The Willamette River has often been referred to as Portland’s front yard. Actually, it’s more like our own lake, swimming pool or beach, with potential to attract and accommodate even more sunbathers, swimmers, boaters, kayakers and water lovers of all kinds.
The City of Portland is studying how to create a vibrant public space along the Willamette, with improved fish and wildlife habitat. Planners are looking at the Eastbank Crescent, the riverfront site between the Hawthorne and Marquam Bridges just north of OMSI. The area includes the Holman Dock, a launch for multiple rowing and paddling clubs and popular with sunbathers in summer months. The dock is in disrepair and needs to be replaced, providing an opportunity to synchronize planning, clean up and repair efforts.
River attracts multiple users
The river is shallow here, drawing swimmers in addition to boaters. The shallow water, rare for the Central City, also presents an opportunity to improve habitat for multiple species of fish. The heavily used Greenway Trail traverses the site, with several confusing crossings and conflict points between cyclists, pedestrians and boaters carrying sculls.
To ensure public access to the river, a new dock, habitat restoration and trail improvements are coordinated and create a cohesive, well-functioning public space, the City is developing the Eastbank Crescent Riverfront Plan.
Portland’s improved wastewater and stormwater runoff system has made the Willamette River much cleaner and safer for swimming. Consequently, more residents want access into and on the river. So the City is looking at five shallow-water sites along the river in the Central City, including the Eastbank Crescent, to determine if there is a suitable location for a family-friendly public beach.
Design ideas for the Eastbank Crescent and the Central City Swimming Beach Study will be presented for comment and feedback at a public open house on Wednesday, June 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the PCC CLIMB Center. Please note that parking lot fees will be waived. Visit Tri-Met’s Trip Planner at http://trimet.org/#planner to plan your route