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Contest launched for Willamette Falls river walk

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Metro has launched a competition for a £6.6 million riverwalk at North America’s second most powerful waterfall – Willamette Falls

The contest – organised by Oregon’s regional government (Metro) – seeks a ‘collaborative, innovative and dynamic’ team to create a new public access route to the natural landmark.  

The nine hectare site was closed to visitors for more than a century and is now being opened up following the closure of the Blue Heron Paper Company mill four years ago.

The U-shaped waterfall was a traditional fishing site used by Native Americans before its discovery by European fur traders in 1810. Papers mills and hydroelectric dams were constructed around the falls during the nineteenth century.

According to the brief: ‘For this high-profile work on the first phase of the riverwalk, Metro seeks a team with the nimbleness to think and learn on its feet, the ambition to tackle complexities and the collaborative skills to work with a diverse group of people.

‘This team should also be bold and innovative and create a design that leaves visitors filled with a sense of wonder and appreciation. Metro seeks a team that listens and exhibits a commitment to excellence.’

Proposals must connect visitors ‘physically and emotionally’ with the river and encourage arrival by foot or bike.

Participants from outside of Oregon State are encouraged to team up with a local firm. Design team qualifications and a design methodology must be submitted during the competition’s first round.

Shortlisted teams will then be invited to submit a conceptual work plan and idea boards during the contest’s second stage.

The winning team – set to be announced in May – will be appointed to develop detailed designs for the scheme and receive around £430,000 in fees.

The deadline for submitting proposals is 2pm Pacific Time on 11 March.

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