The Umatilla River runs through Pendleton and creates a perfect place for residents to approach nature within the city. The river is home to a variety of birds, water animals such as beaver and river otter, under a canopy of woodland. The signature bird for the river is the blue heron, seen often catching fish in the river. The Riverfront Plaza park is only the first of what are envisioned as places to increase the connections to the river from streets nearby. The one-block park provides immediate access to the River Parkway, a paved path along the river running from one end of Pendleton to the other.
Although most of the expenditures for urban renewal by the Pendleton Development Commission have funded private development partnerships, there have been several purely public projects, including the Riverfront Plaza. A quiet retreat for much of the year, it is jammed with spectators during Pendleton’s annual Round-Up rodeo, as two parades during Round-Up week wind their way by this park.
- The Riverfront Plaza had a not-to-exceed budget of $400,000
- 100% of the funding was urban renewal funding through the Pendleton Development Commission
- There was no private funding
- There was no other public funding but the city public works department provided engineering and contract management
- Provided jobs through private contractor
- Opens new access to the Umatilla River
- Improves the environment of the immediate neighborhood, with residences on both sides
- Supports new development in the River Quarter, per the Urban Renewal plan
- Supports tourism