HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Water Avenue: A key in riverfront project

Written April 5th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

A rainy Saturday afternoon during the corona crisis may not be the best time to image how Albany’s Water Avenue could possibly be enhanced to make it attractive as a gateway to the Willamette River just on the other side.

Still, the street is a key part of the city’s hope for redeveloping the Albany waterfront.

A month ago the city began the public part of the redevelopment project with a well attended open house. Since then there’s been nothing new on the project’s website, http://albanywaterfront.net. That’s understandable considering how everybody has been busy responding to the contagion or staying at home hoping not to get it or spread it.

The published timeline calls for the city’s consultant team to come up with design concepts by this summer. If they can make that under the current emergency conditions, I’ll be surprised.

“Water Avenue and the railroad tracks are currently a barrier to accessing the park and river,” the consultants observe on the project website. Nevertheless, they intend to “refine and finalize an approach to improve Water Avenue.”

The changes they have in mind may include street trees, planting areas, sidewalks, better pedestrian and railroad crossings, getting rid of overhead utilities, something about parking, and features that allow parts of the street to be closed to cars for “street festivals.”

During these Days of Corona, public street festivals sound like the stuff of a far-off dream. But one can hope, right?

In the meantime, lets take a look at part of Water Avenue from the bike the way it looked Saturday:





9 responses to “Water Avenue: A key in riverfront project”

  1. Steve Reynolds says:

    This is increasingly looking like we’re going to be on on our own. There’s just too many communities across the country that need resources. Are you going to put your Fed resources behind a community of 50,000 or a community of 5,000,000? You have to be realistic. Also Oregon is very self sufficient when compared to a lot of the country, many Oregon communities grow their own food, have adequate water, you can always go down to the Willamette and fill up a tank. There’s a lot of large communities, think Arizona, New Mexico, much of California, how about Vegas? Those states and their communities are artificially provided resources, they don’t have Oregon options. Is it going to get that bad? Who knows, but I do know that resources are going to be scarce, the wait time to talk to a bank was over three hours on Friday and they eventually closed before you could even get through, just read the SBA feeds to find out what’s going on across the country. B of A won’t even talk to you if you aren’t an existing business customer.

    There’s a conference call on Monday with my house representative, Rep. Schrader, and that’s the question I asked “Are communities going to be on their own for the most part?” He may answer, he may not. I’m sure he’ll at least say he’s trying.

    The last disruption in 08/09 took almost eight years to come out of, and that’s nothing compared to this. One of our biggest problems is we’ve saddled our tax base with almost double the liability from what it had in 08/09, the math just doesn’t work, there’s just not that many people that can pay at those levels, they don’t have the resources. We’ll get through this, but everything is going to look much different than what it did just a few weeks ago.

  2. Bill Kapaun says:

    And just a couple blocks away, the streets are crumbling.
    Money that could be used for preventive maintenance (slurry seal, patching cracks etc.) and reduce the rate of street decline.
    The Mayor & City Council is putting us in a position that is only going to get ridiculously more expensive the longer we wait.
    We simply deserve better.

  3. Jim Engel says:

    A 2.3 million study for ideas to spend upwards of 20 million of CARA funds to “beautify” a waterfront is absolutely ludicrous in these times! MAYOR…it’s not gonna be the Riviera!! ‘Ole Man River will have his way no matter what we tax payers spend on spreading lip stick on that pig!! California has outlawed these CARA type funding schemes & so should we. How about a hint dear MAYOR…you ain’t a gonna move those annoying tracks no matter what you do. And the dead beat goes on…

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      There you go again… The Mayor does not have authority to approve or disapprove CARA-ARA funding. But you knew that.

      • Steve Reynolds says:

        City manager does, he has unlimited authority over city finances at this point. We have no courts, no judges, just executive orders and proclamations. We now have laws that are no longer based on the Constitution of the United States, they’re based on whomever yells the loudest at the politician currently in office or whatever mob has the most members.

        I support CARA, but at this point I have no idea what any of this is going to look like in a few months.

        • Rich Kellum says:

          No Steve, the City Manager does not have the authority to spend CARA money at his whim, The ARA has not declared an emergency, I think I would know because I am Chairman of ARA. Steve, please know that the Council is taking this very seriously, and while we may make a mistake, be assured by me that we can feel the Covid 19 hands approaching our collective throats and are keeping our attention where it needs to be for us to come out of this thing shining…
          Rich

          • Steve Reynolds says:

            Rich, I will say that I am glad you have input, you made the call and put up the red flags many months ago, I give you much credit for that. I apologize if I misinterpreted Section 2 of resolution 6874, I don’t see an ARA exclusion.

            Section 2. All necessary City funds shall be redirected for emergency use, and standard City procurement procedures shall be suspended for any contract or purchase necessary to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the employees of and services delivered by the City of Albany.

            Just a follow up…

            On a positive note the SBDC Director out of Clackamas had a great presentation with Rep. Schrader, if you need help with funding this is the site they’re directing to http://bizcenter.org/covid-19. I see the city has its own site, https://www.cityofalbany.net/coronavirus/business, have not checked to see if the two sites have the same information. One of the issues they brought up was their system crashed on the EIDL site and they had to have it rebuilt, so if you applied before last Sunday, you need to re-apply, that was straight from the SBA representative.
            .

          • Rich Kellum says:

            Steve,
            ARA and the City are separate entities legally, even though it is the City Council in a different form…

  4. Jennifer Stuart says:

    Hasso, you need a go-pro.

 

 
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