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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Government Island"
includes ... Government Island ... ... "Dimond Island" ... "Diamond Island" ... Government Island State Recreation Area ... Government Island Dock ... Bartlett Landing Dock ... Ackerman Island ... Lemon Island ... McGuire Island ... Tri-Club Island ... Campsite of November 3, 1805 ...
Image, 2003, Interstate-205 Bridge and Mount Hood, click to enlarge
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Government Island, Interstate-205 Bridge, and Mount Hood, Oregon. Downstream side of the Interstate-205 Bridge as seen from Marine Drive, Oregon. Government Island is to the left and the Oregon banks of the Columbia River are to the right. Mount Hood, Oregon, is in the background. Image taken July 5, 2003.


Government Island ...
Government Island, and two smaller islands (Lemon and McGuire) are located in the center of the Columbia River, between River Mile (RM) 111.5 and River Mile (RM) 118. Three miles downstream lies Hayden Island and just upstream is Lady Island. Government Island lies between the Portland International Airport on the Oregon shore and Vancouver, Washington, on the northern shore. The Interstate 205 bridge crosses Government Island and connects the two shores. Lewis and Clark camped on Government Island on November 3, 1805.

"... This Island is 6 miles long and near 3 miles wide thinly timbered ..." [Clark, November 4, 1805]

"... we came 13 miles this day and Camped on a verry large Island which is mostly prarie and large ponds, which is full of Swan Geese brants and ducks &C. Several Indians Camped with us. ..." [Ordway, November 3, 1805]

"... At 2 o'clock we proceeded on, and passed another island [part of the Government Island complex]. The country on both sides appears level and closely timbered: on the river the timber is cotton wood, maple and some ash; and back from it mostly spruce pine. We made 13 miles and encamped on a large island [Government Island], in which is a large pond full of swans, geese and ducks. On our way and here we killed some of each kind. At night, Captain Lewis had a small canoe carried over to the pond in order to hunt by moon light; but the party did not happen to have good luck, having killed only a swan and three ducks. ..." [Gass, November 3, 1805]

Image, 2005, View north from Rocky Butte, click to enlarge
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View north to Washington State, from Rocky Butte, Oregon. Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River, Government Island (running through center of image), and the Interstate 205 Bridge are all in this view looking north from Rocky Butte. Image taken June 15, 2005.


Campsite of November 3, 1805 ...
In their journals, Lewis and Clark referred to this island as "Diamond Island" (or more commonly seen spelled "Dimond Island" in the journals), for its shape. The Corps set up their camp of November 3, 1805, on the northern side of the island.

"... to Center of a large Island in the middle of the river which we call Dimond Isld. from its appearance, ... we landed on the North Side of this Dimond Island and Encamped ..." [Clark, November 3, 1805]

"... we came 13 miles this day and Camped on a verry large Island which is mostly prarie and large ponds, which is full of Swan Geese brants and ducks &C. Several Indians Camped with us. ..." [Ordway, November 3, 1805]

"... We made 13 miles and encamped on a large island, in which is a large pond full of swans, geese and ducks. On our way and here we killed some of each kind. At night, Captain Lewis had a small canoe carried over to the pond in order to hunt by moon light; but the party did not happen to have good luck, having killed only a swan and three ducks. ..." [Gass, November 3, 1805]

Fisher's Landing, once a thriving steamboat landing and later a ferry landing, is located on the Washington shore across from Lewis and Clark's Government Island camp.

Lewis and Clark's previous campsite was at Rooster Rock, while their campsite of November 4, 1805, was near Post Office Lake.


North side, Government Island ...

Image, 2003, Government Island, north side, click to enlarge
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Government Island, north shore. View of the shore of Government Island as seen from the Washington State banks of the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark's camp of November 3, 1805, was along this shore. Image taken May 23, 2003.


"... we landed on the North Side of this Dimond Island and Encamped ..." [Clark, November 3, 1805]
Image, 2005, Government Island, click to enlarge
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North side Government Island. View from Fishers Landing. Image taken November 17, 2005.


The Islands ...
Today, NOAA Nautical Chart #18531 shows the Government Island "complex" to be a series of seven islands. Government Island is the largest, and it is across the downstream end of this island Interstate 205 passes. Off the upstream tip of Government Island, towards the left bank of the Columbia, is McGuire Island and off the upstream tip of McGuire Island, towards the left bank of the Columbia is a small unnamed island. Off the upstream tip of Government Island, towards the right bank of the Columbia is a 1-mile-long and 0.2-mile-wide island listed as Ackerman Island (also seen as "Sand Island" on some USGS topographic maps). The downstream tip of Government Island (downstream of the Interstate 205 Bridge) is Lemon Island, and two smaller islands are on the north side of Lemon Island. The larger (0.8-miles in length) is referred to as Tri-Club Island, and the smaller is unnamed.

The Islands of the Complex ...

Image, 2005, Columbia River looking upstream from Rocky Butte, click to enlarge
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Columbia River and Government Island complex, looking upstream, as seen from Rocky Butte. View of the Columbia River, with Government Island (left on river) and McGuire Island (center of river). McGuire Island is part of the Government Island complex. Image taken June 15, 2005.
Image, 2003, Government Island and McGuire Island, click to enlarge
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Government Island (left) and McGuire Island (middle), with Mount Hood, Oregon (right). McGuire Island is part of the Government Island "complex". View from Marine Drive, Oregon. Image taken October 18, 2003.
Image, 2005, McGuire Island from Chinook Landing, click to enlarge
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McGuire Island, part of the Government Island Complex, as seen from Chinook Landing, Marine Park, Oregon. Image taken November 19, 2005.
Image, 2003, Interstate-205 Bridge and Government Island, click to enlarge
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Government Island and the Interstate-205 Bridge. Government Island as seen from Marine Drive, Oregon. Image taken May 29, 2003.
Image, 2003, Lemon Island, click to enlarge
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Lemon Island, western tip of Government Island. Lemon Island, part of the Government Island "complex", as seen from the Interstate-205 Bridge. At one time Lemon Island was called "Smiths Island". Image taken July 4, 2003.
Image, 2005, Lemon Island from Winter Park, click to enlarge
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Lemon Island, the downstream end of Government Island, as seen from Wintler Park, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2005.


Lemon Island at Columbia River flood stage ...

Image, 2011, Lemon Island as seen from I-205, click to enlarge
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Lemon Island as seen from Interstate 205, while Columbia River is in flood stage. Image taken June 19, 2011.


View from Airliner ...

Image, 2012, Fairview and Blue Lakes, Government Islands, click to enlarge
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Fairview Lake (foreground) and Blue Lake (behind), with McGuire, Government, and Ackerman Islands (middle left) and Lady Island (middle right) on the Columbia. View from airliner heading towards PDX. Mid afternoon, clouds, gray, and drizzle. Image taken April 24, 2012.
Image, 2010, Government Island, Ackerman Island, and McGuire Island, click to enlarge
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Three islands of the Government Island complex. From front to back - McGuire Island, Government Island, and Ackerman Island. View from airliner landing at PDX. Day overcast and drizzly. Image taken October 10, 2010.
Image, 2010, Government Island and McGuire Island, click to enlarge
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Three islands of the Government Island complex. From front to back - McGuire Island, Government Island, and Ackerman Island (barely visible). View from airliner landing at PDX. Day overcast and drizzly. Image taken October 10, 2010.
Image, 2012, Interstate 205 and Government Island, click to enlarge
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Interstate 205 and Government Island. View from airliner heading towards PDX. Mid afternoon, clouds, gray, and drizzle. Image taken April 24, 2012.


Early Government Island ...
1805:    Lewis and Clark arrived at today's "Government Island", then a complex of islands, on November 3, 1805. They made camp on the upstream-most island which they called "Diamond Island". On November 4, 1805, Clark refers to two more islands in this area, both close together, and downstream of Diamond Island.

"... near the lower point of this dimond Island is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel, and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &*c. ..." [Clark, November 4, 1805]

In Clark's winter of 1805-1806 table of "Estimated Distances in Miles ..." he refers to the upstream island as "the Dimond island" and the downstream island near the lower point of Diamond Island as "White goose isld.". On one route map [Map #79, Moulton, Vol.1] the upstream island is marked "Dimond I." and both downstream islands are marked "White Goose Isd." On another route map [Map #88, Moulton, Vol.1] the upstream island is marked "Dimond I." while the next downstream island is marked as "??? Isld." (this webauthor can't make it out, but it is not White Goose). The third island is unmarked.

1829-1847:    During the Hudson's Bay Company era today's Government Island was often called "Goose Grass Island" by the employees. From the Fort Vancouver Cultural Landscape Report (1992):

"... According to William Crate, opposite the sawmill site was a "large island" where the Company procured goose grass for cattle in the winter. He said the men who went to island to get goose grass were employed at nothing else since twenty-four head of oxen were kept at the mill. The island was the present-day Government Island, referred to as Goose Grass Island by some Company employees, apparently because the east end was frequented by wild geese during certain seasons. ..."

William Crate was a Millwright for the Hudson's Bay Company and the sawmill was located at today's Vancouver Trout Hatchery. Other names during this period were "Goose Grass Island" and "Miller's Island".

"... The island, referred to as Goose Grass Island during this period, was later mentioned in the Company's claims for compensation from the United States Government as the "Saw-Mill Island." It was referred to as Miller's Island when the U.S. Army reserved its use for raising hay in 1850; by 1867 it was referred to by its present name, Government Island. ..."


1841:    In 1841, this area was surveyed as part of Charles Wilke's "United States Exploring Expedition". On the resulting map today's Lemon Island was identified as "Smiths I.", and today's Government Island was divided into 3 large islands identified as "Romer", "Sandy", and "Douglass", with "Douglass I." being the largest. Just upstream of "Douglass I.", towards the Washington shore, was "Frost I.", today's Lady Island, and behind Lady Island was "Everts R.", which is today known as the Washougal River. Numerous smaller unnamed islands dotted the area.

1850:    The islands picked up the name "Government Island" beginning in February 1850, when the U.S. Government reserved Romer, Sandy and Douglass Islands for military purposes, raising hay for their horses. From that time on the islands were referred to as "Government Island".

1927:    In 1927 the U.S. Board of Geographic Names made official "Lemon Island". An earlier spelling had been "Lemmon Island". "Ackerman Island" became official in 1986, after previously bearing names of "Sand Island" and "Stake Island". The name "Tri-Club Island" also became official in 1986, with an earlier name also being "Sand Island".

Government Island Today ...
The majority of the Government Island complex, consisting of approximately 2,200 acres, is owned by the Port of Portland. One area at the east end of Government Island is owned by Portland's Metro Regional Parks and Greenspaces Department. The island complex throughout its history has been used for agriculture and livestock operations, dredged material disposal, and recreational activities.

Image, 2009, Government Island, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cows, Government Island, Oregon. View as seen from the Oregon shore. Image taken March 8, 2009.


Government Island State Recreation Area ...
Access to Government Island is by boat only. There are two docks (Government Island Dock and Bartlett Landing Dock) and a floating tie-up on the north side of the island. With 15 miles of shoreline and a free primitive campground, the park is popular with anglers. The interior of the island is still used as a cattle ranch and also contains protected natural areas. Entry to the interior is prohibited. Camping is permitted on many of the beaches.

Image, 2003, Government Island State Recreation Area, click to enlarge
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Government Island State Recreation Area. View of the southern shore of Government Island, as seen from Marine Drive, Oregon. Image taken July 4, 2003.
Image, 2005, Government Island, Bartlett Landing, click to enlarge
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Bartlett Landing, Government Island. View of the northern shore of Government Island, as seen from Fishers Landing beach, Vancouver, Washington. Image taken October 21, 2005.


Government Island to Fishers Landing Ferry ...

A ferry once ran between Government Island to Fishers Landing, on the Washington shore. The 1948 NOAA Chart "Columbia River Vancouver to Bonneville" shows "Fisher" as the Washington end of a ferry, with the Government Island end of the ferry located on the downstream side of today's Jewitt Lake drainage, near today's "Government Island Dock". Upstream on Government Island was located "Bartlett Ldg." A road extended from Bartlett Landing across Government Island to the southern shore. The 1966 NOAA Chart #6156, "Columbia River Vancouver to Bonneville", also shows the ferry between Fisher and Government Island, with a road heading across the island from the Government Island ferry location. The 1969 and 1971 editions still show the ferry, however the 1973 edition shows no ferry.

Image, 2005, Government Island old ferry landing, click to enlarge
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Government Island old ferry landing as seen from Fishers Landing. Image taken November 23, 2005.
Image, 2005, Government Island old ferry landing, click to enlarge
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Government Island old ferry landing as seen from Fishers Landing. Image taken November 23, 2005.


From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

Clark, November 3, 1805, first draft ...
The fog So thick this morning we did not think it prudent to Set out [from their camp at Rooster Rock] untill <it Cleared away at> 10 oClock we Set out and proceeded on verry well, accompanied by our Indian friends- ...     The water rose <2> Inches last night the effects of tide. The Countrey has a handsom appearance in advance no mountains extensive bottoms- the water Shallow for a great distance from Shore-. The fog continued thick untill 12 oClock, we Coasted, and halted at the mouth of a large river on the Lard Side [Sandy River], This river throws out emence quanty of <quick> Sand and is verry Shallow, th narrowest part 200 yards wide bold Current, much resembling the river Plat, Several Islands about 1 mile up and has a Sandbar of 3 miles in extend imedately in its mouth, discharging it waters by 2 mouths, and Crowding its Corse Sands So as to throw the Columbia waters on its Nothern banks, & confdg it to ms. in width Passed a Small Prarie on the Stard. Side above [location of Washougal, Washington, Cottonwood Beach, and William Clark Park], a large Creek [Washougal River] opposit qk Sand River [Sandy River] on the Stard. Side, extensive bottoms and low hilley Countrey on each Side (good wintering Place) a high peaked mountain Suppose to be Mt. Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon] is on the Lard Side S. 85 E. 40 miles distant from the mouth of quick Sand river [Sandy River]. ...

West 3 miles to the upper mouth of quick Sand <mountain> river [Sandy River], Country low on each Side rising to a hilley Countrey passed a large Creek opposit Std. Side [Washougal River] & 2 Sand bars

S. 70 W. 7 miles to the upper point of a large Island [Government Island] Covered with [blank]     passed the Lower mouth of Sandy river [Sandy River] at 3 miles opposit the head of a large Island Std. Side faced with rocks and the <edge> Side is pine & Cotton a large Creek falls in [Washougal River] oppost to the head of this Island Isld of Fowls [Lady Island] as I Saw Som 1000 pass over to the head of this Island on the Stard Sd. passed Some ruged rocks in the middle of the river opposit the Island- river wide The Countrey below quick Sand river [Sandy River] on the Lard Side is low Piney Countrey [eastern end of the Columbia Slough, located on the floodplain of the Willamette River and the Columbia]. Passed the lower point of the Island [Lady Island] at 3 miles long & 1 wide- emence quantity of Geese, Brants, Ducks & Sea otter, Some of the large & Small kind of Swan, & Sand hill Cranes-also luns & White gulls

S. 87 W. 3 miles on the North Side of the Island [Government Island] and Encamped ...     we Camped on the Island, and Sent out hunters on it and Capt. Lewis walked out, after Dark Capt. Lewis with 3 men went into a large Pond on this Island & killed a Swan & Several ducks. ...



Clark, November 3, 1805 ...
The Fog So thick [typical of the Pacific Northwest in the fall and spring] this morning that we could not See a man 50 Steps off, this fog detained us untill 10 oClock at which time we Set out [from their camp at Rooster Rock], ...    I walked on the Sand beech Lard. Side, opposit the canoes as they passed allong. The under groth rushes, vines &c. in the bottoms too thick to pass through, at 3 miles I arrived at the enterance of a river [Sandy River] which appeared to Scatter over a Sand bar, the bottom of which I could See quite across and did not appear to be 4 Inches deep in any part; I attempted to wade this Stream and to my astonishment found the bottom a quick Sand, and impassable- I called to the Canoes to put to Shore, I got into the Canoe and landed below the mouth, & Capt Lewis and my Self walked up this river about 1 miles to examine this river which we found to be a verry Considerable Stream Dischargeing its waters through 2 Chanels which forms an Island [Sandy River Delta, which has had various names throughout history] of about 3 miles in length on the river and 1 miles wide, composed of Corse Sand which is thrown out of this quick Sand river Compressing the waters of the Columbia and throwing the whole Current of its waters against its Northern banks, within a Chanel of a mile wide, Several Small Islands 1 mile up this river, This Stream has much the appearance of the River Platt: roleing its quick Sands into the bottoms with great velocity after which it is divided into 2 Chanels by a large Sand bar before mentioned, the narrowest part of this River is 120 yards-on the Opposit Side of the Columbia a <large Creek> falls in [Washougal River]     above this Creek on the Same Side is a Small prarie [location of Washougal, Washington, Cottonwood Beach, now the home of Captain William Clark Park, and the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge]. extensive low country on each Side thickly timbered [low area upstream of Cottonwood Beach and Captain William Clark Park is the Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge].

The Quick Sand river [Sandy River] appears to pass through the low countrey at the foot of those high range of mountains in a Southerly direction,- The large Creeks which fall into the Columbia on the Stard. Side [Washougal River] rise in the Same range of mountains to the N. N. E. and pass through Some ridgey land- A Mountain which we Suppose to be Mt. Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon] is S. 85 E about 47 miles distant from the mouth of quick sand river [Sandy River]     This mtn. is Covered with Snow and in the range of mountains which we have passed through and is of a Conical form but rugid- after takeing dinner at the mouth of this river [Sandy River]  we proceeded on passed the head of a Island [Lady Island] near the lard Side [???] back of which on the Same Side and near the head a large Creek falls in [Washougal River, today the town of Camas, Washington, lies between Lady Island and the Washougal River], and nearly opposit & 3 miles below the upper mouth of quick Sand river is the lower mouth, [for?] This Island [Lady Island] is 3 1/2 miles long, has rocks at the upper point, Some timber on the borders of this Island in the middle open and ponney. Some rugid rocks in the middle of the Stream opposit this Island.   <proceeded in> to Center of a large Island in the middle of the river which we call Dimond Isld. [Government Island] from its appearance, here we met 15 Indn men in 2 canoes from below, they informed us they Saw 3 vestles below &c. &c. we landed on the North Side of this Dimond Island and Encamped [on the north side of Government Island, perhaps opposite Fishers Landing],     Capt. L walked out with his gun on the Island, Sent out hunters & fowlers- below quick Sand River [Sandy River] the Countrey is low rich and thickly timbered on each Side of the river  [on the Oregon side this area is the eastern end of the Columbia Slough, located on the floodplain of the Willamette River with the Columbia River],   the Islands open & Some ponds river wide and emence numbers of fowls flying in every direction Such as Swan, geese, Brants, Cranes, Stalks, white guls, comerants & plevers &c. also great numbers of Sea Otter in the river [Harbor Seals] -     a Canoe arrived from the village below the last rapid ...     Capt Lewis borrowed a Small Canoe of those Indians & 4 men took her across to a Small lake in the Isld. [Government Island] ...    ...  :  note the mountain we Saw from near the forks proves to be Mount Hood [Mount Hood, Oregon]






Clark, November 4, 1805 ...
A cloudy cool morning wind from the West we Set out at 1/2 past 8 oClock [from their camp on the north side of Government Island, approximately across from Fisher's Landing], one man Shannon Set out early to walk on the Island [Government Island] to kill Something, he joined us at the lower point with a Buck. This island is 6 miles long and near 3 miles wide thinly timbered     (Tide rose last night 18 inches perpndicular at Camp) near the lower point of this diamond Island [Government Island] is The head of a large Island Seperated from a Small one by a narrow chanel [Lewis and Clark show two large islands on their maps, both in today's Government Island area], and both Situated nearest the Lard Side, those Islands [even today the Government Island reach is a complex of many islands] as also the bottoms are thickly Covered with Pine &c. river wide, Country low on both Sides; [since 1983 the Interstate 205 bridge crosses Government Island connecting Oregon to Washington]     on the Main Lard Shore a Short distance below the last Island we landed at a village of 25 Houses: [near Portland International Airport]; ...     This village contains about 200 men of the Skil-loot nation ...

at 7 miles below this village passed the upper point of a large Island [Hayden Island] nearest the Lard Side, a Small Prarie [Jolie Prairie, today the location of Fort Vancouver and Pearson Airpark. Lewis and Clark camp on this prairie on their return] in which there is a pond [one of the many ponds which use to dot this area] opposit on the Stard. here I landed and walked on Shore, about 3 miles a fine open Prarie for about 1 mile, back of which the countrey rises gradually and wood land comencies Such as white oake, pine of different kinds, wild crabs with the taste and flavour of the common crab and Several Species of undergroth of which I am not acquainted, a few Cottonwood trees & the Ash of this countrey grow Scattered on the river bank, ...     joined Capt. Lewis at a place he had landed with the party for Diner. ...

dureing the time we were at dinner those fellows Stold my pipe Tomahawk which They were Smoking with [Tomahawk pipe, thus giving rise to the name Tomahawk Island] ...    we proceeded on

[The men have passed through the area which, 20 years later, Dr. John McLoughlin would choose for a trading post of the Hudson's Bay Company, later to become Fort Vancouver and eventually the city of Vancouver, Washington.]

met a large & a Small Canoe from below, with 12 men the large Canoe was ornimented with Images carved in wood the figures of <man &> a Bear in front & a man in Stern, Painted & fixed verry netely on the <bow & Stern> of the Canoe, rising to near the hight of a man [Lewis and Clark then named Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island"]     two Indians verry finely Dressed & with hats on was in this canoe passed the lower point of the Island [Hayden Island] which is nine miles in length haveing passed 2 Islands on the Stard Side of this large Island [the location of Vancouver Landing and since 1917 the Interstate 5 Bridge connecting Oregon to Washington State], three Small Islands at its lower point [The downstream end of Hayden Island was at one time composed of small islands. One of these, Pearcy Island, would become today's Kelley Point.]. the Indians make Signs that a village is Situated back of those Islands on the Lard. Side and I believe that a Chanel is Still on the Lrd. Side [it wasn't until Lewis and Clark's return trip they would discover the mouth of the Willamette River] as a Canoe passed in between the Small Islands, and made Signs that way, probably to traffick with Some of the nativs liveing on another Chanel, at 3 miles lower [Sauvie Island is located at this stretch, but it is not until the return that Lewis and Clark recognize it as a separate island], and 12 Leagues below quick Sand river [Sandy River] passed a village of four large houses on The Lard. Side [on Sauvie Island], near which we had a full view of Mt. Helien [Mount St. Helens, Washington] which is perhaps the highest pinical in America from their base it bears N. 25 E about 90 miles- This is the mountain I Saw from the Muscle Shell rapid [Umatilla Rapids, Captain Clark actually saw Mount Adams] on the 19th of October last Covered with Snow, it rises Something in the form of a Sugar lofe- about a mile lower passed a Single house on the Lard. Side, and one on the Stard. Side, passed a village on each Side and Camped near a house on the Stard. Side [Post Office Lake vicinity, today within the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge] we proceeded on untill one hour after dark with a view to get clear of the nativs who was constantly about us, and troublesom, finding that we could not get Shut of those people for one night, we landed and Encamped on the Stard. Side ...

This evening we Saw vines much resembling the raspberry which is verry thick in the bottoms. A range of high hills at about 5 miles on the Lard Side [Portland's West Hills'] which runs S. E. & N W. Covered with tall timber the bottoms below in this range of hills and the river is rich and leavel, Saw White geese with a part of their wings black. The river here is 1 miles wide, and current jentle. opposite to our camp on a Small Sandy Island [one of the small sandy islands prevelent in this stretch of the Columbia. Today the Willow Bar Islands on the east side of Sauvie Island lie across from Post Office Lake.] the brant & geese make Such a noise that it will be impossible for me to Sleap. we made 29 miles to day






Clark, April 2, 1806 ...
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment [Cottonwood Beach, Washougal, Washington] or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. ...     about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp [Cottonwood Beach] among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island [Government Island], they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lited at the Falls of a large river [Willamette Falls] which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river [Willamette River] which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A. M. I Set out ...     at 8 miles passed a village on the South side [Chinook Landing and Blue Lake area] at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island [Government Island], and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P. M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-cho-ki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall [November 4, 1805, in the vicinity of the Portland International Airport] and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia [Celilo Falls].     on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman on Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. ...

I left them [village near today's Portland International Airport] and proceeded on on the South Side [North Portland Harbor] of Image Canoe Island [Hayden Island] which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village [location of Portland International Airport] and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island [Hayden Island], I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River [Willamette River] so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah [Willamette River] discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth [Belle Vue Point and Kelley Point, on opposite sides of the mouth of the Willamette, use to be islands] which hides the river from view from the Columbia.     from the enterance of this river [Willamette River] , I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East [Mount Hood, Oregon], Mt St. Helians [Mount St. Helens, Washington] a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians [Mount Adams, Washington, is east of Mount St. Helens]. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer [Mount Rainier, Washington] Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt. Jefferson [Mount Jefferson, Oregon] which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island [Sauvie Island].



The Current of the Multnomar [Willamette River] is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom ? of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house [downstream of Cathedral Park and the St. Johns Bridge, Portland, Oregon, near Portland's Terminal 4.], the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it.



this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants ...     The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R [Willamette River] from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island.

[This area has changed during the past 200 years. Lewis and Clark called today's Hayden Island "Image Canoe Island". Their "3rd Image Canoe Island" however maybe in reference to the "three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth" (see journal entry above), two of the islands possibly were islands which are today's Belle Vue Point on Sauvie Island, and Pearcy Island which eventually became Kelley Point. Lewis and Clark's route map (Map#79 and Map#80, Moulton, Vol.1) shows a long "Image Canoe Island" with two small islands on the north side of "Image Canoe Island", and three small islands at the mouth of the "Multnomah R.". ]

S. 30 W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small Island [???] in the Middle of Moltnomar river [Willamette River]. thence

S. 10 W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide [Multnomah Channel] which devides Wappato Island [Sauvie Island] from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side [???].

S. 60 E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land.

[Lewis and Clark's map plotted against an 1888 map of the area shows this location to be closer to 2 miles from the Multnomah Channel, just upstream from Portland's Terminal 4, and across from the community of Linnton.]

high bold Shore on the Starboard Side [Tualatin Mountains]. thence

S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side [St. Johns Bridge area located at the base of the Tualatin Mountains]

miles 10 passing a Larborad point [???].

thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See [the stretch through Portland, Oregon]. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthern.





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*River Miles [RM] are approximate, in statute miles, and were determined from USGS topo maps, obtained from NOAA nautical charts, or obtained from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website, 2003

Sources: Fort Vancouver Cultural Landscape Report, 1992, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site website, 2007; NOAA Historical Map and Chart Project Collection, NOAA website, 2004; NOAA Nautical Chart #18531; Oregon State Parks and Recreation Website, 2004; Port of Portland website, 2004, Government Island Management Plan, March 2002; Smithsonian Institution Library website, 2004, U.S. Ex.Ex., 1841; U.S. Geological Survey's Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) website, 2006; Washington State University Library Website, "Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection.

All Lewis and Clark quotations from Gary Moulton editions of the Lewis and Clark Journals, University of Nebraska Press, all attempts have been made to type the quotations exactly as in the Moulton editions, however typing errors introduced by this web author cannot be ruled out; location interpretation from variety of sources, including this website author.
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November 2010