Lower viewing platform at Multnomah Falls reopens

Multnomah Falls in all its glory Oct. 23, 2017. (Photo: Genevieve Reaume/KATU News)

The lower viewing platform at Multnomah Falls reopened Monday morning, six months after a massive fire ravaged the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Miles of trails remain closed, as repair work and cleanup continues after the Eagle Creek Fire burned thousands of acres in the area.

Before the lower viewing platform opened, the Forest Service needed to repair an existing fence along the paved path and construct additional fencing to ensure tumbling debris would not land on the platform and nearby lodge.

After a final safety inspections last week, the Forest Service removed the temporarily fenced-off area.

Visitors were surprised and excited to take an unobstructed picture of Multnomah Falls. For locals, it's a sign of progress.

"We really lucked out," Meike Grand said. "Things are green, it's coming back to life."

Though the lower viewing platform has reopened, the bridge and upper path remain closed.

The Forest Service is confident the path to Benson Bridge will reopen this summer after a wooden bridge over Shady Creek is rebuilt and the path is cleared of debris.

There's no timeline on reopening the upper viewing platform or the paved path leading up to it. Crews estimate 90 percent of the trail is buried by rock.

Historic Highway 30 remains closed. To access Multnomah Falls and the lodge, visitors must park in the lot off Interstate 84.

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