The donations for this upcoming project have arrived from two sides. A well-known charitable trust, Ann & Bill Swindells, have donated $2 million and Ballmer Group, more precisely Connie Ballmer, has provided $5 million.
Willamette Falls Trust’s executive director Andrew Mason has said that this donation is of tremendous value for the entire state of Oregon. The donation will help Oregon City, the state itself, the metro located in Portland, and of course, it will stimulate the Riverwalk project.
The project is scheduled for the end of the spring next year. The main goal of the project is to transform the old mill buildings. These paper mills will be repurposed into an overlook facility. When the project is finished, the public will have a chance to enjoy the view of the falls and the beautiful scenery surrounding the Willamette River. The Riverwalk project will reanimate the cultural and historical interpretation of the area, as well as the gathering spaces and the habitat.
Connie Ballmer, one of the two donors for the project, used to work as a young student at a Crown Zellerbach mill, located on the west side of the Falls. Ballmer has stated that the current situation with the Falls is the same as if someone had placed a roof on top of the Grand Canyon, and hid it from the public eye. She has added that the time has come for Willamette Falls to have their roof taken off them and for the public to breathe in the beauty of this site.
Cultural, Historical, and Natural Treasures
Andrew Mason has also discussed the issue regarding public access to this iconic site. He has stated that it is an enormous shame that the second largest waterfall in the U.S. remains literally locked away from the public. The Falls are currency behind the fences, and that fact is a disgrace to the state of Oregon. Mason is glad that Oregon now has a chance to resurrect this valuable site.
The goal of the initial stage of the Riverwalk project is $35 million acquired through fundraising. Mason stated that, according to the plane, this stage should be completed by 2022. Willamette Falls Legacy Project has already provided $19.5 million. Also, the additional amount of $7 million has pushed the project so close to its goal — 75% of the fundraising objective is already acquired.
Besides this, Andrew Mason expects bond measure for the Metro park to end up in the ballot by the end of this year. This bond measure will aid the pace of the upcoming stages of the project. These future stages will help with the development of the entire area. Mason revealed that the plans for the falls included cultural events, community events, food carts, and much more. All of these entertaining and culturally enriching details will turn the site into a place of inspiration and adoration. Andrew Mason has also added that this site is of tremendous importance and value for both natural and tribal history.