Blue River is a community nestled beside a river of the same name.
Blue River is home to the McKenzie School District, Blue River Park, McKenzie River Mountain Resort (once the Blue River Ranger District), a bike rental shop (at the Resort), a library, Meyer General Store & Liquor Shop, a bed and breakfast, an RV park, J&K Automotive – gas station and auto repair shop, Blue River Medical Clinic, a boat landing, fire department, post office, and the Blue River Dam. There is a great viewpoint and hiking area from the top of the dam on Blue River Road. McKenzie River Mountain Resort provides information on the area’s attractions.
Just a mile west of Blue River is the town of Finn Rock and Finn Rock Grill.
It was settled in the 1800’s by the Sparks family. In 1863, gold was discovered in the area and the Blue River Mining District was established. At one time more than 250 men were working the area.
Discovered in 1887, the Lucky Boy Mine was the largest area gold mine. The total production between 1887-1959 was 10,200 ounces of lode gold, all from lode deposits. The Lucky Boy Mine is 14 patented claims lapping into Linn County.
In 1900 Samuel Sparks and his sons laid out the town of Blue River as part of 320 acres they had acquired. By 1912 gold mining activity had virtually stopped but records show the Lucky Boy Mine had extracted more than $1 million from the area.
Since the gold rush days the town has seen a few boom bust cycles – in the mid 1900’s the town featured a large lumber mill. Another boom was associated with the Cougar dam construction.
In the 1980’s the main highway (Hwy 126) was diverted around the town. Since then the town has been slowly dying. In 2000, the town suffered another major blow when the Blue River Ranger District closed their local offices and relocated about 10 minutes up the hwy. A larger grocery store and a restaurant closed. A few buildings were torn down.
In 2006, a couple bought the vacant Ranger Station complex and has transformed it into a resort. McKenzie River Mountain Resort, as it is now called, provides local jobs, brings in tourism dollars and serves as a local community center. About this same time, many other locals have started working to clean up and revitalize the small town.
Most forestry campgrounds are “Mineral Withdrawal Sites” and may be used for gold panning, nugget hunting with a metal detector. The larger “Mineral Withdrawal Sites” within the Forestry Service have plainly marked boundaries to indicate the “Free Use Sites” where dredging, gold panning, sluicing and nugget sniping can be done.
- CategoryBlue River, Community, McKenzie River
- LocationBlue River
- TagsBlue River, Cascade Mountains, Lane County, McKenzie, McKenzie River, McKenzie River Valley, oregon, Pacific Northwest
- By Jessy Webster
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org