The Portland area is getting a new natural wonder.
For a century and a half, Willamette Falls—the second-most powerful waterfall in the country—was hidden behind a phalanx of hydropowered industrial buildings. It's as if you found a Monet and decided to hang it behind your refrigerator.
"I still meet people who never realized the falls existed," says Brian Moore, project manager of the Willamette Falls Legacy Project.
That's about to change.
With the closure of the Blue Heron paper mill in 2011, Clackamas County officials saw an opportunity to finally open the falls to public access. Within the next few years, the area will transform into a new commercial zone running along the edge of the Willamette River in downtown Oregon City. Groundbreaking is set for 2018.
Details—such as what retailers will occupy the riverwalk, or whether kayakers and boaters will be allowed to access the falls—are still being ironed out, but suffice to say, the Portland area is about to gain a gorgeous new attraction it never knew it had.
"Willamette Falls will become an iconic destination on par with Vista House, the Gorge and Multnomah Falls," Moore says.
Don't listen to TLC. Go ahead and chase these waterfalls.
Welcome to Reasons to Love Portland 2017
1. Portland Is Telling Donald Trump That He Won't Get Away With This
2. We're Rich! Portland Has The Nation's Fastest Growing GDP
3. Here's How Far Portlanders Have Ridden in the First Six Months of BikeTown
4. We're Very Happy That Portland Bartenders Can Finally Drink on The Job.
5. When the Snow Hit, Portlanders Saved Lives By Volunteering at Homeless Shelters
6. At Long Last, Portland Has The Kinky Coffee Shop It's Needed
7. A Selected List of All Portland's Recent Number 1 Rankings
8. Move Over PCT: You'll Soon Be Able to Mountain Bike From Washington to California
9. Oregon Has The Nation's Cheapest Weed. Thank God.
10. This is the Best Ski Season Mount Hood Has Had Since Obama Was a Senator
11. Nobody Snowdays Harder Than Portland
12. Portland Finally Has Architecture Worth Arguing About
13. Check Out This Crazy New Recording Studio in a Former Library in Deep Southeast
14. Weed Delivery Will Begin in Portland Any Day Now
15. In Portland, You Never, Ever Need To Call Domino's
16. Portland Is Home to the Most Liberal College in America. No, Not That One.
17. There's A Forgotten Wonder In Oregon City. It'll Soon Be Revealed
18. Portland's Blazers Bootleg T-Shirts Are Lit
19. Portland is Metal AF
20. ILOVEMAKONNEN Moved To Portland. No, For Real
21. Sorry, Donald, We Won't Help You Deport Our Neighbors.
22. Portland Now Has a Patriarchy-Free Social Club and Workspace
23. Oregon is the New Truffle King of the World
24. Check Out These Photos of the Winter Light Festival
25. In Portland, You Can See Every Movie Nominated For an Oscar in the Theater
26. Portland Art Museum is Tapping into the Legacy of Arguably Oregon's Greatest Artist
27. Yes, Portland Has More Pinball Machines Than New York and Los Angeles
28. Portland Has Vegan Everything. A Selected List.
29. In Portland, Dive Bars Never Really Die