A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why this boardwalk is there (version 2)

Written April 21st, 2023 by Hasso Hering

This boardwalk on the Dave Clark Riverfront Path makes me think of the restaurant it was built to go around.

On Friday’s bike ride I stopped for a minute on the riverfront boardwalk below the Ellsworth Street Bridge.

If memory serves, this wooden route above the riverbank was built to get around the restaurant that used to sit close to the bank with a view of the river.

According to what I read in a news story from 1985, the building once had been a turkey hatchery for Swift & Co. Then it sat vacant for many years until 1973, when it was reopened as a restaurant.

In February 1977, when it was called The Noodle, the place was remodeled to seat 100 diners. It also had a railroad caboose parked along Water Avenue with places for another 20. That was fine place to take out-of-town newspaper guests for lunch.

In May 1985, there was a fire believed to have been set to mask a burglary. Two months later, on July 22, the main building and the adjoining caboose were gutted by another fire. The paper quoted the owner as saying he probably would not rebuild.

It’s the Democrat-Herald story on the July fire that included the background on the building. I found it on newspapers.com.

Now, the building that once necessitated the wooden detour of the riverfront path has been gone for a long time.

Last week, I had assumed that this wooden structure would be refurbished as part of the Waterfront Project, the K&E Excavating, the city’s general manager and contractor for the Waterfront Project, the Central Albany urban renewal district’s effort to improve the riverfront and Water Avenue.

That assumption turned out to be wrong.

Today, Monday the 24th, I learned from city officials that the “wetland boardwalk” mentioned in the latest cost estimate for the project is not this boardwalk. Instead it’s a planned new one going across a low area below Bowman Park, intended to let people walk closer to the river.

K&E Excavating, the city’s general manager and contractor, has worked up a maximum price for the second phase of the overall project: $8,949,000

The amount includes $460,700 for building the new boardwalk and $1,492,300 for rebuilding the two viewing piers that overlook the Willamette River.

The biggest expense in the second phase is about $5.2 million for improving Water Avenue, as a plaza near Washington Street and a “green street” from there to the Lyon Street Bridge.

The city council, as the Albany Revitalization Agency, will be asked to approve a contract for the second phase when it meets at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 26. (You can look up details on the ARA agenda here.)

Redoing the riverfront is the last big project of CARA, the city’s urban renewal district. The total cost, including the first phase (Monteith Riverpark and other items) plus about $2 million for improving railroad crossings, is about $19.5 million.

When it’s all done — now estimated to be in September 2024 — the rebuilt boardwalk may still remind me of The Noodle and those long-ago lunches in its caboose. (hh)

This is the second version of this story. The first one was mistaken in saying this boardwalk would be refurbished as part of the Waterfront Project.

The view downriver under the Albany highway bridges on Friday afternoon.

17 responses to “Why this boardwalk is there (version 2)”

  1. Bill Maddy says:

    Hasso, the building you mentioned was also at one time a Mo’s Restaurant. The chowder didn’t taste the same as it did at the Oregon Coast restaurants. Maybe that is why it didn’t last very long as a Mo’s on the Willamette River.

  2. James Engel says:

    A funny happening. When the building had the fire the staff failed to remove the booze from the bar! On swing shift one evening we get a call to the place for a disturbance. Apparently some “homeless” folks had found the booze & we having a heck of a party. We made a little Police noise & they took off. The remaining booze was dumped out.

  3. DPK says:

    What’s a “green street?”

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Trees, sidewalks, brick intersections, rainwater swales, the works.

    • Cap B. says:

      Thanks for asking what a green street is. I was about to ask. Brick intersections so that wheelchair wheels and/or canes can get stuck in them such as what made Hasso’s blog or the D-H (can’t remember which) about a problem with the brick around a tree in front of Novak’s Restaurant?? Will Albany (read that as CARA) ever learn? Answer: No!

      • Hasso Hering says:

        Not cobblestones like in the downtown tree wells. Bricks like in the Water Avenue intersections with Hill and Jackson streets.

        • Cap B. says:

          OH, yes. Thanks, Hasso. That intersection is in front of the almost empty building that replaced The Buzzsaw Restaurant!!! Hardly no one drives there, but the bricks are lovely!! Thanks, CARA for your unwise spending of tax increment financing (taxpayer) dollars! (I’m on a roll this morning…Oops, it is afternoon already!)

          • Ray Kopczynski says:

            Happy to seport that because of its success, you will be able to use the Waterfront progress & amenities in the not too distant future. The City is much better for the effort it has taken. Huge kudos to everyone involved over the many years to make this community beneft real…!

          • Matthew Calhoun says:

            You should try getting out of the house… mostly empty? I think the tenants of the wheelhouse building would beg to differ. And your claims about Monteith park simply aren’t true. But I supposed Hasso didn’t say that perpetual grumpiness and incorrect information were no longer allowed so carry on “Cap B”

  4. Cap B. says:

    I don’t remember the Restaurant’s name as being Mo’s, but it was a seafood place. Went there with my dear, departed mother for oysters and sat in the caboose. It was great.

    I remember when one could go down to the river alone and walk out on those viewing piers and stroll along leisurely with no thought of getting mugged. Those days are gone in Albany and the U.S.

    I’m glad they are saving the boardwalk. It will be a nice respite from the “concrete” park known as Monteith. Monteith needs a new name. How about “Shades of New York” Park? Get it? Concrete; they could put in a fire hydrant to turn on when it is 100 degrees, just like in the streets of NYC. (Sorry, New York. Don’t mean to disparage your city.)

    • L Smith says:

      NYC actually has many gorgeous parks. Central Park is amazing! I love that city, it’s really unlike any other place in the world.

  5. Pat says:

    We moved to Albany from Southern California in 1978, and settled in on Nebergall Loop in North Albany. My husband was a College student, I was hired immediately at Forest Industry Insurance Exchange, and my younger sister was a HS graduate. They both were hired right away by The Noodle. We all have great memories of the restaurant and the customers.

  6. Bob V says:

    According to the old Albany City Directories, ‘The Noodle’ moved from 203 N Broadalbin to 205 W Water sometime between 1971 and 1972. I don’t see any other restaurants listed at that location before ‘The Noodle’.

    • Cap B. says:

      I think you are right. It wasn’t a “Mo’s.” It was the Noodle, and it had seafood, too, besides noodles, etc.

  7. Cap B. says:

    So, Hasso, regarding your Version 2 of this boardwalk story, are you saying the boardwalk near where The Noodle restaurant used to be “won’t” be refurbished?
    Are they tearing it out and putting in concrete? Arghhh!


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