Vancouver Waterfront Master Plan + Park

Vancouver, Washington | 2008-2018

On the north bank of the Columbia River, Vancouver, WA, is Portland’s largest suburb. But the redevelopment of the city’s waterfront is set to make Vancouver a destination in its own right. PWL Partnership created the parks and open space plan along with the detailed waterfront park design for this 29-acre/12-hectare project site.

This new mixed-neighbourhood includes residential, retail, commercial, civic, park spaces, and environmental restoration areas—it makes space for 6,000 new residents and 5,000 office workers. Throughout the planning process, local residents were engaged through meetings and workshops, to ensure the finished product would respond to real needs in the community.

Vancouver WA
Vancouver WA
Water Play
Water play makes a sensorial connection to the watershed, exemplifying the interwoven nature of art with landscape design.

Linking this desirable new neighbourhood and connecting it to the river is a seven-acre/three-hectare park site that will ensure the Vancouver Waterfront is a true destination for the 2.5 million people in the Portland region. We designed the park to accommodate festivals and events, but also to act as a neighbourhood play space where locals of all ages feel right at home.

Paving Patterns
Local stone is laid in patterns that mimic the river, merging with restaurant and seating islands in the main plaza.

The Columbia is vast and fast-moving—a major challenge was to create a sense of connection to the river while keeping visitors safe from the current. A river promenade helps accomplish this, and a suspended cable stay pier, designed by artist Larry Kirkland, gives pedestrians an up-close look at the river. Kirkland also designed a water feature that conveys the story of the Columbia Watershed.

When complete in 2018, the first phase of the park will link to the city’s downtown centre, giving urban pedestrians direct access to the waterfront for the first time in Vancouver’s history. It’s also the first time in generations that Vancouver will have a natural shoreline habitat—one that balances shady life-giving trees, and delightful river views.

Site Programming
Diverse programming interweaves historical and ecological elements and features to relate the metaphor of the River.


2019 Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and River Institute (COPRI): Project Excellence Award - Small Project

2020 International Lighting Design Awards: Award of Excellence

Larry Kirkland
John Grant Projects
Martin +  Martin
Hopper Dennis Jellison