DescriptionOregon's first capital and the end of the Oregon Trail, Oregon City is on the Willamette River's east bank where the river plunges 40 feet over a basaltic ridge at Willamette Falls. Falls Vista Viewpoint, on SR 99E near the southern entrance into town, reveals a fine view of the falls. Across the river in West Linn are the Willamette Falls Locks, which opened the upper Willamette to navigation.
The Oregon City Municipal Elevator, Seventh Street and Railroad Avenue, lifts pedestrians 90 feet up the face of a bluff to a residential/business district. An observation deck at the top overlooks the downtown area and the falls. Mount St. Helens can be seen on a clear day. A public art display features floor etchings and lenticular prints that represent the building process of the elevator.
In Mountain View Cemetery, at 500 Hilda St. off SR 213, is the grave of Peter Skene Ogden, a British fur trader who explored much of western America in the 1820s.
Visitor InfoOregon City Chamber of Commerce 2895 S. Beavercreek Rd. Suite 103 OREGON CITY, OR 97045. Phone:(503)656-1619
ShoppingOregon City Shopping Center, at McLoughlin Boulevard and I-205 bridge, and the downtown area offer a variety of popular shops.
The Oregon TrailThe lure of the Oregon country unleashed one of the largest peacetime migrations in the history of the world. The “Great Migration” began in 1843 when 1,000 pioneers, 120 wagons and 5,000 head of livestock left Independence, Mo.
Early pioneers, with their possessions and dreams for a new beginning, were ill-prepared for the trail's dangers: drought, blizzards, disease, wild animals and hostile Indians. One out of 10 emigrants died along the trail, but this did not deter the mass overland migration that continued for nearly 3 decades.
The gateway to the northwest was actually several major emigrant trails starting at the Missouri River and ending in Oregon City. The Barlow Road route dropped south at The Dalles past Mt. Hood and Timberline Road. The Applegate Trail opened in 1846 and crossed the southern Oregon Cascade Mountains through Grants Pass, Medford and Klamath Falls. The Meek-Elliott-Macy route was established in 1854 after 9 years of unsuccessful attempts to find passage from the Malheur River across Oregon's desert to Eugene.
In all, the trail extended 2,040 miles and stretched across six states. Traffic along this highway was so relentless, swelled by lengthy wagon trains, that ruts as deep as 6 feet scarred the fragile prairie. Many of the ruts are still visible. It is estimated that more than 200,000 people crossed the route 1840-60.
Things to SeeJohn McLoughlin House National Historic Site