The Willamette Falls & Landings Heritage Area Coalition (WFLHAC or Coalition) is excited to be leading the effort to establish a National Heritage Area (NHA) along a 56 river-mile portion of the Willamette River. This region of the Willamette Valley, populated for millennia by indigenous people, has a rich history that has shaped not just the state of Oregon, but played a critical role in extending our country west to the Pacific Ocean. Nearly two decades of work has culminated in a new draft Bill that we believe honors this deep heritage by establishing Oregon’s first National Heritage Area. Our goal is to see this Bill introduced to Congress
Our new draft Bill builds upon our previous work and provides a neutral framework that celebrates t
his unique region and history under the NHA designation. The area includes the stories of native tribes, western settlement, and many national firsts. The WFLHAC seeks to honor this heritage and believes that establishing a NHA is essential to this goal. The new draft Bill provides a valued neutral framework because it does not specify or define any particular tribes, but leaves space for all tribal histories to be shared and better understood. Similarly, this draft recognizes other broad historic themes from the region without offering an in-depth interpretation. The purpose of this legislation is solely to establish a NHA, not to tell history, define culture, or regulate anything, including fishing, hunting or other cultural practices or treaty rights. Establishing this NHA will provide opportunity for all people to share their own unique stories of this region.
The Coalition is continually working to expand our knowledge of and public access to the region’s natural resources and diverse culture and heritage. Our Feasibility Study, which was approved by the National Parks Service in 2018, outlines much of the region’s history and documents why it deserves to be a recognized
National Heritage Area. However, we know it does not tell the whole story of the region. We are constantly seeking to expand this body of knowledge, and the NHA designation will provide resources and opportunities to deepen our knowledge of the region’s cultural diversity and make it available to a broader audience.
Our Coalition cannot do this work alone. We are seeking partnership, leadership, and support from our partnering communities and our entire federal delegation to advocate for our NHA. This effort will put the Willamette Valley on the national map, expand our cultural awareness, and provide a foundation of stewardship to strengthen our region’s economy. We hope that you value and support these goals as much as we do and partner with us to support all Oregonians by establishing this NHA.
We look forward to keeping you up to date with this initiative and are happy to answer
any questions. We encourage you to learn more about the National Heritage Area
program by visiting their website and directing
your questions to our Executive Director, Britta Mansfield at email@example.com or