When the sternwheeler Multnomah was launched in 1885 it was one of the fastest, and certainly the finest fitted, steamer on the Willamette (Morning Oregonian, 22 May 1885). She was placed on the Portland – Oregon City route, making two trips a day. She later ran routes on the Columbia too, including excursions to Multnomah Falls (The Sunday Oregonian, 1 July 1888).
In 1889 the Multnomah was transferred to Seattle, where, thanks to her formidable speed, she quickly attained the title of “Greyhound of the Sound” (Morning Oregonian, 23 November 1889). She plied the waters of the Sound for the next two decades, but technology advanced and the now not-so-fast wooden ship ultimately came to be a mere hulk engaged in carrying freight between Olympia, Tacoma and Seattle, until the fateful night of October 28, 1911 (Morning Oregonian, 29 October 1911).
During a dense fog at midnight the steamship Iroquois outbound from Seattle with passengers for Victoria, struck the freight steamer Multnomah, from Tacoma to Seattle, and cut her in two. The Multnomah was sunk in very deep water. All the persons on board were saved. Fifteen head of cattle went down with the Multnomah. The Iroquois proceeded apparently undamaged.
According to dive reports after the accident she lies in 270 feet of water, her freight deck littered with the still tied down skeletons of the drowned farm animals