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|Written by Linda Baker|
|Thursday, November 01, 2012|
After decades of indifference or neglect, the Willamette River is emerging as a star attraction in urban renewal efforts.
BY LINDA BAKER
In our October issue, I wrote a story about several Willamette Valley cities and their efforts to retool their economies, post-recession. A few common themes emerged—namely, a shared focus on downtown revitalization and the creation of new value-added businesses, be it green nanotech in Albany or advanced food processing (artisan cider) in Salem.
That article left out another emerging development strategy. With few exceptions, the Willamette Valley cities are returning to their namesake but oft-ignored river as an urban amenity and eco-friendly development tool.
In Salem, for example, the city has been working to implement a long-standing community plan connecting three urban parks and more than twenty miles of trails via two pedestrian bridges over the Willamette. In 2009, the city completed the first bridge: the Union Street Railroad Bridge, linking West Salem’s Wallace Marine Park with downtown’s Riverfront Park.
The next step is to build the Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge and multimodal trail. The conceptual design was completed this summer and the final design phase will be completed in April, 2013. So far, about $5,000,000 in urban renewal funds has been allocated for the project. To boost tourism and encourage more people to live/work/play downtown, "we are returning to the river," says John Wales, Salem's urban development director.
Portland, of course, is building its own bike/pedestrian/light rail bridge over the Willamette. As the Oregonian’s Anna Griffin reported in October, the city is also taking a dramatic new approach to riverfront development, to be codified in the Central City 2035 plan, a 20-year vision in progress for downtown Portland. The river "is not going to be something to just look at anymore," Michelle Rudd, a land-use lawyer with Stoel Rives and vice chair of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission, told Griffin. To engage residents, businesses and tourists with the city’s signature waterway, planners are considering moving riprap to create natural river banks and swimming beaches, and running water taxis to and from OMSI, the Rose Garden and Waterfront Park.
The efforts underway in Portland, Salem and Springfield reflect growing interest in mining the amenity value of Oregon's natural waterways. Famous for its open access approach to the Oregon coast, the state has treated many of its rivers as obstacles to be crossed, dumping grounds for pollutants--or, at best, a natural (cleaned up) waterway disconnected from the life of the city. Now cities such as Hood River, The Dalles, and Astoria are trying to close the gap between the metropolis and the river that runs through it, via natural restoration, beach access and mixed-use development.
Inevitably, these people-oriented river restoration efforts will come into conflict with longtime industrial uses of the river – and expanding urban beach access alongside working ports or harbors will continue to be an issue in many of Oregon's river cities.
Despite the challenges, the return to the river fits in with larger downtown revitalization and economic development trends, in which urban amenities such as greenspaces have become critical tools in recruiting and retaining companies and workers.
Albany developer David Johnson, for one, is banking on the appeal of the river to spur business. He recently completed the Wheelhouse, one of the city's first riverfront mixed-use office buildings, featuring a restaurant patio jutting out into the Willamette. “There are," says Johnson, "only so many natural waterways.”
Linda Baker is managing editor of Oregon Business
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
For somene who’s never heard the term “geek chic” before, Paul Schwer, president of Portland-based PAE Consulting Engineers, certainly embodies it.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Although millions of people take anti-depressants, scientists know astonishingly little about how these therapies actually work.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY SOPHIA BENNETT
The coastal town of Coos Bay appears poised to land every economic development director’s dream: a single employer that will bring hundreds of family-wage jobs and millions in tax revenue.
Monday, February 03, 2014
BY ROBERT SHLACHTER AND MARK FRIEL | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTORS
Alternative methods of dispute resolution have the potential to lower costs, increase efficiency and provide greater control over process. The key is to know which ones to use, and how to use them in a way that accomplishes those objectives.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
BY MIKE GREEN | OB BLOGGER
The problem with the issue of income inequality is that it’s typically an afterthought to a region’s economic planning, and not a core priority around which primary economic strategies revolve.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.
Friday, January 24, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
January needn’t be a time to make well intentioned promises to yourself that you soon break.
|The more they change, the more they stay the same|
|The 2014 List: The Top 33 Large Companies to Work, For in Oregon|
|The 2014 List: The Top 34 Medium Companies to Work, For in Oregon|
|The 2014 List: The Top 33 Small Companies to Work, For in Oregon|
|The future of money|
|Cancer to become No. 1 killer in U.S.|
|Bitcoin firm wins brief U.S. bankruptcy protection|
|Rival banana firms to merge|
|Blood test predicts Alzheimer's disease|
|Cerberus Capital to buy Safeway|
|U.S. adds 175,000 jobs|
|Bitcoin creator revealed|
Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest means enjoying our wonderful surroundings, while remaining aware of the multiple types of natural disaster threats that we face: winter storms, windstorms, floods, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.“
Oregon State University's hospitality degree program invests in next-generation leaders.
Allowing individuals to access their own healthcare options has created more difficulty instead of making things easier. There are so many examples that illustrate why agents are more important than ever in helping businesses and individuals determine the healthcare coverage that best fits their need.
Barran Liebman is pleased to welcome Tyler Volm and Damien Munsinger as Associate Attorneys. Both Tyler and Damien represent employers and management in employment law litigation, and provide advice on a full range of employment law matters.
The 2014 World Trademark Review 1000 (“WTR”) recently named Lane Powell as one of the top trademark law firms in Oregon and Washington, and Lane Powell attorneys Kenneth R. Davis II, Parna A. Mehrbani, Frances M. Jagla and Paul D. Swanson as top individuals in the practice.
Capital Pacific Bank, a Portland-based community bank serving businesses, professionals and nonprofit organizations, today announced that it has earned recognition as a Certified B Corporation by B Lab, a nonprofit organization dedicated to building a community of socially responsible businesses. The bank is one of six financial institutions across the country to achieve B Corp status.