Oregon City

Oregon City is located 13 miles South of Portland at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers. The city has three major zones, defined by steep hills or bluffs. Oregon City is home to shopping areas, recreational opportunities, businesses, a wide variety of historical and cultural attractions, and several Interpretive Centers and Museums dedicated to celebrating the Pioneer spirit. Oregon City was the first State Capital and is the County Seat of Clackamas County. *
In the 1810s, fur traders explored the Willamette Valley and surrounding areas.  Donald McKenzie, a partner in the Pacific Fur Company located at Fort Astoria, is believed to be the first white man to visit the area of the Willamette Falls when he ascended the river in 1812.  The company and the fort were sold to the North West Company, a British enterprise in 1813.  By 1814, both the North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company regularly trapped the lower Columbia and Willamette Rivers.  In 1821 the two fur companies merged under the Hudson’s Bay name and four years later built Fort Vancouver.**
Oregon Territory was officially created in 1848 and Oregon City was designated as the Territory’s first capital, an honor it held until the capital was moved to Salem in 1852.  Oregon was granted statehood in 1859.
 
The city continued to grow rapidly with the increase in overland migration.  Industry continued to develop as a number of mills were established to support the need for lumber and flour.  Although the discovery of gold in California in 1847 initially reduced the territory’s population as a number of settlers left for the gold fields, it also opened the market for supplying provisions to miners, stimulating industry and commerce.  A number of miners returned to the area after the gold rush passed.  By 1849, the population of Oregon City was over 900. **
 
 
* Information collected from http://www.orcity.org/webadmin/about-oregon-city ** http://www.orcity.org/planning/brief-history-oregon-city
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