Willamina Oregon is in the north west Willamette Valley, but is in both Yamhill and Polk Counties!

willamina collage photo tour

The town was named for the Willamina River that runs through it, hich was named for pioneer Willamina Williams.  Willamina Oregon is a really small town, kind of all by itself, separated from civilization.  If you want to get away from everything, Willamina Oregon is a good place to do it.  My daughter actually bought 5 acres in Willamina, up the road that winds by the school and into the woods.  They built a house out there.  It had a pretty view of the valley below, but you saw the smoke from the lumber mill below, and the huddleson pond is amazing for fishingprison that is technically in Sheridan.  I think the mill is closed now, though.  The town was kind of cute, the river really pretty, but this area seems kind of  depressed, maybe because it is so far away from everything and there aren’t many jobs.   There are 2,167 persons residing in Willamina as of 2016.

blackwell riverThere are some nice parks in town, and the Yamhill River runs right through it, with the Willamina Creek coming through the downtown and flowing into the Yamhill. There are several ponds along both creeks, with parks around them. Huddleson Pond is known for year round fishing, you can even catch fish in the winter!  It is 5 acres big, and the Department of fish and Wildlife stocks it in both spring and winter so that there are always lots of Rainbow Trout!  The ponds are right in Willamina, so easy to get to.  Blackwell River is a pretty place to take a dip or just relax and enjoy nature and the beauty surrounding you.   And Camp Cooper is a Boy Scout Camp located in Willamina, located in the coast range where logging was a major economy — our old-growth timber preserve, with its nature trail and waterfall, reminds us of the pristine forests of the great northwest.  Camp Cooper has been designated the council’s training camp, and is home to the outstanding National Youth Leadership Training  programs.camp cooper

The Town of Willamina Oregon is located in Yamhill County – 25 miles WNW of Salem with part of the Siuslaw National Forest and Van Duzer Forest Corridor Wayside State Park to the West.  You are pretty close to the beach, you can drive through the foothills to get to Pacific City pretty fast, less than 40 minutes, or go to Lincoln City or Cape Lookout Campground.

Houses and land are pretty inexpensive here, you can get 5 acres for quite a bit lower than most of the other places around Portland.  Houses are lower priced too.  But you have to take into consideration the travel time to get to work or anywhere else you want to go.  Even McMinnville is a half hour away.  The closest town is Grande Ronde, which has a casino and is an Indian Reservation.

Willamina from above

History of Willamina Oregon

Willamina RiverWillamina Oregon was first settled  in around 1846, and both the town and the river were named for Willamina Williams, who was the first pioneer woman to cross the river!    It was mostly a mill town, with so many trees around, logging was important. In 1878 a gristmill was built on the river, and soon Hezakiah Baily was also using it’s power to run a saw mill the cut up lumber Willamina Riverfor the growing town.  The town was platted in 1879, just a 10 block area close to the mill.

By 1903, there were 200 people living there, and in 1907, a Brick Company was started.  There was clay in the Willamina Brickscreek that made good bricks, in fact it was very unusual, and the bricks that were made were in high demand up and down the west coast.  These bricks helped build the cities and towns in the Willamette Valley area, including Portland.  Fire was a big threat at the time, and bricks didn’t burn like wood.   Because of the bricks and the lumber, they needed a way to ship their products out of town, so the leaders Willamina_Fendall_school_house_Feb_1959got together and managed to bring the RR in.

By 1939, the logging companies and sawmills were harvesting, milling and exporting almost 350000 board feet a day.  Soon Pacific Plywood opened a plant, the town tripled, and it was soon known as the little town with the big payroll.   At one time 250 logging trucks went over the Willamina River per day!