CANOE RUN, too mild for whitewater kayaks (although they'd have a blast on this run once the river rises in November). Can do this section in a drift boat during a higher than average Spring river levels, but there is no official boat ramp to speak of, so the take-in and take-out issue makes the point moot.
Day-run: about 2.5 to 4 hours depending on your mood.
Private property on both sides of river for entire stretch.
Best to run this section from March to May. Spring runoff and rains make it just right! Winter is too cold, swift, and non-advisable for a canoe. During Summer and Fall the river is too low and lazy.
Put in at Sheridan Rotary Riverside Park next to bridge downtown (check ahead- sometimes during the cooler months the city crews lock the gate, but will gladly open it if you call Public Works Garage @ 503-843-2660 ahead of time).
Can go upstream 3/4 of a mile to view old railroad tressle and come back down to start your journey. One mile downstream from Sheridan you'll hit some nice ripples before going under Hwy 18 bridge, smooth for the better part of the run with quite a few fun and easy to navigate Class I+ "rapids" and chutes.
Loads of places to pull over (please respect the land owners) for lunching, sunning, fishing, swimming or lollygagging. Birds (ducks, songbirds, geese, osprey) and wildlife (deer, beaver) can be viewed with regularity.
Take out is on the beach under the bridge on Bellevue-Amity Hwy. (there is ample roadside parking along the highway). You'll have to portage your canoe out at this point. It's an easy 50 yd. hike to the road (private property at take out, but the farmer has no problem as long as users are respectful).
Sheridan Country Inn (west of town on Hwy. 18B) 503-843-3151
McMinnville hotels- check the web (Oregon Hotel-McMenamin's)
Spirit Mtn. Casino and Lodge- 15 miles west of Sheridan on Hwy. 18
store, gas station, ATM and a selection of restaurants in Sheridan and Amity
Hospital in McMinnville
Amity has 1 store
Put-In: Sheridan lies 12 miles west of McMinnville on Hwy. 18. Bridge is downtown.
Take-Out: Bellevue-Amity Hwy. is located between Bellevue and Amity. Bellevue is 8 miles west of McMinnville on Hwy. 18 and Amity is 5 miles south of McMinnville on Hwy. 99W.
Large areas at both sites if a group is going (grassy in Sheridan and sand/gravel beach at take-out) Portage at take-out is an easy walk next to a field and onto the roadway