A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A ‘rest’ stop on the river trail: Not yet

Written May 1st, 2023 by Hasso Hering

The Willamette River and Bowman Park on Sunday, April 30.

There’s a new sign up that marks Bowman Park in Albany as one point on the Willamette River Water Trail. Well, I think it’s new because I had not noticed it until someone pointed it out.

The so-called water trail is a string of publicly owned sites along the Willamette and major tributaries where people can stop if they are on a paddle trip down the river.

You can go to a website, willamettewatertrail.org, to learn more about this. The site has information about the river and, among other things, suggestions for short trips.

Because the river is still high and relatively swift, now may not be the best time for canoe trips. But as of this past weekend, if river travelers stopped at Bowman looking for a restroom, they found it locked up. “Closed for the season,” a sign said.

The Oregon State Marine Board helped pay for the permanent restroom when it was built in 2016, and when the doors are locked the city usually provides a portable alternative or two. But as of Sunday, not yet.

I asked Rick Barnett of the Parks and Recreation Department about this.

“I believe the reason is that the contractor forgot to put them down there when they put the others in,” he replied. “We will figure that one out.”

As for the permanent restroom, the parks department hopes to reopen it in mid-May. But this depends on the availability of seasonal staffing, which Barnett said “seems a bit easier than last year but still concerning this summer.”

Whether they come from the river or by land, park visitors will have to hope the situation will be worked out. (hh)

The parks department hopes to reopen the Bowman Park restroom by the middle of this month.

6 responses to “A ‘rest’ stop on the river trail: Not yet”

  1. MarK says:

    I guess that’s one way to keep the homeless from setting up camp and trashing the restrooms (and surrounding area).

  2. Bob Woods says:

    So Hasso, you have been writing about Albany for decades. Rick Barnett is just one of the myriad of city employees you contact and quote from time to time.

    Maybe one in a while you could report to your readers about your interactions with them and the kind of job they do when you ask them for information and explanation. I’m pretty sure what your response would be, but others may have other entrenched views of their public employees.

  3. CHEZZ says:

    Hasso, thank you for taking your precious time to report on Albany happenings. You are a better resource than the newspapers. You are my first read of the morning.

  4. Randall Harris says:


    Rick Barnett said; “I believe the reason is that the contractor forgot to put them down there when they put the others in,”. “We will figure that one out.”

    Rhetorical question: I wonder if Rick Barnett of the Parks and Recreation Department knows if the city was charged for the port-a-potty that was not placed in the park.

    I could be wrong, but my guess is they were. Little things ad up to be big things.

  5. Rich Kellum says:

    Not Yet??????????? How about not ever, River Keepers were allowed to use for free, then they sue us when we have a leak because debris hit a grouted abandoned sewer line, we fixed it and told everyone about it……………then they sue us……


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