Monday, March 22, 2010

Willamette Falls.

On the Willamette River in Oregon between Oregon City and West Linn, just south of Portland, lies the amazing Willamette Falls. It is not far, maybe a mile, from our Home. I feel very fortunate to live in such a beautiful State.

Hope you enjoy the photos even if the history lesson gets too long (He! He!)

It is the largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest and the eighteenth largest in the world by water volume. 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, a canal and set of locks allow vessels to pass into the main Willamette Valley.

I Love the mix between the natural and the industrial. Their coexistence helps maintain life in the local area.

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 km) long transmission line to Portland was built, becoming the United States' first long distance transmission of electrical energy. In 1895 P.G.E. 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.

View of the Falls from the West Linn side.

View from the Oregon City Side, looking towards West Linn. Below, is the view from Bridge over the River.

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. 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.[2] Oregon City was established in 1842 near the east end of the falls. The town of Linn City (now West Linn) 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 winter of 1861, which saw one of Oregon's worst natural disasters occur in the form of catastrophic flooding. 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.

Last 3 taken from the Oregon City side.

Evening sun and spray, I love this shot. :)

All the text is taken from Wikipedia Thanks Wikipedia for being a great source of info.
On a side note, I would like to Thank Anna from Almost Precious and A Beader's Blog for purchasing Photos from me over the weekend at our new Etsy Photography Shop. :)
Hope you are having a Wonderful Day!
Happy Painting/Creating! :) T.


Annette said...

I think the history is fascinating and the photos amazing! You are fortunate indeed to live somewhere so beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Ooh gorgeous!!! Perfect timing to learn about this, as my husband and I will be venturing south to Oregon on a little vacation the first week of May. I will definitely put this on my list! Thank you :)

Bethany Dirksen said...

I have seen many photos of old dams being build back in the day and they always amaze me. To think of men wading out in the rapid water to build the very important structures is amazing, and with probably quite primitive tools too. These pictures remind me of this. The mix of industrial and nature is very beautiful, I agree.

mywifesstudio said...

Pictures of my home town!!

cabin + cub said...

oh that looks amazing... i will have to put that on my list the next time we head down south to portland (which is one of my fave cities to visit, btw).

Erica said...

Portland is definitely very beautiful :) especially in spring.

Jenni said...

I love that you highlighted this important piece of Oregon history. Driving into Oregon City from Canby as a kid..I was always amazed at the falls and my folks would often stop at the look out on 99E to let us get a good look. Great photo's T!

Almost Precious said...

The Pacific Northwest is one of my favorite areas, lush and green with lots of rivers and lakes; not to mention the snow capped cascades.

Absolutely marvelous photos, you've a fantastic eye with your camera shots.

Charlotte said...

Very pretty! I love the mist, I had no idea it was the largest waterfall in the area.

Plantress said...

great pictures. I'd love to visit