6 Million Feet of Logs Escape into the McKenzie River – February 1890

“Wednesday morning about three o’clock the boom at the mouth of the Mohawk River [Springfield, Oregon] broke, allowing nearly 6,000,000 feet of saw logs to escape into the McKenzie River.  About half of the logs had been placed in the river the winter before but on account of not having water high enough to float them remained till the present winter when with other logs they were boomed at the mouth of the Mohawk.  It appears that there has been some carelessness in not building a stronger boom, also in not putting in a second boom above so as to divide the pressure.  A run of 350,000 feet belonging to Jeff Wall, had reached the boom the day before the break occurred.  Considerable litigation had been engaged in over these logs between owners, and mill men, and it is likely that the end is not yet.  The logs were intended for the Matlock & Smith mill four miles northeast of Eugene on the McKenzie, J.C. Goodales’ mill at Coburg, Garrison & McDonald’s mill at Harrisburg, and Friendly’s mill at Corvallis.

Moving Logs in the RiverWord was sent at once to Goodale of the break, and he endeavored to place his boom at the head of his race, which is about four miles below the mouth of the Mohawk, but the McKenzie current was too strong and he had to desist.  With small boats he saved about 500 logs.  At noon Thursday 100 logs had been caught by Garrison & McDonald at Harrisburg.  If any of the logs reach Salem parties there will endeavor to save them.  It is hardly probable that many of the logs will go below Corvallis where Mr. Friendly has made preparation to save as many as possible, as the current of the rising river will likely throw them in sloughs or on the banks, so that a part will eventually be saved.

The actual loss will amount to about $ 20,000 although some of the mills will suffer a prospective loss on account of not obtaining the logs, which were necessary to run their mills to their capacity.  The loggers had been paid 42 per cent of their claims by the mill men.

So far as we have been able to ascertain the loss will fall on the following persons:  Max Friendly of Corvallis, J. C. Goodale, Garrison & McDonald, Matlock & Smith, Jeff Wall, Jeff Harrill, Geo Whitbeck, C. Cole, a number of loggers and persons who have furnished supplies.”  Eugene City Guard (Oregon), Feb. 1, 1890, pg. 5, col. 4.

Locally we don’t see logs moved to mills this way anymore – for the most part logs are moved by trucks.  I thought this was a good account of early commerce in Lane County when the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers played an important role in moving goods to market.


About gtoftdahl

Researching in Oregon Newspapers
This entry was posted in Lane County Oregon History, Oregon History and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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