A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront project: Check the final design

Written March 5th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

A sign along the Dave Clark Path invites people to check out the final riverfront designs.

The city of Albany and its consultants, Walker Macy, have published the final designs of the proposed riverfront redevelopment project. They ask people to take a look at the details online.

You can find the presentation here. As you’ll see, the interactive map lists all the elements of the overall project and briefly explains each one.

Eventually, the CARA (urban renewal) advisory board and then the city council, acting as the urban renewal governing agency, will determine how much to spend and which of the several elements to carry out.

This decision may be made later this year. Or maybe not. The CARA program is not known for blinding speed.

At Monteith Riverpark, the design calls for a new playground including a summertime splash feature for little kids. The stage and restrooms would be rebuilt, and the parking lot repaved.

Also at Monteith, the plan calls for a pebble-beach landing for hand-carried boats. It’s not clear whether the designers have taken the ever-changing bottom of the Willamette River into account.

The plans do not envision trying to restore the floating dock built in the 1990s and dismantled when it became useless because the river had changed.

Another major element is turning the western four blocks of Water Avenue into a so-called “plaza street” that could be closed for special events. The rest of Water Avenue to Main Street would get trees and sidewalks.

Along the Dave Clark Path, the design calls for additional connections to Water Avenue across the railroad tracks. The map shows a new pocket park near the trestle across the river, but that’s not mentioned in the description.

The idea of the whole enterprise is first to make the riverfront more enjoyable to more people, residents and visitors alike, and then to encourage redevelopment of private property along its length.

The second part is likely to be a long-term proposition, even if CARA carries out the public design in the next few years. (hh)

The blue dots mark projects. For what they mean, check the interactive map on the city’s riverfront website.

15 responses to “Riverfront project: Check the final design”

  1. William Ayers says:

    Isn’t Albany struggling for money? Aren’t we going to see a big increase in our water bill?
    Isn’t the Albany PERS underfunded by 25% ?
    Shouldn’t we be taking care of basics before spending big on a fantasy makeover?
    Is this cognitive dissonance?

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Two basic questions-

    1. CARA’s purpose is to eliminate “blight.” State law (ORS 457) is clear on what constitutes a “blighted area.” It is an area with certain characteristics that cause it to be “detrimental to the safety, health or welfare of the community.” The state has declared that “such areas cause an increase in and spread of disease and crime and constitute a menace to the health, safety, morals and welfare of the residents of the state…”

    Is the waterfront a blighted area?

    2. CARA funds itself using Tax Increment Financing (TIF). This involves CARA putting property tax payers into debt and servicing that debt by skimming property tax revenues away from the taxing districts (e.g. city general fund, county, state school fund). The theory is this CARA “investment” will return a greater amount of tax revenue than would otherwise be sent to the taxing districts.

    What is the “tax increment” for improving this public property? How long will it take for the “tax increment” to be positive for the taxing districts? 10 years, 50 years, infinity?

  3. A says:

    Cut the trees great only cutting out are oxygen

  4. James Engel says:

    The City council first spends some 2 million on this study then cries crocodile tears that it has a budget shortfall. Our six figure salary Manager also was boohooing in his editorial in this mornings D-H about budget problems. If he’s so concerned about firefighters why doesn’t he have a set of “turn out gear” in his office so he can respond & really do something for us citizens instead of postulating in his office all day. As I’ve said before, WE DON’T NEED A CONCRETE RIVEREBANK! CARA is so hell bent to spend what’s left in it’s coffers they come up with this?

  5. John Klock says:

    My comments to the Developers/Designers of this project and to the city:
    “First, do not cut trees along the riverbank. I hope you have a wildlife specialist on your IDT to review the bald eagle nesting and roosting sites and the osprey nesting sites because those raptors are present. Second, is the Water and 1st street going to be bike and walking friendly or are you still going to accommodate traffic which will defeat the purpose of this whole project. Thanks.

    • Albany YIMBY says:

      Those are fantastic concerns. I agree about the streets, they need to be people-oriented and not csr-oriented.

      About the trees I think that some compromise needs to be taken. The goal is to reclaim the river for the city and for it not to be hidden behind bushes and trees, otherwise people will be scared to use it again.

  6. Bill Kapaun says:

    The CARA proponents tell us how all the money will be returned from increased property taxes.

    HOW ABOUT a financial statement of money spent/returned. Obviously we should be starting to reap the rewards of previous CARA projects. PROVE IT! Lets see the math! ELSE it’s a bunch of BS.

  7. William Ayers says:

    Please don’t cut trees that aren’t causing any problems.
    Please don’t make a concrete riverbank.
    Many Albany citizens are perfectly happy with the waterfront just how it is!
    Please don’t fix what isn’t broken.
    Please don’t spend taxpayer money to fix what isn’t broken!
    Please don’t hire experts who make our plight incomprehensible.
    Please don’t spend taxpayer money to hire experts who make our plight incomprehensible!

  8. Terry Fuston says:

    You want to make the riverfront better? Put the bridge back in that goes between Monteith park and Bryant park.

  9. Bob Woods says:

    Nice amenities. They are going to happen. The people will enjoy them.

    The Luddites of the extreme Right will still continue to post on this blog.

    Progress is hard. Progress sustains the nation.

    • Al Nyman says:

      Nice amenities-I would like a new Mercedes if somebody else paid for it but I don’t believe even 5% of Albany residents would approve the expenditures for this boondoggle.

      I think you better pursue additional knowledge if a right winger becomes a Luddite for opposing this project. The only time I have ever heard the word Luddite used is in referring to somebody with limited computer skills and posting on Hasso does not make you a Luddite!

      Progress is hard when left wing foolishness is presented to the masses and they oppose it for that very reason. Taxpayers hate their tax dollars being thrown away on progressive nonsense.

    • Albany YIMBY says:


      My wife and I were walking around the area this morning and rejoiced about the idea of the splash pad. My children will love it.


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