About the Willamette River
The Willamette River has played an invaluable role throughout local history and is beloved by the millions of people throughout the Pacific Northwest who have come to appreciate the river’s beauty, wildlife habitat, and role as a critical natural resource. The river and its tributaries form the Willamette Valley Basin which contains nearly seventy percent of Oregon’s population.
The river is Oregon’s largest river and, by volume, is the 13th largest river in the United States. The river is 187 miles (301 km) long and is unique in that it flows from the south to the north.
The river originates in the mountains of west central Oregon and joins the McKenzie River in the City of Eugene. It flows past the cities of Harrisburg, Corvallis and Albany. After being joined by the Santiam River, the river continues past the cities of Independence, Salem, Newberg and Wilsonville. Upon reaching the City of Oregon City, the river tumbles over the historic Willamette Falls and passes through the City of Portland before reaching and joining with the Columbia River.