About

James V. Hillegas-Elting

This website provides information to complement the analysis of water pollution abatement I provided in my book, Speaking for the River, and also to help shed light on other water pollution issues, and on environmental history more generally. Some of the content I have migrated from my blog Historical Threads that covers a variety of history-related topics including water pollution.

I live in Portland, Oregon, and, among other things, am an historian of the 20th century urban environment in North America. For nearly three years I served as an instructor at Portland State University and Editorial Coordinator for the Oregon Encyclopedia.

I earned my Master of Arts in History from Portland State University in 2009. My thesis is titled “Working for the ‘Working River’: Willamette River Pollution, 1926-1962,” and this work served as the core of my book. While in graduate school, I served two years as a Caroline P. Stoel Editorial Fellow on the staff of the Pacific Historical Review.

I earned my Bachelor of Arts at Fairhaven College, Bellingham, Washington, in 2004. My interdisciplinary major at Fairhaven incorporated history, writing, and photography. My major projects at Fairhaven College were the Bellingham Centennial Oral History Project; and an article published in the Journal of the Whatcom County Historical Society, “‘Pushing Forward with the Determination of the Machine Age’: Interstate 5 is Built through Bellingham, Washington, 1945-1966.”

Selected Publications:

Speaking for the River: Confronting Pollution in Oregon’s Willamette Valley [working title]. Book in progress, Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.

“Working for the ‘Working River’: Willamette River Pollution, 1926-1962.” MA Thesis, Portland State University, 2009.

With the Determination of the Machine Age: Interstate 5 is Built through Bellingham, Washington, 1945-1966,” The Journal of the Whatcom County Historical Society, Centennial Edition (2004), 105-138.

Oregon Encyclopedia entries:

  1. Miriam’s Willamette River: Filthy! | Blue Thread

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