The Columbia Slough is part of a system of wetlands, sloughs and lakes, a sixty-mile watershed in the north part of Portland, Oregon. The eighteen-mile slough parallels the Columbia River, flowing west from Fairview Lake near Gresham, to its confluence with the Willamette River in Portland. Historically, the slough absorbed flood waters from the Columbia River, but human-induced changes in the waterway and lands near the slough have altered its function from a natural floodplain to a slow-moving "drainage ditch." Change came to the Columbia Slough by the early twentieth century as settlers filled in wetlands, cut the forests, and created diverse communities that later became dumping grounds for industry and city garbage.
The Center for Columbia River History's Columbia Slough Community History Exhibit features primary documents, oral histories excerpts, photographs, maps, a bibliography and questions to help guide learning.
Document - 1942 advertisement in the Oregonian recruiting workers
Oral History - Berries, Catfish and Carp
Photograph - From the Columbia Slough Photo Archive