The Blue Heron Paper Co. in Oregon City closed its doors in 2011. With that, a new era opened for the site, providing the opportunity to reconnect people to a magnificent natural wonder, generate economic development for Oregon City and the region, restore healthy habitats, and catalyze historic and cultural interpretation.
Since 2011, thousands of Oregonians have come together to shape the future of this important and historic place, creating a vision that respects the past and speaks to the future. Through the collaborative efforts of the project partners, state legislative leaders were made aware of the potential of Willamette Falls to attract visitors from Oregon and around the world. Lawmakers then took bipartisan action and allocated $5 million in lottery bonds to help spur future public and private investment.
The Willamette Falls Legacy Project is guided by four public agencies: the City of Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and Oregon State Parks and the State Historic Preservation Office in concert with the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team.
The first phase of riverwalk construction will likely begin in 2018. Initial design and construction costs are being paid with the State of Oregon’s initial $5 million investment, an additional $5 million from Metro’s Natural Areas Program and a contribution by Falls Legacy LLC, the private owner of what will become the Willamette Falls Downtown District. The Willamette Falls Legacy Project team is currently engaged in additional fundraising for full and final build-out of the riverwalk, which is expected to be complete in several years.
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