Aerial view of Oregon City, Willamette Falls and the Willamette River.

On Monday, April 4, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde started the next round of demolition on the former Blue Heron paper mill at Willamette Falls in Oregon City.

The work, which comes about six months after the first round kicked off, was to include the demolition of four structures: a water filtration plant, millwright shop, auto shop and carpentry shop. The structures in this phase are visible from Main Street in Oregon City, and their removal marks an important milestone in the development of the site.

“We are pleased to start the second phase of demolition and make further progress toward implementing our vision — restoring the land and creating opportunities for all Oregonians to access this special site,” said Cheryle A. Kennedy, chairwoman of the Grand Ronde Tribe.

In total, this round of demolition was expected to take about 7-8 weeks. Demolition of the water filtration plant is expected to take the longest, at 4-5 weeks. The millwright shop, auto shop and carpentry shop are each expected to take one week.

The demolition will make way for some of the public spaces planned for the site, including the main gathering place for the public and Tribal Members.

This round of demolition brings the Tribe’s vision of healing, connection and public access to Willamette Falls to life and builds upon the progress already made by Grand Ronde. It is a vision that includes environmental and cultural restoration alongside thoughtful new development; a vision that will help restore public access, provide economic prosperity and return the Tribe to the role of caregiver over an important piece of its homeland.