Jared Kennedy | 08.12.2014

Wednesday's Word is Santiam - sæntiːˈæm -- san-tee-AM

s: 's' in 'sigh'  æː: short 'a' in 'bad'  n: 'n' in 'nigh'  t: 't' in 'tie'  iː: long 'e' in 'seed'  ˈ: primary stress follows  æː: short 'a' in 'bad'  m: 'm' in 'my'

The Santiam River and its three tributaries were named after the Santiam band of the Kalapuya tribe that inhabited the region. The tribe may have numbered as many as 15,000 people prior to contact with western settlers. However, settlers brought numerous diseases, including malaria and smallpox, that resulted in epidemics that eventually reduced the tribe to less than 600 individuals by 1850. A treaty impacting the resettlement of the Kalapuya tribe to a reservation was ratified in 1854, and areas inhabited by the tribe along the Santiam River were ceded to the state. Alquema and Tiacan, the Santiam tribal leaders, expressed their people's desire to remain in their traditional lands, but the Kalapuya people were removed to the Grand Ronde Reservation.

The Santiam drainage, consisting of the South, Middle, and North Santiam Rivers, drains into the Willamette River in Oregon just east of Salem and Corvallis. The Detroit Dam is along the river, and it forms Detroit Lake. Today the area is popular for fishing, camping and watersports on the lake. The areas along the forks of the Santiam River are popular for their hiking trails, camping spots, and hot springs. There are also numerous remnants of mining operations that were once active. Jawbone Flats, what was once an old mining community, is now a facility run by the Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Opal Creek Wilderness is a highlight of the area, with crystal-clear waters, abundant waterfalls, some of the best swimming holes in Oregon, and the largest intact stand of old-growth forest in the Western Cascades. 


Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.