Envisioning a Waterfront Education Park

Efforts to restore Native American visibility and culture on the Willamette River are underway in an initiative known as the Waterfront Education Park at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland. Through a Metro grant, OMSI is partnering with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) to envision a Center for Tribal Nations (CTN) and Waterfront Education Park (WEP) to restore the Native American community’s presence on the river. The riverfront park, open to the public, will advance multi-tribal visibility by sharing culture, histories, traditional knowledge, ecological stewardship and perspectives on climate change.Mayer/Reed, as the design lead on the Waterfront Education Park, is working closely with OMSI, tribal representatives of the greater Portland metro region and multiple city agencies. We are also coordinating with an architectural team that is exploring feasibility of the Center for Tribal Nations within the planned OMSI district. We are currently participating in a series of listening sessions with Native American inter-tribal leaders and members to learn how we can assist in creating long overdue Indigenous representation and greater visibility in the central city and along the river. New overlooks and an over-water trail segment are being considered as ways to provide enhanced river perspectives. We’re also exploring ideas for gathering spaces and outdoor classrooms for use by native communities and story-telling. Additional works by tribal artists, such as those incorporated on the Tilikum Crossing, may be featured along the waterfront.

“We Have Always Lived Here” bronze and basalt artwork by Greg A. Robinson, commissioned by TriMet, at the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People

The WEP will serve as an extension of OMSI’s mission to further knowledge of science and technology, while framing these topics within the context of river health and cultural, historic and Indigenous knowledge relative to the Willamette River and the Pacific Northwest. First foods, in addition to nourishing native peoples, hold religious, cultural, economic and medicinal significance for Indigenous societies. Plantings such as tule, wapato and camas can be used throughout the site to underscore their relevance to seasonal food cycles, for example. Creating greater connections of site to the river through extensive bank restoration will provide critical migratory fish habitat within Portland’s Central City.

This WEP work strives to advance the vision for meaningful, innovative, and educational public open space, habitat and shared experiences of the Willamette Greenway Trail through the OMSI property. Our previous work with Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) and GreenWorks, PC on the Hawthorne Crescent design (a public-private parcel of waterfront between OMSI and the Hawthorne Bridge) will knit seamlessly into the OMSI property improvements.

We are honored to be a part of the CTN/WEP team and look forward to learning more through tribal listening and work sessions, site explorations and public forums to gain valuable input from the community at large. To everyone’s benefit, the result will be a deeper, shared understanding of the river and our relationship to it informed by the narratives, perspectives, insights and knowledge of Native Americans.

Posted: Mar 26, 2021
Written by: Mayer/Reed
Posted March 26, 2021
Written by: Mayer/Reed
Categories: PROJECTS 

What’s the Story of Errol Heights Park?

What are your fondest childhood memories of explorations in nature? How did these experiences influence your values? How do we engage today’s families in natural settings, so they pass along the importance of environmental stewardship? How do we best create a balance of park amenities with preservation of the wild?These are salient topics of conversation in the planning of Errol Heights Park in SE Portland. If you haven’t discovered it first-hand, this choice locale is known for its spring-fed ponds, beavers, and steep, wooded terrain. Formerly private home sites, it’s now a 16-acre public space with minimal improvements. It reminds us of the rich, feral landscapes we experienced as kids.At a public open house earlier this month, Portland Parks and Recreation and the design team shared a proposed park plan that takes a light touch. It preserves the habitat of the lower natural wetland and riparian areas, improves the trail system and provides a low-impact, upland area for overlooks, nature play, picnics and community gardens. We had one-on-one conversations with neighbors and families, as well as educators who regularly use the space for environmental education. They shared their insights regarding park amenities, character and themes. Even the youngest attendees got involved, creating imaginative playgrounds with tactile materials. The community’s feedback will be reflected in our refinement of the park design.

Mayer/Reed Is DJC Newsmakers Landscape Architecture Firm of the Year

The Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon honored Mayer/Reed with the award for Landscape Architecture Firm of the Year during the 2018 DJC Newsmakers Awards event in Portland, Oregon.

Mayer/Reed Associates Teresa Chenney, FASLA and Ryan Carlson, LEED AP accepted the award for Landscape Architecture Firm of the Year at the March luncheon.

The Newsmakers annual award program recognizes “the built environment’s most interesting and influential people and companies of the past year.” The editorial staff at the DJC recognized Mayer/Reed for our work on current high profile projects such as the Willamette Falls Riverwalk in Oregon City, the Hyatt Regency Portland, and the event plaza at the Oregon Convention Center.

Posted: Apr 10, 2018
Written by: Mayer/Reed
Posted April 10, 2018
Written by: Mayer/Reed
Categories: AWARDS  EVENTS 

Portland City Hall’s Roof is Going Green (and Red!)

The City of Portland is walking its talk. The historic City Hall will receive an eco-roof to underscore the city’s Green Building Policy and its commitment to sustainability.

Rendering showing the roof in spring

Approved last week by the Historic Landmarks Commission, the eco-roof design must be compatible with the 1895 building’s historic character, including views from the surrounding towers above. Mayer/Reed’s formal layout creates panels of framed sedum plantings over areas of roof that can withstand the extra saturated weight.

As part of a roof replacement and exterior surfaces renovation led by Architectural Resources Group, Mayer/Reed designed the eco-roof to be economical and low maintenance, while maximizing ecological and aesthetic benefits. Initially, the team wasn’t sure that an eco-roof would work due to weight, but then determined that a thin profile cinder system would meet requirements.

Rendering showing the roof in fall

The eco-roof will feature a mix of 12 drought-tolerant plant species including sedum and flowering bulbs to create seasonal interest. At certain times of the year, the vegetation will be take on a red hue, rather than green.