St. Helens Riverwalk

The riverwalk extends along the Columbia River in the Old Town District of St. Helens.

Portland-based architect firm Mayer / Reed has been selected for the design and construction of the St. Helens riverwalk project.

The City Council approved the selection committee's recommendation of the firm as most qualified to do the work, instructing city staff to prepare a contract.

Redeveloping the riverfront property into public and commercial space has long been on the agenda of the city, and this selection inches the city closer to breaking ground.

In 2015, the city purchased 225 acres along the river, including the 22-acre Veneer Property that was once the site of a plywood veneer plant. That site plays a key role in the development due to its proximity to downtown.

In a letter to the city, Mayer / Reed outlined its project approach, which includes seven major tasks. The first is project start-up and management which will work with the city project manager to iron out the schedule and details.

Task two involves the public, and the firm recommended that a technical advisory be formed of key decision makers— both city staff and outside stakeholders. Two public events are proposed, one at the end of this summer when 30% of the design phase should be complete and one when 90% of the design phase is complete and a construction timeline is ready to be shared. 

The city released conceptual drawings of what the redevelopment may look like back in May of 2020, but Mayer / Reed will be designing a formal plan.

The third step is to begin technical investigations, which includes environmental and geotechnical reports, and the fourth is to begin applying for permits. Following those steps will be the preliminary design, including design alternatives.

The final design will be checked in at the 30%, 60% and 90% progress points for review and comments. The last step is to prepare the construction package for bid and award a contract. Mayer / Reed is partnered with civil engineering firm Otak which will take over construction management.

Mayer / Reed's proposed schedule has design running through the end of this year, with construction to potentially span from 2022 to 2023.

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