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

Last week, 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

On Wednesday, June 7, 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

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.

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