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Middle Willamette Watershed

In the Middle Willamette Subbasin (4th field watershed) there are two 5th field watersheds: Rickreall Creek watershed, and the Mill Creek watershed.

Rickreall Creek Watershed

The Rickreall falls 3,500 feet off the slopes of Laurel Mountain, over Silver Falls, and runs 25 miles to the Willamette. It passes through the towns of Dallas and Rickreall along the way.

Rickreall Creek

(courtesy of Salem Public Library)


Pictured is a man looking over the low water level in Rickreall Creek during a water deficiency in July, 1958. In the background a covered bridge can be seen. The last remaining covered bridge on Rickreall Creek was the Dallas Pumping Station Bridge that was built in 1915-16. It had a length of 84 feet and was a Howe Truss bridge. Two distinctions of this bridge was that it was the narrowest of the Oregon Covered Bridges, and the least beautiful. The bridge was used for traffic crossing the stream serving the Dallas Water Works. It was built by the Dallas Water Company, a private company owned and operated by H. V. Gates. According to Ray Boydston, a retired employee of the company, the total cost of construction was less than $1,000. It had a corrugated metal roof and sides. In 1987 it eventually fell into the water, undoubtedly the result of lack of maintenance.



Mill Creek Watershed

Mill Creek watershed contains about 110 square miles. From its source, melting snows and rain in the Cascade Mountains and foothills it flows west through forests, farmland and the cities of Aumsville, Sublimity, Tuner and portions of Stayton and Salem where it empties into the Willamette River.

The other streams and creeks that add flow are Beaver, McKinney, Battle and Rodgers Creek. Near Stayton, water is diverted to Mill Creek from the North Santiam River, boosting the flow of Mill Creek during the drier months.


Compiled by John Ame, Science Writer (2007)