The Metro Council signed onto an agreement Thursday aimed at opening up an inaccessible stretch of the Willamette River.
Since the Blue Heron Paper Mill folded a few years ago in Oregon City, Metro has been working with other local governments to plan next steps for the site next to Willamette Falls.
Draft plans include private development and a public area.
Metro councilors - including Carlotta Collette - approved an agreement to pursue land for the first piece of public access, called the “river walk.”
“One thing we learned - it’s almost like a drug. When people get up and feel the water - feel the falls - they understand the project,” Collette said. “So we got to get a lot of people up there - up to the falls, and the safest, smartest, most attractive, best investment we can make to get them there, is really the River Walk.”
Clackamas County has signed the agreement and Oregon City is expected to.
The state is offering five million dollars to pay for access — contingent on local funds covering the additional cost.