A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Up and down the new Riverpark steps

Written May 16th, 2024 by Hasso Hering

The new concrete stairway or stepped walkway in Albany’s refurbished Monteith Riverpark.

Besides the new stage, playground and splash pad, another striking feature of Albany’s refurbished Monteith Riverpark is a concrete stairway that sweeps down — or up — the middle of the park’s grassy slope.

The park didn’t have steps before it was reworked as part of the Central Albany Revitalization Area’s $21.5 million Waterfront Project. Now it has 22 concrete steps with roughly 5-foot treads and risers about 5 or 6 inches high.

(I didn’t have a tape measure when I looked at this feature Wednesday, so the steps’ dimensions are estimates.)

What the city’s consultants who designed the Waterfront Project had in mind when they came up with the series of long steps is lost to history.

Maybe one of them said: “You know what would be cool? Stairs!”

“Yeah,” said someone from the back of the room. “That way, when the concerts are over, it’ll be easier to get people in wheelchairs back up to the top of the lawn.”

On either side of the steps there are long and smooth ribbons of concrete, about 18 inches wide I would guess.

If you have your bike with you and want to climb the steps, you can use those ramps to push your ride back up.

Another thing these long ramps will be great for: Fast runs downhill on a skateboard.

The park is supposed to reopen to the public in time for the Fourth of July. It will be interesting to see just how these handsome new stairs will be used. (hh)

From the top: Looking down the steps Wednesday night toward the new stage in Monteith Riverpark.

24 responses to “Up and down the new Riverpark steps”

  1. Matthew Calhoun says:

    Kudos Hasso to the parks dept for giving you all these early looks at the progress. I’ve seen your pics and wanted to check it out myself. I tried to walk in the open fence, but one of the workers asked me to leave shortly after because I didn’t have the right gear. I guess I need to come back after work hours!

  2. Coffee says:

    I’m speechless! (Or, almost speechless!!) I think the steps and the concrete are a bad idea. This earth needs plants and grass and trees….not more concrete! Gawd!

  3. Diane Branson says:

    They may look nice but….
    Do these steps meet ADA requirements for not only wheelchairs but the visually impaired?
    Is there any lighting to prevent falls at night? Being of unusual size both in step height and landing size will be a tripping hazard.

  4. Constant Observer says:

    Wheelchairs, and walkers and strollers and all those wagons that carry chairs and picnics! All that bumping up and down the stairs will be really great!

  5. Mel. says:

    Do the new steps meet ADA approval?
    Sure, not very useful for the handicapped.

  6. Georgia says:

    Looks like a fall hazard to me! Maybe a launchpad for bikes and skateboarding? Hum!?

  7. Mears Liz says:

    But…. no hand rails, and easy to slip off the edges and fall risk!!

  8. CHEZZ says:

    Trees out – concrete in? For some reason, I thought they were creating sitting areas with the concrete – like at the Independence amphitheatre. What a waste of concrete! And, what a waste to remove trees for this goofy set up.

  9. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Steps? What a distraction from the real issue.

    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.

    So I ask (again)…..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?

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

    Hasso: Your “silence is golden” reply speaks volumes. Why won’t you, or any city official, answer these simple questions?

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Because they’ve been answered many times. Tax increment financing can be, and often has been, used to finance public improvements intended to encourage development of taxpaying projects. This is the case with the Waterfront Project.

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        In other words, the TIF increment is zero and the return on investment infinite.

        The reality: The city unilaterally imposed a $21,500,000 tax on its citizens without their approval.

        What a deal. The law is an ass, and you and Ray K know it. That just makes you and Ray K arseholes.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Those “questions” you ask.hare been answered multiple times over the years. You just don’t like the answers… Not going to waste any more time going down your rabbit-hole…

  10. Al Nyman says:

    If they can make ramps on both sides of the steps, why isn’t the whole thing a ramp?

  11. Rodger says:

    Unfortunate. Many great childhood memories flying down that hill.

  12. Vickie Russell says:

    I hope that there is another walkway that is ADA compliant for those of us that cannot take stairs.

  13. Gal with Common Sense says:

    Who the heck approved this accident waiting to happen?!?! Get them out there and have them demolish it ASAP. Then fire them! What a waste of time and money.

  14. david pulver says:

    the graffiti- will it be a whole buncha small ones, or one big one like the railroad bridge has on it?

  15. Lisa Farnam says:

    That is a stunningly stupid design!

  16. Mark says:

    ” It’ll be easier to get people in wheelchairs back up to the top of the lawn”
    How does that even make sense? It will be much harder pushing wheelchairs Up these stairs

  17. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Everyone please read Hasso’s column s-l-o-w-l-y:


    It spells out the initial concern and why it’s not relevant. The park will be ADA-compliant.

    • Matthew Calhoun says:

      I come here to be outraged! Quit trying to make me learn stuff that doesn’t fit my existing biases! /s


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