Willamette River Festival

Willamette River Festival | August 21-August 28, 2021


Springfield is founded on water. It’s in our name (spring), we average 47-inches of rain per year, and the City of Springfield is located between two rivers, the McKenzie and the Willamette. These waterways have dramatically shaped the lives and landscapes for the people, fish, and wildlife in the area.

The Kalapuya are the native people of the Willamette Valley and they managed the land in a variety of ways. In the mid-1800s, Euro-American settlement further changed the area. Fundamental to Springfield’s early industrial development was the digging of the Mill Race to divert the waters of the Willamette River.

Today, a well-loved feature of our landscape, the Mill Race area continues to provide an open, public place to connect to nature, enjoy fishing and recreation, and recall our history. It’s also an important part of our water cycle because it naturally filters Springfield’s urban runoff before those waters flow into the Willamette.

The river helps Springfield prosper and our residents know that taking care of it is taking care of our future. That’s why Springfield families and friends are proud participants of the Willamette River Festival.

Springfield is pleased to offer three activities to connect to the Willamette River Festival:

1)  Willamalane Student Art Display

Available for viewing only during the Willamette River Festival (August 21-28, 2021), this art display was created specifically for the festival by Willamalane Summer Camp students and Lane Art’s Council teaching artist, Alex Ever. It’s a 3D art installation, located near the Booth Kelly Trailhead and floating on Booth Kelly’s very large stormwater pond. Through this collaborative, art-making experience, students learned about natural dye, organic sculpture, and the local environment.

Since it will only be available for viewing during the Willamette River Festival, hurry and check it out!

Learn more from the Lane Arts Council website: 2021 Willamette River Festival Art.

Student art is on display at Booth Kelly’s stormwater pond during the Willamette River Festival.

2) Mill Race Clean Water Tour

The Springfield Mill Race is a public open space that’s significant in terms of natural area, recreational opportunities, and local history. Springfield uses the area as a community resource and to improve flow and water quality on its way to the Willamette. Gather your favorite people to explore the area, and check out these river-friendly features on the way!

  • Bicycling – 6.4 miles; takes approx. 35 mins.
  • Walking – 6.4 to 6.8 miles (depending on path); takes approx. 2.4 hours.
  • Driving – 4 miles; takes approx. 12 mins.

To learn about the history and ecological relevance of these key areas:

English: Download our tour guide
Español: Descarga nuestra guía turística

3) Springfield’s UpStream Art Tour

Held every summer since 2016, UpStream Art is a project hosted by the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team in which at least five artists are commissioned to paint inspirational murals around storm drains. These colorful creations raise awareness of the connection between city streets and local waterways while supporting artists and beautifying the city.

There are currently 26 murals which can be viewed on an approximately 2-mile walk from the Booth Kelly Trailhead, through downtown Springfield, to Willamalane’s Adult Activity Center, along Island Park and back to Booth Kelly. We’re also pleased to offer a Virtual Tour, which includes photos and quotes from the artists.

There are two great ways to explore the 26 UpStream Art murals. Take your pick!

Contact Us

For information about Springfield’s contribution to the Willamette River Festival, please contact the City of Springfield’s Stormwater Team at WaterResources@springfield-or.gov or 541.746.3694.