The East side of the river was looking pretty bad so the esplanade was a way to bring it back and tie it into to the West side. A lot of money went into it but it is working but still has as way to go. The walk way itself is very nice. It gives a good view looking back into downtown Portland. There are several docks where you can see paddler putting in and boats moor up. Some nice points of interests are along the walk way. At the south end you have OMSI and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. The North end leads into the large sports center and convention center.
The Eastside was traditionally warehouse and manufacturing and is now transitioning. There are now more restaurants and shops opening up. It still is the funky Porlandia side of downtown. And some times that can spill over onto the esplanade. There were some of the last creative spaces over on this side but they are getting squeezed out now.