Using VR To Help Oregon Restore Public Access to Willamette Falls, The Nation's Second Largest Waterfall


Whenever we're involved with a project that focus on access to nature and parts of the world that the public either has never seen before or hasn't had access to in generations, we get all warm and fuzzy inside.

So when we were approached by the Willamette Falls Trust, who are working in conjunction with Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and the State of Oregon, to help them bring to life their vision for restoring public access, for the first time in 150 years, to THE NATION'S SECOND LARGEST WATERFALL, we were beyond thrilled.

These are the kind of projects we live for.

For a bit of history, the location for this project is the 22-acre site of the Blue Heron Paper Company, an old paper mill, whose entrance is at the end of Oregon City's Main Street and sits right on Oregon's Willamette River, just 15 miles south of Portland.

The falls and its surrounding landscape were traditionally a sacred Native American site and an important breeding and feeding ground for salmon, but as the paper industry grew, it overtook much of that. The growing paper mill used the force of the water as a source of hydroelectric power to power its industrial scale mills and much of the connection to its natural roots dissipated with time.

150 years time.

That's how long the site has been closed to the public, and how long nature has been deprived of taking its course along this phenomenally inspiring historical and cultural slice of the Pacific Northwest.

Well, as of 2011, the Blue Heron Paper Company shut down, and almost immediately the public and private sectors sprung to action in creating a vision to restore access to the public to this important area.

Now they get to reveal that plan!

When we heard the story, that made our soul tingle (here's a bit more about it”

You can't say no to this.

You DON'T say no to this.

So off we went.

While this provided a bit of a challenge, as the current site is filled with diralect buildings and old industrial structures filled with rot, rust, and who knows what else, the renderings Willamette Falls Trust had already drafted had helped us visualize what it would eventually look like, and gave us a great basis for the tour. We have incorporated those renderings into the video so you can experience what it's like to stand in that space before, and after what Willamette Falls Trust plans to do with the site.

So now, we invite you to join Andrew Mason as he gives you a tour of what Phase 1 of the project, "The Riverwalk," has in store.

Being as how this video incorporates spatial audio and 3D renderings, it's best experienced in your favorite headset. However, we can't lie, it's pretty cool without a headset too!

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