Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade

The Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is a riverfront trail that extends 1.5 miles along the Willamette River, connecting the east and west sides of downtown Portland. The esplanade provides places for active recreation, public gathering, and quiet contemplation. Interpretive signs along the path weave a story of Portland’s development, explaining the natural, cultural, and economic history that created its identity. The esplanade’s contribution to Portland’s sustainability is threefold: It's a major corridor for active transportation through cycling and walking; portions of the riverbank have been restored to a more natural state with native plantings to provide wildlife habitat; and it has reclaimed derelict land to create a park for public enjoyment.

Landscape architects were central to the development of the esplanade. The 1994 Eastbank Riverfront Park Master Plan by Hargreaves Associates created a vision to guide the design and development of the park. Following the adoption of the plan, Portland landscape architects Mayer/Reed designed the park to be a place for people and nature. Along this linear corridor, the designers created a series of public spaces to experience the river. Landscape architects from Portland Parks & Recreation managed the construction of the esplanade, which opened in 2001. In 2004, the esplanade was named for Mayor Vera Katz, who was an advocate for its construction, to honor her vision and leadership for Portland.

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