The Tualatin River

The Tualatin River Watershed covers more than 700 square miles. It includes the densely populated areas of southwest Portland, Hillsboro, Tigard, and Beaverton and agricultural areas near Scholls, Gaston, Banks, Mountaindale, and North Plains. Along the way it collects water from forests, farms, and urban areas before joining the Willamette River.

The Tualatin River meanders slowly over flat terrain unlike most rivers in the Pacific Northwest. In fact, the name “Tualatin” is derived from the name given to the river by the Atfalati, a tribe of Kalapuya Native Americans who made their home in the Tualatin Valley. The name translates to “lazy” or “sluggish,” which describes the slow, meandering nature of the river.

The Tualatin is Washington County's only river and is an important resource to the region. The river is used for drinking water and irrigation for farms. Paddling, fishing and wildlife viewing draw thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year.

Is it safe to eat fish from the Tualatin River?

The Oregon Health Authority recommends eating only two servings of lamprey and bass from the Tualatin River per month. They advise people to follow these guidelines:

  • Okay to eat: Migratory fish like salmon and steelhead and insectivores like rainbow trout.
  • Smaller fish are safer than bigger fish. Eating fish at the lower end of their size limits is best.
  • Top predators like bass and bottom feeders like carp and catfish tend to have the highest concentration of toxins.

Explore the river, parks and trails: