This section covers the social and historical aspects of environmental management.

Environmental history from a social perspective

Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon. 1992. Boag, Peter G. Berkeley: University of California Press.

“Presettlement Overharvest of Upper Columbia River Beaver Populations.”  1974. D. Johnson and D.H. Chance.  Canadian Journal of Zoology 52:1519-1521.

The Willamette Valley: Migration and Settlement on the Oregon Frontier. 1978. Bowen, William, A. Seattle: University of Washington Press. Includes maps of every settlement household, arranged by ancestry (French, German, etc.); detailed information on where settlers moved from; maps of milk and beef cattle ranching locations; information the location of sawmills and gristmills, and much more.

Environmental politics and administration

Chronological History of Fish & Wildlife Administration in Oregon. 1980. Robert U. Mace. Unpublished history of ODFW and its precursors. Also, The Good Old Days: A Review of Game and Fish Administration in Oregon. By Clark Walsh, 1960. Unpublished history of fish and wildlife management in Oregon. Both available at the ODFW library in Clackamas.

Fire at Eden’s Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story. By Brent Walth. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press. "Oregon governor (1967-1975) Tom McCall personified the sweeping environmental movement of the '60s and '70s. This biography describes his important work in cleaning up the polluted Willamette River, preserving Oregon’s beaches for all, and establishing the Oregon Bottle Bill." (OHS)

Legislative Perspectives: A 150-Year History of the Oregon Legislatures From 1843 to 1993. By Douglas Heider and David Dietz. Portland: Oregon Historical Society. "Out of the early settlers’ desire for an organized way of dealing with 'wolves, bears, panthers and such other animals as are known to be destructive to cattle, horses, sheep and hogs,' grew the sixty-member house and thirty-member senate that serves Oregon today. This 150-year legislative history explains the interesting and often tumultuous saga of Oregon politics." (OHS)

Planning the Oregon Way: A Twenty-Year Evaluation. 1994. Carl Abbott, Deborah Howe, and Sy Adler, editors. Corvallis: OSU Press. "Examines the Oregon system, describes its strengths and weaknesses, and explores ways to improve and refine it." (OSU Press)

The Willamette Valley: Choices for the Future, 1970. 1972. Halprin, Lawrence & Associates. Prepared for the Willamette Valley Environmental Protection & Development Planning Council.

History: Pre-1840
Also see Native American culture and relations

Archaeological Studies in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. 1975. Edited by C. Melvin Aikens. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #8. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Archaeology of Oregon. 1993. Melvin C. Aikens. U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Portland.

Cultural Resource Overview of the BLM Lakeview District, South-Central Oregon: Archaeology, Ethnography, History . 1979. Rick Minor, Stephen Dow Beckham and Kathryn Anne Toepel. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #16. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Cultural Resource Overview of BLM Lands in North-Central Oregon: Archaeology, Ethnography, History. 1980. Kathryn Anne Toepel, William F. Willingham and Rick Minor. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #17. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Cultural Resource Overview of BLM Lands in Northwestern Oregon: Archaeology, Ethnography, History. 1980. Rick Minor, Stephen Dow Beckham, Phyllis E. Lancefield-Steeves and Kathryn Anne Toepel. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #20. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Cultural Resource Overview of the Willamette National Forest, Western Oregon. 1977. Rick Minor and Audrey Frances Pecor. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #12. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

John Work’s Journey from Fort Vancouver to Umpqua River, and Return, in 1834. 1923. Leslie M. Scott, ed. Oregon Historical Quarterly 24:238-268.

Late Archaic Settlement Pattern in the Long Tom Sub-Basin, Upper Willamette Valley, Oregon. 1988. Richard D. Cheatham. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #39. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Native American Religious Practices and Uses in Western Oregon. 1984. Stephen Dow Beckham, Kathryn Anne Toepel and Rick Minor. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #31. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America. 1820. Gabriel Franchmere. Reprint: New York: Redfield, 1954.

A Prehistoric Culture Sequence in the Portland Basin of the Lower Columbia Valley. 1981. Richard M. Pettigrew. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #22. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Prehistory and History of BLM Lands in West-Central Oregon: A Cultural Resource Overview. 1981. Stephen Dow Beckham, Rick Minor and Kathryn Anne Toepel. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #25. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

Villages and Wetlands Adaptations in the Northern Great Basin: Chronology and Land Use in the Lake Albert Chewaucan Marsh Basin, Lake County, Oregon. 1989. Albert C. Oetting. University of Oregon Anthropological Papers #41. Department of Anthropology, U of Oregon, Eugene. (541)346-5102

History: Post-1840
Also see land claim maps, journals and diaries, Native American culture & relations

The Oregon Historical Society has a government document collection that focuses on Oregon’s early territorial and statehood periods.

All Over Oregon and Washington. 1872. F. Victor. San Francisco: John H. Cormany & Co.

Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon. 1992. Peter G. Boag. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Guide to Oregon’s Provisional and Territorial Government Records. Publication and records available through Oregon State Archives.

History of the Pacific Northwest, Vol. I, Oregon and Washington. 1889.  Elwood Evans, ed. 1889. Portland: North Pacific History Co. (Available at Multnomah Public Library, 979.5 N86h).

In the Oregon Country. 1915.  George Palmer Putnam. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

James Clyman, Frontiersman: the Adventures of a Trapper and Covered Wagon Emigrant as Told in His Own Reminiscences and Diaries.  1960. James Clyman. Charles L. Camp, ed.  Portland: Champoeg Press.

Journal of Travels: Over the Oregon Trail in 1845. Joel Palmer. Portland: Oregon Historical Society Press. "Originally published in 1847 after he traveled the Oregon Trail in 1845, Joel Palmer’s Journal became for many emigrants the authoritative guidebook to the Eden that lay beyond the Rocky Mountains. Considered one of the most comprehensive and detailed primary documents available...Includes early descriptions of the Willamette Valley." (OHS)

The Making of Oregon: A Study in Historical Geography. 1979.  Samuel Dicken and Emily F. Dicken. Portland: Oregon Historical Society.

Oregon, End of the Trail. 1950. Federal Writers Project, WPA. Portland: Binford & Mort. (A guide to Oregon, available at Multnomah Public Library, 917.95 F29-1).

Oregon Main Street: A Rephotographic Survey. James Norman, R.C. Keeney, G. Kramer, D.A. Smith, and W. Tonsfeldt. Oregon Historical Society, 100pp.  "This book captures the growth and transformation of twenty-eight cities and towns throughout Oregon over the past century with pairs of matching historic and contemporary photographs that provide "then versus now" comparisons." (OHS)

Land use history and planning documents

USGS Willamette Basin land use study and links

Willamette Basin Land Use Study, 1965. [done by who?]  Covers urbanization; agricultural land use policy; forest land policy; water and air pollution control policy; flood plain management policy and more.  (Available at ODFW library in Clackamas) 

The Willamette Valley: Choices for the Future, 1970.  1972. Halprin, Lawrence & Associates.  Prepared for Prepared for the Willamette Valley Environmental Protection & Development Planning Council.

The following are available through the Oregon State Archives’ Historical Records Project:

Corner Survey Records. 1885-present. "Series documents the establishment and/or restoration of survey corners or monuments by the county surveyor or registered land surveyors. Records include maps, field survey restoration notes, historical notes, and indexes. Information includes description of corners; existing markers; descriptions of new markers and any changes made to the locations; property owners; township, range, and section numbers; donation land claim information; date the new markers were set; and surveyor's signatures."

County Comprehensive Plans, 1972-present. "Series documents the development and revision of a plan for the use of lands within the county. Series includes plans for transportation, energy, housing, population and economics, public facilities and services, urbanization, natural resources, greenways, recreation, agricultural and forest lands, land capability, resource quality, floodplains, landmarks, historic property, rural community center designation, and natural areas. Each plan includes background information about the subject; supporting documentation such as maps, charts, and diagrams; and a narrative description of each aspect of the plan and how it is to be implemented. Series may also include an overall "comprehensive plan" which contains both historical and current looks at county land practices and defines goals and policies adhered to during the creation and implementation of the plan."

Deeds and Indexes, 1854-1986. "Series documents the ownership of land. Series includes deeds, land sales contracts, quitclaim deeds, homestead exemption claims, corporate certificates, agreements, correction deeds, special assessments of unzoned farmland, easements, and indirect and direct deed indexes. Information includes grantor and grantee name; recording and filing dates; property descriptions; title warranties; consideration amounts; witness and recorder names; and volume and page numbers of where recorded."

Farm Name Registration Records, 1911-1964. Series documents the application for and registration of farm names with the county clerk or recorder… Information includes owner's name and address; farm name, location, and description; and date and number of application and final application."

Federal Land Grant Records, 1849-1976. "Series records ownership of county lands obtained from the federal government. Series includes records of land grants administered under a variety of federal programs such as donation land claims and homesteads. Donation land claims are the most common type of federal land grant in Oregon that is documented in this inventory project. … Records include plats, indexes, and survey notes. Information includes township, range, and section numbers, names of donation land claim holders and claim numbers, claim dates, acreage, and descriptions of surveys. …Under the Homestead Act of 1862, settlers were given 160 acres of land in the public domain if they built a home on the land, resided there for five years, and cultivated the land. A complete homestead entry file includes such documents as the homestead application, homestead proof, and final certificate authorizing the claimant to obtain a land patent. Additional land grant records may also be found in the Surveyor Field Notes and Plats."

Land Subdivision Records, 1856-present. "Series documents the subdividing and partitioning of land within the county. Records include survey notes, correspondence, photographs, satisfaction of agreements, maps of subdivided and partitioned land, and contracts and permits. Information includes subdivision names; lot, street, and alley dimensions; and township, range, and section numbers of land to be subdivided or partitioned."

Land Title Registers, 1904-1917. "Series records the ownership of land within the county."

Maps, Plans, and Drawings, 1930-present. "Series provides a visual representation of the county and of physical structures constructed on county lands. Series includes maps, plans, and drawings that vary in size, scale, and date. Included are maps, plans, and drawings of counties and cities, election precincts, courthouses and other county buildings, cemeteries, rivers, Indian reservations, school districts, construction projects, and soil classifications. General road maps may be found in the series titled Road and Bridge Records. Technical road survey maps may be found in the series titled Road Maps and Survey Notes."

Mining Claim Records, 1872-1970. "Series documents actions filed with the county related to mineral interest claims. Types of actions include mineral rights and royalty assignments, mineral interest claims, lease releases, interest stipulations, corrections, bills of sale and conveyance assignments, and location notices."

Planning Commission Minutes 1964-present. "Series documents the discussions and activities of the county planning commission as recorded in the minutes and agendas. Topics discussed include the creation, amendment, and appeal of zoning ordinances and county land use laws; county comprehensive plans; and election or appointment of planning commission members."

Surveyor Field Notes and Plats, 1851-present. "Series documents surveys of county land by the county or licensed professional surveyors. Records include log books, field notes, and plats. An index may also be included. Information includes survey dates; who the survey was for; donation land claims; township, range, section, and survey numbers; a history of previous surveys made for the area; descriptions of land, vegetation, and soil; landmarks; metes and bounds of tracts surveyed; and surveyor's names. Plats also include corner restoration marks, scales, dates created and filed, and donation land claim owners." 

Tax Lot Cards, 1961-[ongoing]. "Tax lot cards, which contain official descriptions of real property, are used to track land ownership and lot size and also may serve as a deed reference. Records include tax lot number; the location of the land in reference to township, range, and section; and a description and record of changes to the property, acreage, and land owner." 

Zoning Records, 1969-present. Series documents the development and implementation of codes and policies relating to the zoning of county lands and to illustrate and locate the various zoned areas within the county. Records include uniform zone codes and ordinances depicting various zoned lands in the county. Information in codes and ordinances includes definition, code/ordinance numbers, purposes, uses, conditions for use, and changes made to codes/ordinances. Maps include area and/or zone descriptions, dates created, scales, and commissioners' signatures. Areas are typically zoned for residential, industrial, commercial, flood plain, agricultural, timber, public and government, and mineral extraction uses."

Native American culture & relations
Also see social research
Also see History: Pre-1840

An Arrow in the Earth: General Joel Palmer and the Indians of Oregon. Terence O'Donnell. Oregon Historical Society Press. "Addresses relations between Indians and new settlers from the 1830s to the1870s and discusses the social, political, cultural and religious development of Oregon during these early years." (OHS)

The First Oregonians: An Illustrated Collection of Essays on Traditional Lifeways, Federal-Indian Relations, and the State's Native People Today. 1991. Carolyn Buan and Richard Lewis, eds. Portland, OR: Oregon Council for the Humanities.  "This overview of the nine federally recognized tribal groups in Oregon presents information on traditional lifeways, languages, Euroamerican contact, federal-Indian relations, misconceptions about Indians, and Oregon Indians today." (Smithsonian review)

The Sandal and the Cave: The Indians of Oregon. 1981. Luther S. Cressman. Corvallis: OSU Press. "A brief, lucid, and comprehensive introduction to the prehistory of Oregon Indians written by the man whose 1938 discovery of a 9,000-year-old sandal in Fort Rock Cave revolutionized accepted theories of western prehistory." (OSU Press)

"Strategies of Indian Burning in the Willamette Valley."  1986.  Robert Boyd. Canadian Journal of Anthropology 5(1):65-86.

The Kalapuyans: A Sourcebook on the Indians of the Willamette Valley.  1974.  Harold Mackey. 1974. Salem: Mission Hill Museum Association.

Narratives, diaries and oral histories

The Brackenridge Journal for the Oregon Country.  1931. W.D. Brackenridge.  O. B. Sperlin, ed. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Overland Passages: A Guide to Overland Documents in the Oregon Historical Society. Kris White and M.C. Cuthill, eds. Portland: Oregon Historical Society. "This guide to 230 diaries and letters in the collections of the Oregon Historical Society provides a valuable tool for researchers needing access to this information." (OHS)

Reference guides
Also see other links

Oregon Blue Book. An official state directory of state, county, city, federal and tribal governments, with related general information. 

Oregon Geographic Names. Lewis A. McArthur, Sixth edition, revised and enlarged by Lewis L. McArthur. Oregon Historical Society. "Long considered an essential research tool, Oregon Geographic Names unlocks the exciting, dramatic and sometimes humorous history of Oregon's place-names. Originally published in 1928, the current edition contains more than 5,000 entries of the state's appellations." (OHS) 

Overland Passages: A Guide to Overland Documents in the Oregon Historical Society. Kris White and M.C. Cuthill, eds. Portland: Oregon Historical Society. 

Social research 

Census Records, 1885-1905, available through the Oregon State Archives’ Historical Records Project.  Other census years are available at most university libraries and through the US Census Bureau Website.   "Series documents the population, property, and agricultural production of the county. Records may include census rolls and abstracts, farm schedules, abstract of assessment and census, enumeration of inhabitants and industrial products, and enumeration of inhabitants and military enrollment. Information includes number of males and females per age category; head of household; name, age, and gender of household members; occupation and relationship of household members to head of household; and description and value of real and personal property. Information may also include nationality, physical description, birthplace, health, and religion of household members and agricultural production statistics." 

Public Participation in Willamette Valley Environmental Decisions.  1973. Courtland Smith.  Oregon State University: Water Resources Research Institute. 

Salmon Fishers of the Columbia.  1979. Courtland L. Smith. Corvallis: OSU Press.  "A comprehensive historical, social, and economic picture of the Columbia River salmon industry which noted environmental historian Richard White has described as "the best introduction to Columbia River salmon fishing." (OSU Press) 

Water allocation decisions

Decision-Making in Water Resource Allocation. 1973. By Carl Brown, Joseph G. Monks, and James R. Park. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 110 pp.  Reports on an in-depth study of how water resources were allocated in the Willamette Basin in the early 1970s.  Describes in detail the physical characteristics of the watershed, the sociocultural characteristics of its residents, demand for water resource development, and how water allocation decisions are made. 

Water Rights Records, 1905-1974. "Series documents the authorization by the state and local governments for the use of public waters. Series includes water rights, licenses, and certificates of water rights issued by the state and filed with the county. … Information includes names of individuals proving water rights; locations of water rights including the township, range, and section number; descriptions of land under such rights; and limitations of appropriations of rights and use of rights (ie. length of time, usage)."  (Available through the Oregon State Archives’ Historical Records Project) 

Willamette River and Tributaries, Oregon. Letter from the Secretary of War, Louis Johnson, to Congress. 75th Congress, 3rd session, doc. 544. 1938. Describes options and recommendations for flood control and navigation projects in the Willamette basin. (available through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s library in Clackamas)



  Created by Jennifer Gilden.
Last updated (all links checked) February 25, 2003