Willamette River

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The Willamette River (pronounced /wɨˈlæmɨt/  ( listen)) is a major tributary of the Columbia River. The name of the river derives from the French pronunciation of the name of a Clackamas Indian village.[1] The river is 187 miles (301 km) long, lying entirely in northwestern Oregon in the United States.[3] Flowing northward between the Oregon Coast Range and Cascade Range, the river and its tributaries form a basin called the Willamette Valley, which contains two-thirds of Oregon's population,[7] including Portland, the state's largest city. Portland sits along both sides of the Willamette near its mouth on the Columbia. The valley, fed by prolific rainfall on the western side of the Cascades, is one of the most fertile agriculture regions of North America. It was the destination of many 19th-century immigrants along the Oregon Trail. The river was an important transportation route during the early history of the state.

Part of the river's floodplain (the Willamette Floodplain) was established as a National Natural Landmark in 1987; ten years later the river was named as one of ten national American Heritage Rivers.


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