Top ASLA Award for Willamette Falls Cultural Landscape Report
Stories linked to places are ubiquitous, but rarely are those stories researched to a level that links them to an actual space at different moments in time. The process of developing this cultural landscape report for Willamette Falls completed that long overdue process, using primary research from multiple archives to highlight both the ugly and celebratory truths about a particularly potent nexus of historic events in Oregon.
The Oregon American Society of Landscape Architects gave the report its Award of Excellence for Research (highest honor). “It was a gift to dive into the multi-layered history of this place and help bring forward many of its stories,” says Laurie Matthews, MIG Director of Preservation Planning and Design.
The report uncovers the physical and mythic layers of the pre-historic and historic evolution of the site, from a gathering place for multiple American Indian tribes to the epicenter of European American settlement in the Oregon Territory and harnessing the energy of the falls to power flour, wool and saw mills.
The thought-provoking content helped one American Indian tribe learn more about where a series of devastating events that affected their ancestors occurred. It is inspiring designers seeking to define the next chapter in this place’s story, is helping mitigate future construction impacts, and will ensure that interpretation is inclusive of everyone’s story who has had a hand in shaping Willamette Falls.