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Part One

An Oregon Story:
Cottage Grove & the Willamette River

From Rivers to Reservoirs:
Cottage Grove & Dorena Dams

Part Two

The Last of the Lumbermills:
Changing Cultures & Economies

Cottage Grove:
Then & Now

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The Kalapuyans:
Willamette Valley Indians


Drawing from Charles Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition During the Years 1838,1840,1841,1842

The first people to live in the Willamette Valley Basin were the Kalapuyans, a loosely related group of about 3,000 Indians who occupied the Willamette River drainage area south of the Oregon City falls. Tufted hairgrass and bluegrass covered the valley floor growing to several feet in height. Indians refered to these grasses as "kalapuya" and when Euro-Americans traveled through the valley, they used this name to identify the Indians who lived there. Indians foraged the valley's fields for camas and wapato and hunted its whitetail deer, elk, and water fowl. Floods annually renewed a landscape that supported roots, birds, and mammals. But the Kalapuyans did not merely take the foods that grew naturally. They also altered the environment to encourage it to produce their preferred food sources more efficiently. The Kalapuyans transformed the valley through fire.

William Hartless's account of a valley forest fire

Language chart

Food chart