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Willamette River Pollution Film, circa 1940

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Willamette River Pollution Film, circa 1940

ID: FV 059

Primary Creator: Smith, William Joy

Extent: 0.05 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Willamette River Pollution Film documents point sources of pollution in the Willamette River and its tributaries. The film has been digitized and is available online.

Scope and Content Notes

The Willamette River Pollution Film (FV059:1) is a 16 mm color, silent film (39 minutes) of various point sources of pollution in the Willamette River and its tributaries. The film begins near Springfield and progesses downstream to Portland and includes footage of various forms of industrial, agricultural, and municipal effluent being dumped into the Willamette River and its tributaries, including the Pudding and South Santiam Rivers. The footage includes tests of the length of time that small fish can survive in water from the Willamette River and chemical tests of the river water. The film includes footage of the river or its tributaries at Springfield, Eugene, Corvallis, Crabtree, Lebanon, Salem, Woodburn, and Portland. Among the individuals depicted in the film is Fred Merryfield, a faculty member in the Oregon State College School of Engineering and a founding partner of the CH2M Hill engineering firm.

The full film is available online as a streaming media file: View film.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The film was probably made by William Joy Smith, of Portland Oregon. Smith was State Manager of the National Life Insurance Company and President of the Oregon Wildlife Federation. It was made before establishment of the state Sanitary Authority and fostered much of the original interest in water quality in Oregon. The film may also have been known at the time of its creation by the title "The Polluted Willamette".

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 film; 1 box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings include a variety of collections with documentary and visual materials pertaining to the Willamette River. The Pacific Northwest Stream Survey Collection (MSS PNWStream) includes numerous photographs of Willamette River tributaries made about the time of this film.

Preferred Citation: Willamette Pollution Film (FV 059), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: A digital duplication master (miniDV format) was made of this film in 2003. A VHS use copy is available for reference use.


Smith, William Joy

People, Places, and Topics

Corvallis (Or.)
Eugene (Or.)
Lebanon (Or.)
Local History
Merryfield, Fred, 1900-
Natural Resources
Portland (Or.)
Pudding River (Or.)
Salem (Or.)
Santiam River (Or.)
Springfield (Or.)
Water--Pollution--Oregon--Willamette River.
Water quality--Oregon--Willamette River--Measurement.
Willamette River (Or.)
Woodburn (Or.)

Forms of Material

Silent films.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.