A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

On the riverfront: What kind of development?

Written September 28th, 2022 by Hasso Hering

Looking west from one of Albany’s Willamette riverfront platforms on Tuesday night.

With nothing more urgent on my plate, I stopped on the Albany riverfront Tuesday evening to look around. What I saw was nothing sensational or new, but it prompted me to say:

Here’s what I was talking about when I mentioned what looked like a “flying man” down on a gravel bar:

He’s not flying, obviously, but he does seem to have feathery wings.

One of the things I appreciate about the Albany riverfront is that it is not busy. It is quiet, pretty much all the time but especially late on a weekday toward the end of September.

That could all change.

The City of Albany has spent between $2.5 and $3 million on planning for changes on the riverfront. The plans are all about beautification and addding amenities, especially at Monteith Riverpark.

But the underlying motivation is “development.” That’s the aim of the downtown urban renewal district, CARA, through which the Albany Waterfront Project is being financed.

Development can mean a lot of things. But most of them probably involve more buildings, more people, more traffic.

One kind of development might mean a revival of riverfront restaurants, which would be a good thing. We used to have two of them, and when they closed it was a loss.

Another kind of development might mean multistory apartment blocks overlooking the river, like The Banks apartments near Bowman Park. People who enjoy the present riverfront the way it is — me included — would think of that as the kind of development to be prevented if we can.

How things go on the riverfront depends, in part, on decisions the city council will make in the next few months. So we better pay attention to what the council has in mind and what it wants to do. (hh)

6 responses to “On the riverfront: What kind of development?”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    Am I the only one concerned about future flooding or high water levels along the riverfront. I have vivid memories of being stranded by the 1964 and 1996 floods. Hopefully riverfront development takes potential high water damage prevention into consideration.

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    CARA pays its bond debt using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) revenue.

    TIF revenue is only created if the proposed project will generate an increase in property tax revenue over that generated by the existing use (or non-use).

    Simple question: How much TIF revenue will be generated for this project? (Please show your work.)

    • Mike quinn says:

      We already asked them to show their methodology. 3 mil spend. They are not going to show it. The city is in over their head on this on.

  3. Marty and Peggy Jones says:

    My husband and I go have lunch at Bowman park a lot. We will miss going there There will be too much traffic Thank you so much for keeping us informed Our paper sure doesn’t

  4. Jeff says:

    This is a great update. Thank you.

  5. Nancy says:

    The buzz saw restaurant was a very nice restaurant and bar in the day.
    Nice view of the river
    They took it down and out up a building there that has no restaurant or bar ?
    Downtown Albany has lost it charm
    It use to be a nice area
    Stores and restaurants
    When I grew up and worked downtown


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