National Park Visitor Center and Ice Age Floods Film debut at Tualatin Library

284
The Tualatin Mastodon at the Tualatin Library, circa 1995.
The Tualatin Mastodon at the Tualatin Library, circa 1995.

Two exciting events will happen at the Tualatin Library on June 9 and 11. The library will become one of the first official visitor centers of the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail, an official part of the US National Park System. It will become a temporary visitor center until a more permanent home can be found.

The newly produced film, Tualatin, Crossroads of the Ice Age Floods, will debut at the Tualatin Library on June 9 and 11.

Also, on these two days, the Visitor Center will debut the film, “Tualatin, Crossroads of the Ice Age Floods.”  Every national park visitor center has a film that highlights the theme and the site, and this 30-minute film will cover the four main points of the visitor center. 

First, it will cover the whole story of the Missoula Floods in the Pacific Northwest. Second, it will discuss how these floods have carved out our local area. Third, it will talk about the large animals that lived here 15,000 years ago, and lastly, it will highlight the early Kalapuya people who lived in the area. Major funds for making the film came from the City of Tualatin.

This visitor center will be part of the planned 15 visitor centers from Astoria, Oregon to Missoula, Montana, that make up the Ice Age Flood National Geologic Trail which passed congress in 2009. It will be like a national park, but instead of visiting a mountain or valley or structure, one will follow a geological theme over the 16,000 square miles of the Pacific Northwest.  

(L-R) Sylvia Thompson, Rick Thompson, Yvonne Addington, Scott Burns, Linda Moholt and Brian Clopton gather in front of the rhyolite erratic that is now on display at the Tualatin Heritage Center.
(L-R) Sylvia Thompson, Rick Thompson, Yvonne Addington, Scott Burns, Linda Moholt and Brian Clopton gather in front of the rhyolite erratic that is now on display at the Tualatin Heritage Center. File Photo/Tualatin Life

The Missoula Floods were megafloods produced by the breaking of an ice dam in the Pend Oreille Valley of northern Idaho, releasing over 550 cubic miles of water onto eastern Washington, carving out the great coulees and creating the Channeled Scablands. The waters continued down the Columbia River Valley into the Portland area, filling the valleys to 400 feet elevation. Some of the waters came through what is now Lake Oswego and Tualatin, filling up the Tualatin Valley. Then, the waters returned to the Willamette River via Tualatin and the Tonquin Scablands and eventually onto the Pacific Ocean. Forty floods were recorded in the Portland area between 15,000 – 18,000 calendar years ago, with the first flood being the largest and succeeding floods each getting smaller. Over 90 floods were recorded having passed through Spokane in that same period, with the last floods not reaching Portland in great quantities. Earlier floods from ice-dammed lakes also have been recorded across the same terrain in the last 2.8 million years, called the Ancient Cataclysmic Floods. Together, those ancient floods and the Missoula Floods are called the Ice Age Floods.

The visitor center will eventually be called the Willamette Valley Ice Age Visitor Center. The Tualatin Ice Age Foundation, formed two years ago, raised funds for the visitor center and film. Officers of the foundation are Dr. Scott Burns, President; Yvonne Addington, Vice President; Jerianne Thompson, Secretary; Linda Moholt, Treasurer. Board members include Rick and Sylvia Thompson, Mike Full, Paul Hennon and David Ellingson. 

The two receptions will be held in the entrance hall of the Tualatin Library on Thursday, June 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, June 11 from 3 to 6 p.m.

Admission is free, and all are invited to come to the celebration. The official opening ceremonies will be before the first films each day in the large room adjacent to the library lobby where the film will be shown.

National Park Visitor Center and Ice Age Floods Film Reception

When: Thursday, June 9,  5 to 8 p.m. (film shown at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.) or Saturday, June 11, 3 to 6 p.m. (film shown at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

Where: Tualatin Library, 18878 SW Martinazzi Ave.

RSVP: Email burnss@pdx.edu to reserve a free seat for the showing of the movie at one of the four times. Please include your name and preferred date and time.