About This Place
West Linn is a city in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States. Now a prosperous southern suburb of Portland, West Linn has a history of early development, prompted by the opportunity to harvest energy from nearby Willamette Falls. It was named after Senator Dr. Lewis Fields Linn of Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, who had advocated the American occupation of Oregon as a counterclaim to the British. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 22,261. The 2006 estimate is 24,180 residents.
Major Robert Moore arrived in 1839—before the Champoeg Meetings—having been the senior member of the first attempt to create an American state in Oregon, the Peoria Party. His title stems from his military service in the War of 1812. Sometime after journeying around the Willamette Valley and Columbia Basin, Moore bought title to approx. 1,000 acres (400 ha) on the west side of Willamette Falls, across the Willamette River from Oregon City, from a local Native American chief, on which he platted a town he called "Robin's Nest" in early 1843. He also filed a provisional claim with the then government of the Oregon Country, not knowing if his unique transaction would be honored by the eventual governing laws. The later Territorial Legislature of Oregon voted to rename it Linn City on December 22, 1845 as a memorial to Senator Dr. Lewis Fields Linn after whom Linn County is also named. Dr. Linn was a neighbor and family friend of the Moores from their time as settlers in the early Missouri Territory.
For many years Linn City was an intense political and commercial rival to the adjacent town of Oregon City, but it suffered a series of natural and man-made setbacks. Moore's death was in September 1857. A major fire then a flood put an end to the pioneer settlement in 1861, dispersing many of the surviving family members throughout the Pacific Northwest. Decades later, however, the seminal village site was redeveloped as a locked canal and industrial complex.