A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Idle thoughts: We’re lacking lakes

Written February 13th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

The view across Bryant Park last Friday.

There’s no news here, just an observation: Wouldn’t it be nice if the seasonal wintertime flooding of Albany’s Bryant Park was a permanent thing and people could enjoy something called Bryant Lake all year long?

The Albany area has a few duck ponds in its city parks but no actual lakes. To get to a lake — or a reservoir, as the case may be — you have to drive about an hour east into the foothills of the Cascades or south to Fern Ridge near Eugene. As far as catastrophes go, not having a proper lake close by may not count among the big ones. But still…

Except for a few swampy oxbows that mark the formerly braided channel of the Willamette River, geologic forces did not favor us with the formation of lakes. Elsewhere on the continent, ice age glaciers formed moraines and left big lakes behind, but nature worked no such wonders here. So, in an idle moment, we are left to gaze at high water at Bryant and think about what might have been. (hh)

8 responses to “Idle thoughts: We’re lacking lakes”

  1. Warren Beeson says:

    Hasso, Over here in Lebanon we have a 100 acre lake right on the edge of town called Cheadle Lake Park. Fishers, boaters (non-motorized only), birdwatchers, hikers and many others use it extensively. It sits adjacent to Cheadle Lake Park, home of the Strawberry Festival, The Star Spangled Celebration, and many other events. It belongs to the City of Lebanon, via the Lebanon Community Foundation and donated by Freres Lumber Co. Albany residents are welcome to come and enjoy it with us. Access is from River Drive onto a paved parking lot.

  2. Scout says:

    Another bridge might be nice too. Maybe a quicker ride to Another bridge might be nice. Maybe a quicker ride to to and from I – 5….North Albany to Millersburg.

  3. Mike Martin says:

    Waverly Lake is called a lake. Should we consider renaming it Waverly Pond?

  4. Shawn Dawson says:

    There are the ‘Freeway Lakes’, just down the road. I don’t go there myself, but it seems that folks fish there. An old quarry I believe?

    However, I like your ambitious thinking. It would be good to develop more lakes — good for wetlands, good for wildlife, good for people. Capture some of the high water in the winter to use all year round.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      As I said, we have various duck ponds and other former gravel pits, including Freeway Lakes, or log ponds like Cheadle Lake in Lebanon. But just because we call them lakes does not make them lakes worthy of the term.

      • Warren Beeson says:

        Its an interesting concept that what something once was makes it that forever, regardless of changes; natural or man-made. Of course Foster Lake was once just a stretch of the river and Cheadle Lake was a swamp before its usage as a log pond, and now converted to a recreational resource. Should we change the name back to Cheadle Swamp; or Cheadle Pond? To me, 100 acres of open water is a lake, not a pond. If Waverly Lake is a lake then surely something 10 times (or more) larger is too.

  5. Max stslnaker says:

    You probably all know this, but Waverly lake was a gravel pit. I could not tell from the above. Here is a fun history:


    I suppose I knew from a long ago conversation that took place on the lake

    • DaleS says:

      Fun history except for poor Rita Engstrom, who had the graves of her husband and two children disrupted during one of the waves of construction. Makes you wonder how many times workers dug into unmarked graves over the years. I also wonder about the city’s settlement with Mrs. Engstrom… something along the lines of, “…we promise to put them back when we’re finished.”


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