Waterfront Walk: Celebrating An End & A Beginning

By Sierra Lauder
Director of Events and Downtown Development

Two weeks ago, I found myself in Bend with crowds of people waiting eagerly on the sidelines of their “Marathon and a Half” event, where Bryan was laying it all out there- sharing the fellowship of the course with hundreds of runners who, like him, are training and practicing to grow in to their personal best. On the rail, I shared my own fellowship- looking left and right at hundreds more friends and family who crowded in on a rainy, cool morning to cheer our people, waving signs and secretly hoping that there would be enough extra burritos that excited onlookers might also partake…

There is little that can dull a burrito craving, but I like to believe that serious overthinking can dull just about anything, and as I clapped and cheered and watched the runners, I reflected on how much we all crave (even more than burritos) moments and opportunities for fellowship and human connection.

Here at home, we have recently run our own race and crossed our own finish line. While the traffic impacts of construction downtown wrapped up about six months ago, the weather is turning promising just as the paperwork comes to a close on the highway project. We could let the moment pass with a declaration or a simple ribbon cutting, but why?  The highway project is complete, and now it’s time to celebrate. This was one race that we all ran – whether we wanted to or not – and it seems like the perfect opportunity to gather (no running required) and share the potential of what we have created.

Waterfront Walk is happening on May 4th, and I want to personally invite you down to a lovely, reclaimed section of our city to officially cut the ribbon on the highway project and take some time enjoying our new community space.

The event begins at 11am, and activities stretch out from Sue H Elmore Park on the west where City and ODOT officials will be hosting a ribbon cutting at 11:30. Pelican Brewing Co. will be serving their house made root beer, there will be live marimba music, and Pacific Restaurant is supplying the cake. (Because seriously, it’s not a real party without cake.)

Folks are encouraged to walk the new ADA accessible path that winds across Hwy 101 and along the historic Hoquarten Slough before heading over Hwy 6 and tying into the northeast end of Goodspeed Park. This half mile stroll is officially the first completed segment of the Salmonberry Trail, and on the day of May 4th the entire path will be hosting several activities, booths, friendly faces and even shuttles for folks who want to walk to one end and be shuttled back. Werner Beef & Brew is getting in on the fun at the eastern end with an outdoor stage featuring Tillamook School of Dance performers and music. Come see just how easy it is to walk from downtown to Werner Beef & Brew!

There’s going to be so much going on it’s almost too much to list here, but some highlights are the Tillamook County Historical Society who will be on hand discussing the progress on the Hoquarton Interpretive House. Together with the Tillamook Bay Watershed Council, they’ve been spearheading a lot of the Hoquarten Slough clean up work parties, and have uncovered some long-forgotten reminders underneath all the brush that this Slough was once a bustling port and industrial zone. The Tillamook Family YMCA and Tillamook County Wellness will also be on the trail with family-friendly activities; Oregon Coast Railriders will be giving short demos at Goodspeed Park; The Tillamook Bay Watershed Council will have a driftwood boat building station; The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership will also be hosting family activities and highlighting their TIllamook County Water Trail Guides and the Explore Nature Series as well as their restoration and water quality programs; and Tillamook PUD will be giving demos of their electric vehicles. Art Accelerated will host a “fish print” station where artists of all ages can leave with a fun print in hand.

This event is an embodiment of the highlights of the Main Street model. It brings together all kinds of partners to create a sense of place and a time to connect. The timing couldn’t be more poignant to me as it marks my transition out of my role at the Chamber. One of the highlights of my time here has been the Highway Liaison work, and I’m incredibly proud of that work and the way our government, businesses, city police, contractors and community all have evolved through this effort. I would love to share and celebrate with you on Saturday, and hope you’re able to make it out for the day.