The Willamette River upper tributaries originate in the mountains south of Eugene. The river flows northward through the Willamette Valley to its confluence with the Columbia River in Portland. The flow from the Willamette River accounts for 15% of water in the mighty Columbia River.

Over the last 30 years, stringent environmental protection laws and significant restoration activities have improved water quality conditions in the Willamette River.  Efforts continue to improve the health of the Willamette River basin through studies, cleanup efforts, and coordination by regulatory agencies and drinking water providers.

Willamette River on a rare sunny day in the winter

Other Willamette River Organizations

Learn more about other organizations that have an interest in the health of the Willamette River.


  • 187 miles long, flowing entirely in Oregon
  • Upper tributaries originate in the mountains south of Eugene
  • Ranks 19th in volume among the nation's rivers
  • 13 dams store water, produce hydroelectricity and prevent flooding
  • One of 20 rivers in the U.S. that flow south to north