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Founded in 1912 under the name of the Willamette Transportation Company as a subsidiary of the Willamette Pulp and Paper Company of Portland, Oregon. Willamette Transportation was renamed in 1919 as the Western Transportation Company after its parent had merged with the Crown-Columbia Paper Company to form Crown Willamette Pulp and Paper.

In a 9-year process spanning 1928 to 1937, Crown Willamette merged with the Zellerbach Corporation of San Francisco, California, forming the Crown Zellerbach Corporation, where the Western Transportation Company was retained as a subsidiary.

Circa 1998, after a number of mergers and corporate takeovers, the James River Corporation disposed of all remaining afloat assets of the Western Transportation Company.

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