maybe the stop should removed and people should walk to some other stop — i.e be careful what you ask for!

Other Stops? The pair of stops north of Primrose, at Lobelia, can be reached from the east by walking on 5th Ave, a gravel road, but at least it's removed from the busy roadway. From the west side of Terwilliger, 'customers' can just walk up Lobelia. Depending on direction of bus desired, the customer may have to cross Terwilliger to catch a ride going in the desire direction.

The pair of stops south of Primrose, near SW Alice, are not at all accessible from people on the east side of Terwillger.

Related Issues

Cars wanting to turn either direction onto Terwilliger from Primrose must be able to see on-coming vehicles. A bus shelter would likely block the view of northbound Terwilliger traffic.

Primrose is quite steep, going downhill to meet Terwilliger. This affects driving and biking behavior. Speaking about Icy Streets, here's a link to the Collins View Icy Street Map: LINK

Drivers sometimes park on Primrose right off Terwilliger by plum trees. This is a Danger for cars turning in while another car is coming down. This also complicates passage for pedestrians on way to bus stop. Usually, drivers parking here are clueless about the danger they are creating. (There isn't a No Parking sign there, but there is for the westbound lane of Primrose at Terwilliger.)

If all this isn't enough, winter ice complicates negotiation of the slippery slopes of Primrose Street at both ends. Not much can be done about that.

Primrose itself between Terwilliger and Boones Ferry Road, and its west end, will be the subject of another blog article some day.

Primrose/ Palatine Hill Road Greenway - BP-33

A couple years ago, the PDX Greenways “Slow Street Safe Streets” program initiated the Primrose Palatine GreenWay project BP33. Status unknown.These are the Orange Drums and A-Frames you see at each end of Primrose.

Southwest In Motion (SWIM) 11/29/2018 Draft Tier 2 Project List included improved crossings at Primrose & Terwilliger and Primrose & Boones Ferry Road. See references.

Primrose Greenway - orange circles denote barrel-type stanchions

You can learn about the program and view an interactive map of about 300 locations at PDXgreenways.com.

From the City: "We invite those who live near Greenways barricade locations to adopt the installation. This is an informal, non-binding support of a site. The request is for neighbors of installations to make daily checks and agree to report issues to the Greenways Response Team.

Apparently, a local person has adopted the Primrose Greeway Project.

The Orange Drums and A-Frames at both ends of Primrose were removed on Monday, Feb 20, and evidently refurbished and replaced by the end of the day.


Editor's Note

This article was edited from earlier articles written for SW News by M Read, F Laird, and J Miller. New graphics by J. Miller. The photo by Alex Skorohodov was published in SW News, Nov 2018.

This article is intended to compliment the New Collins View Blog article about Terwilliger + Taylor's Ferry Crossroads, because of the 'Complications' noted above.

There has been discussion of this issue on Nextdoor and at Neighborhood Association meetings over the years.

And that is a story that no one can beat
And to think that I saw it on Primrose Street. — with apologies to Dr Seuss.

Questions for Our Readers

Comments submitted on this article

Comments will appear here — To be curated from Nextdoor, then posted a week or so after article is published. (At this time, we don't support commenting directly on the blog.)

How this Blog Post should be (was) described on Social Media

Ever wonder why so many dang drivers are wanting to turn left off of Terwilliger onto some obscure street "Primrose".. Just after you've cleared the notorious intersection at Taylor's Ferry? You just wanna get home, right?

Maybe you politely merged lanes in front of the Tryon Creek Grill, or maybe you sped ahead of the pack, only to find yet more congestion! What the Heck?

This article in the New Collins View Blog examines the situation, some safety concerns, and asks whether solutions might exist.

Posted Monday, Feb 20, 2023.