A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Dwelling on the riverfront: It’s a big project

Written April 17th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

On April 16, looking west along Water Avenue from the Montgomery Street intersection, which is being rebuilt.

This corner of Water Avenue in Albany is one of the places where a new pedestrian access to the Dave Clark Riverfront Park is being opened up.

And as you can see, the Water Avenue intersection — with Montgomery Street, in this case — is also being reconstructed. Wider sidewalks will be one of the results.

It’s all part of Albany’s $21.5 million Waterfront Project, the main part of which is the reconstruction of Monteith Riverpark at the project’s west end.

If it seems that I’m spending far too much time looking at the elements of this project and taking photos of them, it’s because this is the city’s biggest public works project since the new water treatment plant on the Santiam River and the sewage treatment plant on the Willamette were built nearly 20 years ago.

Also, Water Avenue has been on my usual bike route for years. So I have a more than passing interest in what they’re building there.

Montgomery Street used to end at a guardrail by the railroad track. When the intersection is done, there will be a pedestrian crossing there instead.

A nearby crossing just to the west has already been demolished.

Sections of Water Avenue have been blocked for several weeks as construction takes place on the rail crossings and the street itself.

While this is going on, a contractor for the Portland & Western Railroad is rebuilding about a mile of track, including rails, ballast and ties.

Albany’s urban renewal program, CARA, is paying the railroad about $3.4 million for the work on crossings — closing some and opening or improving others.

Last week I asked City Engineer Staci Belcastro if the city was paying for the rail replacement too.

“No,” she replied by email, “the city is not paying for all of the rail work taking place along the Water Avenue corridor. The work the city is paying for is limited to the improvements that are shown on the construction drawings included in the approved railroad crossing order.”

She also explained: “In addition to the improvements identified in the crossing order, the railroad is converting the jointed tracks to welded tracks along the length of the Water Avenue corridor.  They are also installing storm drainage improvements and conduits at several locations for city utility crossings.”

Can you expect more photos and reports as the project grinds on? That would be a yes. (hh)

Concrete found plenty of use in the reconstruction of the junction of Water Avenue and Montgomery Street.


The new rail crossing at Ferry Street leads to the parking lot east of the Riverfront Community Center.


13 responses to “Dwelling on the riverfront: It’s a big project”

  1. Coffee says:

    Where are all the people on Water Street? Where are all the businesses? There are none. They are doing this all for your benefit on your daily bike rides, I think, Hasso.
    You are a big celebrity, I would say!! We taxpayers are spending a lot of money (not voted on by us) for your bike riding and viewing pleasure!!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “…(not voted on by us)…”

      Wrong! Your *elected” representatives made the call. (Multiple times over the years.) Don’t like the result? Change your representative.

      • MarK says:

        With any chance at common sense, that’s just what should happen.

      • Coffee says:

        Will do, Mr. K.. Wish I lived in your district so I could vote against you!!!

        And, Katherine, paving over Monteith Park and putting in huge, cement intersections– you call that preservation? Well, I guess you are right…the park and the intersections are covered in concrete and nothing can grow under that concrete. This old earth does not agree with your assessment of this being a good thing.

  2. Katherine says:

    The Water Ave neighborhood is full of homes and businesses.I have a home blocks from two established breweries and resturanr. Best of all I can turn the corner and walk along the river on the Dave Clark pathway. I’m walking distance to the courthouse, shopping downtown and restaurants and services. This is a vibrant part of the city that has seen growth and improvement. How many cities would love to have assess to a beautiful river walk. Corvallis balked over spending money on improving their waterfront but now they love it, use and it teams with activity. Albany is making a fine investment in preserving a natural area which everyone can enjoy for future generations. It just keeps getting better in downtown Albany. I love it!

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      People that point out that “walking distance to the courthouse” as a feature, probably work there.

      • Hasso Hering says:

        Or maybe they like to walk to the courthouse to take in the occasional meeting or court hearing to get a first-hand impression of what local government does.

  3. T M says:

    Or maybe they’re habitual violators and are constantly having to report to court summons. LOL

  4. chris j says:

    Mr. K comes to your defense so easily but when he has made decisions on the council, he is totally blind to the outcomes of those decisions. He treats people badly when they defend themselves or others. It is a shame that he is so selective in his judgment of who has rights and who have none at all.

    • Coffee says:

      Thank you, Chris J., for speaking/writing the truth about Ray K. and also tacking on
      Hasso, a little bit.

      • Ray Kopczynski says:

        Hilarious!! (As if hiding behind anonymity in a blog engenders any sort of trust whatsoever…)

  5. chris j says:

    Not all the citizens are protected by the local government as you are. The reason most people on here do not list their full names is because you can’t be trusted Mr. K. No one here that speaks the truth want to have the city on their back because the city has your back no matter what you do. No one wants to hide from anyone unless they are compelled to do so out of fear. You have to be trustworthy to be trusted. None of us have done anything to you that is untrustworthy. We have no power to make decisions that affect your life but you can affect ours and have. That is your bad, not ours.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Totally disagree…What scares me is that you seem to have an inordinate fear of your local government. Very sad! If you expect your councilor to vote exactly your way on things, you have a very warped-dystopian view of any kind of “protection” you think I/we have – that you don’t also have. I only get a single vote — and have come out on the short-end of these votes many times. That’s expected and very normal process. Try meeting with your councilor face-to-face over coffee, beer etc. sometimes — it can go a long way!


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