A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Increase sought in CARA’s waterfront contract

Written January 17th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Monteith Riverpark, shown in November 2020, is one of the places to be renovated in the Albany waterfront project.

Albany’s urban renewal program has been working on plans for redoing the Willamette riverfront for about three years. Now the city is getting ready to take the next step toward carrying out the plans.

On Wednesday the city council, acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency or ARA, will act on a staff request to spend an additional $620,433 on the contract the city has with the Portland planning and design firm of Walker Macy.

The original contract with Walker Macy, approved in 2019, was for just under $2.4 million. It called for the consultants to develop designs for what the city calls the Waterfront Project, up to and including engineering work and construction plans. Change orders that did not need council approval have since raised the contract amount to about $2.5 million.

The increase now being requested would cover payments to the consultants for “bidding and construction services.”

As designed so far, the entire project calls for changes in Monteith Riverpark, including a new stage and the addition of a water-play feature for children, as well as street improvements on Water Avenue from Washington to Main streets, plus some work along the Dave Clark Path.

The overcall concept of enhancing the riverfront won approval years ago from the advisory board (including the city council) of the CARA urban renewal district. But this year the plan has gotten pushback from veteran Councilman Dick Olsen and Matilda Novak, elected in 2020.

Olsen wants CARA’s remaining spending authority spent on other projects, and Novak has pushed for reconvening the CARA advisory board to take a new look at priorities.

Whether they will make their points again Wednesday, and whether they get anywhere, we will have to wait and see. (hh)

This is from an open house on the riverfront project in May 2020.

12 responses to “Increase sought in CARA’s waterfront contract”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    The council-manager form of government is supposed to work this way.

    All power and authority to set policy and grant approvals rests with a majority of the elected governing body, the city council.

    The city manager’s role is to serve as the council’s chief advisor.

    If a particular councilor is in the minority on an issue, then that councilor’s responsibility is to persuade the other councilors to change their viewpoint.

    State your case, don’t point fingers at the city manager & staff, and work to change minds.

    I just wish someone, anyone, on the council would advocate a referendum that makes voters the final approval authority on the current CARA Plan.

    Thankfully, some years ago voters used the initiative process successfully and overwhelmingly told the council any future “CARA ” must get voter approval first.

  2. Rolland says:

    Why do all the plans for the Dave Clark path stop at Main St when the path goes beyond Main St going east? Fund improvements and maintenance for the entire path or not at all

  3. thomas earl cordier says:

    Is the Council meeting open for public attendance and comments from the public?

  4. Bill Higby says:

    Not only do the improvements stop at Main Street, how can $3 million be justified for “planning and construction services”? Something is way out of control. If anyone remembers, the last time the waterfront was “improved” with the Dave Clark path and the band stand no maintenance was performed for the next 30 years and it completely deteriorated. The City can barely mow the park let alone take care of the landscaping and the other existing improvements.

  5. Bill Kapaun says:

    And our streets continue to crumble.

  6. James Engel says:

    Just what Albany needs…A concrete shore line to attract boaters. That CARA bunch is hell bound to spend every dime they have left. Hopefully with it’s passing legislation (like in Calif voted to outlaw these) will be put forth by a brave person to repeal this money grabb’in deal!

    • Hasso Hering says:

      What “concrete shore line?” You’re making that up. The project includes no such thing, not even close.

      • Mike quinn says:

        This is my second comment first one hasso didn’t put in. The whole water front beautification is totally ridiculous. A wider sidewalk ( and yes hasso making fun of a comment from Jim Engel was one of your one sided comments.). It will be more sidewalk up to triple the. Width. But the biggest issue is when people are walking on the big sidewalk what are they supposed to look at.( come on hasso you know the answer). A river that no longer can support reacreational activities as the river is full of silt and rock. In others words boats can’t navigate it. Why are we spending 20 some million on this. It’s wrong. The path is fine for now


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