PORTLAND, Ore. – A group of nonprofit river education organizations hopes to build a new facility to offer access to the Willamette River.

The Portland River Center would offer people options to explore the river, like kayaks and paddle boards, and would also serve as an interpretive center where people can learn about the river and how to take care of it.

“It’s also going to have an interpretive center that would allow the general public, from kids to adults, to come in and learn about the river in a way that we really don’t have in the Portland area,” said Willamette Riverkeeper executive director Travis Williams.

The center would be on OMSI property. The group’s vision includes river habitat restoration in the area as well.

It would also serve as a base for recreational river users; the Portland Boathouse’s lease is up in 18 months.

The group is in discussions with OMSI on a lease agreement, and discussing the plan with the city of Portland.

“I think of it as a community center on the Willamette’s banks in some ways,” Williams said.

The group will have to raise $10-14 million to build the center, if they get all the approvals to do so.

Their goal is to get it up and running by 2020.

Watch an animation of the river center.