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Willamette Valley - Region 2

An Overview of the Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley


Over 10,000 years ago, the geological cataclysm that was the Missoula Floods scoured Eastern Washington, forged the Columbia River Gorge, and bestowed the Willamette Valley with some of the most fertile agricultural soils on Earth. Uniquely situated between three mountain ranges, the Willamette Valley is has long been considered a farmer’s paradise. The valley is bounded by the Oregon Coast Range to the west, the Cascade Range to the east, and the Calapooya Mountains to the south. The numerous urbanites living in Oregon might also measure the boundary of the region not by the mountain ranges that surround it, but by the State's two largest cities that are situated to its north and south, Portland and Eugene respectively.

Not only have geological events left their marks on the land, so have the people who have called the Willamette Valley home. The lush lands of the Willamette Valley have a long history of being cultivated reaching back prior to the settlement of Euroamerican agriculturalists in the region. Today, most of us would be unable to recognize the agricultural practices of the indigenous people that previously lived in the valley as farming, but they were managing their environment for many of the same reasons we do now. Remnants from the early pioneers who trekked across the Oregon Trail to farm the Willamette Valley can also still be found in place names, monuments, and the DNA of many of the people who continue to live in the area. Although the people and practices have changed over time, many of the factors that make the Willamette Valley a unique and welcoming place to practice agriculture remain. These factors include the rich soil, abundant water, and nurturing climate.

The soil, water, and climate have been found to be particularly hospitable for the production of certain types of crops. The burgeoning wine industry in Oregon has not only has begun to rival California’s but France’s as well. This is especially true of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris produced in the region. Hazelnuts, berries of almost every variety, and Christmas trees are just a few of the other notable products of the Willamette Valley. However, there is so much more to the Willamette Valley than this, so we hope you enjoy exploring this site and getting to know more about Oregon’s Eden.