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Happy birthday, Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls during early June 2014. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Multnomah Falls during early June 2014. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

DODSON, Ore. – The Friends of Multnomah Falls and the U.S. Forest Service are holding a big celebration Wednesday at Multnomah Falls Lodge. The most visited attraction in the Pacific Northwest is hitting the century mark as a public park.

Officials of Friends of Multnomah Falls, Portland Parks and Recreation, Multnomah Falls Lodge, Multnomah County and the forest service will reenact the dedication of Multnomah Falls and Wahkeena Falls 100 years ago. The celebration will begin at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

In 1915, Simon Benson provided $5,250 to the city of Portland to buy land at Multnomah Falls and combine it with land he had purchased at Wahkeena Falls. The area became known as Benson Park. At the celebration, Chet Benson will read the speech his great-great grandfather gave at the dedication ceremony.

Multnomah Falls is visited by an estimated 2 million people a year. It features the second highest waterfall in the United States. Fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, the flow over the falls varies, usually hitting its highest rate during winter and spring.

The U.S. Forest Service says that the falls offers one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Are to study geology exposed by floods. Five flows of Yakima basalt are visible in the falls’ cliff face.

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