By a nail-biting vote of 52-50 in 1843, Oregon became a provisional territory of the United States. The voting site is at Champoeg Park on the Willamette River about 20 miles southwest of Portland.
There was a city at Champoeg (cham-poo-e’) at one time, but several floods in the late 1800’s destroyed most of the buildings. The entire area is one large floodplain, mostly controlled by upriver dams these days.
In early winter I detoured around a large pond near the trail, then visited the pavilion and monument commemorating the 1843 event.
Next a short loop to the west along the river was followed. The cottonwood trees were very large, as big as any I have ever seen. After returning to the pavilion, I began hiking to the east on a cinder path, which soon turned to a paved lane along the River.
I took a side path to an 1845 pioneer woman’s gravesite and explored a nature hike loop.
Because of trail maintenance, I turned around at Champoeg Creek. Usually I hike an additional 1 1/2 miles to the Butteville Store, originally opened in 1863.
The hike back to the trailhead was very pleasant with squirrels and songbirds keeping me company.