It’s an odd arrangement from most perspective – the ancient falls on the Willamette River 26 miles upstream from where it joins the Columbia River, a waterfall lassooed by a power company, looking like a fallen cat’s cradle. The falls can seem majestic from photographs taken below them. From this prospect they are more surreal. The Sykes view does not show the great sprawl of industrial structures built beside the falls and downstream. They are, I think, must larger than the falls themselves. And yet the size of this catarac is deceptive. It is claimed to be the largest waterfall in the Pacific Northwest. We imagine that the Celilo Falls and Kettle Falls, both on the Columbia and both covered now by slack water lakes behind dams, were both larger. These falls form a horshoe – even on their own. They are 1500 feet wide although they do not seem so wide. Their drop is 40 feet, and that too seems excessive, unless you are below them in a boat. When judged by water volume the Willamette falls are rated the eithteenth largest in the world. The canal beside them to the west have several locks. It was opened in 1873. Eight years later a fish latter was added. (Click to Enlarge)

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