Water Avenue Yards envisions this large parcel of land in conjunction with the space below the I-5 freeway overpass, suggesting a shared environment encompassing production, recreation and public gathering, extending from Water Avenue to the Willamette River. This proposed plan enhances the ability for users to flow directly through the district from Eastside neighborhoods and across the site. It builds on the success of the Eastbank Esplanade by creating a place for support amenities like food and repair facilities, while providing a place for gathering and riverfront viewing that reinforces the connections between the east and west side of the City. This concept envisions a character derived from and connected with the district’s simple buildings and industrial uses with public amenities and access to the River for the entire eastside of Portland.
Water Avenue Yards creates flexible space for production of all kinds along Water Avenue. The long sheds range from 3 to 5 stories in height and are porous on the ground floor allowing people and products to move easily in all directions. Large industrial doors open directly to production spaces, while upper floors extend the full length of the building to create larger floor areas suitable for multiple types of work and creation. As these continuous building sheds extend to the freeway they transition to temporary structures that house event spaces and recreational amenities beneath the overpass. The fluid circulation creates a permeable condition where visitors and workers mingle freely, stitching public and private activities with easy access to the riverfront. Spaces of public gathering are scattered throughout, along with trees and pockets of green that soften the environment and invite people to linger and explore.