A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Council fends off proposed riverbank gift

Written November 5th, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Upstream, the bank below the Dave Clark Path is just as steep as in the three tracts proposed to be donated to the city.

The developer of Edgewater Village wants to donate three parcels of riverbank to the city of Albany. Most of the land is too steep and dangerous to be used, so why would the city want it?

But the land’s essential uselessness is not why the city council on Monday turned down the donation totaling about one acre on the river side of the Dave Clark Path. No, instead the council worried that under a recent federal appeals court ruling on the homeless, the city could not charge riverside squatters with a crime, such as illegal camping.

So the members voted 5-1, with Ray Kopczynski opposed, to put off acting on the donation until the ruling by the Ninth Circuit, in a case from Idaho, is appealed to and decided by the Supreme Court.

Much of the discussion was about who — the Edgewater homeowners’ association or the city police — has the main responsibility to keep squatters from camping on the riverside strip or expel them when they do.

George Diamond, the Edgewater developer, said it makes no difference in practice. Whether it’s in Edgewater’s or the city’s ownership, they don’t want anybody using the riverfront because it’s dangerous and steep.

In a memo to the council, Parks Director Ed Hodney said the owner “has appraised the value of their gift at $420,000.”

If that’s the value, the donation presumably would have some kind of tax benefit to the donor, but at the council meeting Monday, I didn’t hear anybody ask about that. (hh)

4 responses to “Council fends off proposed riverbank gift”

  1. Omizais says:

    I for one would love to see our river with real access to it. It could be for cooling down in the summer, kayaking, rock hunting, fishing, or just acknowledging the beautiful river that is the backbone of Albany. We are so lucky to be around these powerful and educational bodies of water! Any prehistoric river is an amazing educational experience.

    • Bryan says:

      Have you been to Bryant park? Plenty of access. Also Takena.
      Sounds to me like they just want to save on some taxes. That stretch of river is useless to us (you know, the government), thanks but no thanks.

  2. elaine says:

    I agree! Why not form an Willamette River Group with industries that would benefit to clean up the view from our river and to promote more usage with touring companies, ‘quiet tours specializing in viewing of wildlife, catered lunch stops by local restaurants, preordered custom produce asst., photography available to capture the experience… choose your experience! Use a percentage of these funds to gradually clean up, open up for full viewing and stabilize the river bank working with the neighborhoods and the city to maintain vigilance.

  3. Rio Grande says:

    The community and leaders of Albany would benefit greatly if they could hop in a time machine and briefly visit our city in 1850, 1875, and 1900 when the Willamette River was the apex platform and lifeline of prosperity in the mid-valley, state and region. The river was “it” in terms of everything and all things had some substantive connection to it in one way or another. The river was the driver and the city rode it in stride for better or for worse. Of course in time during the industrial revolution and so on nature took a back seat to machines and the “river of life” became exploited, polluted, cleaned up, overlooked, and all but ignored of it’s life giving character to merely a physical landmark that one crosses en route. For a few decades now Corvallis leaders have been keen to recognize the enormous opportunity potential for the city and have invested thoughtfully, largely but cautiously being mindful of the river’s history. A visit to Corvallis’ bustling, thriving, and multifaceted waterfront followed by a visit to Albany’s on any Saturday in the summer is a sharp contrast, eye opener, and thought provoker – not only to Albany’s myopic lost opportunities but also to the community and growing mid-valley region’s bright potential and future prosperity of confluence – takena.


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