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<ul><li> Serve as a primer on the ecological function, processes and defining

<ul><li> Serve as a primer on the ecological function, processes and defining

<ul><li> Serve as a primer on the ecological function, processes and defining

<ul><li> Serve as a primer on the ecological function, processes and defining

Honor Award -- Analysis & Planning

Willamette Riverbank Design Notebook
Portland, Oregon

GreenWorks, P.C. in association with: ClearWater West, Martha Mitchell; Fishman Environmental Services, Paul Fishman; Inter-Fluve, Inc., Greg Koonce; KPFF Consulting Engineers, Inc., Andrew Jansky

Mike Abbaté
Principal, GreenWorks, P.C.
24 NW 2nd Avenue
Suite 100
Portland, OR 97209
Tel: 503-222-5612
Fax: 503-222-2283

Statement of Purpose: A user's guide designed to foster creativity and innovation in developing an urban river's edge that improves conditions for the fish, wildlife and people or the City of Portland, Oregon.

The Portland Development Commission desired a voluntary guidebook to facilitate projects that accomplish both environmental and economic objectives, and that would:

  • Serve as a primer on the ecological function, processes and defining characteristics of the Willamette River
  • Describe the existing conditions of the river through Portland
  • Provide illustrative examples of riverfront designs which accomplish both habitat enhancement and economic development
  • Be updated over time as scientific discoveries lead to new approaches

Meant to be useful for both public and private property owners along the Willamette River, the Design Notebook establishes common goals for development at the river's edge. It then builds on these goals by providing illustrative examples of ways to physically accomplish these goals on a site.

Community Context: Development along the Willamette River in Portland is in turmoil. Salmon and steelhead, mighty icons of the Pacific Northwest, are facing extinction. Some see these magnificent creatures as a formidable barrier to development. Others see urban development as one of the causes for the decline of the species. Private and public landowners alike are unsure about what will or will not be allowed by the various federal and state agencies charged with the recovery of threatened and endangered species. At the same time, Portland's riverfront is changing. Redevelopment along the Willamette River is providing an opportunity to enhance the environment at the water's edge.

The design solutions in the Notebook address a variety of riverfront uses, including parks, deep water port shipping, commercial and residential development, recreational boating, flood passage, bank stabilization, roads and railroads, commercial and industrial water traffic, and emergency and recreation access. The Design Notebook provides landowners with analysis tools and design approaches for the riverbank that have been developed in consultation with the various regulatory agencies.

Role of the Landscape Architect: The landscape Architect led an interdisciplinary team of ecologists, biologists, engineers, hydrologists, and erosion control specialists in the development of the Notebook. The Landscape Architect served as team leader, interfacing with various City Bureaus, State and Federal Agencies. The Landscape Architect also led design sessions, was publisher of the Notebook, and provided all graphics for the project.

Special Factors: This entire project was unique. In analyzing waterfront development around the world, examples abound of beautifully designed urban waterfronts, or technically impressive rural river restoration projects, but almost no examples of ecologically sensitive urban riverfront design exist. There was no "boilerplate" to follow. All decisions, from identifying the defining characteristics of the river, to developing design objectives, to the Design Worksheet methodology, to the individual design ideas themselves were unique creations of the client and consultant team. The result is a tool that meets the unique community sensibilities and ecology of the City of Portland.

Significance: Landscape Architects are equipped to design our cities for both people and wildlife. From detailed inventory of 15 miles of the Willamette River within the City of Portland to meeting with property owners, agency representatives, and scientists, the landscape architect expanded the public's understanding of the profession. This IS urban ecological planning, with both social and natural systems considered and enhanced. This is the essence of sustainable design.

Client Statement: The Willamette Riverbank Design Notebook accomplished the goals we established when we initiated this project. We wanted a tool that clearly communicated the dynamic character of the river environment to developers, planners and the general public, and conveyed creative ideas for riverbank development in both words and graphics. We also desired a tool that could be applied to the full spectrum of riverfront land uses and developments in Portland.

We believe the strategies outlined in the Notebook expand upon Portland's reputation as a sustainable environmentally conscious city, and assists in the recovery of an endangered species.

2002 Award Winners
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