HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverfront project: Where things stand now

Written February 14th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

There’s a new excavation at the east viewing pier on the Willamette River, evidence of work on the pier resuming.

The two river-viewing piers on Albany’s waterfront have been closed to the public for reconstruction since last spring, but now there’s a sign of some progress.

On Tuesday there was a new excavation in front of the eastern of the two piers.

Rebuilding the piers is part of the Central Albany Revitalization Area’s $21.5 million Waterfront Project, the main part of which is redoing Monteith Riverpark. Other parts include creating a “plaza street” on Water Avenue between Washington and Lyon streets and improving the landscaping along the Dave Clark Riverfront Path.

Construction started nearly a year ago with the felling of trees. For an update and status report, let’s go to Sophie Adams, who manages the CARA program.

“The park portion of this project has been running ahead of schedule, and I’m pleased to say it will be ready for a grand opening as planned on July 4 (more info to come),” Adams told me via email.

“Unfortunately, due to delays from Pacific Power, the right-of-way improvements (namely the plaza street) are running behind and won’t be completed until after this summer’s concert season; it’s disappointing but just means there will be more to look forward to. K&E have been working creatively with our public works team to continue completing as much work as possible as they’ve waited for Pacific Power to finalize their undergrounding plan between Washinton Street and Lyon Street.”

K&E Excavating is the main waterfront contractor.

As for the delays on the riverside piers, Adams wrote: “The contractors go back and forth, working between different elements depending on what materials are available and what can be done in different weather. I think I saw them out there yesterday on my walk.”

On Water Avenue, as I reported here yesterday, a contractor for the Portland & Western Railroad began work on the Water Avenue rail line this week. The CARA project calls for redoing several of the pedestrian and vehicle crossings along the track.

Meanwhile, the City of Albany opened bids on Jan. 23 for remodeling the Monteith park restroom. The existing building is to be converted from two separate restrooms for men and women to four individual bathrooms that can be used by anyone.

The restrooom conversion is outside the CARA project, and the costs will be covered by the city parks department. Six bids were received, ranging from $153,000 to $397,789. The city council has yet to award a contract.

One day last week, the gate in the fence around Monteith Park was open with no workers present, and I wandered in. The photos below were the result. (hh)

A wide-angle shot makes it look like there will be plenty of asphalt in front of the former senior center, now the Riverside Community Center.

 

All that concrete on the future playground presumably will be covered with a softer surface. 





7 responses to “Riverfront project: Where things stand now”

  1. Ethel Ellingson says:

    Thank you, Hasso! I appreciate your updates!

  2. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    CARA gets it money by issuing bond debt. The money to pay the debt is supposed to come from the increase in tax revenue for a project that is over that already generated by the existing use.

    How can the tax increment that flows to the other taxing districts be positive when the CARA “investment” is being made to improve non-tax generating city-owned property?

    So, Hasso, I’ll ask three questions for the hundredth time.

    How much is the tax increment for this $21,500,000 “investment”?

    How long will it take to pay back this money to the taxing districts?

    Does anybody in Albany, like you Hasso, care about the lack of transparency?

    Without answers CARA perpetuates the appearance of being a fraud. A scheme imposed by city government without approval from the voters OR the other taxing districts.

    I won’t hold my breath that you, or the city, will lift the veil of secrecy that hides the truth about CARA.

    • Cap B. says:

      It is fraud. Tax increment financing is fraud. It takes tax money out of the pool of taxes for schools, fire, police, etc., and funnels it toward areas the city wants to make into fancy shops and restaurants and boutique hotels, without the vote of the people okaying this.
      It does this by charging the current rate for tax obligations, but within the CARA urban renewal district, it skims money off the top of those taxes paid for 20 years at least. During those years, the other entities, mentioned above in that CARA district….that is schools, fire, police, get less tax money than they should.

  3. Cap B. says:

    I’m paraphrasing: “A wide-angle shot makes it look like there will be plenty of parking space in front of the Sr. Center.” The operative words here are, “makes it look like.”

    Hasso, without the wide angle, and with being there in person, it looks like there are not going to be more than about 4 or 5 parking spaces in front of the Sr. Center and most of them will be handicap parking.

    Cement with “soft stuff” on top for a kiddie play area!! Arghhh!! This whole 21 million plus CARA project is a waste of money in these hard times in this country, but, on top of that, some of it doesn’t even make sense….such as the cement playground with soft “stuff’ on top. What?

  4. CHEZZ says:

    I appreciate the update and nice photos of the progress. K&E Excavating has worked on my property and others in my area on septic and other upgrades – a terrific team! Glad they are there to make it happen!

  5. Snailracer says:

    Thanks, Hasso! Curious to know what percent of the $21.5M was initially approved by City Council. Seems obvious for that bundle of taxpayer cash, quite a few potholes inside city limits could’ve been filled and leveled.

  6. Kathie McCullough says:

    Just wondering about the new pothole at Jackson & 34th Ave. Hope it gets fixed before a small car falls into it.

 

 
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