Sunday, July 9, 2017

Williamette Falls

I discovered about Willamette Falls as I was researching more regarding the Willamette River yesterday. I found a photo of a painting of a Native American using interesting Fishing techniques likely to fish for Salmon on the River there during the 1800s. Later Willamette Falls became the site of the first hydroelectric plant in the U.S. I believe during the 1880s or so which supplied power to Portland, Oregon. Since the Willamette and the Columbia River are great sources of Hydroelectric power this was recognized early by early people settling Oregon and Washington. Now we also have the Grand Coulee Dam that my father helped build when he was a young man too in the 1930s. He and his two brothers drove dump trucks hauling rock and soil and were paid then by the number of loads they hauled at that time during the Great Depression.

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.

  1. begin quote from:

    Willamette Falls - Wikipedia
    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 ...
  2. 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 Falls by jg64 (Photo) | Weather Underground
    • File:Willamette Falls.JPG - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    • Willamette Falls Kayaking | willamettestrategies

    Willamette Falls

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Willamette Falls
    Willamette Falls from Oregon City.jpg
    Location Oregon City / West Linn, Clackamas County, Oregon, U.S.
    Coordinates 45°21′09″N 122°37′03″WCoordinates: 45°21′09″N 122°37′03″W
    Type block
    Total height 40 ft (12 m)
    Number of drops 1
    flow rate
    30,849 cu ft/s (874 m3/s)
    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 the American Pacific Northwest by volume, and the seventeenth widest in the world.[1] Horseshoe in shape, it is 1,500 feet (460 m) wide and 40 feet (12 m) high with a flow of 30,849 cu ft/s (874 m³/s), located 26 miles (42 km) upriver from the Willamette's mouth.
    Until 2011 a canal and set of locks allowed vessels to pass into the main Willamette Valley. Those locks are now closed.


    Human history

    Drawing of the falls prior to development
    Willamette Falls boat basin in 1867, photograph by Carleton Watkins
    Native American legends taught that the falls were placed there by a great god so that their people would have fish to eat all winter.[2] Many local tribes built villages in the area because of the abundance of salmon that could only pass the falls at certain water levels. Native Americans still harvest Pacific Lamprey at the falls each year in the early summer. Willamette Falls is a traditional fishing site for the Warm Springs Indians as well as other tribes.
    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.[3] 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.

    Modern history

    The falls in 2009 from the east with West Linn in the background
    The Willamette Falls Electric Company (later renamed Portland General Electric) was formed in 1888 to build a hydro-electric generation facility at the falls. Four turbine driven dynamos were built on the east end of the falls. A 14-mile (23-kilometre) long transmission line to Portland was built, becoming 1889 the United States' first long distance transmission of electrical energy.[4][5] In 1895 Portland General Electric built a second generation station on the west side of the falls. The newer plant, Station B, is still in operation with a capacity of 14,000 kilowatts. The old plant is currently part of the Blue Heron Paper Company.
    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.[6] An agreement for the sale of the site itself was announced in June 2013,[7] but later fell apart.[8] In May 2014, another developer, George Heidgerken, purchased the property.[9] Plans for redevelopment of the site were being developed in fall 2014.[10]
    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.[11] 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.


    The 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.


  3. "World's Largest Waterfalls". World Waterfall Database.

    1. "2007 Willamette Spring Chinook Catch and Falls Counts". Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    External links

    Navigation menu

  • "A Legend: Tallapus and the Hyas Tyee Tumwater (Willamette Falls)". Based on "The Reminiscences of Louis Labonte" in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, 1901. Oregon Historical Quarterly. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

  • "The City on Willamette Falls". End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.

  • "Power Generation" (PDF). Northwest RiverPartners.

  • "PGE - 2/5/04 News Release". Portland General Electric.

  • Case, Elizabeth (August 4, 2013). "Mill runoff gets a cleanup: With a compost wall and rainwater gardens, metals from Blue Heron mill won't contaminate Willamette". The Sunday Oregonian. p. B1. Retrieved August 8, 2013.

  • Mayes, Steve (June 25, 2013). "California developer to purchase historic site of Blue Heron Paper mill in Oregon City". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 8, 2013.

  • Mayes, Steve (February 3, 2014). "Langley Investment Properties drops bid to buy Blue Heron paper mill site". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 9, 2014.

  • Mayes, Steve (May 20, 2014). "George Heidgerken buys Blue Heron paper mill almost sight unseen but he envisions great things". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 12, 2015.

  • Bamesberger, Michael (November 12, 2014). "Blue Heron paper mill redevelopment: Six things to know about the master plan". The Oregonian. Retrieved January 12, 2015.


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