[5][32] The largest is Portland, with more than 500,000 residents. [71] Most of them do not have fish ladders. [28] Evidence suggests that massive quakes of 8 or more on the Richter scale have occurred historically in the Cascadia subduction zone off the Oregon coast, most recently in 1700 CE, and that others as strong as 9 on the Richter scale occur every 500 to 800 years. [4] Bounded by the Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Range to the east, the river basin is about 180 miles (290 km) long and 100 miles (160 km) wide. As the expedition traveled down and back up the Columbia River, it missed the mouth of the Willamette, one of the Columbia's largest tributaries. [29] The basin's high population density, its nearness to this subduction zone, and its loose soils, which tend to amplify shaking, make the Willamette Valley especially vulnerable to damage from strong earthquakes. Loy, Willam G.; Allan, Stuart Allan; Buckley, Aileen R.; Meecham, James E. (2001) [1976]. [51] Many of these emigrants followed the Oregon Trail, a 2,170-mile (3,490 km) trail across western North America that began at Independence, Missouri, and ended at various locations near the mouth of the Willamette River. In a television documentary, Pollution in Paradise, he said that "the Willamette River was actually cleaner when the Oregon Sanitary Authority was created in 1938 than it was in 1962. [149] The central valley—a former perennial grass prairie interspersed with oaks, ponderosa pines, and other trees—is devoted almost entirely to farming. [93] Since then, work has proceeded slowly, and the Corps, citing engineering difficulties and cost, may not meet the original agreed-upon deadline of 2023 for a system of effective remedies. [44] People of the south were more nomadic, traveling from place to place with the seasons. [76] Four years later, the National Park Service added the Willamette water trail—expanded to 217 miles (349 km) to include some of the major tributaries—to its list of national water trails. Although it is unclear exactly when, the territory of the Chinook once extended across the northern part of the watershed, through the Columbia River valley. These conditions, similar to those that caused the 1861 flood, caused some of the costliest flooding in the river's recorded history. The construction of large federal dams on the Willamette's tributaries between 1941 and 1969 damaged the spawning grounds for spring Chinook salmon and steelhead. [50], In the middle part of the 19th century, the Willamette Valley's fertile soils, pleasant climate, and abundant water attracted thousands of settlers from the eastern United States, mainly the Upland South borderlands of Missouri, Iowa, and the Ohio Valley. You will not receive emails from oregonwinecountry.org at this email address unless you sign up for one of our mailing lists. The Chinooks lived in great wooden lodges,[44] practiced slavery, and had a well-defined caste system. [112] The adjacent park and neighborhood of Cathedral Park are named after the Gothic Cathedral-like appearance of the bridge towers. [141] The area to be addressed stretches from the Fremont Bridge almost to the Columbia – spanning nearly 11 river miles. [128] In the next couple of days, the river receded, but on December 27, it was at 29.8 feet (9.1 m), which was still nearly 12 feet (3.7 m) above the flood stage. Through it, state and local governments cooperated in creating or improving a system of parks, trails, and wildlife refuges along the river. [137][138], Despite earlier cleanup efforts, state studies in the 1990s identified a wide variety of pollutants in the river bottom, including heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides along the lower 12 miles (19 km) of the river, in Portland. Storms caused a major flood that swelled the Willamette and other rivers in the Pacific Northwest from December 1964 through January 1965, submerging nearly 153,000 acres (620 km2) of land. Similarly, the river was shortened by 40 percent in the stretch between Harrisburg and Albany. Use our recreation map to find activities to enjoy your time in the Willamette National Forest. [75] By 2007 the Greenway had grown to include more than 170 separate land parcels, including 10 state parks. You will find Oregon wineries, restaurants, attractions and events. [60] Any boats whose owners found it absolutely necessary to get past the falls had to be portaged. They are the Buena Vista Ferry between Marion County and Polk County south of Independence and Salem, the Wheatland Ferry between Marion County and Polk County north of Salem and Keizer, and Canby Ferry in Clackamas County north of Canby. [15][114][115] This flood destroyed the town of Linn City. These rocks, composed of granite and other materials common to central Montana but not to the Willamette Valley, include more than 40 boulders, each at least 3 feet (0.9 m) in diameter. [5][6][7][8][9], Proposals have been made for deepening the Multnomah Channel to 43 feet (13 m) in conjunction with roughly 103.5 miles (166.6 km) of tandem-maintained navigation on the Columbia River. [148], Over the past 150 years, a significant change for the Willamette River has been the loss of its floodplain forests, which covered an estimated 89 percent of a 400-foot (120 m) band along each river bank in 1850. * This email is used only to keep track of your favorites and itineraries. "Chapter 13: Columbia River Basin" in. [15], Throughout the 1940s the Willamette continued to flood its valley. The DEQ considers index scores of less than 60 to be very poor; the other categories are 60–79 (poor); 80–84 (fair); 85–89 (good), and 90–100 (excellent). [33][34] Other cities in the watershed (but not on the main-stem river) with populations of 20,000 or more are Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, McMinnville, Tualatin, Woodburn, and Forest Grove. [37], The indigenous peoples of the Willamette River practiced a variety of life ways. [43] The total native population was estimated at about 15,000. The pelts of these animals commanded substantial prices in either the United States, Canada or eastern Asia, because of their "thick, luxurious and water-repellent" qualities. [142] Reducing risk from the pollutants in this stretch will involve removing contaminated sediment from the river bottom and efforts to contain contaminated sediment by placing clean sediment on top (known as "capping"). Forests to the east in the Cascade Range include Pacific silver fir as well as western hemlock and western red cedar. [127], On December 24, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered federal aid for the flooded areas, as the Willamette continued to rise. Although products such as lumber were often transported on an existing network of railroads in Oregon, these advances in navigation helped businesses deliver more goods to Portland, feeding the city's growing economy. The "Great Flood", as it is sometimes called, was massively destructive to human development because most of that development was located on the river's floodplain, which provided rich soils and ready access to water transportation. Waterway Menus By comparison, sites on the Winchuck River, the Clackamas, and the North Santiam all scored 95, and a site at a pump station on Klamath Strait Drain between Upper Klamath Lake and Lower Klamath Lake recorded the lowest score in Oregon at 19. Trade goods from the Columbia basin north of Portland could also be transported southward on the Willamette due to the deeper channels made at the Willamette's mouth. The 3,700-foot (1,100 m) bridge is the only cantilevered deck truss in Oregon. County Boundaries. These included the Kalapuya, the Chinook, and the Clackamas. The parking area is approximately 300 yards away from the entry station for the hotsprings and the Rider Creek Trail #3319 continues west another 1/4 mile to Terwilliger Hot Springs. [107] It carries trains on its lower deck, MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light-rail trains and motorized vehicles on its upper deck, and foot and bicycle traffic on a cantilevered walkway attached to the lower deck. The river and its tributaries support 60 fish species, including many species of salmon and trout; this is despite the dams, other alterations, and pollution (especially on the river's lower reaches). [25] Before being partly chipped away and removed, the largest of these originally weighed about 160 short tons (150 t). [68] Rockwell's survey was extremely detailed, including 17,782 hydrographic soundings. Upper-river tribes caught steelhead and salmon, often by building weirs across tributary streams. [48] During this period, the Siskiyou Trail (or California-Oregon Trail) was created. [66][67] The natives were then relocated by the government to a part of the Coast Reservation that later became the Grande Ronde Reservation. [32] Not all of these cities draw water in part or exclusively from the Willamette for their municipal water supply. [99][100], Tilikum Crossing is a 1,720-foot (520 m) cable-stayed bridge that carries public transit, bicycles, and pedestrians, but no cars or trucks, over the river. [19] Marine deposits on top of older volcanics underlie the valley, which was initially part of the continental shelf, rather than a separate inland sea. [27] It caused $30 million in damage, including harm to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem. The channel forms the primary navigational conduit for Portland's harbor and riverside industrial areas. (2006). Parking lot capacity is limited and parking with any portion of a vehicle on the paved surface of Forest Road 19 is prohibited. In 1855, Joel Palmer, an Oregon legislator, negotiated a treaty with the Willamette Valley tribes, who, although unhappy with the treaty, ceded their lands to non-natives. [55] John McLoughlin, a Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) official, was one of the major contributors to the founding of the town in 1829. What do 1,675,407 acres look like? Beaver and river otter are among 69 mammal species living in the watershed, also frequented by 154 bird species, such as the American dipper, osprey, and harlequin duck. Elsewhere on the main stem, numerous minor flow-regulation structures force the river into a narrower and deeper channel to facilitate navigation and flood control. [59] As a result, navigation on the Willamette River was divided into two stretches: the 27-mile (43 km) lower stretch from Portland to Oregon City—which allowed connection with the rest of the Columbia River system—and the upper reach, which encompassed most of the Willamette's length. [45], The Willamette River first appears in the records of outsiders in 1792, when it was seen by British Lieutenant William Robert Broughton of the Vancouver Expedition, led by George Vancouver. Begin up Eaton Canyon Trail from Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park and Nature Center, which is located just off Altadena Drive and is a place you might go to walk a dog or push around a stroller with big serious wheels.The easy paths draw many visitors to the park for just that purpose. [2] The gradient is slightly steeper from the source to Albany than it is from Albany to Oregon City. [10], Interstate 5 and three branches of Oregon Route 99 are the two major highways that follow the river for its entire length. [65] They were first led off their traditional lands to the Willamette Valley, but soon were marched to the Coast Indian Reservation. Rockwell surveyed the lower Willamette from the foot of Ross Island through Portland to the Columbia River and then downstream on the Columbia to Bachelor Island. [90], Detroit Dam on the North Santiam River is the second tallest dam in the Willamette River basin after Cougar Dam. [85] The locks at Willamette Falls were completed in 1873. No one died in the Linn City flood, but the destruction was too significant for the town to recover, and it was abandoned. Indigenous peoples lived throughout the upper reaches of the basin as well. [117][118] Portland's main street was completely submerged, communication over the Cascades was cut off, and many rail lines were forced to shut down. [94], The 50 or so crossings of the Willamette River include many historic structures, such as the Van Buren Street Bridge, a swing bridge. A permit is required for camping along the Willamette River Water Trail; call or visit the park office to obtain one. [24] The ancestral Tualatin Valley, part of the Willamette basin, flooded as well; water depths ranged from 200 feet (61 m) at Lake Oswego to 100 feet (30 m) as far upstream (west) as Forest Grove. [19] The initial trough-like configuration was created about 35 million years ago[13] as a forearc basin while the Pacific Plate subducted beneath the North American Plate. "[107], The Broadway Bridge, slightly downstream of the Steel Bridge, was the world's longest double-leaf bascule drawbridge at the time of its construction in 1913. Visiting a lookout tower on the Willamette can be a great way to learn forest history and see the mountains and woods in a new way.. Huckleberry Lookout is an easy half mile hike with terrific views of the surrounding mountains.To make reservations, call the Middle Fork Ranger District at 541-782-2283. Although people had been traveling to Oregon since 1836, large-scale migration did not begin until 1843, when nearly 1,000 pioneers headed westward. [5][32] These cities include Springfield, Eugene, Corvallis, Albany, Salem, Keizer, Newberg, Oregon City, West Linn, Milwaukie, Lake Oswego, and Portland. In the southeastern corner of Oregon is Steens Mountain, an 80 km (50 mi) long fault-block mountain rising from the Alvord Desert to a hight of 2,968 m at its peak. [35] Sixty-eight percent of the watershed is forested; agriculture, concentrated in the Willamette Valley, makes up 19 percent, and urban areas cover 5 percent. [46][71][85][88][89] In addition, a relatively small of amount of the water stored in the reservoirs is used for irrigation. Map Help. [114] From Eugene to Portland, thousands of acres of farmland were washed away, and many towns in the valley were damaged or destroyed. [39], Around the year 1850, the Kalapuya numbered between 2,000 and 3,000 and were distributed among several groups. [19], Basalts of the Columbia River Basalt Group, from eruptions in eastern Oregon, flowed across large parts of the northern half of the basin about 15 million years ago. Flowing northward between the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Range, the river and its tributaries form the Willamette Valley, a basin that contains two-thirds of Oregon's population, including the state capital, Salem, and the state's largest city, Portland, which surrounds the Willamette's mouth at the Columbia. [25], The northern part of the watershed is underlain by a network of faults capable of producing earthquakes at any time, and many small quakes have been recorded in the basin since the mid-19th century. [11], With an average flow at the mouth of about 37,400 cubic feet per second (1,060 m3/s), the Willamette ranks 19th in volume among rivers in the United States[12] and contributes 12 to 15 percent of the total flow of the Columbia River. [110] At about RM 6 (RK 10), it carries the U.S. Route 30 Bypass. Use our interactive map explorer to discover things to do on your next Willamette Valley vacation. [19] The floods carried Montana icebergs well into the basin, where they melted and dropped glacial erratics on the land's surface. [114], Rainstorms and warm temperatures in December 1861 combined with a well-above-average snowpack in the Cascades created the largest Willamette River flood in recorded history. [126] Before dawn on December 21, 1964, the Willamette reached 29.4 feet (9.0 m), which was higher than the seawall on its banks in Portland. [67], Between 1879 and 1885, the Willamette River was charted by Cleveland S. Rockwell, a topographical engineer and cartographer for the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey. [19] They covered the Tualatin Mountains (West Hills), most of the Tualatin Valley, and the slopes of hills further south, with up to 1,000 feet (300 m) of lava. Enjoy Oregon restaurants showcasing the Valley 's agricultural bounty Cougar dam are only speculative ; there may have as. 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