Today's Stop on the Land Use Trail: Sauvie Island

Throughout this summer, we'll be featuring stops on our new Land Use Trail. Today, July 15: Sauvie Island. 

This stop is rooted in Oregon Trail history but remains as vibrant as ever today. It is a place where access to nature and farms strengthens relationships across communities and generations.

Sauvie Island is the largest island along the Columbia River, located just outside Portland city limits. At 32.75 square miles, the island is larger than Manhattan. First inhabited by the Multnomah tribe of the Chinook Indians, the island was called Wappatoe Island by Lewis and Clark, but was renamed after Laurent Sauvé established a dairy to serve Fort Vancouver in the 1820s. Protecting the island from suburbanization was one of 1000 Friends’ first victories. Today, much of the northern half is dedicated to wildlife, while the southern half is home to farms popular for their u-pick opportunities.

Historical Fact: After Sauvé dairy, the first white Americans to settle on the island travelled from Missouri on the Oregon Trail. The Bybee-Howell House, built in 1856 for Kentucky native James Bybee and his wife, Julia, is an outstanding example of mid-19th century architecture. The Bybees arrived in Oregon in 1845 via the Oregon Trail. Bybee was one of the first Multnomah County Commissioners. The House now sits in a park managed by Metro.

Another Cool Fact: The Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the northern tip of Sauvie Island was first constructed in 1889.

Visit: The Island has a year-round events calendar- go to the island to see historical landmarks or to “pick your own” produce from local island farms. Now is the best time to visit for beach going and swimming recreation.

Learn more:

Going to Sauvie Island this summer? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on. Several ways to share!

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

Help us protect important Oregon's vital agricultural economy at friends.org/support.