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For the first time in 150 years, Oregonians have the opportunity to rediscover a cultural and scenic treasure: Willamette Falls. A public vision and master plan are taking shape, with the goal of transforming a 23-acre industrial site nestled along the Falls in historic Oregon City. This former paper mill could someday serve as an economic engine, a waterfront destination, a unique habitat, a window into Oregon’s past – and a bold step into our future.

Whatever develops on the landscape will be shaped by Willamette Falls, roaring in the Willamette River below. The largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest, it was long an important cultural and gathering place for Native American tribes. The Oregon Trail ended here. And throughout the 1800s, the Falls made history by generating energy for Oregon’s early industries and cities and fueling the nation’s first long-distance electrical power transmission. That industrial legacy ended in 2011, when the Blue Heron Paper Co. closed its doors – the last in a succession of businesses that contributed to Oregon City’s strong working waterfront.

            

Portland General Electric has graciously allowed us to link to their video on the history of Willamette Falls. A link to the 6 minute version can be found here

Why Now?

The former paper mill is for sale, but the site’s complexity and risks have slowed down a transformation. That’s why Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro, the State of Oregon and the property’s bankruptcy trustee are working together to develop a vision and master plan. By rezoning the site and providing certainty for investors, the Willamette Falls Legacy Project will help a new era take shape along the Falls.

There’s a lot at stake. If the property is abandoned, the resulting blight would hurt property values in downtown Oregon City, one of the region’s most important economic hubs. Public safety risks and extra costs would burden taxpayers. Water quality and wildlife would deteriorate in one of the Willamette River’s most ecologically diverse stretches. And Oregon City wouldn’t recover the 175 family-wage jobs that vanished along with the paper mill.

With master planning underway, Oregonians can establish a statewide legacy and reconnect Oregonians and visitors with Willamette Falls. They can define how the area is transformed for economic redevelopment, public access, healthy habitats, and historical and cultural interpretation.

To see a map of the site, click here.

For frequently asked questions, including updated information on a potential purchaser, click here.

Thursday
Apr102014

A closer look at one of the four Core Values: Public Access

Throughout April, our weekly blogs will explore the four interrelated core values that guide the vision and master plan.  This week, we take an in-depth look at Public Access.  Willamette Falls has been essentially closed to the public for 150 years, with access limited to approaching by boat or viewing from a highway overlook.  Public access goals for the project include:

  1. Providing a front-row seat to experience the majestic Willamette Falls
  2. Expanding opportunities for public spaces along the river
  3. Creating connections for people to the river, downtown, and natural environment in Oregon City

The vision and master plan propose a number of exciting opportunities to achieve these goals.

Circulation. The historic street grid is restored to facilitate walking and biking and enhance vehicular access.  Main Street connects to the north provide public access to the Falls and a seamless extension of downtown Oregon City.  Along the riverbank, Water Street once again extends into the site, using the Riverwalk esplanade as a generous sidewalk.

Riverwalk.  The Riverwalk creates continuous public access to view the river. It links a series of overlooks and docks along the river’s edge and connects to the street grid and future open spaces.  Trees, benches and river overlooks create a memorable gateway to Willamette Falls and beyond. 


Viewing Platform.  The PGE dam presents a unique opportunity to create a public walkway over the river.  Visitors gain access on the dam’s surface allowing them to walk out to an existing platform providing an intimate view of the Falls.

Connections.  An existing rail spur is transformed into a continuous path south along the riverfront and a new pedestrian bridge allows for safe access to the Canemah Bluffs Natural Area and the regional bicycle network.  Bank restoration on the river’s edge provides beautiful views and a shaded edge to the trail.

Public access along the waterfront and to Willamette Falls is the first and most important step to restoring public access. The Riverwalk will be a catalyst for economic development in Oregon City and enhance the value of development on the site.  It also will bring visitors to the site and generate energy and momentum for continued implementation of the master plan.  The project partners (Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and the State of Oregon) recently agreed to seek sources of funding to design the Riverwalk. 

Show your support for restoring public access to Willamette Falls – sign up to become a Community Champion today!

Thursday
Apr032014

Project Update for April 2014

For the past nine months, thousands of Willamette Falls Legacy Project supporters have helped shape a vision and master framework plan for the former Blue Heron site. That work is nearly ready to go before the Oregon City Planning Commission and City Commission in the form of a zone change and a master plan.  The first public hearing of the Planning Commission was scheduled for April 21, 2014.  Since then, several developers have made offers to purchase the Blue Heron property.  The current interested buyer is studying the site and framework plan, and meeting with Legacy Project partners to explore how their ideas for the area fit our community vision. Last week, the bankruptcy trustee for the site, Peter McKittrick, sent a letter requesting that the City postpone the land use hearings to give the potential buyer more time for due diligence. As the trustee and the project partners have been working in good faith for many months, the partners are happy to accommodate this request.

Mr. McKittrick’s letter describes the value of the visioning and planning effort, stating “I believe this planning project has already created increased recognition and value for the site.”

A new date for the first public hearing has not yet been determined.  However, the City will host a public Open House on April 21st from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at City Hall, 625 Center Street, to display the proposed master plan. This informal event will offer a chance to chat with City staff about the Willamette Falls Legacy Project prior to public hearings.

In the meantime, momentum is not slowing down - the partners are hard at work on implementation of the plan.  We are beginning to seek funding for a riverfront walkway that will catalyze the entire site and downtown area.  In addition, more than 150 people have signed up as community champions.  The champions have pledged to lend a hand to the project by writing letters of support, volunteering to organize site tours, and being part of a “Friends of Willamette Falls” group in the future.  Sign up to become a champion and let us know how you’d like to be a part of this once in a generation opportunity!

Tuesday
Mar252014

The Working Falls

The legacy of Willamette Falls, is one of its natural beauty and cultural and social significance, as well as its central role in the industry and economy of the Portland region.  Through most of the 1800s, the Falls were the stopping point for steamboat traffic, providing trade to Oregon and Linn cities on both banks of the river.  The completion of the Willamette Falls Locks in 1873 allowed river traffic and commerce to move freely up and down the Willamette. 

Willamette Falls’ industrial legacy is also one of generating electricity and powering mills.  Portland General Electric (PGE) built a hydro-electric generation facility at the falls in 1888.  Just one year later, a 14-mile transmission line to Portland became the site of the first long distance transmission of electrical energy in the history of the world.  No longer tied to electricity-generating facilities, this innovation shaped the form of the modern city.  In 1895, PGE constructed the Station B facility, which is still in operation today.

Willamette Falls was powering saw mills before electricity was even invented.  Dr. John McLoughlin built what may have been the first industrial saw mill west of the Mississippi to produce the lumber from which Oregon City was built.  Over the next 30 years, flour, brick and woolen mills followed.  The woolen mill went on to become the largest of its kind in the West, before closing operations during the great depression. The first paper mill at Willamette Falls, Oregon City Paper Manufacturing Co., opened in 1866 launching and industry that would employ thousands of Oregonians for the next 150 years and beyond.  Only one mill, the West Linn Paper Company, remains today after the Blue Heron Paper Company shut its doors in 2011.

1950s Publishers Paper Mill Workers -Clackamas County Historical Society All Rghts Reserved

 

The Willamette Falls Legacy Project seeks to continue the legacy of the Working Falls by transforming the former Blue Heron Paper Company site into a hub of employment, shopping, business and tourism.  In the coming months, a land use application to rezone the industrial area to allow for this mix of uses is scheduled to go before the Oregon City Planning and City Commissions.  Look for additional information on effective ways to make public comments in future blog posts.

 

Wednesday
Mar192014

Rediscover the Falls!

 

Some 15 million years ago a series of volcanic eruptions spewed the largest rivers of molten lava ever seen on earth across the Pacific Northwest.  Enormous flows of basalt lava poured down the Columbia River channel and into the Pacific Ocean.  The lava eventually solidified into basalt, shaping much of the Oregon we know today, including the Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Falls.

 

Today, more than 20,000 cubic feet of water cascades 42 feet over Willamette Falls each second.  Not nearly as tall as the more famous Multnomah Falls (627 feet), it is the largest waterfall by volume in the Pacific Northwest and second only to Niagara Falls (100,000 cfs) in all of North America.  The Falls’ horseshoe shape spans 1,700 feet across the river from the former site of the Blue Heron Paper Mill to the West Linn Paper Company.

 

For centuries, the Falls have served as a focal point of culture, community and industry.  Now you can rediscover this Oregon treasure.  For a front seat view of Willamette Falls, call 503-722-3789 or kmoosbrugger@orcity.org to add your name to a future public tour of the former Blue Heron Paper Mill site.

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar192014

Latest Community Conversation Presentation Now Available Online

Willamette Falls Legacy Project staff are continuing to meet with local organizations, businesses, and stakeholder groups. Some of these are brand new to the project and we get to see their first reactions when they realize the potential onsite, while others have been with us from the beginning and are digging into the weeds of details. We are so grateful and humbled by the support and enthusiasm we see from the general public and core value stakeholders. Many have asked for a link to the recent community conversation presentation document.  Feel free to click on the link below to review and share with others.

 click on the photo to download the presentation

Tuesday
Mar112014

Hundreds Converge to Celebrate the Willamette Falls Legacy Project

Last Thursday, approximately 300 residents from across the region gathered at Keen Headquarters in Portland to celebrate the vision and spread the word about this historic opportunity.  A good time was had by all, as participants posed for pictures in front of a life-sized backdrop of the falls, viewed and entered a raffle for photos of the falls by Mark Gamba, previewed the vision and master plan, and enjoyed refreshments from Nicholas Restaurant, A to Z Wineworks and Ecliptic Brewing.  Elected officials thanked those in attendance for their support and toasted to continued success.  Nearly 100 new Community Champions pledged to help make the vision a reality.

              

Were you unable to attend the celebration?  There are still many ways to show your support for the Legacy Project.  Beginning on April 21, a land use application to help implement the vision by rezoning the industrial area to allow a mix of uses will go before the Oregon City Planning Commission.  You can help by giving verbal or written testimony in support of the Framework Master Plan.  For more information, contact Kelly Moosbrugger at kmoosbrugger@orcity.org. If you have already signed up as a champion, look for an informational email from us in the coming weeks on effective ways to testify.

 

 

Wednesday
Mar052014

Celebrate Your Success on March 6

Community response to the Willamette Falls Legacy Project has been overwhelming!  Over the past nine months, you and thousands of Oregonians have come together to create a future vision and master plan for this amazing place.  Celebrate your success and help make the vision a reality!  Bring your friends and family on Thursday, March 6th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Keen Great Room for a celebration of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.


Thursday
Feb272014

Stay engaged to help make the vision a reality!

A land use application for the Framework Master Plan to help implement the vision by rezoning the industrial area to allow a mix of uses will go before the Oregon City Planning Commission beginning on April 21, 2014.  The Master Plan outlines how development will generally occur, identify key areas for open space and development, and re-establish the Main Street grid and connections for people to view majestic Willamette Falls.  You can help implement the vision by giving verbal or written testimony during the public hearings process.  For more information, contact Kelly Moosbrugger at kmoosbrugger@orcity.org.

You may be aware that several developers have made offers to purchase the Blue Heron property, including the most recent $2.8 million bid from California-based Shopoff Group.  You can read about the details of that offer in an article from the Oregonian here and check back with us to learn about the latest developments as they unfold. As you can imagine, the complexities of the site has been a hurdle this year for prospective buyers. Regardless of the outcome of this or future proposals, approval of the vision and Master Plan is critical to breaking down some of these perceived and real barriers to development and provide the certainty developers need to consider this investment in Oregon’s future.

We are humbled by your passion to create a community supported vision for this Oregon landmark and want to thank you for your contributions to rediscovering this cultural and scenic treasure.  Bring your friends and family on Thursday, March 6th from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the Keen Great Room for a celebration of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project:

  • Join the Wall of Champions – first 100 Champions get a commemorative pin!
  • Pose in front of a life-sized backdrop of the Falls
  • Be inspired by the Willamette Falls art show and raffle
  • Preview the vision and master plan
  • Enjoy Lebanese appetizers from Nicholas Restaurant
  • Toast the Falls with drinks donated by A to Z Wineworks and Ecliptic Brewing
  • Explore other First Thursday events throughout the Pearl District

Can’t make it to the celebration?  Show your support by sharing news on social media, writing a letter of support, distributing flyers or volunteering to lead tours.  Sign up to be a Community Champion today!

Wednesday
Feb192014

Sign up Today to Attend the March 6 Celebration Event

 

Celebrate the legacy and help realize the vision for an Oregon landmark.  

www.willamettefalls.eventbrite.com

Willamette Falls is one of the nation's most beautiful and historic natural wonders - yet for more than 150 years it has been hidden from view. Thanks to a growing community of supporters, Oregonians are on the brink of rediscovering Willamette Falls. But it won't happen without you.

Snow got best of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project last month but there’s good news: The celebration is rescheduled  for Thursday, March 6. Same time, same place, same concept. Please reserve your spot to let us know that you’re still available to celebrate this Oregon landmark, help move the project to the next phase, and enjoy art, food and drinks.

Celebrate the Falls, see the vision and bring your friends to this First Thursday event.Together, we're making Oregon history.

  • Join the Wall of Champions - first 100 Champions get a commemorative pin!
  • Get inspired by a Willamette Falls art show and raffle
  • Preview the vision and master plan
  • Enjoy Lebanese appetizers from Nicholas Restaurant
  • Toast the Falls with drinks donated by A to Z Wineworks and Ecliptic Brewing
  • Pose in front of a life-sized backdrop of the Falls
  • Explore other First Thursday events throughout the Pearl District

 Special thanks to KEEN Footwear for their outstanding gathering space

 
Share this event on Facebook and Twitter

We hope you can make it!

Cheers,
Willamette Falls Legacy Project

 

Wednesday
Jan292014

Celebrate an Oregon Treasure!

For the first time in 150 years, Oregonians have the opportunity to rediscover a cultural and scenic treasure.  Nestled in historic downtown Oregon City, Willamette Falls is the 2nd largest waterfall in North America.  Over the past eight months, an ever-growing community of supporters has created a future vision for the former Blue Heron Paper Company site.  The Willamette Falls Legacy Project will transform this place of historic significance into a statewide destination, creating public access to the Falls and reinvigorating Oregon City’s downtown as a regional hub of employment, shopping, business, tourism and housing.

 

As of today, we have over 220 people RSVP'd to attend the celebration party- sign up today to join your friends and colleagues to maintain momentum and let your state and regional elected officials and future funders know that public access to the falls is a statewide priority. 

 

Ed Murphy- all rights reserved

We need you to make the vision a reality!  Bring your friends and family on Thursday, February 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the KEEN Great Room for a celebration of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project:

  • Speak with local, regional and state representatives about this once in a generation opportunity
  •  See the vision for this Oregon landmark
  •  Become a Community Champion to pledge your support
  •  Take in the First Thursday Willamette Falls art show
  •  Enter  a raffle to win your own Mark Gamba photo of the Falls

 Secure your place in Oregon history today

Friday
Jan242014

Together, We're Making History

Since the Willamette Falls Legacy project launched in July last year, project leaders and staff have connected with more than 2,500 Oregonians through two surveys, nearly 50 community conversation discussions, and three large interactive community events. The resulting Vision and Master Plan for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project highlight the enourmous benefits the project can offer people in Oregon City and throughout the state:

  • A waterfront trail that will offer unprecedented access to connect with the river and enjoy a front-row seat to experience the great Willamette Falls.
  • An expansion of downtown through the creation of six new city blocks and an extension of the street grid that will serve as a vibrant hub of employment, shopping, business and tourism.
  • Restored habitat and increased roughness of the shoreline to re-establish native plant communities and support migratory birds and fish like salmon and lamprey.
  • Re-use of four key buildings on site plus the woolen mill foundation, which dates back to 1865, to honor of the rich cultural and industrial history of the Willamette River and Oregon City.

 

 Thanks to a growing community of supporters, Oregonians are on the brink of rediscovering Willamette Falls.  But it won’t happen without you. Become a Community Champion today and then join us Thursday, February 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in the KEEN Great Room in Portland for a celebration. 

Also, check out the summary of Community Interactive Event #3, available here.  A full video of the presentation at the event is also available for viewing, in case you missed it.

                           

 

 

Wednesday
Jan152014

Why come to Portland for our event on February 6th?

At this stage in our process, we've talked to thousands of you.  We've spoken to every neighborhood association in Oregon City, and we've met with dozens of regional community groups.  We are humbled by the community support so far for the Vision and Master Plan of the former Blue Heron site.

We also know there are Oregonians - even people who live just minutes away from Oregon City  - that have no idea that they are living so close to North America's second largest waterfall.  And we don't blame them, because it's been effectively cut off from the public for over 150 years!

Now that we are making plans to open up public access to the falls and redevelop the 23 acres next door, we want to spread the word!  We need widespread awareness and support for this project in order to keep the ball rolling.  We'll need support from regional and statewide elected officials, not to mention the funding to make this project happen. 

So, for those Oregonians that already know about this once in a lifetime opportunity, now is your chance to be an ambassador and show your support outside of your neighborhood.  We want to see your smiling faces at the celebration on February 6th.  Now is our chance to tell the entire region about our incredible asset - Willamette Falls!  Click here to join the 100 people who have already RSVP'd today (apologies for bad link - the problem has been fixed)!

Thursday
Jan092014

Mark your calendar for February 6th

Bringing the vision to reality – join us February 6 to celebrate the Willamette Falls Legacy Project Vision and Master Plan!

Some said it couldn’t be done, but with your help, we did it!  Together, in literally thousands of ways, we developed a cohesive future vision for a vibrant Willamette Falls district that:

  • Creates economic opportunity, employment and tourism
  • Connects future generations to the falls, our heritage and the future
  • Protects and enhances unique and treasured biological assets

Your guidance has helped the project partners develop a future vision for the site that integrates all four core values of public access, economic redevelopment, healthy habitat, and historic and cultural interpretation.

Celebrate the results of your work February 6 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the KEEN Great Room in Portland at 515 NW 13th Avenue.  Our state and region will need your creativity and commitment to bring the vision to reality. Bring your friends, kids and coworkers. See the vision, take in a Willamette Falls art show, and enjoy food and drinks at this First Thursday celebration.  Together, we are making Oregon history.

What you can do to help realize the vision?  Join the Wall of Champions and commit to creating a national legacy.  Can’t make the celebration? Sign up to be a Community Champion today! 

Wednesday
Dec182013

Great Turnout at Meeting Last Week, Check Out the Plan Online, Become a Champion, Celebrate our Success!

The third Community Interactive Event was a terrific success!  Thank you to the more than 100 people who made it to the Ainsworth House and Gardens on a rainy Thursday night to review the Master Framework and Demonstration Plans.  If you weren’t able to attend, there’s good news – the full presentation which unfolds the Master Framework Plan and three Demonstration Plans are now online at www.rediscoverthefalls.com under "The Plan" drop down menu.

 

The Master Framework Plan outlines how development will generally occur, identifying key areas for public access and open space and for development re-establishing the Main Street grid and connections for people to view majestic Willamette Falls. 

 

The Demonstration Plans are inspirational in nature and highlight three possible ways that development and open space may occur, but are not blueprints for future development. The Demonstration Plans are a tool to help people understand what opportunities exist based on the guidelines set forth in the Master Framework Plan.  The development process will take place over time with collaboration between the public entities and the private developer. Click here to share your thoughts on the Master Framework Plan and Demonstration Plans.

 

 

As you may know, Langley Investment Properties has submitted a Letter of Intent to purchase the Blue Heron site for redevelopment.  Click on the video below to hear Liam Thornton, Langley Managing Director of Investment and Development, speak about the Framework Master Plan following Thursday’s presentation. A link to the full presentation will be available soon.

 


 

Closing out the December 12th Event, participants were able to talk with staff about the plans, the inter-related four core values, and sign up for a tour of the site in spring 2014.  Participants also were encouraged to sign up as a Champion for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.  To add your name to the Wall of Champions please go to the Community Champion Sign Up page on our website and let us know how you would like to participate! We’re thrilled at the responses we have already received and can’t wait to move forward with your continued support and enthusiasm.

Former Mayor Alice Norris hangs her champion tag on the wall

Lastly, we want to want to honor your commitment and passion to the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.  We are humbled by your commitment and passion to create a community supported vision for this iconic place for residents and visitors alike to enjoy over the next 100 years and more! 

 

Please Save the Date for a celebration the evening of February 6th, 2014 5:30-8:00 PM at KEEN headquarters, 505 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209.  More details and electronic RSVP invitations to come!

 

Thursday
Dec122013

Community Meeting Tonight! Langley Investment Submits a Letter of Intent to Purchase the Blue Heron Site for Redevelopment

It has been an exciting week for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project. The news of the intent to purchase the site is great timing for our third Community Interactive Event this evening at 6pm, at the Ainsworth House and Gardens. Be sure you’ve made arrangements to attend! We’ll give an overview of the process to date, highlight community engagement and results from the survey we ran this fall, and of course, deliver a fantastic presentation of the final concept as it has emerged for the site. We’ll also be able to share with you an update on the site status with the intent to purchase and what it all means going forward. You won’t want to miss it!

There have been a few articles in the Oregonian, the Daily Journal of Commerce*, and Portland Business Journal, go ahead and take a gander before coming to the event tonight. We look forward to seeing you!

*You need to be a subscriber to the DJC to access their content.

Thursday
Dec052013

Portland's Langley Investment Properties makes an offer on Oregon City's Blue Heron mill

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregon-city/index.ssf/2013/12/portlands_langley_investments.html#incart_river

The Oregonian broke the news this morning on Langley Investment Properties bid for the site. We will get back to you with more information on this exciting development as we learn more.

Wednesday
Dec042013

Survey Results Complete; Community Meeting December 12

We hope everyone had a delightful holiday!  We are gearing up for the December 12th Community event and have been hard at work on the survey results report.

The full report is available on the “Documents and Drawings” page and is called the Opt In Survey #2 Report. There are also data tables to review if you’d like to see the results in detail, including the demographics of the survey respondents. All data is anonymous.

Lastly, but certainly not least, please remember to join us for the next community interactive event - 6:00pm on Thursday, December 12! The event will be held at the beautiful Ainsworth House and Gardens , 19130 S. Lot Whitcomb Drive, in Oregon City.  We’ll be reviewing the final concepts which have been built from valuable community guidance. We’ve connected with more than 4,000 Oregonians and are excited to reflect how this has influenced the planning process. Join us prior to the concepts are formalized for the land-use application this spring. The event is sure to be an inspiring way to spend the evening. Mark your calendars and share with your friends, colleagues, and family. We can’t wait to see you there!

Wednesday
Nov272013

Existing Conditions Report Available, Join Us December 12

With the holidays upon us we have a short update for everyone this week.

First, we’ve uploaded an incredible Existing Conditions Report to the project website. It’s a wonderful booklet with rich images that reviews the history and culture, site character, existing conditions, opportunities and constraints of the Blue Heron Site. It includes other projects from around the world that are helping to inspire the master framework planning process.  To download the booklet simply go to the “Documents and Drawings” webpage and scroll down to find the Existing Conditions Report to download. It may take a while as there are amazing high-resolution photos but it is certainly worth the wait.  While you’re investigating the Documents and Drawings section of the website, you also will be able to find other planning process information, like the results from the October 10 community event.

Please remember to join us for the next community interactive event - Thursday, December 12. The event will be held at the beautiful Ainsworth House and Gardens, 19130 S. Lot Whitcomb Drive, in Oregon City.  We’ll be reviewing the final concepts which have been built from input received from the community at large at the events as well as through online surveys. We’ve connected with more than 4,000 Oregonians and are excited to reflect how you have influenced the planning process. We also need one final check-in before we move forward to the land-use application process for the site. The event is sure to be an inspiring way to spend the evening. Please mark your calendars and share with your friends, colleagues, and family. We can’t wait to see you there!

Thursday
Nov212013

Save the Date: December 12 to Review Survey Results and Final Draft Concepts

More than 1,900 Oregonians contributed their feedback on concept alternatives for the redevelopment of the Blue Heron Paper Mill site in a survey this fall.  This important guidance is helping influence the final concepts being developed for the master framework plan. Please join us to view these concepts at a third community interactive event Thursday, December 12, 2013, from 6-8 pm. The meeting will be located at beautiful Ainsworth House and Gardens , 19130 S. Lot Whitcomb Drive, in Oregon City.  Please mark your calendars and share with your friends, colleagues, and family. We can’t wait to see you there!

Survey Results

From this latest survey which presented a range of alternative concepts for the redevelopment of the 23-acre industrial site in Oregon City adjacent to Willamette Falls, some highlights:

  • 62% of participants feel that incorporating some elements of the industrial past sounds interesting, but said this should be in moderation. 42% prefer to keep and reuse only the most structurally sound historic buildings on the site.
  • 82% of participants agree that a majority of development should take place away from the riverfront, nearer to the bluff and downtown Oregon City – with areas closer to the river and the waterfall preferred for habitat restoration and public access.
  • 55% say that restaurants/brew pubs/coffee shops is their first or second priority for economic development, with 32% ranking a public market as their first or second priority.
  • 56% of respondents say that removing structures not identified for preservation within the floodplain to provide restored habitat opportunities for native plants and wildlife is one of their top three priorities for habitat restoration on the site.

We are currently developing graphs to help illustrate survey results and will have the full report uploaded to the project website, www.rediscoverthefalls.com, for your review next week.

Interrelated Core Values

As we gear up with the survey results and refine our final concepts for review on December 12, there is a fundamental point to understand and keep in mind. We are not asking you to choose any one scenario over another or asking you to choose one core value (Historical and Cultural Interpretation, Public Access, Healthy Habitat, Economic Redevelopment) over another. The goal of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project in 2013 and early 2014 is to create a master framework plan which integrates all the core values in a synergistic way. Successful approaches accomplish them all while providing certainty as well as flexibility for redevelopment.

Concepts developed to date present a variety of possibilities for re-use of the site. For example, public access and healthy habitat alone aren’t possible without economic redevelopment and vice versa. Leveraging partnerships, funding, and support from a range of private, public and non-profit partners will be essential to realize redevelopment of the 23-acre former Blue Heron Paper Company site and turn it into a legacy asset to serve current and future generations for years to come.

We look forward to seeing you on December 12 to explore this approach further, and share with you the results that you have helped to build for the master framework plan and visioning strategy for the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.  

If you have not completed it already, the survey is still open on www.rediscoverthefalls.com.  We will be reviewing incoming feedback through January 15.

We look forward confidently because of your involvement, please stay tuned and continue to share the project with your friends and colleagues! 

Wednesday
Nov132013

Last call to take the survey by this Friday – weigh in on development concepts!

Take the survey!  Nearly 1,900 Oregonians have contributed their feedback on preliminary concept alternatives. Are you among them? Make sure your voice is heard in this formative phase.  Let us know if we’re on track, if we’re missing something, or if you have that great idea to share.

The survey will close this Friday, November 15, at 5 pm. You can find it at www.rediscoverthefalls.com. On the home page, click on the link that says - you guessed it - “Take The Survey”. Take it!

Please also share this with friends, colleagues, and family who you know are interested in what happens with redevelopment of the 23-acre Blue Heron Paper Co. site in Oregon City. Send them this posting (and go ahead and like the Facebook page while you’re at it) in order to receive frequent project updates, check out historical photos-of-the-day and interact with others who are passionate about this once in a lifetime opportunity.  Help us see the Willamette Falls Legacy Project through to its full potential. Thank you!