A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Try to hear the waters talking

Written April 13th, 2014 by Hasso Hering

100_0617When the sun shines and the wind blows, this spring is a good time to visit Albany’s Talking Water Gardens, as the sun and the breeze and I all did on Sunday.

Despite its overfly fanciful name, the artificial wetlands no longer look all that artificial. Trees and shrubs have grown in the last couple of years, as trees and  shrubs will if left alone. The walkways winding through the ponds and marshes and past several waterfalls attract joggers, dog walkers and bird watchers. They also accommodate an occasional guy on a bike, if he’s careful not to startle the walkers and gives them a wide berth.

One of the several waterfalls.

One of the several waterfalls.

I used to make fun of the name, and it still seems overly precious. It’s not easy to hear the waters talking over the noise washing over the place from across the nearby tracks. But you don’t have to like the name with its pseudo-native connotation in order to enjoy the place by wandering on what must be a couple of miles of trails.

The installation is supposed to further clarify already treated wastewater from Albany, Millersburg and ATI Wah Chang, while also cooling it a bit during the summer to benefit some fish runs in the Willamette River. The cooling means virtually nothing to the much bigger flow of the Willamette, where the talking waters eventually go. But you tend to worry about that less as you cruise through this hospitable habitat for turtles, birds and all kinds of other creatures including, it turns out, us. (hh)

3 responses to “Try to hear the waters talking”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Our priorities are best reflected by how we spend our money.

    $10,750,000 of the $14,000,000 spent on Talking Waters were your tax dollars.

    Does government have their priorities straight? Were there better “investment” opportunities for these tax dollars?

    You be the judge.

  2. Jim Engel says:

    Remembering it as a former lumber mill & log pond I’d say for once it was taxpayers money well spent. To have this large of a natural area right in our backyard is something our future generations will appreciate. Hopefully there will be sufficient “worker power” between the two cities to keep the maintenance up.

    I’d called Heather Slocum @ City of Albany about two ideas. One is to have groups sponsor a section for clean-up each spring as the highway clean-up program does. The other idea was for railings around the catch basins/weirs to prevent “fall-ins” by unsuspecting kids or walkers.These are being considered I was told…JE


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