Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade

Portland, OR
Portland Development Commission
Slayden Construction
Low Impact Development
Green Streets
Sustainable Stormwater
Services/Project Type
Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering
Specialty Engineering
Ports and Waterfront
Roads and Bridges
Low Impact Development
Mechanical Engineering/Moveable Structures
Boundary Surveys
Topographic Surveys
Floating Structures
Pedestrian Bridges
Green Streets

This groundbreaking active transportation project in Portland, Oregon recovered part of the Willamette River’s downtown east bank, long dominated by I-5, for bike and pedestrian use. KPFF provided civil, structural, surveying, permitting and marine services for all six phases.

The project encompasses a curved floating walkway from the Steel Bridge to the Burnside Bridge; an Oregon Convention Center dock; a fireboat and public vessel dock; two city blocks of public festival plaza and parking area; and a bioengineering riverbank design that used 100% natural materials and recycled existing riprap into an environmentally friendly system.

Also included were a pedestrian ramp structure with an ADA incline lift leading to the Burnside Bridge, a 600-foot-long cantilevered walkway supported by an existing historic seawall, seating areas and 4,000 feet of a public riverfront esplanade. Extensive mitigation measures were required in the permitting process, including riparian mitigation, bioengineering, and slope stabilization. Multiple water quality features were integrated into the design to satisfy the interests and requirements of the involved agencies.

The design minimized moving parts and created a simple-yet-elegant, low-maintenance pedestrian link with minimal operations costs. The Eastbank Esplanade serves as a model to the engineering profession for riverbank development and revitalization across the country.

Awards & Recognition

  • ASLA, Award of Excellence (Phase II) (2004)
  • AON/AGC, Build America Award (Phase I) (1999)
  • ACEC Oregon, Engineering Excellence Grand Award (2002)
  • The Waterfront Center - Washington D.C., Excellence on the Waterfront Competition-Honor Award (2001)
  • Governor's Livability Award (2002)
  • ACEC National, National Recognition Award (2002)