Portland, OR. Willamette Falls Trust is working to engage community members by keeping them up to date about what’s going on with the project. One way is to offer a Virtual Tour of the Falls.

The Willamette Fall Trust is working to create a place where people can fully experience the beauty of the continents’ second most powerful waterfall, Willamette Falls, up close. The group plans to achieve this by creating a Riverwalk, which will give the public access to the intricacies of the river and waterfall. A few of the plans are to add a series of winding promenades and lofting pathways along the Willamette River to give people a great experience with the river and an intimate view of the Falls. The goal is to add an overlook at the precipice of the Falls and connect the Falls to downtown Oregon City. Designs for phase one of the Riverwalk are in the final stages and they are getting ready to start construction.

Willamette Falls Trust wants to make the Riverwalk into a place to tell stories of the communities that intersect at the Falls and the histories of the place.

Willamette Falls Trust has shared renderings of plans for what the future Riverwalk will look like.

Willamette Falls Trust is not currently adding volunteers because of pandemic guidelines, but the nonprofit hopes to soon. You can sign up here to stay updated on volunteer possibilities in the future.

The current plans for the Willamette Falls Riverwalk include repurposing one of the former mill buildings into a three-story structure which will provide visitors with an overlook of the falls and Willamette River, restored habitat and gathering spaces as well as the historic and cultural interpretation of the site.

From Laura Lundborg, a volunteer at Willamette Falls Trust:

“I was born and raised near Willamette Falls. I remember as a child, when we’d drive by and catch a glimpse of the Falls—and how extraordinary it was. As an adult, I feel that same awe. I will often pull over to the outlook on a sunny day to take in the view. It’s amazing how quickly looking over such beauty calms me and makes me feel at home.

My hope is that the Riverwalk will create that same sense of belonging for others, whether they live here or are just visiting. It’s what made me want to volunteer. Because this project is so much more than constructing buildings and walkways to view the largest waterfall in the Northwest. It is about celebrating people—past and present—who have built their lives around the Falls. It’s about safeguarding and sharing a beautiful landmark and habitat in a meaningful way.

 I chose to volunteer because listening to and honoring the many histories and lifeways found at the Falls feels important to me. And I want to be part of bringing people together for the betterment of our community and environment. 

 My experience volunteering with Willamette Falls Trust has been meaningful in many ways. I immediately felt a kinship with the staff, and I appreciate how welcoming they are. My volunteer work is often behind the scenes, yet I still feel a connection with the community. It’s allowed me to contribute as many hours as I can to a project that protects and restores the beauty and environment of the Falls and creates a space to share our stories for many generations to come. 

 Being part of reimagining this spectacular place is meaningful beyond words.”

Willamette Falls Trust is the nonprofit organization raising funds and engaging the community to realize the collective vision for a spectacular Riverwalk at the Falls. This vision includes an overlook at the precipice of the Falls, a connection to Oregon City’s downtown, and opportunities to learn more about the significance of Willamette Falls since time immemorial.

As we curate this collective vision for Willamette Falls, we partner closely with the Willamette Falls Legacy Project—the public-sector collaboration that is managing Riverwalk construction—and our other partners, including:

  • Confederated Tribes and Bands of The Yakama Nation

  • Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde

  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

  • Confederated Tribes of The Umatilla Indian Reservations

  • Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs

  • Downtown Oregon City Association

  • Portland General Electric

  • Rivers of Life

  • Travel Oregon/Mt Hood Territory

  • West Linn Paper

  • We Love Clean Rivers

  • Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation

  • Willamette Falls and Landings Heritage Area Coalition

  • Willamette Riverkeeper