Coordinates: 45°42′N 122°48′W / 45.7°N 122.8°W / 45.7; -122.8

Sauvie Island
Native name:
Wapato Island
Map of Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island
Sauvie Island (Oregon)
LocationColumbia River
Coordinates45°42′N 122°48′W / 45.7°N 122.8°W / 45.7; -122.8
Area32.75 sq mi (84.8 km2)
United States
Population1078 (2000)

Sauvie Island, in the U.S. state of Oregon, originally Wapato Island or Wappatoo Island, is the largest island along the Columbia River, at 26,000 acres (10,522 ha), and one of the largest river islands in the United States. It lies approximately ten miles northwest of downtown Portland, between the Columbia River to the east, the Multnomah Channel to the west, and the Willamette River to the south. A large portion of the island is designated as the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area. Sturgeon Lake, in the north central part of the island, is the most prominent water feature. The land area is 32.75 square miles (84.8 km2), or 20,959 acres (8,482 ha). Most of the island is in Multnomah County, but the northern third is in Columbia County. The Sauvie Island Bridge provides access across the Multnomah Channel from U.S. Route 30 and was completed in June 2008, replacing the first bridge to connect the island to the mainland which was opened on 30 December 1950.

The island received the name "Sauvés Island" after Laurent Sauvé dit Laplante, a French-Canadian who managed a dairy for the Hudson's Bay Company in the 1830s and 1840s.[1] It is predominantly farmland and wildlife refuge and is a popular place for picking pumpkins, hunting geese and kayaking. There were 1,078 year-round residents at the 2000 census. There is an industrial zone and small grocery store in the southeast corner, near the bridge. Bicyclists flock to the island because its flat topography and lengthy low-volume roads make it ideal for cycling. Its nearest incorporated neighbors are the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area to its south and southeast; St. Helens across the Multnomah Channel from the extreme northern tip of the island; and Scappoose, across the Multnomah Channel to the west.


Prior to European arrival in the 19th century, Sauvie Island was the ancestral home to the Multnomah band of the Chinook Tribe. There were approximately 15 villages on the island, hosting a total of 2,000 people who built and resided in cedar plank-houses 30 yards (27 m) long by 12 yards (11 m) wide.[2]

Looking west across the fields from Gillihan Road
Looking west across the fields from Gillihan Road

Recreational beaches

Not all of the island's beaches have public beach access. The public beaches on Sauvie Island are Walton Beach, North Unit Beach, and the clothing-optional Collins Beach[13] on the island's east coast along NW Reeder Road's last few miles past the end of the pavement. The beaches are open from dawn to 10:00 p.m., and are closed to overnight use and camping. Open fires are not allowed. Dogs are allowed if they are leashed. This section of the beach is often a party like environment on warm and sunny days,[14] leading to an alcohol ban in effect from May 1 to September 30 that began in 2018.[15] Beach parking requires a Sauvie Island Wildlife Area parking permit available at stores on the island.[16] Vehicles without a permit are subject to a ticket costing around $75.


Farmland on Sauvie Island in early summer
Farmland on Sauvie Island in early summer

Sauvie Island is home to dozens of private farms, from nurseries and gardens, to about a dozen fruit and vegetable farms open for public U-picking.[17] Crops include strawberries, raspberries, marionberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, sweet corn, cherries, broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, pumpkins, herbs, and others.[18] Along with crops these farms also include activities such as hay rides, cow trains, pumpkin patches and mazes.[19][20]


  1. ^ Canniff, Kiki (1981). Sauvie Island: A Step Back in Time. Portland, OR: Ki2 Enterprises.
  2. ^ Matrazzo, Donna (2008). Wild Things: Adventures of a Grassroots Environmentalist (Sixth ed.). New York, NY: iUniverse. p. 208. ISBN 978-0595528745.
  3. ^ McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (1992) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Sixth ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 886. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.
  4. ^ a b McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (1992) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Sixth ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 743. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.
  5. ^ a b Sauvie Island: Historical Facts
  6. ^ a b Oregon: End of the Trail. North American Book Dist LLC. 1972 [1940]. p. 277. ISBN 0403021863.
  7. ^ Oregon Bound: The Overland Journey of Alexander and Rebecca McQuinn, 1844. McQuinn Family Pioneer Cemetery Association. 1997. p. 100.
  8. ^ Metro: Howell Territorial Park
  9. ^ Anderson, Heather (2015). Portland : a food biography. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield. p. 225. ISBN 978-1-4422-2738-5. OCLC 881824352.
  10. ^ "Sauvie Island Wildlife Area". Archived from the original on 2005-03-22. Retrieved 2005-03-20.
  11. ^ West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
  12. ^ Sneath, Sara (October 1, 2013). "Portland Bridge Quiz". Willamette Week. Retrieved 2014-12-27.
  13. ^ Oregon Clothing-Optional Beach Alliance (ORCOBA) - Sauvie Island (Collins Beach)
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Alcohol ban on Sauvie Island beaches starts May 1". KGW. March 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Sauvie Island Parking Permit, Daily - Oregon Licenses, Permits and Registrations
  17. ^ "Farm Stands & Family Fun". Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  18. ^ "Sauvie Island Farms".
  19. ^
  20. ^