The Foundation

The Willamette Falls Heritage Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization established to raise funds for historic preservation, education, and other heritage-related programs and projects in an area reaching from the mouth of the Clackamas River to the mouth of the Tualatin River. We have been celebrating industrial history in the Falls area since 2002. In 2018 the Foundation also registered in Oregon as DBA “Friends of the Locks”.

The Foundation focuses on raising public awareness of West Linn history and the under-interpreted and under-appreciated historic transportation and industrial resources on the west side of the Willamette River.  Board members remain committed to building visionary, constructive partnerships with all Oregon heritage partners, for the good of the preservation community and the enrichment of Oregonians’ quality of life.

Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. The Foundation has no members and is not a grant-making organization.

Mission Statement

Preserving and sharing the stories of human enterprise and the power of the water at the great falls of the Willamette River.

Our Focus and Priorities Include:

* Developing information sources about the industrial and cultural heritage at the falls.

* Being supportive of current facilities and industries to the extent they remain economically viable.

* If current facilities are no longer viable, promoting a transformation and repurposing of facilities that preserves and reflects their long heritage in the communities at the falls.

* Encouraging and repurposing or adaptive reuse to preserve iconic historic structures while increasing accessibility to the falls and historical features, and ensuring on-site interpretation of their history.


Implement our mission and priorities through education, outreach, advocacy, art, conservation, partnerships, service and research.

Projects and Initiatives:

* Support Transfer of Ownership and Reopening the Willamette Locks

* Coordinate with PGE, Willamette Falls Paper Company, and ODFW on ways to preserve and utilize Mill A and provide access to the viewing of Willamette Falls.

* Advocate for Heritage and Preservation Interests within West Linn Old City Hall District and the Industrial Heritage District of the West Linn Waterfront Project.

* Collection Responsibility.

* Increase Awareness of the Foundation and its Mission.

Multi-Year Vision Statements:

Ten Years From Now:

By 2029, strong partnerships within the Heritage Area and leadership by the Foundation will have resulted in a vibrant and varied community of Locks users navigating once again around the Willamette Falls. 

We will have interpretive information within the Locks to educate travelers from the water. Our industrial history will attract both heritage and natural history tourists from around the world and children from classrooms across the State. Stern Wheeler heritage tours are part of this vision.

Willamette Falls area attractions include: 

* River City Walk

* Tours of historic mills within the former West Linn Paper Company 

* Restored and reopened Locks Museum

* Heritage bed and breakfast accommodations

* A new historically respectful West Linn river-view hotel

* Seasonal events on and along the river for all ages on the completed Greenway

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