The central section of the South Waterfront Greenway officially opened for public use on Saturday.  

The greenway is a quarter mile long section of winding pathways on the Willamette River that has separate parallel trails for bikers and pedestrians, lookout spots with benches, and works of art.  

A portion of the greenway opened earlier this year.

Initially approved in 2004 by Portland City Council, the greenway is part of a long-term project to restore the Willamette River and create a greater community in southwest Portland along the river. More than 32,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris were removed and disposed of by the Oregon Voluntary Cleanup Program for the construction of this park.  

“We used our land thoughtlessly in the past and we are now recovering.  We have been about planning here for some time and we continue to be about a complete community,” said Mayor Charlie Hales during a short speech at the event.

Members of the Confederate Tribes of Grand Ronde were present to begin the ceremony with a drumming celebration and blessing of the land.  

The end goal of the project, Mayor Hales said, was to eventually connect the entire river pathway from North Portland to South Portland.