A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On the riverfront beat: A fine place for bikes

Written November 19th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

The famous “keyhole house” is one of the noteworthy sights in the Willamette Neighborhood.

The Albany riverfront is my beat, one of them anyway. That includes the Willamette Neighborhood, and you can see a small sampling of it in the video below.

The bike and I find ourselves there a few times a week. Why?

Because as one of Albany’s oldest neighborhoods it has character. It has variety. No house is the same as any other. They all differ in size, age, color, design, upkeep and every other way you can think of.

I looked at the Linn County assessment records, and the construction dates of the eight random places I checked ranged from 1900 to 2005. Three were built in 1920.

There is very little motor traffic on the side streets in this area, making it ideal for a leisurely cruise on two wheels.

And it’s easy to reach from the west side of town via the Dave Clark Riverfront Path or Water Avenue.

The city’s intent is to improve both the path and the street, which may make both routes less useful for active transportation — by encouraging more walkers on the path, and by narrowing Water Avenue with sidewalks, trees and curbs. But until that happens, these are really nice routes on the bike.

Other than the riverside parks and the path, there are no popular attractions in this old neighborhood, another reason why it’s great for a leisurely ride. (hh)

Posted in: Bicycling, Commentary

11 responses to “On the riverfront beat: A fine place for bikes”

  1. Katherine says:

    Happy Birthday Hasso!!
    Whst a great way to spend a Albany Autumn day. Fresh air and exercise.
    I bought a 1910 house on Water Ave . Years ago and I finally have the time and resources to renovate it and add back some of the original exterior features that I hope will continue to revitalize the neighborhood. It’s so great to have the river at your back yard,a community garden, brew pubs and everything downtown has to offer just a short walk away. Folks all around are already decking their homes out with Christmas Decor.
    I hope you do a nighttime walk during this season. The lights and window dressings in downtown are beautiful.

  2. Rolland says:

    Sure would be nice to see the City Parks department spend some $$ and maintain the path. For the last 20 years and before the alleged budget problems lead to the Utility tax, little to no maintenance has been done between the Wheelhouse past Sherman St NE where it connects on Front. Leaves this time of year with rainy days is a hazard.

  3. CHEZZ says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY HASSO! A grand ride – such a sweet older neighborhood we have! Hope you have many more rides to share with us!!

  4. Kim Sass says:

    Happy birthday Hasso! And thank you for this video with its peppy music.

    A couple of friends and I have rediscovered our community over the last two years as we select a different neighborhood to walk in six days a week. The early morning strolls have revealed many surprises and delights. Among them is the sense that during the pandemic our neighbors have improved their homes with fresh coats of paint, new landscaping and all kinds of cheerful ‘Welcome’ signs posted on porches and walkways.

    I am thankful this season for Albany.

  5. Jan Mitchell says:

    Happy Birthday! And thanks for the tour!

  6. Emma Eaton says:

    Happy Birthday Hasso!

  7. Dennis Johnson says:

    Happy birthday!
    I enjoyed the video very much because I have been walking and driving those streets for over fifty years now, since 1966. I agree, it is a very nice neighborhood.

  8. Lillian Gerig says:

    You were in the neighborhood where I grew up and lived there until 1950. The Keyhole house was our neighbor just across the Denver St on the west and great neighbors. The house pictured in the background with you was built by my Father in around the middle 40’s, but it has been built on and changed a number of times. Even though we only had 3 bedrooms, our parents rented our dinning room several times to ladies as their husbands were stationed at the Adair base during the war. A very nice quiet neighborhood and many great memories. So thanks for your pictures.

  9. Stephen E says:

    Could have concluded your tour at Deluxe Brewing, with a wee dram. Happy B’day HH!
    Would be nice to detail your camera set-up.

  10. Bob Woods says:

    Happy day-after birthday.

    The squirrel was right on cue.

  11. Steve Anderson says:

    A belated Happy Birthday to you Hasso! What a wonderful day for a birthday ride! And thank you so much for sharing your bicycle reporting adventures!

    I have lived in Albany all my life 66 years. And of all my travels throughout my career I still come back to appreciate the town that I have come to know so well. I so appreciate the older neighborhoods with their unique individual character!

    My grandparents at one time lived just a block over from Water Ave at 123 Sherman back in the 30’s and 40’s. It was there that they raised my father and my aunt that eventually graduated at the old Albany High School over on 3rd Street.

    Maybe I’ll run into you on one of my velomobile rides down the Water Ave part of town someday!

    Keep up the great reporting!

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