Five Fun Facts About The Willamette River

Willamette River

Willamette River

The Willamette River flows north through the Willamette Valley and right past a number of notable Oregon communities, including Salem, Corvalis, Albany, and Portland. It also provides a lot of scenery and recreation along the way too.

Here is a look at five fun facts about the Willamette River.

Tributaries

There are twelve rivers that flow into the Willamette River: Coast Fork Willamette River, Middle Fork Willamette River, Long Tom River, McKenzie River, Calapooia River, Marys River, Luckiamute River, Santiam River, Molalla River, Yamhill River, Tualatin River, and Clackamas River.

Distances

The Willamette River is 187 miles long. Where it flows into the Columbia River is 101 miles upstream from where that larger river meets the Pacific Ocean.

A Lot Of Water

Though it pours into the Columbia River closer to its end than its beginnings, the Willamette River contributes about 12 to 15 percent of the total water flow of the Columbia.

The Largest!

By water volume, Willamette Falls on the Willamette River just south of Portland, is the largest waterfall in the American Pacific Northwest.

The First Western City

Oregon City was founded on the shores of the Willamette River, right at Willamette Falls. It was incorporated in 1844. This made it the first incorporated city in the United States, west of the Rocky Mountains.

Local History: Earthquake Point Between Wenatchee and Lake Chelan

Earthquake Point Marker

Located just north of the small town of Entiat and right along the Columbia River, between Wenatchee and Lake Chelan, is a historical marker that details Earthquake Point. The area is also known as Ribbon Cliff and Broken Mountain. It’s little more than a crumbling hillside and an informational sign.

Earthquake Point Hillside

Near the end of 1872, a huge earthquake hit at this spot and it caused a huge amount of debris to break away from the mountain and tumble down into the Columbia River. This is one of the major rivers of the Pacific Northwest and the entire country. Enough debris had come down that day that it actually completely dammed the river for several hours. The idea of a rock slide big enough to block the entire Columbia River is staggering.

As you look around towards the river, you can see remnants of this landslide, with rock outcroppings peeking out from the river’s water. There are even small islands left in this part of the river, all made of rock that came down during the earthquake that gave this spot its name.

Read the historical marker and take some photos. It’s pretty impressive, even with the later development that came along like the highway, railroad, power lines, and farms across the river.

Earthquake Point Marker

Earthquake Point is another of the many great historical spots to stop and see when taking a road trip through the Pacific Northwest.

Five Fun Facts About Mount St. Helens

mount st helens

Mt. St. Helens made worldwide news in 1980 when it erupted violently, killing 57 people and causing a great deal of devastation. Shortly after its eruption, Mt. St. Helens became one of the top attractions in the Pacific Northwest. In the decades since the eruption, people who live within the region, as well as those who are traveling to the area from around the country, have ventured out to see and learn as much as they can about this important natural attraction.

There is a lot to know about this incredible place to visit. Check out these five fun facts about Mt. St. Helens.

What’s In A Name?

Mt. St. Helens was named by explorer George Vancouver in honor of his close friend, and British diplomat, Alleyne FitzHerbert, 1st Baron St. Helens.

Thanks, President Reagan!

In 1982, President Ronald Reagan and the United States Congress established Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

On The Big Screen

The film, The Eruption of Mt. St. Helens, was made by a film crew that was dropped on the mountain just five days after the May 18, 1980 eruption. The crew became lost soon after and had to be rescued by the National Guard on May 27th.

Who Owned It?

At the time it erupted, the summit of Mt. St. Helens was actually owned by the Burlington Northern Railroad. It had been part of the North Pacific Land Grant signed in 1864 by President Abraham Lincoln.

Tons Of Ash

It’s estimated that a total of 2,400,000 cubic yards, or 900,000 tons, of ash from the eruption of Mt. St. Helens had to be removed from highways and airports in Washington State.

One Photo: A Fruit Tree Wood Pile

A Fruit Tree Wood pile in Swakane Canyon

A short side trip up a gravel road just north of Rocky Reach Dam took us into Swakane Canyon. There was some beautiful scenery in this small canyon. If we’d followed the road and made the right turns we would’ve come out near Cashmere between Wenatchee and Leavenworth.

On our way back out of the canyon, this long pile of cut fruit tree wood caught my eye. Seeing the wood left after orchard trees are taken out isn’t unusual in this area. The way this wood sat there, lined up along a dirt road in a small and little traveled area, just begged for it to be photographed.

Local History: The Building That Gave Philomath, Oregon Its Name

Head down Highway 20 in Oregon, the Corvallis-Newport Highway and you’ll eventually pass right through the small town of Philomath. This is an interesting name for a community and there has to be a story behind it.

Philomath College

Philomath is actually the combination of two Greek words and means a love of learning. It got this name because in 1867, the brick building that is still the main focal point of the community was built. This building was founded as the United Brethren School for Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and California. This small college persevered through these early days and educated local students for 62 years, before closing in 1929. The town that grew up around it took its name from the college and has thrived.

There is a nice historical marker out front and the building is today the home of the Benton County Historical Society & Museum. It’s toally worth a stop, whether just to take the opportunity read the marker or to venture inside and explore the museum.

It’s a beautiful building and has a very unique story. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

You can also visit the Benton County Historical Society & Museum online too:

Benton County Historical Society & Museum

Five Fun Facts About Pendleton, Oregon

pendleton oregon

pendleton oregon

Pendleton, Oregon sits in the eastern part of the state and is south of the Columbia River and the border with Washington. It’s famous for the Pendleton Round Up, a major annual rodeo which brings approximately 50,000 people into the city each September. Pendleton is also home to the nearby Wild Horse Casino which is another popular draw to the area. The Old Town section of Pendleton is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places and is an interesting part of town to visit.

Pendleton can be a fun weekend destination or a great place to stop on the way east or west through the region. Here is a look at five fun facts about Pendleton, Oregon should you be heading that way.

The Pendleton Round Up

The Pendleton Round Up began in 1910 and is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and in 2008 it was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame. The ten events held there include bareback riding, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding, steer roping, calf roping, Brahma bull riding, team roping, indian relay races, steer wrestling, and wild cow milking.

What’s In A Name?

The city of Pendleton was named for Senator George H. Pendleton of Ohio. He was the 1864 vice presidential candidate, who along with presidential candidate George B. McClellan, lost the election to Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.

Underground Pendleton!

Part of downtown Pendleton features underground tunnels and basements that were once part of the community’s “red light district”. Today, there is a popular tourist attraction that takes travelers on tours of these underground spaces.

Training World War II Heroes

Jimmy Dolittle’s Raiders, the World War II squadron that bombed Japan from a great distance away, did some of their training at Pendleton’s airport.

Famous Sports Names

Before having a 16 year Major League Baseball career that included appearances in three All-Star Games, slugger Dave Kingman was born in Pendleton. Pendleton was also briefly the home to Pro Football Hall of Fame member, and Dallas Cowboys star, Bob Lilly who had relocated there from Texas for his senior year of high school.

One Photo: The Cowlitz River Near Packwood

Cowlitz River Near Packwood

Driving down Highway 12 on the west side of White Pass brought a special treat, the turquoise water of the Cowlitz River. There were so many spots to pull off and get a photo, but this one is right near the green metal bridge between Packwood and Randle.

This water flows right from the slopes of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams. It’s cold and refreshing. And it’s also beautiful. Extremely beautiful.