Below Yamhill County , just southeast of Newberg  on Route 219, is Champoeg State Park (pronounced sham-POO-ee or sham-POO-eck), often touted as the birthplace of Oregon. The name means “field of roots” in Chinook, referring to the camas coveted by Native Americans, who boiled it to accompany the traditional salmon feast.
Champoeg State Heritage Area (503/678-1251, visitors center 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, $3 day-use fee) commemorates the site of the 1843 vote to break free from British and Hudson’s Bay Company rule and establish a pro-American provisional government in the Oregon country.
The visitors center has exhibits detailing how the Kalapuyas, explorers, French Canadian fur traders, and American settlers lived in the Willamette Valley . The grounds also contain several historic buildings. Adjacent to the visitors center is the Manson Barn, built in 1862. The Old Butteville jail (1850) and one-room schoolhouse have also been moved to Champoeg to help evoke frontier life.
Just west of the park entrance is a replica of the 1852 house of pioneer Robert Newell (503/678-5537, 1–5 p.m. Fri.–Sun. Mar.–Oct.). Particularly interesting is the second floor, which showcases Native American artifacts and a collection of inaugural gowns worn by the wives of Oregon governors.
The Pioneer Mother’s Museum replicates the dwellings in the Willamette Valley circa 1850. A collection of 1775–1850 guns and muskets is also on display. Besides the historical exhibits, Champoeg features a botanical garden of native plants as well as hiking and biking trails.
If you want to extend your stay, Champoeg State Park offers six tent sites and 48 sites with RV hookups ($19 tents, $24 RVs). There are also six yurts for rent ($27). Call 800/452-5687 for reservations ($8 reservation fee). This year-round facility is one of the few out-of-town campgrounds within easy driving distance (25 miles) of Portland .
Add beautiful Willamette River frontage and prime bike-riding on the nearby country roads, and you might consider this the consummate budget alternative to a night in the city or a pricey wine-country B&B.
Willamette Mission State Park is also in this area (just look for signs). It is home to one of the world’s largest cottonwoods and the charming Wheatland car ferry across the Willamette River.
To get there from Portland, drive south on I-5 until you see signs for Exit 278. This exit directs you to a rural route that runs 5 miles to the park visitors center. The 568-acre park is equidistant from Portland  and Salem  along the Willamette River.