Oregon’s Willamette River takes a spectacular drop in Oregon City at the historic Willamette Falls. While seen for decades in northwest Oregon from the shores, this site hasn’t been truly explored in over a century.
A new Willamette Falls Riverwalk plan, though, will change all that and Oregon Governor Kate Brown selected Mayer/Reed, Snøhetta and DIALOG to design the new riverwalk at the former Blue Heron Paper Mill site.
“As the prime consultant, Mayer/Reed will collaborate with our international design partners and work with numerous agencies, stakeholders and the public to create an experientially rich riverwalk that will enable connectivity and public access to this powerful site for the first time in over a century,” the company says in a statement.
The riverwalk serves as the first phase of the former mill’s redevelopment.
Expect the design to take shape this summer, tying together the natural environment of the location and the history of the Blue Heron site. The preliminary designs will evolve as community input gets added to the plans for the basalt bedrock.
Now known as the Willamette Falls Legacy Project at the end of historic Oregon City’s Main Street, what is currently a mix of vacant industrial buildings will eventually turn into a mixed-use neighborhood fit for residential, recreation, business and academic uses. The riverwalk will connect those living, working and visiting the future development to the river through the mill’s site, which closed in 2011.
Oregon City, located in Clackamas County, is considered the end of the Oregon Trail. In 1844 it became the first city incorporated west of the Rockies.
Tim Newcomb is Engineering News-Record’s Pacific Northwest contributor. He also writes for Popular Mechanics, Sports Illustrated and more. You can follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb or visit his website here.