In the first part of the 19th century the towns of Champoeg and Butteville were rivals, each trying to capture the shipping and services needed by French Prairie farmers. Butteville developed as a river landing below La Butte, and by 1857 was characterized by docks, warehouses, mercantiles and related businesses supporting local agricultural and shipping. In the early 1900s the Butteville Insurance Company was organized, but as rail traffic replaced steamship traffic on the river, it relocated to Donald in 1923 and later to Woodburn. When the steamboat era ended and the railroad access in Aurora and then Donald replaced it, Butteville receded into the sleepy residential town it is today, home to the historic Butteville Store—it is considered the oldest operating store in Oregon, and the last commercial vestige of the once thriving Willamette River community of Butteville.

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