A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Boardwalk isn’t getting rebuilt; here’s why

Written June 13th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The wooden section of the Dave Clark Riverfront Path, photographed on June 7, 2024.

There’s a short boardwalk or wooden walkway along Albany’s Dave Clark Riverfront Path. It is showing its age of about 40 years, but it won’t be replaced or rebuilt as part of the city’s $21.5 million Waterfront Project. Why not?

The reason is cost and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to City Engineer Staci Belcastro. In an email, she wrote:

“The existing structure couldn’t be rehabilitated and meet ADA standards without replacing the structure. Replacing the structure with an ADA compliant walkway was cost prohibitive, so the decision was made to instead focus funds on improving the Dave Clark Path.”

The walkway was constructed in the 1980s to take the riverfront bike path around a restaurant building on the bank.  The restaurant burned down later and eventually was demolished, but the path’s wooden detour around the site remains.

I also asked Rick Barnett, the Albany parks and facilities maintenance manager, about why the boardwalk was removed from in the riverfront project.

“At the time the structure was deemed to be in reasonable condition,” he wrote. “Now, when put up against everything else it looks worn. Once construction of the overall project is out of that area we will make any needed repairs and spruce it up. Will happen this fall or next summer. Hopefully this fall.”

Keeping in mind that the reason for this boardwalk over the riverbank no longer exists — the old “Noodle” restaurant is long gone — why not just rebuild the Dave Clark Path in a straight line in that location?

Maybe that will happen when, years from now, the wooden planks finally rot away. (hh)


This section of the railing on the wooden “riverwalk” shows its age.


The city website of the Waterfront Project still shows the “Willamette Riverwalk” as part of the final design.

6 responses to “Boardwalk isn’t getting rebuilt; here’s why”

  1. MarK says:

    “Reasonable condition”? Probably what they say about or streets.

  2. Coffee says:

    Gawd! So someone has to fall through the rotted boardwalk in order for the City to think the condition of it is no longer “reasonable.” J. H. Cripes!! The City decision-makers have egg on their faces over this disastrous expenditure of money on the Waterfront Project, and they are too egotistical to admit it.

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    Like so many other things that we think will last a long time, “treated” lumber does not last much longer than red cedar when it comes to posts and deck boards. These look to me as though the have lasted fairly well.
    Redwood lasts a lot longer than pressure treated and Teak even longer but eventually rots and is much more expensive.

  4. Paul Smith says:

    As a taxpayer to this city, I am greatly saddened by the continued lack of foresight complete exposure of complete incompetence of city staff and elected officials. I want my tax dollars back. In 3 years don’t try to drive on North Albany road because it will always be at a standstill, by the way the algae is back!!

  5. hj.anony1 says:


    • Coffee says:

      Are you 12 years old, hj.anony1? I take that back. Sorry, 12-year-olds out there: You are too clever to just type, “boring,” as a comment.


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