The Human Access Project: Changing People’s Perception of Portland’s Largest Public Open Space

With the completion of the Big Pipe in 2011, water quality in the Willamette has improved by leaps and bounds. In the wake of this achievement, Will Levenson, head of the non-profit Human Access Project, is leading an effort to change people’s perceptions of the river and encourage recreation in the water and along the waterfront. Mr. Levenson started The Big Float, an annual inner tube float across the Willamette River in downtown Portland to bring awareness to the improved water quality. He has also organized several volunteer clean up days that have uncovered the beach at the base of Tom McCall Bowl and removed 75 yards of concrete from Hawthorne Cove on the east side of Hawthorne Bridge.

Greenworks became involved in the Human Access Project in November 2012, bringing our extensive experience designing places for people within sensitive natural environments, which focus on balancing access with habitat conservation.

This balance is certainly a key consideration as the Human Access Project gains momentum through additional community outreach and scaled interventions along the Willamette’s shores. Greenworks is honored to be contributing to this worthy cause and looks forward to witnessing the transformation of Portland’s largest public open space in the years to come.


The Big Float 2012

02_Unrocking the Bowl

03_Tom McCall Bowl After Cleanup