Willamette Falls Legacy Project

Oregon City, OR

City of Oregon City


Mayer Reed

Services/Project Type
Structural Engineering
Civil Engineering
Land Use and Master Planning
Real Estate Support Engineering
Natural Resources

Located on the Willamette River just outside Portland, Willamette Falls is the second most powerful waterfall in North America. It is a historical and cultural treasure – it was an important cultural and gathering place for Native tribes and the terminus for the Oregon Trail. Throughout the 1800s, the Falls generated energy for Oregon’s early industries and cities and fueled the nation’s first long-distance electrical power transmission.

For more than 150 years, the awesome beauty of the Falls has been closed to the public. A diverse collection of civic agencies, private organizations and community advocacy groups are working to bring the Falls back to the people and transform the 23-acre, former industrial site.

KPFF first provided civil and structural engineering evaluation services of the site after the Blue Heron Paper Mill closed in 2011. Helping to inform the Willamette Falls Legacy Project master plan, KPFF advised on structural integrity of existing structures and identified strategies for on-site stormwater management. The team also proposed utility improvements throughout the new roadway grid. Findings and recommendations were incorporated into the master plan and application for land use approval.

Moving forward, a new public river walk will be the first phase of improvements to be implemented. Construction is expected to start mid 2018. The Riverwalk will connect historic downtown Oregon City to Willamette Falls, allowing people to see and experience the Falls up close. Future development will encompass a mix of public spaces and habitat restoration, and new residential and commercial construction.


Awards & Recognition

Highest planning honor in "Excellence on the Waterfront" program, Waterfront Center, 2016

Special Recognition for a Project with Statewide Significance, Oregon APA (OAPA), 2015

ASLA Oregon Merit Award, Analysis and Planning Category, Oregon ASLA, 2014


© Snohetta
© Snohetta
© Snohetta
© Snohetta
© Snohetta