Portland, OR. A message from editor, Elisa Klein. First, thank you for caring about our local nonprofits! At Portland Society Page, our coverage is often of exciting events held to raise money for worthy causes. We also spotlight inspiring volunteers who are the lifeblood of many local charities. Necessary Covid-19 restrictions meant that most volunteers had to stay away from the charities they love. Supporters who usually flock to galas were social distancing in 2020 and lamenting the fact that large gatherings had to be prohibited. All the while, nonprofit professionals put forth Herculean efforts to keep their organizations afloat, many from their home offices. Some sectors, like human services, have seen a surge of donations, while arts organizations have struggled mightily without the benefit of ticket sales.
Yet through these exceptional times, the generosity of our community remains constant. Nonprofits promoting social justice have seen renewed interest. Donations have brought hope to thousands of our friends and neighbors. The thankful include the elderly living alone receiving hot meals, children with learning differences finding support through zoom, brilliant performance artists feeding their families with grant money, and bone-tired frontline workers using donated personal protective equipment.
2020 zoom photo, Elisa Klein
Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” Your interest in the nonprofit community offers hope. Together, let’s look forward to a better and brighter 2021!
Thank you, Elisa Klein
Now, we’ll share the stories you read most this year in reverse order.
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.
“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
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