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Portlanders gather to envision the future of the South Reach of the Willamette River

News Article
Now you can share your ideas and hopes for the Willamette River and surrounding banks, trails and neighborhoods, from the Ross Island Bridge south to Dunthorpe.

Recipe for a visioning workshop


  • People who care about the future of the South Reach area of the Willamette River.
  • A few tables.
  • Maps of the study area.
  • Pens (lots of colors).
  • Ideas (big and small).


  1. Find a place to gather and share ideas. (Community centers and schools are good.)
  2. Invite community members to brainstorm with you.
  3. On the day of, set up the room with maps, easels, markers, tables and chairs.
  4. Welcome participants and fuel them with coffee, tea and nutritious snacks.
  5. Join a table and gather round a map.
  6. Listen as people share their ideas and watch as planners and urban designers translate their vision onto paper.
  7. Put the input on the communal stove and let simmer for awhile.
  8. Taste and refine.

That’s what happened on a recent Saturday morning at Llewellyn Elementary School in Sellwood. Some two dozen interested Portlanders came to learn more about the new long-range planning effort for the southern portion of Portland and Dunthorpe in, along and near the Willamette.

After planners gave an overview of the project, community members rotated among three tables and discussed their ideas to enhance: 1) recreation; 2) natural resources; and 3) the relationship of nearby neighborhoods to the river.

Staff recorded ideas on maps and took notes. The results of this workshop will help define the community’s vision for the area. This is in addition to other comments received at community outreach events like river walks and public meetings.

What did they say?

Overall, community members expressed admiration for this stretch of the Willamette River. But they suggested many ideas for making it even better for people, fish and wildlife. Here’s some of what we heard community members want:

  • Complete the riverfront trail system and extend the trail to Lake Oswego.
  • Create more opportunities for boating throughout the South Reach.
  • Balance public recreation with the protection and improvement of natural features that support fish and wildlife.
  • Create safe public access to the river from all nearby neighborhoods.

Couldn’t make the workshop? Want to share your vision for the South Reach?

No problem. You can share your ideas about the Willamette River / South Reach and what it can be over the next 20 years in an online questionnaire. The questions are like those posed at the Visioning Workshop.

And review the draft River Plan / South Reach Existing Conditions Report and send staff your comments (see contact info below).

Join us at a variety of summer activities and calendar items

Staff will also organize two eastside river walks to dive deeper into riverfront topics with interested public.

You can also meet and greet staff at summer park concerts where you can provide your input at a table with project information and maps. See below. 

Finally, stay tuned for more information about topical and geographic discussions in the community in August and September. The discussions will be based on the Existing Conditions Report and public comments received thus far.

Mark your calendars and join City staff at these summer activities for the River Plan / South Reach:

River Plan/South Reach Tabling at Willamette Park Concert

July 19, 2018, 5 – 8 p.m.

SW Macadam Ave and Nebraska St

Transit #35 (limited services - #43, #36, #99)

Sellwood Riverfront Walk

July 26, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.

Sellwood Riverfront Park by the restrooms

SE Spokane St and Oaks Pkwy

Transit: #70 (limited service - #99)

Brooklyn Riverfront Walk

July 31, 2018, 6 – 8 p.m.

Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge Trailhead Parking Lot

SE Milwaukie Ave and SE Mitchell St

Transit: #70

For more information ...

Sign up for project updates, and we'll send the River Plan E-news with the latest info about River Plan / South Reach.

Or contact project staff:

Debbie Bischoff, Debbie.Bischoff@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-6946

Jeff Caudill, Jeff.Caudill@portlandoregon.gov, 503-823-4572