PDX Remember-When: Life Before the Eastbank Esplanade

May 12, 2008

It’s a vague memory. Picking through underbrush and worrying myself over broken bottles and heaps of concrete at night, in my late-teen early-photography-phase quests to get night shots of the skyline. The east side of the Willamette River before the Eastbank Esplanade. A messy and nearly-inaccessible river bank full of tangled, malevolent vines and homeless encampments.

In May, 2001, the city officially opened the Eastbank Esplanade, the 1.5-mile segment of path and floating walkway connecting the Steel Bridge to the Hawthorne, completing a 2.8-mile (or so) loop around the waterfront (the other half being, as you may know, Tom McCall Waterfront Park on the west bank).

Where I used to work is three blocks from the promenade, and the current office is of a likewise distance. I use the path perhaps twice a week, more in the summer, for wanderings and flailing. Enough such that I can barely remember what it was like before, as those memories have all been scrubbed away and layered over with more recent, attractive ones.

Do you remember what the east bank was like before the Esplanade? Do you have any interesting memories of the construction?

Also, there was originally going to be a Phase III of the development plan: developing the path from the Hawthorne down to OMSI. That area is still fairly bedraggled. Did this phase get dropped or is it still on the horizon?

One Comment

  1. Aaron B. Hockley says:

    I don’t have a link handy, but I saw something last week about a developer that’s building on the east bank near OMSI, and developing a waterfront walkway was part of the deal.

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