Connecting with the river, Willamette Falls: Rediscovery and Redesign

September 9, 2015 @ 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
Portland Art Museum, Fred and Suzanne Fields Ballroom

A conversation with Snøhetta, Mayer/Reed, and DIALOG presented by the UO John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape.

Free admission.

Mingle/cash bar: 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Discussion:  6:30-8:00 p.m.

PORTLAND, OR. – (August 4, 2015) – No landscape feature in the metro region is as grand—and more hidden—than Willamette Falls. Second only to Niagara Falls for the volume of water spilling over it, the falls have been sacred to Native Americans for millennia, a powerhouse to the economy for a century, and blocked from public access for decades.

That’s about to change. With the bankruptcy and sale of the adjacent Blue Heron Paper Mill, Oregon City has re-zoned the land to be a new part of its downtown. And for the water’s edge, Willamette Falls Legacy Project partners Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and the State of Oregon have launched the creation of a bold new riverwalk. In June, a national solicitation yielded the international team to design it, led by Portland’s Mayer/Reed with the Oslo/New York-based Snøhetta and Vancouver, BC’s DIALOG. The dynamic combo of design team and site promises the most dramatic new connection to the Willamette River since the demolition of Harbor Drive to build Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Hosted by journalist and University of Oregon John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape executive director, Randy Gragg, the Willamette Falls Legacy Project partners invite you to an evening with the designers to see their past work and hear how they will approach inventing a new experience of Willamette Falls.

Carol Mayer-Reed, FASLA – Mayer/Reed
Mayer-Reed, brings more than 30 years of experience designing parks, waterfronts, plazas, streetscapes, recovered brownfield sites, stormwater infrastructure, natural areas and town center revitalization projects. Carol’s background includes designing a number of segments of the Willamette Greenway Trail, Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade as well as other public trails that link people with rivers and natural spaces.

Michelle Delk, ASLA – Snøhetta
As director of Landscape Architecture for Oslo/New York-based Snøhetta, Delk has lead a wide array of projects: downtown plazas, conceptual plans for hundreds of acres of parks, streetscape revitalizations, and campus plazas and green-spaces. Currently, Michelle is leading the design of the New Calgary Public Library Plaza and Gardens and the Temple Library Landscape.

Alan Boniface, AIBC – DIALOG
A Principal at DIALOG, Alan is recognized as a leading thinker on urban issues. Alan’s experience spans all project types from single-family homes to large-scale urban redevelopments in Vancouver, Edmonton, Los Angeles, and Memphis.  As a past chair of the Vancouver Planning Commission, Alan is particularly well-versed in working with governments to shape private development.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.