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The City of Portland, Oregon

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Community members review draft concepts for the South Reach of the Willamette River

Nearly 100 people attended an open house in Sellwood earlier this month; city planners will use their input as they develop a draft plan this winter.

On the 1st of December, about 90 people spent their Saturday morning at Llewellyn School reviewing the latest information about the River Plan / South Reach planning efforts. City planners shared what they had learned from a series of Fall public workshops focused on recreation, the environment and land use.

They presented initial concepts and described them through illustrations, code concepts and action items. Participants offered feedback and explored ideas with one another.

View the materials displayed at the open house and a summary of what we heard.

Project staff will consider all the feedback as they develop the first draft of the River Plan / South Reach this winter. Community members will have an opportunity to review and comment on the first draft of the plan in early Spring 2019.

The River Plan / South Reach project will update the Willamette Greenway Plan (1987). It will establish a renewed vision for the area, update existing policies and regulations, identify implementation actions, and prioritize future investments for the South Reach of the Willamette.

What did people say?

Here are a few examples of public input received at the open house:

  • Set new development back from the river at least 50 feet.
  • Require that upper stories of new buildings step back from the river setback.  
  • Add bicycle traffic-calming features, roundabouts, bollards or other features to existing trails that force bicyclists to slow down.
  • Improve and add crosswalks across SW Macadam Avenue to provide safe crossings.
  • Conduct an evaluation of South Reach floodplains and prioritize opportunities to reclaim and restore them.

Miss the open house? Want to review event materials and provide your comments to City planners?

You can review open house materials and submit comments to City planners in an online comment card, or by emailing your comments to BPSRiverPlan@portlandoregon.gov.

Updated inventory of natural resources in and around the Willamette / South Reach available for public review

Summary of river, river banks, flood plains, tributary streams, wetlands and upland features provides a status report for the river.

Q: Ever wonder who — if anyone(!) — keeps track of the trees, critters, plant species, wetlands and an assortment of other natural resources in and along the Willamette River?

A: That’s the work of environmental planners, who can’t create effective land use plans without knowing what the conditions on the ground (and water) are.

Inventory of natural resources for the South Reach in the works

As part of the River Plan / South Reach project, the City is updating existing environmental management tools and regulations for the South Reach of the Willamette River. The update will help protect and enhance natural resources in the South Reach and ensure the City's continued compliance with local, regional, state and federal regulations for river health and safety.

The first step in this effort is to produce an updated inventory of existing natural resources. The River Plan / South Reach Draft Natural Resources Inventory is now available for review. 

The inventory provides a useful and accessible “status report” on the location of existing natural resource features and their functions. The report includes descriptions and maps of the current condition of riparian corridors and wildlife habitat located within the South Reach, including the river, river banks, flood plains, tributary streams, wetlands and upland features. In the report, the overall River Plan / South Reach study area is broken into five smaller geographic areas for evaluation.  

Comment on the draft Natural Resource Inventory

Public comments on the River Plan / South Reach Natural Resources Inventory are welcome. Please send feedback to riverplan@portlandoregon.gov; comments accepted until February 1, 2019.

Questions or comments can also be sent to Jeff Caudill at jeff.caudill@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-4572.

Some big ideas emerging for the Willamette River’s South Reach

Join fellow community members and City planners to review new directions for development of the River Plan / South Reach.

Over the past few months City planners have been talking with Portlanders about the Willamette River in the South Reach (between the Ross Island Bridge and Dunthorpe). We heard from many residents, recreational enthusiasts, and those who care about the health of the river for people, fish, wildlife and plants.

A few big ideas for the South Reach that we discussed with community members include:

  • Plan for a dock at Oaks Amusement Park. This could be a future river transit stop and/or a public dock for nonmotorized water craft.
  • Expand the river setback to accommodate riverfront trails, vegetation and trees.
  • Recreate the historic channel through Ross Island to reduce algal blooms.

We’ve captured those ideas and more in an illustrative concept drawing below. And during each conversation, we took notes. 

River plan development plan map

We welcome your thoughts on the South Reach – about its present state and possible future. Please join us at an open house where we’ll share community feedback and staff’s initial recommendations. Staff will be developing a first draft of the River Plan / South Reach over the winter. Your input on the plan now matters! 

Open House

Saturday, December 1, 2018
9 – 11:30 a.m.
Llewellyn Elementary School Cafeteria
6301 SE 14th Avenue
Transit: 19, #70

Can’t make it? Missed the community discussions? Use this comment form to share your ideas with us.

More information at:

  • Debbie Bischoff, Debbie.Bischoff@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6946
  • Jeff Caudill, Jeff.Caudill@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-4572 

Bright ideas for Willamette River’s South Reach emerge!

River lovers come together to talk with each other and City planners about recreation, natural resources and adjacent neighborhoods

This fall, the River Plan / South Reach team convened several meetings to discuss key topics about the southern portion of the Willamette River, from the Ross Island Bridge to Dunthorpe. Lots of interested community members offered great insights and suggestions to City planners, and their input will inform future public discussions and help shape the development of the River Plan / South Reach draft plan.

Review the meeting materials as well as notes from the community discussions. boating

Highlights from the first four Fall meetings

September 13: Riverside Recreation

  • Improve trail access and enjoyment for all by increasing directional signage, providing benches and restrooms, establishing a speed limit for bicyclists and separating pedestrians from cyclists.
  • Provide access from Brooklyn neighborhood to Springwater Corridor Trail and the river.
  • Consider a scenic viewpoint between SE Haig and Rhone streets.

September 18: River and Riverbank Areas

  • Expand the greenway setback to accommodate riverfront trails, vegetation and trees.
  • Consider a willing-seller program to buy up flood-prone properties; use these properties for flood storage and habitat areas.

September 25: In-river Recreation

  • Address impacts of wake boats on river recreation, floating homes and riverbank erosion; consider a no-wake zone, education, boat licensing endorsements and enforcement options.
  • Consider a multipurpose dock at Oaks Amusement Park for transporting patrons to/from the park and as a public dock for nonmotorized water craft.

October 4: River and Riverbank Restoration

  • Bring back the historic tidal flow-through area on the west side of Ross Island to reduce algal blooms.
  • Restore Riverview Natural Area streams to provide cold-water habitat for salmon.

River otters by Tom Nelson

Upcoming meetings on the east and west sides

Two more community sessions will focus on the east and west sides of the South Reach. Staff will work with community members to integrate the issues and opportunities they identified and topics they did not discuss previously.

Westside Discussion
Thursday, October 25, 2018, 6 - 8 p.m.
Center for Equity and Inclusion, 5757 SW Macadam Avenue
TriMet #35, #36*, #43* and 99*

Eastside Discussion 
Thursday, November 8, 6 - 8 p.m.
SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Avenue
TriMet #99*, #35, #19

*These TriMet lines provide limited bus service. Check schedules.

Photo by Tom Nelson

Finally! Big open house

On December 1, project planners will host an open house to share a summary of the information and feedback gathered to date, present staff’s recommendations for plan development, and share a draft future concept illustration. Staff welcome public comments on all materials provided at the open house.

River Plan / South Reach Public Open House
Saturday, December 1, 9 - 11:30 a.m.
Llewellyn Elementary School Cafeteria, 6301 SE 14th Avenue
TriMet #19, #70

Questions?
Please contact project staff with any questions about the meetings or the project overall at BPSRiverPlan@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-4572 or 503-823-6946

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.

RIVER PLAN / SOUTH REACH PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE
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 

Questions?

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