Welcome to our online community event for the Riverwalk Schematic Design

Our goal is to work with residents to create a riverwalk that will honor the area’s unique history and culture, provide people access to the falls and opportunities for recreation and education, restore and enhance the environment, and serve as a catalyst for a revitalized downtown Oregon City and beyond.

Although comments are no longer being accepted through this site, you are always welcome to submit your thoughts and questions by sending an email to info@rediscoverthefalls.com.

In this online event, you will get to see and experience the activities from the community event in Oregon City on March 30th. The six stations below allow you to see what people have already shared and add your own ideas. Riverwalk designers will see what you’ve shared and consider the range of ideas and the project's Core Values to begin the design process.

Thank you for your interest in Willamette Falls Riverwalk Schematic Design and for participating today!


Note: It may take up to 20 minutes to participate in all of the stations.

Discover information about the project.
Connect images of activities and experiences.
Provide your impressions on abstract images.
Listen to community stories about the falls. Download a lamprey coloring sheet.
Review questions and themes that we have heard from the community so far.
Learn about how to stay involved in the project.


The Willamette Falls Legacy project hopes to make Willamette Falls and the former Blue Heron paper mill site accessible to people from Oregon and around the world.

Video: About the Willamette Falls Legacy Project; 1 min 30 sec
Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.

Project Area

  • Project Area

    Project Area

Willamette Falls is important to Oregon’s history. This site has a rich history of industry, important to the culture of Native Americans who have been fishing and gathering there since time immemorial, and is a critical habitat for fish, birds and animals. The creation of a Riverwalk will open up Willamette Falls to the people, allowing residents and visitors alike a close-up view of the second largest waterfall by volume in the United States.

For the next two years, the project will engage in the design of the riverwalk. This includes determining the character and the public access alignment of the riverwalk, placement of viewing overlooks, selection of materials, areas of habitat enhancement and development of an overall design before we move into detailed design and eventual construction. The Riverwalk will catalyze and integrate with future development.

Design Team

The design team is composed of designers from Snøhetta, Mayer/Reed, and DIALOG.

More Information

  • Willamette Falls Legacy Project Fact Sheet (pdf, 2.9 MB)
  • Willamette Falls Legacy Project Fact Sheet - (en español)(pdf, 2.9 MB)
  • Meet the Design Team/Project Schedule (pdf, 2.3 MB)
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At this station, you will view a variety of activity ideas collected by people from around the region and sensations someone might experience at the riverwalk. You can create connections between the two groups of images to illustrate how you would like to experience the Falls.

Video: 48 sec


  1. Review the images in the PDF.
  2. Once you're done reviewing the images, answer the questions below.

Interpreting the Data

The width of each connecting line is proportional to the number of connections between images as assigned by the public at the March 30th event and through the subsequent online survey.

Weigh in...

Now you get to try! View the images in the interactive viewing window.
You can create up to three pairs of activities and experiences using the dropdown menus below. Information collected here will help the Design Team understand what experiences people hope to have while participating in activities at the Riverwalk.
First Activity (Select one.)
A feeling that you connect with the first activity. (Select one.)
Second Activity (Select one.)
A feeling that you connect with the second activity. (Select one.)
Third Activity (Select one.)
A feeling that you connect with the third activity. (Select one.)
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At this station, you will view a variety of images. Your preferences will guide the design team as they begin design of the riverwalk.

Video: 39 sec


  1. Select three images that inspire you and one image that represents a concern or worry you may have for the Riverwalk. Remember the corresponding image numbers.
  2. Once you're done reviewing the images, answer the questions below.

Interpreting the Data

The size of each image is proportional to the number of positive responses as assigned by the public at the March 30th event and through the subsequent online survey. The opacity of the red background is proportional to the number of negative responses.

Download a pdf of the Image Inspiration image wall (pdf, 1.6 MB)

Results from March 30th

(Does not include results collected online.)

Download a pdf of the results (pdf, 1.0 MB)

Weigh in...

Now you get to participate. View the images in the interactive viewing window. Select three images that inspire you about the Willamette Falls Riverwalk, and select one image that represents a concern or worry you have about the Riverwalk. Share a word or two to help us understand each selection.
Select an image that you like. (Select one.)
Select a second image that you like. (Select one.)
Select a third image that you like. (Select one.)
Select one image that you DON'T like. (Select one.)
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Share & Create

We asked community members to tell us a story about the Falls. See what people are talking about on this brief video.

Coloring Sheets

Do you love lampreys as much as we do? You can print these lamprey coloring sheets for fun at home.

Coloring Lamprays
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At the March 30th event, participants asked questions and discussed the project site with staff who specialize in hydrology, habitat and restoration, site history and economic development. The following are some of the questions we heard.

Your Questions...


When was the dam built?

Dams have been in place since the early days of European settlement in Oregon City for three main purposes: milling, creating infrastructure needed for shipping, and for generating electricity. The first reference to a dam comes in 1852 when it was mentioned along with other infrastructure associated with a dock for the steamboats. The "dam" has been rebuilt several times. For example, in 1866, a larger dam was made to enclose the basin, in 1892 the dam was rebuilt so that it reached across the entire length of the river from Station A, and in 1907 the wood crib dam was replaced with a new concrete structure.

Which tribes use the falls?

The Willamette Falls has been a special part of Tribal history. Native people from across the region visited and lived near the falls. The falls played an important role in trade, fishing, hunting, and gathering of native plants. As part of the design and interpretive efforts of the Willamette Falls Legacy project, outreach is ongoing to; the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation. The project team is working to identify ways that the story that is told about tribal use and rights to the falls is appropriate, respectful, and relevant. It is important that the project take into account the historic uses, treaty obligations, and resource protection of the natural and cultural resources of the area.


When were the locks last used?

The locks were completed in 1872 and were transferred to “non-operational” status for life safety reasons in 2011.

Is the riverwalk in a flood plain?

A portion of the 22 acre property is within the 100-year floodplain. The route of the Riverwalk has not been determined, but portions of the Riverwalk may be within the floodplain.

Is the West Linn portion of the site included in the project?

The Riverwalk design effort is focused on the 22 acre Blue Heron property and the portion of the PGE dam on the Oregon City side of the river.


Do lamprey still use Willamette Falls?

Yes! Lamprey migrate upriver through Willamette Falls using a series of fish ladders and ramps generally from late June through July.

What are lamprey used for?

Pacific lamprey are one of the oldest fish found in the Willamette River and are valued as one of the “First Foods” by Northwest tribes.

Are the lamprey in trouble or in decline?

Populations of lamprey have been in decline over the past several decades.

Do people fish on the river? What do they fish for?

Yes! Some common species are Chinook and Coho salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout, sturgeon.

Economic Development / General

Are there examples of other projects like this one?

There is nothing quite like what we have in Oregon City – a combination of falls, industry, history, and nature. While there is a wide range of projects that have some similar elements, we provided brief list of some of them:

  • San Antonio Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX
  • Mill Ruins Park - Minneapolis, MN
  • Mill District – Bend, OR
  • Landschaftspark – Duisburg-Nord, Germany

What is the timeframe for this project?

This design phase will be completed in approximately 18 - 24 months. Permitting and construction of the first phase will take approximately 2-3 years to complete.

When will the Riverwalk be completed?

Construction of the Riverwalk will be completed in phases. Funding for a first phase of the Riverwalk has been secured. Additional fundraising will need to be done to complete the remaining phases.

How can I access the falls today?

There is no open public access to the falls at this time. Information about site tours can be found at www.rediscoverthefalls.com

Who currently owns the site?

There are two property owners for the project site. Falls Legacy LLC owns the 22 acres of the former Blue Heron Paper Mill property, and Portland General Electric owns the dam.

We received many comments and ideas for the Riverwalk.

These are just some of the themes that we heard…

  • Access to Willamette River
  • Anchor Use
  • Arch Bridge
  • Art
  • Artifacts
  • Benefits For Oregon City And West Linn
  • Bikes and Pedestrian Access
  • Birds, Owls, Eagles, Swifts, Osprey, Blue Heron
  • Boat Tours of Willamette Falls
  • Business / Employment Opportunities
  • Camassia Nature Preserve
  • Canemah Neighborhood
  • Children’s Education
  • Cloud Software
  • Commercial Kitchen Rental
  • Community Garden
  • Commuter Rail
  • Concern about gentrification
  • Creative Space
  • Dickman Mill Park (Tacoma)
  • Economic Self-Sufficiency
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Educational/ Interpretive Signage
  • EMT Training
  • Exhibits
  • Existing Privately-Owned Dock
  • Fish Ladder
  • Fish Migration
  • Fish Viewing
  • Flood Plain And Flooding
  • Freight Movement
  • Frequent Bus Service
  • Funding
  • Fundraising
  • Glass Cover For Walkway
  • Habitat Restoration /Improvement/ Reintroduction
  • Harmonize Uses
  • Historic Buildings
  • Hotel
  • Industrial History
  • Innovative Jobs
  • Involve School-Children
  • Iron history (first use in concrete building)
  • Kayaking
  • Lamprey
  • Live And Work Community
  • Main Street
  • Manufacturing Jobs
  • Motorized Boats Beyond The Arch Bridge
  • Mural
  • National and International Events
  • Native People
  • Native Plants
  • Natural Space
  • Net Fishing / Dipnetting
  • Olympic-Level Training Center
  • Oregon Weather
  • Overdevelopment
  • Paddleboards
  • Parking
  • Parking Garage
  • Permanent Housing
  • Petroglyphs
  • Playground
  • Portland General Electric Dam
  • Private Development
  • Project Schedule
  • Promenade
  • Quiet Zone / Train Horns
  • Recreational Access
  • Restaurants
  • River Place in Portland
  • River-Level Window
  • Secluded Area
  • Senior Housing
  • Sense Of Place
  • Site Electricity Generated By The Falls
  • Site Ownership
  • Site Remediation
  • Site Tours
  • Small-Scale Production
  • Streetcar / Trolley
  • Sturgeon
  • Traditional Ceremonies
  • Traffic
  • Trail Connections
  • Unique Opportunity
  • Vegetation
  • Vibrant, Active Space
  • Videos / Media
  • Water Rights
  • Water Taxi
  • West Linn
  • Whitewater Park
  • Wildlife
  • Willamette Falls Locks
  • Zipline / Ski Lift / Tram / Gondola

You can also view ideas that were submitted last month through a community survey here.

Other Questions?

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Next Steps

Thank you for your interest in the Willamette Falls Legacy Project. Your feedback will be used together with feedback from other participants to help shape the future Riverwalk.

Although comments are no longer being accepted through this site, you are always welcome to submit your thoughts and questions by sending an email to info@rediscoverthefalls.com.

Use the mouse wheel to pan and zoom, or pinch and swipe on touch-enabled devices.


  • Schedule


Stay Involved

Mailing List (Optional)

Provide the following optional contact information if you would like to be added to the project mailing list.

Did you attend the March 30th community event? (Check one.)
How would you rate this (online) event? (Check one.)
How useful was the information presented at this event? (Check one.)
How likely are you to attend one of our future events? (Check one.)
These next questions help decision-makers at Metro know if we are hearing from people across all races/ethnicities, ages and income levels on these important decisions.
What county do you live in? (Check one.)
What is your age? (Check one.)
When asked to identify your racial or ethnic identity, how do you identify? (pick all that apply) (Check all that apply.)

How do you identify your gender? (Check one.)
Which of the following best represents the annual income of your household before taxes? (Check one.)
Do you live with a disability? (Check all that apply.)

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About the Project

The Willamette Falls Legacy Project is a partnership between Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro, the Governor’s Regional Solutions Team, Falls Legacy LLC and thousands of interested citizens. For more information, email info@rediscoverthefalls.com.