North Wind's Weir

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Coordinates: 47°30′12″N 122°17′48″W / 47.503233°N 122.296744°W / 47.503233; -122.296744

The rocks in the foreground constitute part of North Wind's Weir. The view here looks north from a foot-and-bicycle bridge on the Green River Trail.

North Wind's Weir or North Wind's Fish Weir south of Seattle on the Duwamish River in Tukwila, Washington is a site that figures prominently in the oral traditions of the Salish people of the Puget Sound region. The legends describe battles between North Wind and South Wind for control of the region.[1]

Salish tradition[edit]

According to Salish tradition, North Wind stretched a weir of ice across the Duwamish River at this site; no fish could pass, starving the people up the valley, the people of the Chinook Wind who was married to North Wind's daughter Mountain Beaver Woman. The mother of Mountain Beaver woman survived the starvation, but retreated to the mountain. Mountain Beaver Woman's son, the child Storm Wind, also survived.[2]

The people of the North Wind warned Storm Wind to stay away from the mountain, trying to keep from him the knowledge of what had happened to his people, but eventually he defied them and found his grandmother living in misery. He heard her story and helped her out of her misery; she, in return, aided him with a flood that shattered the weir and turned it to stone. Storm Wind and his grandmother defeated North Wind, who only occasionally and briefly torments the area with snow and ice.[2]

Location and environs[edit]

North Wind's Weir is just east of Cecil Moses Memorial Park, in a zone where fresh and salt waters mix, creating a key transition zone for young Chinook salmon swimming downstream to Puget Sound. A pedestrian and bicycle bridge coming out of the park on the Green River Trail crosses the Duwamish River just south of the weir, allowing a view of the rock formation in the river, except when there is a high tide.[3][4] The United States Army Corps of Engineers, King County, and construction contractor Doyon Project Services completed a habitat restoration project at the site in December 2009, restoring 2.5 acres (1.0 hectare) of mudflat and vegetated marsh.[4]


  1. ^ "Seattle Cultural Guides: Native American Heritage" (PDF). Cultural Tourism Program of Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  2. ^ a b Alan Stein (2000-08-15), Arthur Ballard records and translates the legend of origin of the North Wind Weir on the Duwamish River beginning in 1916, HistoryLink, retrieved 2016-10-24
  3. ^ Cathy McDonald (2005-11-03). "Walkabout: Cecil Moses Memorial Park". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2016-10-24.
  4. ^ a b "North Wind's Weir". US Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District. Retrieved 2016-10-24.