A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A good place to remember Sam’s verse

Written June 9th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

Clean floor boards are one feature of this rebuilt viewing platform on the Albany riverfront.

When you have a few minutes, go visit the newly reconstructed east viewing pier on the Albany riverfront. It’s a beautiful piece of workmanship and a great vantage point for looking around.

I stopped there again on Friday evening. I rode the bike out to the viewing platform, leaned it against the new railing and took out my phone to record this:

Come to think of it, this platform is as fine a place as any to remember the stanzas of “Beautiful Willamette,” Sam Simpson’s famous poem first published in the Albany Democrat on April 18, 1868. Or at least these lines:

Onward ever;
Lovely river,
Softly calling to the sea,
Time that scars us,
Maims and mars us,
Leaves no track or trench on thee.

Short of being in a boat, as a place to contemplate the Willamette River and what it means to the valley, this new pier is hard to beat. (hh)

12 responses to “A good place to remember Sam’s verse”

  1. Coffee says:

    Well, I’m glad it is beautiful and you are enjoying it, Hasso. Thanks for the pictures and the poetry. Is your enjoyment of the pier worth your part (your share of the taxes) of the 21.5 million dollars spent on the waterfront and Water Street paving?

  2. Tracey Epps says:

    Can a person fish off this pier?

  3. hj.anony1 says:

    Scripture? Really? Sanity next?

    • KR says:

      Is this person really complaining about poetry/verse? On a blog they *choose* to read? What on earth is up with THAT?! Sorry Hasso, folks need a hobby or something I think.

      Aldo, very beautiful new landing outlook! Thanks for featuring it.

  4. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    Hasso I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you just decided to end this blog. I think people forget that this is YOUR space to do what YOU want with. I greatly appreciate you for all of it! I may not see eye to eye with you on all things but the fact you give a dang means the world. None of these negative, complaining, “anonymous” people will know what to do with themselves after you retire.

  5. GregB says:

    Ahh yes, memories. 25 years ago I did not live in Albany. I lived up stream in Springfield. I had a jet boat and frequented the Willamette River alot . One day I was in the boat gazing up at the old Albany over look vantage point replaced now by the brand new one you and your bike were on today. Not paying attention and drifting along with the current, I ended up stuck on a sand bar. Stuck bad. I finally got the boat free by getting in the water and pushing and lifting. Meanwhile, somebody up on the vantage point called the sheriff and the river patrol guys showed up to “rescue me”. I was free by then, but they gave me a detailed boat inspection. Lucky I passed and had not been drinking. Thanks for your articles HH.

  6. Virginia Jordan says:

    I echo what Rachel La Brasseur had to say. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share your comings and goings with us. Keeping us updated on what is happening in Albany! Thank you Hasso!

  7. CHEZZ says:

    It’s a brand new day! What a great improvement! Let’s go enjoy the view, outside of our SELVES!


    Samuel Simpson, just out of Willamette law school, was employed by Albany’s first lawyer, Jesse Quinn Thornton. He lived in Thornton’s house on Fairmount Lake (now called Thornton Lake). Each morning he would take the ferry across the Willamette, land at the dock by Albany Custom Mill (now called Avery Building), and work at the lawyers office. One thinks that the ferry ride across the river each morning probably contributed to his “Ad Willamettam” (later titled “The Beautiful Willamette”).
    Simpson was more interested in journalism and his passion for liquor and, as a result, Thornton dismissed him. On the week of his departure, Simpson’s poem was printed in Albany’s “States Right Democrat”, April 18, 1868.
    In the present time as you walk along the Riverwalk at the end of Broadalbin St., you will notice an overgrown, bramble-filled remains of a concrete dock. It is near the river’s edge by the Avery Mill. It is the site where a wooden dock once stood, as people and goods were transported to and from the river steamships. It is the place where citizens were ferried across the Willamette, to and from the North Albany farm sites and the Albany city. It is also a place where a poet might have sat and wrote his impressions.
    It would be appropriate if a sign on our new dock would explain the historical aspects of this spot on the river. It would allow people to view the Willamette River as Samuel Simpson once did and discover their feelings about this river that is so important to Albany’s past, present, and future existence.

    • Scott Bruslind says:

      Thank you David for this brief historical discursive reverie: a treat to read and ponder.
      Can’t really fault Esquire Simpson, drudging away at lawyering would drive anyone to drink.
      Here’s to journalism, Latin and verse, and to Mr. Hering, “Gratias tibi ago.”

  9. Jo Musch says:

    I enjoy Hasso’s rides about the community and letting us know what is happening. Read them, or don’t. I like the information. Thank you, too, for sharing history, David Fitchett!

  10. CHEZZ says:

    Hey Ho! Now, here is the idea on how to get to Downtown Albany from North Albany – those little boats like many cities utilize ferrying them across the river – foot traffic only. Less traffic, and the City/County/Downtown employees and owners can cross, enjoying their river crossing!


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