Floodplains -- Oregon -- Tualatin River, Landscapes -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- History, Land use -- Oregon -- History
For countless years, the interaction between climatic conditions and water flow has forged the rolling hills and rivers in the metroscape. The floods that forced a deluge of water down the Columbia River between 13 and 17 thousand years ago established the fertile and absorptive landscape of the Willamette Valley. The lush vegetation controlled the regional climate and stabilized the soils, while the thirsty wetlands reduced flood potential, provided habitat, and purified the water. Over geological time, these natural processes have created ideal conditions for humans. The Pacific Northwest was home to some of the most densely populated communities of Native Americans, due partly to mild climate, plentiful water, and abundant sources of food and shelter. In the 19th century, Anglo settlers flooded the region for the same amenities, which continues to create ideal conditions for all that the region is known for today, including hiking, kayaking, and sailing - not to mention the provision of climate, topography, and fertile soils for growing some of the world?s best wines! Land surveys from the 1860s suggest that the current form of the metroscape started to take shape at the end of the 19th century. The conifers, alders, and maples that covered the region were slowly removed to make way for new urban settlements, and wetlands were drained to create farms and agricultural areas. In this atlas, we journey 140 years into the past to examine how and where the metroscape has changed. Our aim is to illustrate historic flooding of the region, and ponder what changes might mean to its future.
Shandas, Vivek, and Meg Merrick. 2008. Floodplains: Balancing Nature and Human Needs. Metroscape: 13-19.