A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Where’s the river in these views?

Written June 28th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

One of the benches overlooking the Willamette River on the Dave Clark Path on Sunday.

You could sit here, on one of the benches thoughtfully provided along this segment of Albany’s Dave Clark Path, and look across the Willamette River, admiring the view. You could, that is, if it weren’t for the bushes and the trees.

Providing more “river views” is among the goals of redeveloping the Albany riverfront, including the Clark path. But this looks like a challenging task because it means clearing away much of the vegetation on the bank.

This is supposed to be part of the Willamette River Greenway. Somehow the concept of a greenway does not go together with getting rid of the greenery so people have a better view.

Once the vegetation is cleared away, keeping the views open is another matter. Trees and bushes grow back. The city would have to figure out how to cover the added expense of yearly maintenance of a riverbank that is very steep and hard to reach.

Maybe we better forget about making more viewing stations. If we want to admire the river scenery  from the path on the bank, we’ll just have to do so in the fall and winter after the leaves are down. (hh)

Sitting on the bench, you get a nice view of thick foliage in this viewing spot on the river.


15 responses to “Where’s the river in these views?”

  1. Bob Zybach says:

    The same is true of potentially spectacular forest landscapes. Clearcuts open these up and then people say they don’t like clearcuts. But they do enjoy the beautiful viewpoints. Other people like the paying jobs for managing these areas and harvesting related products.

  2. Don says:

    Come on, Hasso, they get after production ag for clearing trees to make fields easier to work etc.

  3. Richard Vannice says:

    Removing the trees and brush in an area with relatively steep banks also increases the chance of erosion. Best to leave Mother Nature alone,

  4. thomas cordier says:

    You are correct H.H We were at the Head of the Metolius River last week which has overgrown so much , one can hardly see snow covered Mt. Jefferson or the river. In Corvallis, same unseen river below the renovated commercial area w/shops and restaurants. Wider still — the once scenic railroad lines. In many areas for miles views are totally blocked by scrub trees and brush makes the trip visually boring in spite of the advertising by RR.

    • Bob Woods says:

      Are you kidding? I was at the Metolius 2 weeks ago and going back in 3 weeks. The area from the Y towards the Head was controlled burned last year and much of the low overgrowth is gone. Other areas are scheduled. Trees, believe it or not, keep growing. The beauty of Ponderosa Pine, a fire resistant species.

      If you continue past the Head towards Lower Bridge some of those Ponderosa Pine at the top with the the Mt. Jefferson views are getting taller. It’s called nature. If you look up to Green Ridge, you’ll see large tracts that have burned in the last 5 years. We were camping there at Allen Springs for 10 days and the whole family had to evacuate when a fire broke out. The Ponderosa’s will be repopulated by nature over time. This might help you understand how/why:


      Down at road level, about 300 yards past to lower turnoff to the north campgrounds you come to the natural area that has been managed to get back towards pre-American landscape. The surrounding land is covered in scrub brush, that a fire will probably take out soon, it almost happened 2 years ago.

      So since you don’t like the Metolius, stay away. It’s one of the crown jewels of Oregon and you won’t be missed.

      • thomas cordier says:

        Once again old know it all Bob lashes out. At the rivers exit from the side of the escarpment; the view is diminished because trees continue to grow. I did not say I don’t like the Metolius so stuff your suggestion and I’d tell you where face to face

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    “A magnificent tree was murdered. The mighty dollar cut it down.”

    “There’s a hole in the sky where the tree once was. Somebody’s making money.”

    Everybody, sing along!


    p.s. Hasso, are you the “Big Bird” graffiti artist in your photo?

  6. Rich Kellum says:

    I have brought this up 4 times at council so far, and nothing, even get pushback from CARA folks

  7. Ray Kopczynski says:

    LOL You have to love all the naysayers popping up & burning bridges before we even get there…

  8. Albany YIMBY says:

    For all the apocalyptic comments in here: The bushes would be just fine a couple feet shorter. Also, removing some vegetation in some key points to allow for views is not going to substantially and irreversibly damage the river bank.
    Third, If people are able to enjoy the river and see it with their eyes, they will own it and protect it for future generations. If the river and its banks are hidden because they are too precious, then what’s the point on having a riverfront altogether?

  9. thomas cordier says:

    p.s. I have pictures of the view taken 50 years ago–the difference is striking.

    • Bob Zybach says:

      Thomas: Can you talk Hasso into publishing the photos? Repeat Photography is one of the most powerful and neglected methods in documenting forest (or river) history.

  10. centrist says:

    Lots of angst about vegetation growing along a watercourse.
    Green happens.
    Treat the control issues


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