Westmoreland Park Nature Based Play

Westmoreland park from drone during sunset, people playing on logs and rocks, a stream and a pond below

The Westmoreland Nature-Based Play Area is a pilot project for Portland Parks and Recreation. GreenWorks collaborated with Portland Parks & Recreation to replace an outdated playground with a nature-based play environment. GreenWorks focused on developing a context-sensitive design that would reference the specific characteristics of the site and its surrounding community. Extensive outreach was built into the design process.

logs come to a point with children climbing, standing on piles of rocks on a cloudy day

GreenWorks led a comprehensive public involvement and consensus building process that resulted in unique play elements, which were custom-made for this park that celebrate the community’s vision.

The design team included environmental artist, Adam Kuby. Adam collaborated with the design team on the overall conceptual design of the playground that represents the restoration of the adjacent Crystal Springs. He helped envision these artistic elements as play features within the design.

Sustainable features include water conservation, drought-tolerant planting design, efficient irrigation, native or native-adaptive plant material, sustainable stormwater management, incorporation of salvaged concrete re-purposed for water play elements and many salvaged logs for climbing features and custom benches. This project opened in 2014 and is “wildly” popular with children and adults alike. The project was awarded the ASLA Oregon Honor Award.

sand play area with children playing, parents sitting on benches on sunny day
mature plants and a sand play area separated by a wood fence on a sunny day

Learn more from Americans for the Arts, KATU2 and US Army Corps of Engineers videos made before the park’s construction, and from PDXParent.

Metro Graham Oaks Nature Park in Wilsonville


GreenWorks provided schematic design, construction documents, and construction administration for this $1.4 million, 205-acre regional park in Wilsonville. The design process engaged the City of Wilsonville, the adjacent Elementary School, and its direct neighbor–Villebois Community–to create a Nature Park that truly reflected the needs of its community while staying true to Metro’s project goals. The design imparts a hierarchy of trails to facilitate access to natural areas such as restored oak savannah, woodlands, wetlands, and riparian forests. The regional Tonquin Trail provides regional access to the park, while secondary loop trails and forest hiking trails offer additional scenic, leisure routes. The integration of art was an important design element to Graham Oaks. The park’s entrance is designed to provide a strong sense of place and includes numerous sustainable site features (i.e., stormwater facilities in the parking lot, a green roof picnic shelter and native plantings throughout). The gateway interpretive plaza introduces visitors to the wildlife and history of the area, while viewpoints, plazas, bridges, boardwalks and interpretive features throughout the site help visitors enjoy the unique attributes of the park while striking  a careful balance between access and restoration. The park serves many roles as an educational tool to the neighboring Elementary School, a neighborhood Park to nearby Villebois Park and a regional destination for access to nature and recreation.

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Couch Park Inclusive Playground

Scores of Portlanders surround children and public officials at the Couch Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Kids on a group swing at the Couch Park grand Opening

Couch Park is located in the Historic Alphabet District in NW Portland. Sharing ownership with Portland Public Schools, the park is the official home of Metropolitan Learning Center’s playground. The park also has a large 10,000 sf plaza that is an abandoned Right-of-Way that is used as a major North-South pedestrian thoroughfare. Finally, there are the rolling, grassy berms and pathways surrounded by a dense canopy of trees that make up the remainder of the park. The re-design of the plaza and playground was the highest priority and most costly of all the 2016 Bond Projects dedicated to refurbishing aging parks and playgrounds in Portland. 

The old wood playground structure beloved by the MLC students was removed in 2015 due extensive structural rot and multiple hazards. The plaza was no longer ADA accessible due the the humps and bumps from differential settlement between concrete bands and brick pavers. The plaza and playground had old trees, some that were in poor conditions, others that would present challenges for designing and construction around without serious impacts.

The playground, Portland’s first inclusive playground on the west side, is designed for kids of all ages and abilities and is a true hybrid of natural elements and factory built play equipment.  The focal point being a fort on a mound that skirts between large trees to make kids feel like they are in a tree fort, is by far the coolest thing in the playground that kids will use as a centerpiece to create their own adventures and games.

The design for the plaza and playground are within the same footprint as the previous spaces as required by the language of the bond. The plaza’s bold paving patterns are based on the historic grid of bricks and concrete bands but use different textures of concrete to replicate the  historic paving pattern. 

A distinguishing characteristic of the design is demonstrated in the forward thinking of incorporating sustainable stormwater practices into parks and urban plazas. The design showcases vegetated stormwater planters as a primary space maker verses pushing them to the side to inconsequential spaces as mandatory minimum add-ons. The flow through planters define the circulation zones, separate the playground from the plaza, create edges for sitting, and provide a healthy splash of color to a very urban neighborhood. 

Gateway Green


Gateway Green is a 25-acre site located in East Portland at the confluence of two major freeways. This previously unused remnant landscape has a host of complicated public access challenges making the prospect of creating a park seemingly impossible. Community leaders and advocates who saw a potential for reclaiming this forgotten landscape have been instrumental in framing a vision and rallying support for developing the site into a usable park space. 


Because of the challenges Gateway Green presented—its size, unique terrain, close proximity to light rail, and lack of adequate access for pedestrians—off-road cycling was identified as one of the many viable, long-term uses envisioned for the site. In 2017, temporary off-road bike trails were constructed as a means to activate the site and deter homeless camping. The immediate success of the bike facilities has brought local and national recognition to the project, which in turn has given the City of Portland and the project partners motivation and support to push forward with refining the long-term vision to include other uses. 

A plan has recently been developed to guide future work to restore habitat, improve access, and enhance other recreational activities. The crux of the design challenge has been to create a plan that balances active and passive uses along with innovative urban habitat restoration. 


Robust support for developing the site has been led by the highly visible and active group, Friends of Gateway Green (FoGG). Since 2008, FoGG has envisioned Gateway Green as a place that could provide a much-needed site for off-road cycling, and other outdoor recreation in East Portland. FoGG’s advocacy and partnership building has made the project become a reality.

Windjammer Waterfront Park

windjammer park, shipwreck shores, and oak harbor wastewater treatment plant from a drone on a partially sunny day

Our work in Oak Harbor began with the renovation of Oak Harbor Waste Water Treatment Facility. Since the facility is located in Windjammer Park, funds from the renovation were allocated to develop an integration plan for the park and GreenWorks was asked to prepare the Integration Plan. ]

children play in shipwreck shores during its grand opening day, logs and a shipwreck spout water

GreenWorks lead the design effort for the Windjammer Park Integration Plan by working closely with the City of Oak Harbor and the Community Advisory Group (CAG). GreenWorks presented program elements at the first CAG meeting. With the feedback gathered at this meeting the team developed three design options representing an array of desired elements. During the process there were two open houses as well as an online open house to solicit comments from the public on the three options which assisted with devising a preferred concept.

“GreenWorks lead the design effort for the Windjammer Park Integration Plan by working closely with the City of Oak Harbor and the Community Advisory Group (CAG).”

The Windjammer Park Integration Plan is a long-term plan integrating existing and new program elements in this 28.5 acre waterfront park that includes a popular RV site playground lagoon trail network and waterfront access. GreenWorks worked closely with the City of Oak Harbor and a community advisory group on developing three park concepts and eventually a preferred alternative. The final concept included the renovation of the swimming lagoon improved pedestrian walking trails reconfigured parking lots new events plaza and splash park outside the facility as well as a performance stage new playgrounds and multi-use fields.

The Windjammer Park Plan is expected to be implemented in segments over time and GreenWorks developed the phasing plan to guide the future programming of the Park. The Integration Plan was adopted by City Council in May 2016.

Design Illustrations

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Bend Whitewater Park

aerial image of deschutes river flowing through Bend, oregon, past the old mill district at sunset

On the Deschutes River, the Colorado Avenue Dam maintains water surface elevations upstream in the Mill District, but is located in an area of the river that is heavily used by boaters, kayakers, and tubers. Prior to this project, the 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.

people line a pedestrian bridge above people in tubes and on rocks in the deschutes river, the old mill smokestacks in the background

A team that included GreenWorks designed this project to provide safe passage over the existing dam. 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 replacement of the pedestrian bridge.

The project is made up of three distinct channels:

  1. The Passageway Channel with modest rapids for people floating the river with tubes,

  2. The Whitewater Channel with four wave features for more experienced whitewater enthusiasts, and

  3. The Habitat Channel, with no public access, provides habitat to local and migratory wildlife.

    Opened in 2015, the new Bend Whitewater Park enhances recreation by allowing river users to travel through the dam without having to portage and improves riverfront habitat in an ecologically sensitive area.

aerial view illustration of river passing through three distinct channels with car and pedestrian bridge on upstream end

Mirror Pond Bank and Trail Improvements

GreenWorks with sub-consultants, Inter-fluve, Inc and HDR, are working with Bend Park and Recreation District (District) on the Mirror Pond Trail and Bank Improvement Project. In 2013, GreenWorks worked on a Visioning Plan for Mirror Pond from the Galveston Bridge downstream to the Portland Bridge including both sides of the river. In early 2017, the GreenWorks team moved forward with design to repair failing systems along the river, connect and extend the Deschutes River Trail, address ADA, mobility and access and create and enhance habitat.  

Mirror pond from air with bend and pilot butte in background

The project site is in the heart of downtown Bend and spans from Drake Park through private land to Pacific Park along the right bank of the Mirror Pond and the Deschutes River. Drake Park is a popular downtown community gathering place and is highly used by floaters, runners, cyclists, pedestrians and others. There are user conflicts between floaters and pedestrians and cyclists and pedestrians.  Drake Park, on the upstream end, is also the hop-out site to take the River Shuttle. Due to the high traffic, GreenWorks is designing a large waiting plaza with restrooms and benches across from the shuttle parking. In addition, the team is working to expand and enhance the beach, making this location a more enjoyable and safe location for users. 

There are sections along Drake Park that preclude cyclists, strollers and wheel chairs as well as areas where there are user conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. The GreenWorks team has creatively designed an accessible route to connect the Deschutes River Trail from Pioneer Park downstream through Pacific Park where it meanders on back surface streets until it reaches a new boardwalk at Newport Bridge. The boardwalk will span from Newport Bridge along the edge of Mirror Pond to the plaza in the center of Drake Park. Once users get to the plaza, there will be spilt in the trail, cyclists will traverse toward the road and meet back with the original alignment of the DRT and pedestrians will along the water edge. 

Banks along the river are eroding and there is constant maintenance. The GreenWorks team along with stakeholders worked together to determine that the banks were not to be armored with rip rap but where to address erosion as well as create habitat. The solution involves the removal of the concrete cap on top of the wall, deconstruction of banks and reuse the rock in place, adding large wood a few strategic locations as well as riparian plantings. In two sections of the project where the large wood will be located, split rail fence will be installed to deter the trampling of vegetation that will allow for the vegetation to remain in place for the enhancement and creation of habitat.  

Currently, GreenWorks is beginning to move the design from 30% to 100% and eventually through construction. 

Astoria Visioning, Planning, and Wayfinding

As part of a comprehensive visioning project, GreenWorks helped to envision the future of the Astoria riverfront. The design team assisted in planning for open space and pedestrian connections that reinforce the values of the community and preserve the special character of this historic city. GreenWorks also helped facilitate visioning workshops and provided the community with imagery, plans, and strategies to guide future development. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) honored this project with its Walter B. Jones Memorial and NOAA Excellence Awards. GreenWorks went on to develop concepts for the Astoria Riverwalk with the goal of developing a multi-modal approach that accommodates a historic trolley line, business access for deliveries, bicycle traffic, as well as a pedestrian trail along the waterfront complete with wayfinding elements. The design character for the Riverwalk elements reflects industrial waterfront themes. Sketches were prepared to show unifying themes incorporated into varied settings along the waterfront. GreenWorks also developed the wayfinding plan for downtown Astoria. The scope includes preparing a concept plan detailing locations of proposed improvements and illustrations of signage components. Working closely with the City and Downtown Association representatives, GreenWorks prepared a set of signage typologies to provide the community with a cohesive downtown wayfinding plan.


Khunamokwst Park


Khunamokwst Park is a new park in the Cully neighborhood. As one of the most economically and racially diverse neighborhoods in Portland, the project required an approach to public involvement that was broad, innovative and inclusive. In addition to the development of a Project Advisory Committee (PAC) and open houses, outreach was extensive and included diverse stakeholders and community members. For each engagement activity, materials were bilingual, a Spanish speaker was available, and additional outreach was done to share the designs with organizations within the Latino Community.

GreenWorks provided outreach to neighborhood children and used this project as a platform for teaching them about landscape architecture, public process, and construction. We partnered with community nonprofit organizations Verde and Hacienda’s Expresiones after-school program to engage a group of 5th, 6th and 7th graders in the process. GreenWorks received the Oregon Community Trees Organizational Award for Outreach for this project’s innovative public engagement.

This 2.5-acre park represents a new era of inclusive parks and has something for everyone. Park features include a small beginners skatepark, play areas that include traditional and nature-based play elements, interpretive art, small prefabricated restrooms, accessible looped pathway with seating areas, and flexible open space. The park includes many sustainable features, including water conservation, drought-tolerant planting design, efficient irrigation design, native or native-adaptive plant material, innovative stormwater solutions, energy efficient lights, use of recycled materials, local materials from vendors, and an eco-roof picnic shelter.

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Portland Milwaukie Light Rail

GreenWorks, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, assisted TriMet in a regional effort to extend light rail service (the Orange Line) from downtown Portland to downtown Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail project (PMLR) is a vital transportation element in the region’s strategy to manage growth and build livable communities for future generations. GreenWorks provided landscape architectural services for the final design of the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail including urban design, planting design, sustainability initiatives and art coordination. GreenWorks assisted in coordination and collaboration efforts with Clackamas County, Multnomah County, the cities of Portland, Milwaukie and Oregon City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, TriMet and the Portland Development Commission. The PMLR project is above all about connecting people and bringing economic vibrancy to the Portland Milwaukie transit corridor. The Orange Line opened for service to passengers on September 12, 2015.


Reed's Crossing

Drone shot from 400 feet up of new suburb under construction with patchy clouds

GreenWorks has been working collaboratively with Newland Communities to design a 23-acre greenway at Reed’s Crossing, a master planned community in Hillsboro, Oregon.

The greenway links both the community internally and adjacent neighborhoods by the multi-modal trail network traversing the site. The greenway also supports riparian habitat, passive and active recreation, and open space preservation. In addition to the greenway itself, GreenWorks has designed several parks within the community, including Discovery Park, where residents and students from Hillsboro School District can experience STEM/STEAM learning and nature-based play.

GreenWorks provided conceptual design services for park and open space development, including planting plans, tree preservation and park diagrams, and an extensive bike and pedestrian trail design. 

Reed’s Crossing is a 463 acre mixed-use community that includes over 4,000 new homes of various types. The project will implement a natural area utilized for stormwater management and public open space for the community. The 20-acre natural area will encompass a variety of ecotones including oak savanna prairie, grass prairie, and wet meadow.

GreenWorks continues to work with Newland Communities by furthering conceptual designs and planting plans, developing grading plans for each concept, estimating potential costs, and strategizing on phasing and maintenance for the project.

Oak trees in meadow during spring sunny day
overexposed photo of metal picnic shelter on sunny day
logs and stumps form a playground in front of a dormant oak tree

GreenWorks partnered with Newland from concept through permitting and construction documentation. Throughout the process and during construction, Newland Communities depended on GreenWorks’ construction manager Sean Stroup to oversee and coordinate the construction of the greenway, as well as the streetscape design. Sean exceeded expectations by saving Newland Communities thousands of dollars in irrigation system costs by finding alternatives and reducing the number of irrigation heads needed in the design.

“Reed’s Crossing seamlessly integrates the natural and built environments for the people who will one day call it home.” - Newland Communities

Tasks Performed by GreenWorks:

  • Project management

  • Public involvement

  • Master planning

  • Conceptual design

  • Graphic renderings

  • Site design

  • Coordinating permitting

  • Habitat enhancements

  • Cost estimating

  • Construction documents

  • Construction management


Conceptual Visualization

reed’s crossing conceptual drawing of central rectangular stormwater greenspace with trails and homes surrounding

reed’s crossing conceptual drawing of central rectangular stormwater greenspace with trails and homes surrounding

Sisters Cascade Ave Streetscape

people gather on a sidewalk behind landscaping and a stone wall, lit lampposts form a gateway for a crosswalk

GreenWorks was part of the team working on the Cascade Avenue (US 20) Streetscape Plan in the City of Sisters. US 20 provides a connection across the Cascades Mountains between the growing communities of Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley’s major population centers. Thousands of trucks and passenger vehicles travel through the tourism-based town of Sisters each day making US 20 both a main street and a major regional freight route. As a result, alleviating conflicts between local and through traffic and pedestrians enjoying the vibrant business district along this corridor was a major goal of the project.

The Cascade Avenue Streetscape design makes improvements to US 20 that address pedestrian/motorist conflicts, improve the walk-ability of downtown, and express the identity of the City of Sisters. The project team presented five different streetscape design concepts with various alternatives for each set of streetscape features, including trees, furniture, and paving. These were reviewed by the community at a series of open house sessions. The design team subsequently synthesized the community’s input into the Preferred Streetscape Design Concept. The result is improved safety along the corridor, green street improvements, design features that express the community identity of Sisters, and economic development within the community. The project was completed in 2014.

Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility


As part of ongoing development at the 930-acre Chambers Creek Properties, GreenWorks developed schematic design and construction documents for long-term sustainable stormwater strategies integrated with perimeter landscape buffers for the existing Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (CCWTP) wastewater treatment plant and planned expansions. Working closely with Pierce County staff, Brown & Caldwell engineers, and Michael Willis Architects, GreenWorks developed the landscape buffer concept to visually and physically screen the treatment plant.


The buffer serves to blend the treatment plant area harmoniously with the dramatic landscape of south Puget Sound, surrounding land uses and future development on and off the plant site. The design incorporates stormwater management facilities that treat plant runoff, provide new recreation trails that connect with existing trail networks, and improve wildlife habitat. The buffer must also accommodate support facilities for bus traffic and large crowds attending the 2010 PGA US Amateur’s Open and the 2015 US Open to be held on the adjacent Chambers Creek Golf Course. In addition to the perimeter buffer, GreenWorks is working on the redevelopment of the plant entrance to improve visibility and enhance circulation.


Lake Oswego and Tigard Water Treatment Plant

The Lake Oswego – Tigard Water Treatment Plant is being expanded  to serve future demands forecasted for the Lake Oswego and Tigard service areas. GreenWorks provided landscape design for stormwater management and to address visual impacts for components of the plant that could be seen in residential areas as well as providing amenities for neighborhood use. Amenities included a neighborhood trail, public open space for neighborhood use,  and native woodland enhancement. GreenWorks  actively met with the adjacent neighbors to hear their concerns about the project and with the broader community at workshops to describe landscape / site design elements for public comment.

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Eastbank Crescent Habitat Restoration

The Eastbank Crescent Project is located between the Hawthorne and Marquam bridges on the eastbank of the Willamette River. The purpose of the project is to create a recreational destination and a fish and wildlife habitat refuge.  The project is a collaborative effort between City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Bureau of Environmental Services (BES), Portland Development Commission, Portland Parks and Recreation, GreenWorks, Mayer-Reed, and Flowing Solutions. Based on existing conditions analysis, constraints and opportunities, three concepts were developed including maximizing recreation, maximizing habitat and a hybrid of the two.  GreenWorks, with sub consultant, Inter-fluve Inc., was task by BES to enhance in-water nearshore habitat for ESA-listed fish, restore riparian and upland habitat for birds and wildlife, and incorporate river habitat education opportunities. An array of habitat treatments were considered including laying back the riverbank to create more habitat by vegetating with native plants, undulating the shallow water area with alcoves or backchannels to enhance fish habitat and creating viewpoints and access for education.  The concepts were presented to stakeholders and the public and a preferred alternative will be developed based on public input.

Oregon City Warner Milne Rain Garden

As part of the realignment of Warner-Milne Road at the Molalla Avenue intersection, the City of Oregon City hired a team with GreenWorks to design a rain garden in a vacated portion of the right-of-way that will treat stormwater runoff from the adjacent heavily-travelled roadways. A series of large serpentine Corten steel fins meander through the site, articulating the stormwater channel and creating a striking contrast to the lush rain garden plantings. The first of its kind in Oregon, this rain garden incorporates prominent sculptural elements that highlight the City’s committment to sustainability.


Metro SW Corridor

GreenWorks assisted Metro and its regional partners in developing a comprehensive land use and transportation planning study to identify and prioritize public investments in the corridor between downtown Portland and Sherwood. The Southwest Corridor Plan builds on 25 years of the region’s experience in light rail and high capacity transit planning and has shown that major public investments in transit bring the highest value and return on investment when done in coordination with local visions for livable communities. 
Parks and natural resources are a key component for livable communities.  GreenWorks facilitated stakeholders interviews with the project partners, existing conditions analysis and created a comprehensive inventory of parks, trails, natural resource and green infrastructure projects across the region. GreenWorks assisted in screening, evaluating, and integrating this regional comprehensive list of projects into the transit alternatives for the SW Corridor ultimately for selection of the preferred transit alternative. The plan integrates natural areas, habitat corridors and trail connections to provide a more holistic plan that elevates the value of the area’s natural resources.