Hugh Burns

Multnomah City

Hugh Burns, a blacksmith and native of Ireland, staked his donation land claim just south of Robert Moore’s claim along the Willamette River. Burns platted Multnomah City in 1842. Multnomah is Indian for “Lower River.”

Joe Meek, a prominent statesman for the Oregon Territory, purchased a lot here. Burns offered to erect a capitol building and donate 32 blocks to the provisional government in 1845. The offer was not accepted and the capitol moved to Salem after fighting on the part of Oregon City officials.

Burns established a tannery and hotel in Multnomah City. He also started a ferry across the Willamette River to Oregon City. Later, Burns was bought out by Dr. John McLoughlin and Multnomah City soon went out of existence.