On the Deschutes River, the Colorado Avenue Dam currently maintains water surface elevations upstream in the Mill District, and is located in an area of the river that is heavily used during the summer months by people on inner-tubes and other inflatable craft. The existing dam and footbridge configuration blocked downstream passage and required all river users to exit the river and portage around the impediment, exposing a high number of low-skilled users to the potential of being swept into the dam.
A team that included GreenWorks designed this project to provide safe passage over the existing dam for many types of river users, including inflatable crafts, and hardshell boats like kayaks and canoes. In addition to the in-water recreational components, the design includes increased habitat diversity along the river by incorporating fish passage and on-bank habitat restoration, design improvements to McKay Park, and removal of the existing pedestrian bridge and replacement with a new, higher, pedestrian bridge. The project will achieve improved safety for river users and environmental conditions of the river.