Willamette Falls

Rediscover

the Falls

Site History

An essential piece of Oregon

Willamette Falls has long been a part of our culture and our economy.

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For centuries, Willamette Falls has been an important cultural, fishing and gathering place for Native American Tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, and the Confederated Tribes and Bands of the Yakama Nation.

Although they didn’t see it themselves, explorers Lewis and Clark made many references to Willamette Falls and the tribe that lived there in the early 1800s.

Welcoming settlers at the end of the Oregon Trail, Willamette Falls was the final destination for many a westward-heading pioneer. Throughout the late 1800s, it was also the heart of thriving industries, providing energy to power lumber, flour, woolen, and paper mills, and a brick-making operation. In 1889, it was the site of the world’s first long-distance electrical power transmission line, from Oregon City to Portland.

The Blue Heron Paper Company, which closed its doors in 2011, was the last of the many businesses to operate near the Falls. In 2014, Falls Legacy LLC purchased the 22-acre Blue Heron site with a vision to remake the site into something entirely new.

 

Willamette Falls – Where the Future Began, produced by Portland General Electric

See historic Sanborn Maps.

Stay current on the project.

“Create a place with not just 150 years in mind, but 1000 years.”

Public Comment

Riverwalk Design

The first step in the Willamette Falls Legacy Project is beginning to take shape. Design and planning of the riverwalk is underway.

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Revitalizing Urban Waterfronts

There are many examples of beautiful and compelling riverfront redevelopments that include collaborative public/private partnerships, unique features and innovative ways to incorporate the sites’ vibrant histories. Many of these projects have similarities to ours.

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Four Core Values

Four core values, identified by the project partners early in the process, guide redevelopment of the Willamette Falls site.

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Revitalizing Urban Waterfronts

There are many examples of beautiful and compelling riverfront redevelopments that include collaborative public/private partnerships, unique features and innovative ways to incorporate the sites’ vibrant histories. Many of these projects have similarities to ours.

Read More

River access options in the north riverfront

Results from the riverwalk community event – learn about design options for the north riverfront on the Willamette Falls Legacy Project site.

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