Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Tom Kitten

Tom Kitten's Journal
Tom Kitten's Journal
November 17, 2014

The Old Mill and Willamette Falls

I said I was going to post some photos of the Blue Heron Mill/Willamette Falls site after I went on a tour there last week, but the process of editing them down (I took 238 photos, whittled them down to 100) and post processing (interiors were really dark with glare from windows, I had to adjust shadow/highlight and contrast on some of them) turned out to be quite time consuming. Then on Monday I felt a cold coming on and sure enough it hit, felt too poorly to sit at the computer very much, so I spent most of the past four days bundled up on the couch, drink hot spiced apple cider and eating chicken noodle soup (with lots of ginger!) But I feel better now so I can get back to posting!

I don't know where to start so why not at the beginning?

This is where we started and then turned left into the main former mill building. This is pretty much all the public could see of the mill at street level. This used to be part of Main St. in downtown Oregon City; John McLaughlin (founder of Oregon City and the "Father of Oregon&quot 's house was located here. The mill, then known as Publisher's Paper Company, gradually bought up all the land and eventually this part of Main St. was closed to public access.But the plan is to reopen it and make the whole area part of downtown again.
As you can see, it was a foggy and chilly morning.


The hole in the floor is where the milling machinery was, it's been removed. Below is the basement, very dark, damp, and musty!

We went through the building and out onto a platform where we caught a glimpse of the falls. The building on the right is a PGE hydroelectric plant, still generating power. There are fish ladders and behind it, the oldest multi-gate locks for ships in the U.S., now so rusted and decrepit they've been closed permanently.

These are remains of an old loading dock, it's going to be made into an observation platform. The bridge connects Oregon City with West Linn.

Looking across the river at the PGE plant and the West Linn Paper Company, which still operates. It produces glossy paper for magazines, catalogs, etc. The Blue Heron Mill produced newsprint (when it was Publisher's it was owned by the Times-Mirror Company).
If you see the horizontal line on the edge of the building at the extreme far left, that marks the high water point for the 1996 flood. Since this part of the mill is in the flood zone, re-using the buildings here presents problems.

This structure fascinated me...

Back inside, up on the second floor...

An office, unused since 2010.

Back outside, remains of the Woolen Mills, one of the first mills built here and torn down early last century. The foundations remain and will stay, they're thinking of a courtyard or open air market here.

A stream ran through here from under the arch but it's been blocked for who knows how long. It will be cleared out and restored to flow freely again.

We entered another building to go downstairs underneath the buildings themselves. Because the basalt bedrock is sloped, the buildings were built on stilts to make them level.

We didn't get to back there. Didn't really want to!

Water runs down here, too. The runoff is captured and processed to remove pollutants before it reaches the river. The rusted metal siding on most of the buildings releases copper and zinc into the water, which is harmful to the fish. A lot of these buildings will eventually be removed.

A few impressions...

Leaving the main mill site, we walk on the trail to the falls...old controls for the original dam and hydro plant.

Remnants and turbines from the old dam. The site of the first long distance transmission of electricity, in 1889.

Looking back at the mill

Finally we reach the Willamette Falls - the highlight of the tour! This viewpoint has been closed to public access for over a hundred years. They're looking to have the Riverwalk open in about seven years buut the entire project may take ten years or more.

These pictures don't have sound or movement! To remedy that, I shot a minute long video, to give perhaps a better impression...


If you want to see all 100 photos I posted you can see them here...


November 7, 2014


I wish I could say I took these while snorkeling off the coast of somewhere exotic, but that is not the case. I took these at the Long Beach Aquarium. I took a ton of pictures there and because the lighting was so low a lot of photos I took turned out blurry. So frustrating! I need to learn more and get a better camera. However these turned out OK, I guess. Luckily jellyfish are slow moving!

Profile Information

Name: Barry
Gender: Male
Hometown: California via Oregon
Home country: US
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 7,359
Latest Discussions»Tom Kitten's Journal