On the Deschutes River, the Colorado Avenue Dam creates an impoundment that was once used to support lumber mill operations. The dam currently maintains water surface elevations upstream in the Mill District area, and is located in an area of the river heavily used during the summer months by people on inner-tubes and other inflatable craft that require little skill to operate. The current dam and footbridge configuration blocks downstream passage and requires all river users to exit the river and portage around the impediment. This requirement to portage around the dam exposes a high number of low-skilled users to the potential of being swept into the dam which creates a sieve-like, pinning hazard.
Teamed with OTAK, Pacific Habitat Resources, and River Restoration, GreenWorks provided a safe passage over the existing Colorado Dam for many types of river users including inflatable craft, and whitewater play features for hard shell boats including kayaks and canoes.
In addition to the in-water recreational components, the design proposes increased habitat diversity along the reach by incorporating fish passage and on-bank habitat restoration, design improvements to McKay Park, and removal of the existing pedestrian bridge and replacement with a new, higher, pedestrian bridge.