After years of talking about it, Albany is trying to follow its neighbors on the Willamette River by stimulating redevelopment of its riverfront. The first step — you guessed it — is finding a consultant.
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.
Patrolling my riverfront beat on Friday afternoon on the bike, I could not help but notice that the Willamette had risen rather sharply over the last few days. Looks like the Corps upped its releases from the upstream dams.
My riverfront beat is rarely quiet for long: Saturday night, it turns out, was the last time a scheduled wedding was held at Albany’s Wheelhouse because it no longer will serve as an “event center.” That’s the word from Janet Johnson, who along with her husband, Dave, owns the landmark building on Water Avenue.
Sooner or later, I thought while riding my riverfront beat on Saturday, efforts to revive Albany’s riverfront will have to deal with the question of how to attract more customers, residents, visitors and even home buyers to a place where the homeless often hang out.
If you’re looking for a respite from bad news about politics and everything else that’s going wrong, you have come to the right place. This is the home of the mundane. Like blind corners on one of my bike routes along the Albany riverfront.
On the riverfront beat, there’s an encouraging update from the Wheelhouse, which became an instant landmark on the Willamette River when it was completed in 2010. Much of the four-story building sat vacant in the years since then, but now it is filling up.