Portland February 08, 2018
This Little Known Waterfall Is About To Be Your Favorite New Attraction Near Portland
Did you know that the second largest waterfall in the United States is right here in Oregon? Situated just minutes from Portland, this famed location hold important cultural and historical significance, and is probably not what you think.
Located in Oregon City, Willamette Falls is a horseshoe-shaped waterfall over 1500-feet wide and 40-feet high.
For centuries, the falls provided an important source of fish for local tribes, and they sat undeveloped until 1873.
Interested in making the falls passable, the Willamette Falls Locks were completed. By 1915, the locks were sold to the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Willamette Falls Electric Company built a hydro-electric generation facility at the falls to harness its power.
In 1889, a transmission line to Portland was built and became the first long distance transmission of electrical energy in the US.
Since 1966, the falls have also been the site of many paper mills.
From the original Oregon City Paper Manufacturing Co. to the most recent Blue Heron Paper Company, which closed in 2011, the waterfront has seen a lot of industry.
Because the area has seen a lot of growth and manufacturing over the last century, its salmon and steelhead runs became greatly diminished.
A first fish ladder was installed in 1882, and another in 1971, to help increase the populations of fish here.
But because of the industrial development, public access has been blocked from this amazing and noteworthy site for over a century.
You can view the falls from an overlook in Oregon City, but soon you will be able to get up close and personal.
Oregon City, Clackamas County, Metro and the State of Oregon are all working together to revision this site and make it accessible for all.
The planning stages of the project are well underway and a public riverwalk is the first phase of the project. This will allow visitors to catch an up-close view of the falls, as well as walk along a network of lovely pathways and promenades along the waterfront.
Construction is set to begin in mid-2018, and we can't wait to see how this visionary project will transform this amazing waterfront setting.
Have you been to Willamette Falls? Let us know your experience in the comments below.