A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On the riverfront: Stuff’s going on

Written October 11th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

The rail line on Water Avenue was undergoing reconstruction last week.

Things have been quiet on my waterfront beat, but there’s stuff going on, mainly including the installation of a new and improved railroad crossing at Water Avenue and Hill Street, a main entrance to the Edgewater Village development.

Using federal rail-safety funds, ODOT-Rail is funding the installation of automated warning devices — presumably lights, bells and gates — at the crossing. As Albany’s transportation official Ron Irish reminded me, this was made possible because the city council years ago agreed to close the Water Avenue crossings at Columbus and Madison streets. (Columbus was closed a couple of years ago, Madison will be.)

Work on the Portland & Western track is being done by RailWorks, a nationwide contractor with a branch in Chehalis, Wash. Last week the crew was installing new ties and rails along a good long section of the track. A worker told me they would weld the segments to make sections of continuous rail. This should prevent the future Edgewater residents from being kept awake by the clickety-clack of freights going past during the night.

A contractor for the Edgewater development will build the street improvements at the Hill-Water intersection. Irish told me its supposed to end up looking similar to the Water Avenue intersection at Jackson Street in front of the Wheelhouse project, completed several years ago.

The previously unimproved Hill Street crossing allowed access to an improvised parking area north of the tracks on a patch of bare ground owned by the city just west of the crossing. Now that there’s a street being built there while the city has made no decision about what to do with its lot, the question is whether parking will continue to be available after the work is done, or whether newly installed curbs will prevent access. This would be of some interest to the popular Calapooia Brewing Co. restaurant across the street, and especially to its customers.

Anything else going on along the riverfront?

Well, tonight the city council will hold hearing on vacating two short stubs of streets near Bowman Park that exist only in legal descriptions, not in reality. One is a section of Denver Street that is actually inside the park. The other is the northernmost 282 feet of Geary Street, also not an actual street.

A portion of the Geary land will go to the development company that wants to build apartments or condos east of Bowman on the former Cemwood or Permawood site. The Salem-based company in turn is turning over part of its share to the city. And that counts as making up for a small slice of Monteith Riverpark along the Dave Clark Path, which will be lost when Public Works builds a sewer lift station there. The park land was developed with federal funds years ago, and losing a chunk of it required an exchange for other land.

The lift station is planned just west of the Wheelhouse. When I asked, I was told that the Clark Path will be slightly realigned at that spot and its public use will not be diminished. (hh)


On paper, Denver Street continues north of this barrier into Bowman Park, and that’s the part that the city will “vacate.”

A planned sewer lift station is supposed to go right about in this area near the Dave Clark Path.





3 responses to “On the riverfront: Stuff’s going on”

  1. Bill Higby says:

    Hasso, here is a question.. My son is building a home for a customer on the river side of the railroad tracks very close to Edgewater. The City of Albany is making him install sprinklers in the home just in case a train is stuck on the tracks blocking access to the home. The City of Albany was also concerned about getting a fire truck up the very short driveway. So my question is, did the City of Albany require sprinklers in all those homes (requires a larger water meter and more fees) and can a fire truck navigate those really narrow streets?

  2. James Engel says:

    Probably too late in the construction season ..but, it would have been great to have started this earlier & included moving the tracks to the north side around Baker St. Why…so that Water St can be remade into a proper city street & not just a step-child addition from Lyon St east to Hill St. Too bad as I guess Water St just isn’t in the CARA downtown street scape make over that’s going on….JE


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