Golden balsamroot sunflower inlays installed at Walawála Plaza glinted under the sun this week as workers put the final touches on the gathering place and crosswalk situated between Main and Alder streets in downtown Walla Walla.

Construction fencing will come down and the public will have access to the area starting the afternoon of Friday, May 5, Public Works spokesperson Shane Prudente said in an email.

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Main Street also will reopen to vehicle and pedestrian traffic at that time, he said.

Public Works was aiming to have the plaza open by the end of the week in time for Spring Release weekend, which draws patrons to tasting rooms, restaurants and businesses downtown between May 5 and 7.

When the space reopens Friday, fountains and lighting won’t be fully functional and seating may not be fully in place, but those pieces will come together over the next week, Prudente said.

The completion of the $1.6 million project establishes the plaza — created early in the pandemic as a temporary outdoor meeting space — as a permanent feature of Walla Walla's downtown.

Kate Smith can be reached at or 509-577-7709. 

Kate Smith is the government reporter for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. She is passionate about connecting people to policy in storytelling that is thorough, fair and compassionate. She follows local elections, budgets, policy decisions and more affecting residents throughout the Walla Walla Valley, southeast Washington and northeast Oregon. She previously reported on city government, health, housing and more in Yakima. 

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