Tom McCall Waterfront Park – All You Need to Know Before You Go

The Tom McCall waterfront park is one of the most picturesque parks in Oregon. Built on the west bank of river Willamette, the park covers a massive 36.59 acres and is 1.5 miles long near downtown Portland. The park was established after the 1974 Harbor Drive freeway removal and opened for public use in 1978 where it became an instant hit. In 1984, the park was renamed after Tom McCall, the Oregon governor who had pledged the beautification of the west bank of the river. To the south of the park, lies the RiverPlace. The Steel Bridge borders the park to the North and the Naito Parkway border the park the west.

The History Of The Tom McCall

The City of Portland had identified the need to have green spaces along the riverbanks as well as the parks within the city as far back in 1902 and 1912. However, the plans muted were focused on having these facilities in the city and not along the riverbanks. In fact, in 1920 a seawall was constructed along the riverbanks to negate the problem of flooding that occurred during winter months. Furthermore, in 1940, the Harbor Drive was constructed along the riverbank.

These two activities negatively affected access to the river as it completely removed access to the river. However, after the completion of Marquam Bridge that connected interstate 5, Harbor Drive traffic dropped drastically. Around that time, there were calls for an open space park to be established along the riverbank. Groups such as Waterfront for People even held a picnic protest along patches of land between the road and river. In 1968, Governor Tom McCall set up a task force to carry out a feasibility study for the establishment of the park. This culminated with the Tom McCall Waterfront Park being established.

Ideal Activities To Engage In The Park

Owing to the size of the park, it is one of the best places to host a large group event. As such, it is home to the Oregon Brewers Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, the Bite of Oregon festival, Rose Festival, and Gay/Lesbians Pride Festival. As such, you can always time your visit to the park with one of these festivals during the summer.

However, on regular days, there are many activities that you can engage in while in the park. For starters, the park offers plenty of picnicking opportunities, where you get to enjoy a meal in a serene scenery. The park is also very popular with joggers, in-line skaters, cyclists, and stroller among others. The park also offers ample opportunities to have a quiet walk where you can walk the entire length of the park. During such a walk you get to enjoy the amazing scenery and explore the Salmon Street Springs Fountain and the Japanese American Historical Plaza. Finally, you can engage in boat watching and fireworks viewing (when there is a display).

With beautiful surrounding, it is easy to appreciate why the park draws numerous visitors. You can rest assured that you will enjoy your time at the park.

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