A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront designs: a chance to speak up

Written May 30th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The boardwalk segment of the Dave Clark Riverfront Path on May 26. Consultants have suggested that it be refurbished.

Since it’s raining, this may be a good time to check out the various concepts Albany’s consultants have worked up for redoing the Willamette riverfront. And then to let them know what you think.

The team of Walker Macy, the Portland firm working on the project for the downtown urban renewal district CARA, is holding an online “open house” to gauge public reaction to potential changes in Monteith River Park, on the Dave Clark Riverfront Path, and along 14 blocks of Water Avenue from Washington Street to Main.

You can find the presentation here.

There are three proposals for adding features and moving things around at Monteith Riverpark. All three would reduce the number of parking spaces there now, and two would have the senior center moved somewhere else in town.

For the Clark Path, the consultants have two concepts, one with public art, and other based on river views. Both would have more access points from Water Avenue. They also call for better lighting, which is puzzling since CARA  spent $298,000 on new lights along the path in 2016 to promote safety and deter trouble.

Along Water Avenue, the concept is to create a kind of plaza at the west end and add sidewalks and trees on the stretch toward Main to slow traffic.

There are many details to all this, and they are explained and illustrated in the text and images of the “open house.”

CARA, meaning the advisory board but ultimately the city council acting as the Albany Revitalization Agency, has said it wants the riverfront project to be its crowning and concluding effort in the downtown revival campaign that started in 2001. Walker Macy, the consulting firm, has a CARA contract for up to $2.36 million to develop designs and buildable plans.

As for me, I wonder how practical or necessary some of the concept elements are, and who would pay for their maintenance if they were built. But take a look and make up your own mind.

Whether you approve, object or something in between, make use of the space for comments provided in the presentation’s online pages. That way the consultants, the CARA board, and ultimately the city council will know where you stand. (hh)

11 responses to “Riverfront designs: a chance to speak up”

  1. William Ayers says:

    I checked it out and the first word that comes to mind is “horrified”
    Other words… faux, fake, phoney, bogus, kitschy, false, artificial, contrived…
    …off-putting to the max!

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I infer you answered all the questions & left your comments to that effect…

      • William Ayers says:

        Yesirree I did. Don’t see how that’s gonna have any influence…It appears the die is cast for major change…I just don’t believe it’s warranted.

  2. Ron Green says:

    One immediate action to reconnect the town and the river would be to close Water Ave. to through traffic. It’s already become increasingly busy with walkers, bikes and baby strollers during the construction of the sewer pump station, and it would cost absolutely nothing to make it a permanent promenade, moving the speeders to 1st and 2nd Avenues.

  3. Rachel La Brasseur says:

    They should take out 2/3 of the lights downtown and move them to the Dave Clark path. The lights that are there are not enough to feel safe

  4. Jim Engel says:

    What is the use? The City Council & CARA are on board to spend, spend, spend & not heed any objections. You got the CARA-sel as an anchor point so leave it at that. This City Council sure couldn’t run a business for profit they way they fritter away tax payers dollars on nonsense. CARA needs to be outlawed the way the voters in California realized.

  5. Stockslager says:

    Thanks so much for this info and direct link to the site. I am hoping that they leave everything as natural as possible. And I appreciate the opportunity to give my feedback. I hope we have good citizen participation in determining the final design. I think closing Water Street is a very good idea as Ron Green suggested.

  6. Richard Vannice says:

    “CONCEPT” a new way to spell “COST.” Planers and designers have apparently given no thought as to how much is it going to cost? How much as available? Is it really needed? Who and how much is it going to cost to do this?
    If you are going to build a house you first ask yourself these questions and if any turn up in the negative sense you don’t do it.
    Same thing here. There seems to be a lot of negative that outweighs the positive.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Richard –
      Total estimate at this point is in the neighborhood of $20M. However, that’s before hashing out the conceptual concepts over time (and with much public input) to get to the final plans which will have staff estimates for total cost. Bids will be required that will fit within the parameters of the RFP based on the final plans. Much time yet before any dirt is turned over…

  7. Dick Olsen says:

    Thank you Hasso for your surveillance and criticism of these lavish developments. The public should be informed and concerned about the expenditure of twenty-million of their hard earned tax dollars on this project. I for one would like to hear from my constituents at a public hearing as to how they feel about this kind of major expenditure. I have argued in vain that this can well wait until the COVOID 19 virus has been controlled and we can again have public meetings.

    As an example of my concerns, the plans show three concepts for Monteith Park. The Senior Citizens Center disappears in two of those three plans. A newer, better Senior Citizens Center somewhere else might be a good idea, but, I don’t see that happening any time soon. Seniors should be concerned.


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