Dam removal. Fishpass. The extent of the Riverwalk. Setbacks. The ill-fated fishing pier. Eighth Street.
Boardman River words seem to be on everyone’s lips these days. But the mouth — its mouth and the downtown stretch of brown-green water that precedes it — is what we get to talk about this week.
This 1.6-mile run of Boardman River water takes center stage, not just as a setting for other things happening — condos, boardwalks, weirs, piers, pint paddlers — but as a player in its own right. We — the public — are encouraged to mouth off on what we’d like to see happen, or not happen, here. Public input is sought today and tomorrow at the City Opera House by the Downtown Development Authority’s Lower Boardman River Unified Plan Project.
Today, recreation groups are requested from 9-11 a.m.; business and community development from 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Tomorrow, businesses and property owners from 9-11 a.m. and sustainability groups from 12-2 p.m.
We suppose this planned separation of groups will keep things orderly and minimize the opportunity for argument. But we also suppose that there is a diversity of opinion out there — and a passionate divergence of conviction when it comes to what is envisioned for our downtown river stretch.
We have seen the hip young things on the DDA’s modern bridgescape pictured on the renderings. We’ve also read and received opinions set on preserving the river’s natural character. Some would like to see a combination approach.
We are river-dwellers ourselves. The Record-Eagle building has braced the Boardman River for more than 100 years.
We have a picnic table that sits riverside. If we want to, we can wet a line at lunchtime, or scoot out for a walk along the river. We are lucky and we know it. We have also seen things change substantially over time, and where once we could see the bay from the back windows, now we see the backsides of condos.
Now is the time to think about what you’d like to see along this stretch. Ask yourself, would you encourage more or less development on the river? How important is keeping the water clean? How does the river, and the potential for its development, figure into our community’s other housing, transportation, recreation and environmental priorities?
We encourage you to join us in adding input to the confluence of opinion. Your mouth matters.