"Papermill and Historic Locks" West Linn by glabah

West Linn Travel Guide: 6 reviews and 27 photos

West Linn, across the river from Oregon City, is usually completely ignored by tourists. While it is true that the city doesn't have the museums and other facilities of Oregon City, there is a little here that tourists might be interested in seeing.

There used to be a fairly extensive old downtown area, and some of those residences still remain, as well as several older buildings. Unfortunately, historic West Linn has suffered quite a lot in the last 30 years due to highway construction, and therefore there just isn't much left of what was once West Linn's downtown.

The above two buildings, plus the police station across the street, are two of the last several buildings that remain to mark the former location of downtown West Linn.

This large highway interchange between several local roads, highway 43, and interstate 205 now occupies much of what used to be old West Linn.

Other sections have been demolished to make way for expansion of the paper mill.

By far the most important historical site remaining in West Linn are the Willamette Falls Locks and the associated Willamette Falls Locks museum. The locks were finished in the 1870s to allow river traffic to get around the obstacle posed by Willamette Falls. It is the oldest multi-lock system in the USA.

There are a number of small neighborhood parks in the area, and the Willamette District of West Linn includes a park with a boat ramp and locations popular with those who fish or waterski or otherwise use the river for recreation. Mary S Young State Park is located here, though functionally it is operated and maintained by the city of West Linn rather than the state. It is a good place to go to relax and it has a few hiking trails, but for the most part that park isn't of significant tourist interest.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Scattered small attractions, some of which are one of a kind.
  • Cons:The few remaining interesting and historic features are extremely hidden from the public. Smell from papermill can be exceptionally overpowering. No surviving central downtown area.
  • In a nutshell:Not a huge amount here for the tourist, except those interested in the few unique features located here.
  • Last visit to West Linn: Sep 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (6)


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