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May events at Champoeg include Founders' Day, lecture about historic flood

April 23, 2019

The annual Founders’ Day celebration and a lecture about the infamous 1861 Champoeg flood are set to kick off the summer season at Champoeg State Heritage Area.


Founders’ Day, celebrating the 1843 vote held in Champoeg that established the first provisional government west of the Mississippi River, will be 1 – 2:30 p.m. May 4 at the park. The annual event is free and will feature living history actors, a fur trapper rifle volley salute and a ceremony to honor the men who participated in the 1843 vote.
The flood lecture, delivered by Willamette University Visiting Professor Cayla Hill, will be 1 p.m. May 18 at the park’s visitor center. Hill will expand on the history and current archeological evidence of the 1861 flood, which decimated the modest river town.


Founders’ Day celebrates a vote held in Champoeg by local settlers on May 2, 1843. A large group gathered that day to decide the future of the Oregon territory. After a spirited debate, a slim majority voted “aye” to form Oregon’s first provisional government, laying the groundwork for Oregon’s statehood in 1859. Founders’ Day has been held annually at Champoeg since 1901.


Cayla Hill has been a visiting professor with Willamette University since 2016. She is an Applied Anthropology doctorate candidate with Oregon State University (OSU), and holds a master’s in Applied Anthropology from OSU.
For more information about the events, contact ranger Dan Klug at 503-678-1251. Information about the park, including maps, is on oregonstateparks.org.