200 years of discovery

 History of the naming of the 

 McKenzie River


McKenzie River Bicentennial on Facebook     click here & "Like" our page

Mobile Museum

Capture your story

Carry information about current McKenzie River activities, opportunities and organizations

 Share the story of Donald Mackenzie’s travels and history

 Display artifacts of local history

Supported by

Eugene Water & Electric Board

The mobile museum is temporarily at the Leaburg Library

Continued efforts to collect local history and document historical artifacts is underway.

For more informationEmail 200mckenzie@gmail.com 

Donald Mackenzie

1783 - 1852

Man of the Millennium   


  He may have weighed 300 pounds with the height of 6'7", but there’s another reason Donald Mackenzie made an impression on this area. Born in Scotland in 1783, he passed on a possible career as a minister and instead became an explorer. Mackenzie made his way across an ocean and then a continent after accepting a partnership from John Jacob Astor to enter the fur trade.

  Setting out from the settlement at Astoria in 1812, the energetic Mackenzie lived up to his nickname of “Perpetual Motion” while paddling up the Willamette and reaching the stream’s middle and coast forks as well as the tributary that now bears his name (despite a change in spelling).

  Mackenzie may have had a good education but didn’t record his exploits. Others claim his enthusiasm for the region above the falls of the Willamette was unrestrained. The country, he is reported to have said, was “delightful beyond expression.” The “incredible” number of beaver which he found along the river was believed to exceed anything yet found on the entire continent; and he painted glowing pictures of rich prairies covered with innumerable herds of elk and of uplands teeming with deer and bear.

  Donald Mackenzie had a prominent career with the Hudson’s Bay Company and made a fortune in the fur trade before retiring to Mayville in the western tip of New York State. He died there in 1851, at the age of 68. But he left his mark on an area we now call home. 

River Reflections January 5, 2012 Issue


McKenzie River

Click Here for Events

McKenzie River Bicentennial 2012

Mission Statement

To commemorate the naming of the McKenzie River, and recognize 200 years of local history

Vision Statement 

To inspire and unify McKenzie River communities, and shape the future by recognizing the shared past


Celebrate the Unique McKenzie River

Identify and Preserve McKenzie River Stories

Inform, Promote, and Educate

Boost Tourism Profile

Strengthen Area Businesses

Increase Civic Pride

Have Fun!



               McKenzie River Bicentennial


     To help preserve historical collections, your donation is welcomed.

Please make checks payable to:

BRCDC Blue River Community Development Corporation

Mail to: Bicentennial, P.O. Box 139, Blue River, OR 97413

The tax ID #93-1186618

The McKenzie River Bicentennial is organized by the Cultural Heritage Tourism Committee

McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce

Steering Committee: Chair, Margaret Beilharz; Marketing & Media, Judy Casad;

Consultant & Facilitators: Jim Baker, Marilyn Cross, George Letchworth, Carol Tannenbaum, Mary Sooh


Sandy Hulett, Jeff Sherman, Chuck Tannenbaum, Rob Miron, Peggy Pantel 

McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 297, Walterville, OR 97489 

Monthly Meetings are held at member’s locations, alternating from lower/mid to upper river. Monthly meetings are held every third Thursday of each month at 12 noon. Details are posted on Events page.

This site was created and is maintained by McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce
with financial support from Lane County

© 2016 McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software