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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Let’s get serious ... about the southern portion of our beloved Willamette River

Jump in with us as we explore the future of recreation opportunities and natural resources in the South Reach.

We’ve held a Visioning Workshop and had lovely evening walks along the river with some of you. And we’ve been attending your neighborhood meetings and looking at the responses to the online questionnaire. You can still fill in the online questionnaire, so let us know what you think. 

Now it’s time to wade into the details of the key challenges and opportunities. River Plan / South Reach project staff will host a series of public meetings to cover a variety of topics; then we’ll integrate the input received into eastside and westside discussions and culminate this phase of work with a public open house in December. The results of all that will shape development of the River Plan / South Reach. So, jump in!

First: Topical meetings

Below is a list of scheduled topical meetings for interested community members to help define the future of the river/riverfront area. Staff will record suggestions, comments and other outcomes of these discussions. Materials for each meeting will be posted in advance on the project web page. And as a bonus, refreshments will be served at all the meetings.

SESSION #1 – Riverside Recreation
Access to the river/riverfront, on-land recreation, trails and scenic views
Thursday, September 13, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Avenue
Trimet: 99*, 35, 19

SESSION #2 – River and Riverbank Areas
Natural Resources and Adjacent Development
Tuesday, September 18, 6 - 8 p.m
Center for Equity and Inclusion, 5757 SW Macadam Avenue
TriMet: 35, 36, 43, 99*

SESSION #3 – In-River Recreation
Boating, Swimming Beaches and Docks
Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
Center for Equity and Inclusion, 5757 SW Macadam Avenue
TriMet: 35, 36*, 43*, 99*

SESSION #4 – Restoration of River and Riverbank Areas
Preservation and Restoration
Thursday, October 4, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Ave.
TriMet: 99*, 35, 19

Next: East and westside meetings

After the topical meetings, staff will hold two more sessions so community members can focus on the west and east sides of the river separately.

SESSION #5 – Westside Discussion
Integration of Westside-Related Issues and Opportunities
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
Center for Equity and Inclusion, 5757 SW Macadam Avenue
TriMet: 35, 36*, 43*, 99*

SESSION #6 – Eastside Discussion
Integration of Eastside-related Issues and Opportunities
Thursday, November 8, 6 - 8 p.m.
SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Ave.
TriMet: 99*, 35, 19

*These Trimet lines provide limited bus service, check schedules

Finally: Big open house

Then, on December 1, we’ll host a big open house and share a summary of information and feedback gathered from previous public events, and staff recommendations for plan development including a draft future concept illustration.

Presentation of Information Gathered, Draft Future Concept and Recommendations for Plan Development
Saturday, December 1, 9 - 11:30 a.m.
Llewellyn School, Cafeteria - 6301 SE 14th Avenue 


Please contact project staff with any questions about the meetings or the project overall at or call 503-823-6946 or 503-823-4572.

Portlanders gather to envision the future of the South Reach of the Willamette River

Now you can share your ideas and hopes for the Willamette River and surrounding banks, trails and neighborhoods, from the Ross Island Bridge south to Dunthorpe.

Recipe for a visioning workshop


  • People who care about the future of the South Reach area of the Willamette River.
  • A few tables.
  • Maps of the study area.
  • Pens (lots of colors).
  • Ideas (big and small).


  1. Find a place to gather and share ideas. (Community centers and schools are good.)
  2. Invite community members to brainstorm with you.
  3. On the day of, set up the room with maps, easels, markers, tables and chairs.
  4. Welcome participants and fuel them with coffee, tea and nutritious snacks.
  5. Join a table and gather round a map.
  6. Listen as people share their ideas and watch as planners and urban designers translate their vision onto paper.
  7. Put the input on the communal stove and let simmer for awhile.
  8. Taste and refine.

That’s what happened on a recent Saturday morning at Llewellyn Elementary School in Sellwood. Some two dozen interested Portlanders came to learn more about the new long-range planning effort for the southern portion of Portland and Dunthorpe in, along and near the Willamette.

After planners gave an overview of the project, community members rotated among three tables and discussed their ideas to enhance: 1) recreation; 2) natural resources; and 3) the relationship of nearby neighborhoods to the river.

Staff recorded ideas on maps and took notes. The results of this workshop will help define the community’s vision for the area. This is in addition to other comments received at community outreach events like river walks and public meetings.

What did they say?

Overall, community members expressed admiration for this stretch of the Willamette River. But they suggested many ideas for making it even better for people, fish and wildlife. Here’s some of what we heard community members want:

  • Complete the riverfront trail system and extend the trail to Lake Oswego.
  • Create more opportunities for boating throughout the South Reach.
  • Balance public recreation with the protection and improvement of natural features that support fish and wildlife.
  • Create safe public access to the river from all nearby neighborhoods.

Couldn’t make the workshop? Want to share your vision for the South Reach?

No problem. You can share your ideas about the Willamette River / South Reach and what it can be over the next 20 years in an online questionnaire. The questions are like those posed at the Visioning Workshop.

And review the draft River Plan / South Reach Existing Conditions Report and send staff your comments (see contact info below).

And join us at a variety of summer activities and calendar items

Staff will also organize two eastside river walks to dive deeper into riverfront topics with interested public.

You can also meet and greet staff at summer park concerts where you can provide your input at a table with project information and maps. See below. 

Finally, stay tuned for more information about topical and geographic discussions in the community in August and September. The discussions will be based on the Existing Conditions Report and public comments received thus far.

Mark your calendars and join City staff at these summer activities for the River Plan / South Reach:

River Plan/South Reach Tabling at Willamette Park Concert
July 19, 2018, 5 – 8 p.m.
SW Macadam Ave and Nebraska St
Transit #35 (limited services - #43, #36, #99)

Sellwood Riverfront Walk
July 26, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.
Sellwood Riverfront Park by the restrooms
SE Spokane St and Oaks Pkwy
Transit: #70 (limited service - #99)

Brooklyn Riverfront Walk
July 31, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.
Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Trailhead Parking Lot
SE Milwaukie Ave and SE Mitchell St
Transit: #70

For more information ...

Sign up for project updates, and we'll send the River Plan E-news with the latest info about River Plan / South Reach.

Or contact project staff: Debbie Bischoff, 503-823-6946 or Jeff Caudill,, 503-823-4572.

City launches long-range planning effort for the South Reach of the Willamette River

Share your ideas to improve and enhance recreation, natural resources and nearby neighborhoods at River Plan / South Reach events, including a June 9 Visioning Workshop.

people putting paddle boat in the riverThe Willamette River area south of the Central City is a special place. Great neighborhoods surround the river, with a diverse mix of riverfront residential areas that include single-family homes, apartments, condominiums and floating homes. Hundreds of acres of parks, open spaces and natural areas are accessible for people to enjoy. And resident and migrating fish and wildlife are plentiful year-round.

Planning for the future of the South Reach

The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is beginning the development of a long-range plan for this unique part of Portland, known as the Willamette River / South Reach. In June, project staff will start public engagement efforts with interested community members to understand opportunities (e.g., recreational, environmental), identify issues to be addressed, and envision the future of the South Reach in Portland and unincorporated Multnomah County.

The first River Plan / South Reach event will be a “visioning workshop” on June 9, 2018. Please join us for this exciting opportunity to help define the future of the South Reach. Participants will learn about this area of the river and the newly launched planning project. You will be able to talk with other community members and planners as well as share your ideas for the future of the South Reach riverfront area.

People bird watching over the riverVisioning Workshop

Saturday, June 9, 2018
9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Llewellyn Elementary School, Cafeteria
6301 SE 14th Avenue
Transit: #19, #70

Other upcoming river-related events include:

Walk/Roll along the Willamette Greenway Trail

June 7, 2018*
6 – 8 p.m.
Willamette Park, picnic tables south of boat ramp
SW Macadam Avenue and Nebraska Street
Transit: #35 (limited services – #43, #36, #99)

Enjoy a stroll along this beautiful stretch of the Willamette riverfront while talking with City planners and community members about valued resources, activities, issues and opportunities in the South Reach. The trail is ADA accessible for wheelchair users who want to roll with us.

Paddle the Willamette

June 3, 2018*
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Willamette Park, boat ramp (new location)
SW Macadam Avenue and Nebraska Street
Transit: #35

Bring your boat and paddle along the riverfront to explore the unique natural beauty of the South Reach. City Planner Jeff Caudill will highlight key issues and engage paddlers in conversation about the River Plan / South Reach.

*These events are part of Great Blue Heron Week.

Existing Conditions report coverWhat is the state of the South Reach? Existing Conditions Report tells all.

City planners have been studying the South Reach and have compiled a Draft Existing Conditions Report. Here’s some of what they discovered.

Fun facts about the South Reach area:

  • There are 305 acres of public parks, natural areas and open spaces.
  • This is the only section of Willamette River in the City of Portland that has floating home moorages.
  • Oaks Bottom is the only designated wildlife refuge in Portland.
  • Federally listed threatened and endangered species include Chinook, Coho and Sockeye Salmon, and Steelhead Trout; Pacific Lamprey and Cutthroat Trout are federal species of concern.
  • Oaks Amusement Park is one of the oldest amusement parks operating in the country, opening in 1905.

Read the draft report and tell us what you think. Staff welcomes public comments until July 16, 2018.

For more information, visit the project website or contact Debbie Bischoff,, 503-823-6946, or Jeff Caudill,, 503-823-4572.

Swimming, boating and habitat restoration in Willamette River get big lift

City Council endorses plan for Eastbank Crescent and study of potential swimming beaches in the Central City.

On June 7, 2017, City Council approved two inter-related planning reports: the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan and the Central City Potential Beach Sites Study. This work came out of the Central City 2035 planning process, during which the public requested:

  • Improved fish and wildlife habitat.
  • More public access to/into the river for swimming and boating.

In many cases in the Central City, these objectives can only be met in the same shallow water locations.

Read more about the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan and the Central City Potential Beach Sites Study.

Enthusiastic crowd shows support
Council chambers were full of enthusiastic community members who supported the studies and want to see the improvements in the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan come to life. Notably …

  • Some community members who are concerned about natural resources in the Central City praised the shallow water habitat improvements in the plan.
  • Others supported boating improvements, including a new Holman Dock in the Central Eastside.
  • They also spoke about a new community boathouse near the dock. 
  • River swimmers want to see safety features like safety rings along the riverfront and new places for summer river swimming.
  • The final testifier asked to “swim with salmon,” supporting both swimming and habitat improvements, which especially resonated with Mayor Wheeler.

Council Action
City Council adopted one resolution for each planning effort, with one amendment to the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan resolution directing staff to work with the Portland Boathouse organization on boating facilities.

Commissioners asked staff to return in the fall with recommended next steps and a funding request for City Council’s consideration, to begin plan implementation.

City Council Adopts Willamette River Greenway Inventory

Updated resource for planners and public now available for use

On Oct. 22, 2014, the Portland City Council adopted updated information about land uses, ownership, natural resources, recreation, and historic and cultural resources within the Willamette River Greenway. The document is a resource for planners, river stakeholders and the public to use, along with other information, in current and future river planning.

Adopted Greenway Inventory

This inventory describes existing conditions within the greenway overlay zone boundary and updates the state-required Goal 15 inventory completed in 1987.