Crescent Eastbank Riverside Park
The last remaining parcel of open space on the east bank of the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon is a derelict three-acre site beneath a freeway overpass. Despite the city’s desire to create a destination public space on the parcel, the site presents a unique challenge due to its degraded condition and the loud rumble of traffic from the freeway that pervades every corner of the site. To resolve these conflicts, the landscape concept for the site includes a series of tilted landforms or “fingers” created by the introduction of massive, weathered steel walls perpendicular to the river. One becomes an overlook to the water and another resolves in amphitheater seating. Still others become steps to the water’s edge or planted slopes, and one ramps to the water to provide boat access. While these ramping landforms create the stages needed for the desired site uses, they also greatly increase the diversity of shallow water habitat along the river ’s edge for wildlife and in particular the Chinook Salmon. In their many forms, the landform “fingers” successfully reconcile the conflicting demands of cultural, recreational, and environmental demands within a technically challenging setting.
© Martha Schwartz Partners