Exploring the site: the Pipe Tunnel

Mon 10 Oct 16

Pipe Tunnel

Get ready - riverwalk design concepts are coming this November! Leading up to that, we are highlighting some key site elements that you will see in the design concepts, including the Pipe Tunnel, the North Riverbank, the Clarifier, the Service Yard, and the Hawley Powerhouse Foundation.

Rather than removing everything on site, our design team is investigating ways to reuse, enhance, or re-purpose structures and elements from the old mill and PGE dam. Today, we focus on the Pipe Tunnel, a hollow concrete tunnel structure on the edge of the site, right along the banks of the Willamette.  The 390-foot long tunnel held pipes that carried effluent from the paper-making process to the clarifier for treatment.  The pipes were removed after the mill shut down in 2011.


In the riverwalk opportunities report, our design team examined the pipe tunnel and found the following opportunities and constraints:


  • Riverside north-south corridor through central portion of site
  • Strong and somewhat adaptable for new uses
  • Curious cave-like space with potential for more openings
  • Simple structure with clean geometric form
  • Potential for cultural interpretation


  • Dark, wet and weird
  • Falls within flood overlay district
  • Extensive urban edge
  • Limits habitat restoration
  • Blocks the floodway
  • Costly to remove

In November, you will see how the pipe chase is included (or not) in the riverwalk design concepts. We can't wait to hear what you think!

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