One of the best known and most frequently used portions of Eugene’s parks and open space system is the 12-mile Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path that lines both sides of the Willamette River from the Willie Knickerbocker Bridge just west of I-5 to the Owosso Bridge just south of Beltline Road. Construction of this grand vision began in 1971 and is now a Eugene landmark. Used every day by thousands of residents and visitors, it provides easy access to the outdoors as well as inspiring vistas of the river.
Continuing Ruth Bascom’s legacy of advocacy, the Eugene Parks Foundation partnered with the City of Eugene to dramatically improve the wayfinding signage along the path. Now users are assisted by new quarter-mile posts with path and directional information and detailed map and interpretive signs at key locations including the bike/ped bridges across the Willamette River. Additionally, a hand-held map highlighting unique points of interest was created.
These enhancements increase safety along the path and help residents and visitors alike realize the path system’s seamless connection to other areas of interest within the community such as local shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. The project was complete just in time for Eugene’s hosting of the 2008 Olympic Trials, showing visitors to our area what a gem this path system truly is.
This partnership between Eugene Parks Foundation, Oregon State Lottery Funds, City of Eugene, and more than 50 local businesses, clubs, and individual sponsors is a model of leveraging support and stretching public funding to the greatest possible benefit for all.