Wednesday, April 8, 2015

South Waterfront Spring Walk

About a month ago, I took a Sunday morning urban hike that included newly-developed public walking areas along Portland's South Waterfront renewal area.

Although the paths were open, the planted areas were newly completed and were still fenced off.

Vaults were sunken into the waterline to hold shrubs and stabilize the shoreline.

A wide path ran all the way down to the river.

I guess you could portage your canoe down and launch it here.
There's very little of the industry left, but this part of the riverfront was formerly a significant ship-building area. I liked the reference to ship hulls in the steel used to retain the grassy slope.

I'm not so sure about the message in this sculptural assemblage: The drifting nature of humankind? Man-made forms ensnare the natural world?

There was no name or artist plaque to help with interpretation. I liked the loose cabled ties holding it all together.

We're getting used to seeing gabions used in atypical situations. Here they're completely functional and fit right in with the industrial feel of the waterfront.

This good-sized Arbutus menzesii looked to be in good health.
But a few of the trees looked like they might have died after being planted. Fingers crossed it was transplant shock and they'll come back as spring progresses.
Most of the plantings appeared to be natives and riverfront species.

Right now, there's a lot of rock and a lot of paving, but the plantings will green up and gradually fill in.

And as much as Portlanders love their Willamette riverfront, I'm sure by the time summer comes, this fresh expanse of grass will be covered with people, kids and dogs, and strollers, runners and bicyclists will be filling the paved areas.


  1. I hope the trees are just in transplant shock, and not dead. I guess time will tell. That is a strange but interesting sculpture.

  2. I haven't yet explored this part of the South Waterfront. Thanks for the tour!

  3. My sister-in-law went to nursing school at OHSU, so we were taking a trip down memory lane the other day. Rode the tram and wandered the riverfront district. We wanted to get to the river, but could see the fences down there. Thanks for this post: next best thing to being there.

  4. What's happening with our native Arbutus menzesii? Poor things - one of my favorite trees! The South Waterfront Greenway looks like a great place to spend an afternoon! The sculpture - maybe "The natural world keeps us afloat?" Thanks for the tour!

  5. I would like to see this when it matures.


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