Since it is by far the largest by volume waterfall in the Pacific Northwest it could be said that Willamette Falls is the Western "Niagra Falls" It is the 17th widest of it's kind in the world.
- The Willamette Falls is a natural waterfall on the Willamette River between Oregon City and West Linn, Oregon, in the United States. It is the largest waterfall in ...
- Jun 16, 2017 · Book your tickets online for Willamette Falls, Oregon City: See 139 reviews, articles, and 48 photos of Willamette Falls, ranked No.2 on TripAdvisor among ...
Willamette FallsFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Willamette Falls Location Oregon City / West Linn, Clackamas County, Oregon, U.S. Coordinates Coordinates: Type block Total height 40 ft (12 m) Number of drops 1 Average
30,849 cu ft/s (874 m3/s)
Until 2011 a canal and set of locks allowed vessels to pass into the main Willamette Valley. Those locks are now closed.
It was first discovered by European fur traders in 1810. John McLoughlin established a land claim at the falls in the name of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1829. Oregon City was established in 1842 near the east end of the falls. The town of Linn City was founded on the western shore one year later in 1843. The two towns competed economically, vying for the lucrative steamboat traffic and the trade it generated. With the falls representing the end of the line for boat traffic, river boat captains were forced to choose a side of the river on which they would dock to unload their passengers and goods; some of which would continue their upriver journey on winding portage toll roads. Competition between the towns was fierce until the Great Flood of 1862. Oregon City was inundated and badly damaged, but the unluckier Linn City was obliterated.
Navigating past the falls was not possible until the completion of the Willamette Falls Locks in 1873. During construction of the locks, channels were blasted from the very rocks that formerly supported the town of Linn City. Along with the locks, the modern city of West Linn sits on a portion of the former town site. The locks were sold by the Willamette Falls Canal and Locks Company to the United States Army Corps of Engineers in 1915.
The falls have been home to several paper mills beginning with the Oregon City Paper Manufacturing Co. in 1866. The Willamette Pulp and Paper Co. opened on the West Linn side during 1889. The ownership of the mills has changed several times. The last two remaining mills in 2011 were owned by the West Linn Paper Company and the Blue Heron Paper Company, but the latter closed its mill in February 2011. The Blue Heron site has subsequently been auctioned off, for redevelopment. The milling facilities were sold to a Canadian investment firm, NRI Global, Inc., which has begun work removing the old machinery and cleaning the grounds of contamination. An agreement for the sale of the site itself was announced in June 2013, but later fell apart. In May 2014, another developer, George Heidgerken, purchased the property. Plans for redevelopment of the site were being developed in fall 2014.
The industrialization of the area led to diminishing salmon and steelhead runs, prompting the construction of a fish ladder in 1882. A new fish ladder, built in 1971, is currently operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The estimated spring chinook salmon run for 2007 is 52,000. The industrialization has also precluded public access to the base of the waterfall for well over a century, but as of 2017 a process to redevelop the Blue Heron Paper Mill site and provide public access to the area, including a river walk, is underway.
DetailsThe falls is a horseshoe shaped block waterfall caused by a basalt shelf in the river floor. The 40 ft (12 m) high and 1500 ft (457 m) wide falls occur 26 river miles (42 km) upstream from the Willamette's confluence with the Columbia River. Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lock is a four lock canal and was the oldest continuous operating, multiple lift navigation canal in the United States.
The public can view the falls from viewpoints on the bluffs of Oregon City, from a signed viewpoint along Highway 99E, from the Oregon City Bridge, from a viewpoint on northbound I-205, or from boats in the river.
The falls after the December 2006 Pacific Northwest storms swelled the Willamette River and part of the paper mill
- "World's Largest Waterfalls". World Waterfall Database.
- "2007 Willamette Spring Chinook Catch and Falls Counts". Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.