Michelle Delk and Matt McMahon are transforming the historic Willamette Falls in Oregon City, reconnecting it with the public for the first time in 150 years.
Snøhetta put forward two options that consider the reconstruction of Main Street as a flood-controlled access point. From there, each section of the large site is broken down into key uses: falls viewing, river access and activities, gathering and event spaces, habitat restoration, walkways and biking trails as well as historic reuse. This breakdown allows community residents to understand the scope of development and how a new master plan for the falls could enhance their city.
“The river-walk will serve as a portal to the Northwest’s collective history,” said Snøhetta, “reviving a former industrial site through its aggregated layers of natural, ecological, cultural and geological history.” The new design treats the whole site as a single landscape, with a network of promenades and lofted pathways that lace through the physical strata of the site, immersing visitors in a tactile experience that celebrates the changing water level, the feeling of the spray on your skin, the dramatic play of light and the roar and presence of the falls.
– Sydney Franklin, Architizer
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