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The City of Portland, Oregon

Planning and Sustainability

Innovation. Collaboration. Practical Solutions.

Phone: 503-823-7700

Curbside Hotline: 503-823-7202

1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201

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Tom McAllister's Willamette Salmon Currents

A transcript of a fascinating 2008 presentation on Willamette River history made by Tom McAllister, a long-time Oregon conservationist and outdoor journalist.

Swimming in the Willamette

James V. Hillegas' Historical Threads blog describes the colorful history of swimming in the river.

Building Portland's "Seawall"

James V. Hillegas' Historical Threads blog gives a great overview of how Portland's Harbor Wall was built--and why.

Portland Historic Photos

This City Auditor's website features many historic views of Portland and the Willamette.

Willamette River Floods

This Portland Bureau of Transportation website describes strategies for protecting City facilities and providing a concise history of flooding.

Steamer Portland

This Oregon Maritime Museum website recounts the history of the Portland, the last steam-powered, sternwheel tugboat to be built in the United States.

Tom McCall and the Willamette

This Oregon Historical Society page explains how McCall's famous documentary, Pollution in Paradise, changes the course of Willamette history.

West Portland and Waterfront Historical Photos

This BES website offers a collection of historic riverfront images.

Oregon Historical Society Portland Panorama

This site allows you to slide a modern photo frame over a photograph of Portland?s 1867 landscape to view changes, including many along the river.

1938: Kids Demand Clean Water

On Nov. 5, 1938, Portland Mayor Joseph Carson rallied with thousands of students in front of City Hall to support two voter initiatives to clean up the Willamette River.

The Vanport Flood

This Oregon Historical Society site describes how in 1948, the Columbia River, swirling fifteen feet above normal, punched a hole in a dike, starting a flood that would leave 18,000 people homeless and alter race relations in Portland forever.

Henry Kaiser and Portland's Ship-building Era

During World War II, shipyards employed as many as 120,000 workers at peak production, with another 40,000 people in related jobs.

Native Americans at the Confluence

Historian Carl Abbot describes the great center of population that prospered at the mouth of the Willamette.

History of the Willamette in Portland

Portland's Bureau of Environmental Services' site features information, photos, and maps showing how the City developed along the banks of the Willamette.

Lewis and Clark at the Confluence

Having missed the Willamette on the way down the Columbia in late 1805, Clark explores the "Multnomah" up to present-day University of Portland in April 1806.

The Trail of Ice Age Floods

Cataclysmic floods burst from behind huge ice-dams in Northern Idaho about 13,000 years ago, and swept down the Columbia and up the Willamette.