There is a planning process going on to transition the Blue Heron mill site, which closed several years ago in Oregon City, to retail and commercial space. In addition to those changes, there is an effort to reconnect people to Willamette Falls, which resides just out of frame to the left of this photo.
While I am excited to see that transition take place, it also makes me think about the transition this area has had from a Native American fishing and cultural center to its current industrialized state.
From milling to pulp and paper to its current state, Willamette Falls has supported the community and thousands of people whose families have called Oregon City home for over a century and a half, not to mention the fishing that had occurred for thousands of years prior.
I don't think most people fathom just how abundant this landscape has been. It's bittersweet I am guessing for the community to lose a large provider of jobs and resources, but hopefully the reimagining will once again make this site productive for the community.
For now, the site stands empty, a reminder of the economic losses that were left in the wake of its closing. The buildings sit on the bank, slowly rotting away, likely making this the only time in history, or in future years where this place is stagnant.
It won't be long now, and in 10 years, the emptiness of the mill will be forgotten, except in pictures like this one. When that happens, the river will once again be a place where the community can be productive.