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Lewis & Clark's Columbia River - "200 Years Later"
"Tualatin Mountains, Oregon"
Includes ... Tualatin Mountains ... Portland West Hills ... Council Crest ... Cornelius Pass ... Logie Trail ... Tualatin Basin ... Tualatin Plains ... Tualatin River ... Tualatin Valley ...
Image, 2006, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tualatin Mountains and Oregon Highway 30. View heading west, downstream of Linnton and upstream of St. Helens. Image taken October 31, 2006.

"... high bold Shore on the Starboard Side ..." [Clark, April 2, 1806]

"... S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side ..." [Clark, April 2, 1806]

Tualatin Mountains ...
Locally known as the "Portland West Hills", the Tualatin Mountains dominate the western skyline of Portland, Oregon. The "mountains" form a ridgeline running from northwest to southeast, with the southeastern portion of the ridge bordering the Multnomah Channel and the Willamette River, and ending at Portland. The community of Linnton lies at the base of the Tualatin Mountains.

Image, 2012, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Tualatin Mountains and Oregon Highway 30, near Westport, Oregon. View from Highway 30, heading west. Image taken January 27, 2012.

Lewis and Clark and the Tualatin Mountains ...
Captain Clark commented on the Tualatin Mountains on April 2, 1806, while he explored the lower reach of the Willamette River.

"... high bold Shore on the Starboard Side ..." [Clark, April 2, 1806]

"... S. 30 E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side ..." [Clark, April 2, 1806]

"Tualatin" ...
"Tualatin", "Twality", "Tuality" ... The name Tualatin is from Atfalati (rhymes with "quality"), the name of the Native American Kalapuyan tribe which once occupied the Tualatin River valley. Early settlers shorten the name to "Tualati" or "Tualatin".

"Oregon Geographic Names" (2003, McArthur and McArthur) says:

"Tualatin is probably an Indian word meaning lazy or sluggish, this being the character of the river's flow. Other meanings are "land without trees", signifying the plains of Tualatin, and "forks" or "forked" for the numerous upper tributaries, including Gales and Dairy creeks."

Tualatin Mountain Geology ...
The Geology of Portland:

"The City of Portland sits at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and occupies the western half of the Portland Basin and much of the adjacent Tualatin Mountains. The flat floor of the Portland Basin is punctuated by several small buttes and the Boring Hills, a complex region where small volcanic cones mix with blocks uplifted by faulting. The Tualatin Mountains, a straight and narrow range with a sharp, fault-bounded eastern edge, separate the Portland Basin from the Tualatin Basin to the west. The Tualatin Basin is generally flat, with a few faulted and folded highs in the center of the basin."

Source:    Ian P. Madin, 2009, "Portland, Oregon, Geology by Tram, Train, and Foot": Oregon Geology, vol.69, no.1, Fall, 2009, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland.

Views ...

Image, 2005, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
Click image to enlarge
Tualatin Mountains and the Multnomah Channel. View from the Sauvie Island Bridge looking downstream on the Multnomah Channel. The Tualatin Mountains rise on the left. Image taken November 20, 2005.
Image, 2006, St. Johns Bridge, click to enlarge
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St. Johns Bridge, Oregon, with fog hanging over the Tualatin Mountains. View from Cathedral Park, St. Johns, Oregon. Image taken February 5, 2006.
Image, 2010, Portland, Oregon, from Mount Tabor, click to enlarge
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Portland, Oregon, from Mount Tabor. View of Portland from Mount Tabor, a Boring Lava Cone located east of Portland. The Tualatin Mountains, also known as the Portland West Hills, rise as a backdrop to Portland. Image taken May 9, 2010.

Tualatin Mountains, etc.

  • Cornelius Pass ...
  • Council Crest ...
  • Logie Trail ...
  • Tualatin Basin, Plains, River, and Valley

Cornelius Pass ...
Cornelius Pass crosses the Tualatin Mountains in a northeast/southwest direction, linking Oregon Highway 30 from near Sauvie Island with Oregon Highway 26 and the Tualatin Plains. One mile downstream of Cornelius Pass lies the older Logie Trail (see more below). Both Cornelius Pass and Logie Trail were used by Native Americans and then early explorers and trappers, before becoming improved for use by wagons and tradesmen.

In the 1800s pioneer and statesman Thomas R. Cornelius built Cornelius Pass. Thomas Cornelius arrived in Oregon with his family and settled in Washington County, Oregon, in 1845. He fought in both the Cayuse War and the 1855 Yakima Indian War.

In 1850/1851 Cornelius Pass was considered for a railroad passage from St. Helens, Oregon, across Cornelius Pass and heading south to the Willamette Valley. The plan failed.

"The first Oregon proposition for a railroad in Oregon was made by H.M. Knighton, the original owner of the townsite of St. Helens. Mr. Knighton proposed to make good the claim of his town to the seaport head of navigation on the Columbia river by building a railroad in 1851 from St. Helens through the Cornelius pass and across Washington county to the city of Lafayette, that town being at that time the big town of the Willamette valley." [Joseph Gaston, 1912, "The Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, vol.1", S.J. Clarke Publishing Company]

"H.M. Knighton, owner of the original townsite at St. Helens, Oregon, proposed in 1850 to build a railroad from that town, then a serious competitor of Portland for supremacy as the metropolis at the head of river navigation, the route of which railroad was to follow through the Cornelius Pass and across Washington County to Lafayette." [Chards Henry Carey, 1922, "History of Oregon, vol.1", Pioneer Historical Publishing Company]

Image, 2017, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cornelius Pass Road at Oregon Highway 30. The Tualatin Mountains rise on the left. Image taken April 15, 2017.
Image, 2017, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Cornelius Pass Road heading southwest. Image taken April 15, 2017.

Council Crest ...
Council Crest, at 1,200 feet, is the high point of the Tualatin Mountains and overlooks the location of the 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. From 1907 until 1929, Council Crest was once the home of an amusement park. Today it is a Portland, Oregon, city park. The Columbia River and five different Cascade Range volcanoes can be seen from the top.

Logie Trail ...
Logie Trail is an early native route which crosses the Tualatin Mountains linking the Columbia River lowlands to the higher Tualatin Plains. One mile upstream of Logie Trail lies Cornelius Pass. At one time the Logie Trail was the main trail connecting the Columbia River to the Tualatin Valley.

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Logie Trail Road (Multnomah County) ... James Logie was one of the earliest settlers on Sauvie Island. He was a Hudson's Bay Company employee and was sent to the island about 1840 to take charge of butter-making in one of the company's dairies. He worked on the old Indian trail over the hills into the Tualatin Valley and made a better route out of it. It was named for him on that account. James Logie was born in the Orkney Islands. He died March 24, 1854, and his widow, Isabella, also from the Orkneys, married Jonathan Moar. ... Much of the original trail is now the route of Johnson Road."

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office (GLO) Records database shows Isabella and Heirs of James Logie being granted title to 640 acres of T2N R1W, Sections 6, 7, 8, 17 and 18, on September 9, 1866 (1850 Oregon-Donation Act).

The 1854 cadastral survey (tax survey) shows the Logie homestead on Sauvie Island in the northeast quarter of T2N R1W, Section 7. The 1862 survey shows the Isabella Logie Donation Land Claim on Sauvie Island bordering "Willamette Slough", today's Multnomah Channel. Across the channel is the claim of William Weatherbee.

Image, 2018, Logie Trail, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Logie Trail sign, Tualatin Mountains, Oregon. View heading west along Oregon Highway 30. Image taken February 15, 2018.

Tualatin Basin, Plains, River, and Valley ...
The Tualatin River Valley, also seen referred to as "Tualatin Basin", "Tualatin Plains", and "Tualatin Valley", is a high flat fertile plain through which the Tualatin River meanders.

The Tualatin River is a tributary to the Willamette River, and merges into the Willamette at Willamette River Mile (RM) 28.5. The river heads in the Coast Range, is approximately 83 miles long, and drains the fertile Tualatin Plains. The U.S. Board of Geographic Names made the name "Tualatin River" official in 1913, with variants at the time being "Tualitin River" and "Tualtin River".

The name Tualatin is from Atfalati (rhymes with "quality"), the name of the Native American Kalapuyan tribe which once occupied the Tualatin River valley. Early settlers shorten the name to "Tualati" or "Tualatin".

"The Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Indians, who settled in the basin of the Tualatin Valley some 10,000 years ago, where the first peoples to call Washington County home. ...

After the first settlers arrived in the early 1800s, smallpox decimated the native people. In 1855, when the Kalapuya and other Northwest tribes ceded their land to the United States government in exchange for other services like education, protection and social services, it is estimated that there were only 600 Kalapuya still living.

With the Kalapuyans, more than 25 other tribes were moved to the Grand Ronde Indian reservation in 1856, and the collected tribes became known as the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. However, after the U.S. Government passed the Western Oregon Indian Termination Act in 1954, the reservation and status of the confederation were terminated.

The tribe existed as a non-recognized government entity until Congress passed the Grand Ronde Restoration Act in 1983, a piece of legislation aided by former Oregon Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse. ...

David Lewis, cultural liaison for the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde, said that after 130 years of the various tribes being united as the Confederted Tribes of Grand Ronde, it's nearly impossible to separate the tribes. Many of the peoples' ancentry are compoosed of multiple groups. ..."

Source:    Taylor Smith, 2013, "Kalapuya tribes remembered, honored in Washington County Museum's mobile exhibit", "OregonLive.com", August 2013.

According to "Oregon Geographic Names" (McArthur and McArthur, 2003):

"Tualatin River (Clackamas and Washington Counties) ... Tualatin is probably an Indian word meaning lazy or sluggish, this being the character of the river's flow. Other meanings are "land without trees", signifying the plains of Tualatin, and "forks" or "forked" for the numerous upper tributaries, including Gales and Dairy creeks. The "treeless plains" was vouched for by Tolbert Carter, pioneer of 1846, whose home was near Wells, Benton County, to Geo. H. Himes. Tualatin was Twha-la-ti, according to Silas B. Smith, and John Work gave Faladin in 1834. The name has had many variations, among them Twality, Quality, Falatine, and Nefalatine. There is a town named Tualatin in Washington County. The settlements near what are now known as Hillsboro and Forest Grove were in pioneer days called East and West Tualatin precincts. One of the original districts or counties in Oregon was called Twality. The spelling Tuality was also used officially."

In 1848, Lieutenant Neil M. Howison of the U.S. Navy wrote about his 1846 examination of Oregon.

"On the 26th [July 26, 1846], I dropped down to the mouth of the Wilhammette, six miles below Vancouver, and made an effort to get the schooner over the bar at the mouth of the river, with the view of ascending it as far as navigable for sea-going vessels ... Finding it impossible to get the schooner into the Wilhammette river, I left her at Vancouver, and made a visit to Oregon city ... From the city the governor accompanied me for a week's ride through the Wilhammette valley, and a more lovely country nature has never provided for her virtuous sons and daughters than I here travelled over. ... In person I visited the Twality plains, and returned again by the city and river."

"I saw personally but little of Oregon, but that comprised its most interesting parts, viz: all settled spots on the Columbia below the Cascades, the Wilhammette valley for sixty miles above Oregon city, and the Twality and Clatsop plains."

"Leaving Astoria, we ascended the Columbia eighty miles, and there entering the Wilhammette, find, three miles within its mouth, the city of Linton, on its left or western shore. This site was selected by a copartnership of gentlemen as the most natural depot for the produce of the well settled Twality plains, and a road was opened over the ridge of hills intervening between the plains and the river. It contains only a few log-houses, which are over-shadowed by huge fir trees that it has not yet been convenient to remove. ... Eight or nine miles above Linton, on the same side of the Wilhammette, we come to a more promising appearance of a town. It has been named Portland by the individual under whose auspices it has come into existence, and mainly to whose efforts its growth and increase are to be ascribed. This is Mr. F.W. Pettygrove, from Maine, who came out here some years back as agent for the mercantile house of the Messrs. Benson, of New York. ... He selected Portland as the site of a town accessible to shipping, built houses, and established himself there; invited others to settle around him, and appropriated his little capital to opening wagon roads (aided by neighboring farmers) into the Twality plains, and up the east side of the river to the falls where the city of Oregon stands."

Image, 2012, Tualatin Valley, Oregon, click to enlarge
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Barns, Tualatin Valley near Fernhill, Oregon. Image taken September 4, 2012.

From the Journals of Lewis and Clark ...

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.

Vancouver PlainsReturn to




*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:    Madin, I.P., 2009, "Portland, Oregon, Geology by Tram, Train, and Foot": Oregon Geology, vol.69, no.1, Fall, 2009, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland;    McArthur, L.A., and McArthur, L.L., 2003, "Oregon Geographic Names", Oregon Historical Society Press;    Smith, T., 2013, "Kalapuya tribes remembered, honored in Washington County Museum's mobile exhibit", "OregonLive.com", August 2013;    "TualatinOregon.gov" website, 2017;   

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.
© 2017, Lyn Topinka, "ColumbiaRiverImages.com", All rights reserved.
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April 2017