Washington County, Oregon

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Washington County, Oregon
Hillsboro, Oregon - Washington County Courthouse.jpg
Washington County Courthouse in Hillsboro
Seal of Washington County, Oregon
Seal
Map of Oregon highlighting Washington County
Location in the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded July 5, 1843
Seat Hillsboro
Largest city Hillsboro
Area
 • Total 726 sq mi (1,880 km2)
 • Land 724 sq mi (1,875 km2)
 • Water 2.2 sq mi (6 km2), 0.3%
Population (est.)
 • ( 2016) 582,779
 • Density 731/sq mi (282/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/ -7
Website www.co.washington.or.us

Washington County is one of 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 529,710, [1] making it the state's second most populous county. [2] The county seat and largest city is Hillsboro. [2] [3]

Washington County is part of the Portland- Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR- WA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Cities in Washington County include Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, and Forest Grove, the county's oldest city. [4]

Originally named Twality when created in 1843, the territorial legislature renamed it for the first president of the United States, George Washington, in 1849. The original boundaries included the entire northwest corner of Oregon before sections became new counties. The Tualatin River and its drainage basin are almost entirely within the county, with the county nearly coterminous with the Tualatin Valley. It is bordered on the west and north by the Northern Oregon Coast Range, on the south by the Chehalem Mountains, and on the north and east by the Tualatin Mountains (or West Hills).

The county's major roads include small sections of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205, the Sunset Highway, Oregon Route 217, Oregon Route 47, Oregon Route 10, Oregon Route 6, and Oregon Route 8. Public transportation is primarily operated by TriMet and includes buses, the Westside Express Service commuter rail, and MAX Light Rail. Other transportation includes air travel at the Hillsboro Airport, private airfields and heliports, and heavy rail cargo on rail lines.

History

Current county jail in Hillsboro.

The Provisional Legislature of Oregon created the county as Twality District on July 5, 1843. [5] Twality was one of the original four districts of the Provisional Government of Oregon in Oregon Country along with Clackamas, Champooick (later Marion), and Yamhill counties. Columbia, later known as Hillsboro, was selected as the county seat in 1850. Washington County obtained its present boundaries in 1854 with the creation of Columbia County to the north and Multnomah County to the east. [5]

The construction of Canyon Road to Beaverton helped Portland to consolidate its position as the primary port of Oregon, and defeat the rival efforts of settlements such as Oregon City and Milwaukie.

In November 2004, the County and the City of Beaverton agreed to a plan where the city would annex both unincorporated residential neighborhoods as well as high-value areas of land. This would result with Cedar Hills, Garden Home, Raleigh Hills, West Slope being incorporated by 2010, and the communities of Aloha, Bethany, and Cedar Mill at some point after that.

Those plans have since been put on hold after Beaverton attempted to forcibly annex Nike, Inc.'s World Headquarters, which would have increased Nike's taxes substantially. Nike successfully lobbied the legislature for a law that would prohibit their annexation for 99 years. Since that decision, annexation plans have been halted, and Washington County started urban planning to provide city-level services to the unincorporated urban areas in the county. [6]

On January 1, 2014, 160 acres (65 ha) of Multnomah County in the Bethany area transferred to Washington County. [7] The area had originally been split off from Washington County when Multnomah County was created, and was transferred back to allow for development of the property. [7]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 726 square miles (1,880 km2), of which 724 square miles (1,880 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.3%) is water. [8] It is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) to the west of Portland. The Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) bisects the county. The county's highest point is South Saddle Mountain at 3,464 feet (1,056 m) above sea level in the Northern Oregon Coast Range. [9]

Most of the county is in the Tualatin Valley, which is surrounded by the Tualatin Mountains to the east and north, the Chehalem Mountains to the south, and the Northern Oregon Coast Range to the west and north. In the valley is the only river in the county, the Tualatin River, the Tualatin Plains, and several small hills.[ citation needed] The northern and western portions of the county are forested, while the remainder of the county includes urban areas, agricultural lands, and floodplains.[ citation needed]

Waterways

The Tualatin River is the main river in Washington County. Henry Hagg Lake, southwest of Forest Grove, is the largest lake. The Willamette River lies to the east, the Columbia River to the northeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the west of the county.

Adjacent counties

Map of Washington County

Major highways

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 2,652
1860 2,801 5.6%
1870 4,261 52.1%
1880 7,082 66.2%
1890 11,972 69.0%
1900 14,467 20.8%
1910 21,522 48.8%
1920 26,376 22.6%
1930 30,275 14.8%
1940 39,194 29.5%
1950 61,269 56.3%
1960 92,237 50.5%
1970 157,920 71.2%
1980 245,808 55.7%
1990 311,554 26.7%
2000 445,342 42.9%
2010 529,710 18.9%
Est. 2016 582,779 [10] 10.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [11]
1790-1960 [12] 1900-1990 [13]
1990-2000 [14] 2010-2016 [1]

2000 census

As of the census [15] of 2000, there were 445,342 people, 169,162 households, and 114,015 families residing in the county. The population density was 615 people per square mile (238/km²). There were 178,913 housing units at an average density of 247 per square mile (95/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 82.19% White, 1.15% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 6.68% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 5.86% from other races, and 3.17% from two or more races. 11.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.2% were of German, 9.9% English, 8.2% Irish, and 6.7% American ancestry. 81.7% spoke only English at home, while 9.6% spoke Spanish and 1.2% Vietnamese.

There were 169,162 households out of which 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.50% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.60% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.90% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 34.10% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 8.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $52,122, and the median income for a family was $61,499. Males had a median income of $43,304 versus $31,074 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,969. About 4.90% of families and 7.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.30% of those under age 18 and 5.30% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 529,710 people, 200,934 households, and 134,323 families residing in the county. [16] The population density was 731.4 inhabitants per square mile (282.4/km2). There were 212,450 housing units at an average density of 293.3 per square mile (113.2/km2). [17] The racial makeup of the county was 76.6% white, 8.6% Asian, 1.8% black or African American, 0.7% American Indian, 0.5% Pacific islander, 7.5% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 15.7% of the population. [16] In terms of ancestry, 20.8% were German, 12.4% were English, 12.1% were Irish, and 3.2% were American. [18]

Of the 200,934 households, 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.2% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.14. The median age was 35.3 years. [16]

The median income for a household in the county was $62,574 and the median income for a family was $76,778. Males had a median income of $54,417 versus $40,254 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,522. About 6.7% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over. [19]

Government

The county is governed by an elected board of five commissioners. The county is divided into four commissioner districts. One commissioner sits for each district, and the fifth commissioner is "at large" and is the Chair of the board. [20]

Politics

Presidential Elections Results [21]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 30.9% 83,197 56.9% 153,251 12.2% 32,784
2012 39.7% 93,974 57.1% 135,291 3.3% 7,758
2008 37.7% 89,185 59.8% 141,544 2.5% 5,903
2004 46.4% 107,223 52.4% 121,140 1.3% 2,945
2000 46.3% 86,091 48.8% 90,662 5.0% 9,221
1996 40.8% 65,221 48.0% 76,619 11.2% 17,915
1992 34.2% 57,146 40.4% 67,528 25.4% 42,521
1988 51.9% 67,018 46.3% 59,837 1.8% 2,356
1984 62.8% 75,877 36.9% 44,602 0.3% 417
1980 51.3% 57,165 34.1% 37,915 14.6% 16,275
1976 57.8% 52,376 38.5% 34,847 3.7% 3,388
1972 58.4% 43,958 37.1% 27,890 4.5% 3,390
1968 57.0% 34,105 38.3% 22,943 4.7% 2,794
1964 41.5% 20,813 58.0% 29,081 0.6% 287
1960 58.9% 25,415 41.1% 17,736 0.1% 35
1956 61.1% 22,001 38.9% 14,027 0.0% 0
1952 64.1% 20,250 35.4% 11,191 0.5% 143
1948 53.1% 11,455 43.7% 9,424 3.3% 710
1944 50.1% 9,362 48.8% 9,110 1.1% 205
1940 48.9% 8,367 50.4% 8,626 0.6% 110
1936 30.5% 4,148 63.5% 8,641 6.1% 823
1932 36.3% 4,201 59.0% 6,824 4.7% 548
1928 62.4% 6,162 35.9% 3,544 1.8% 173
1924 46.0% 4,203 23.0% 2,103 31.0% 2,835
1920 64.7% 4,947 29.6% 2,262 5.7% 432
1916 56.2% 4,888 38.6% 3,363 5.2% 452
1912 27.1% 1,261 30.7% 1,429 42.3% 1,969
1908 62.0% 2,319 30.8% 1,153 7.2% 271
1904 73.2% 2,296 15.7% 492 11.1% 349

Like all of the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast, Washington County was in its pre- Depression history strongly Republican. It voted for the Republican Presidential nominee in every election from Oregon statehood until 1930, except for the 1912 election when it supported Progressive candidate and former President Theodore Roosevelt. [22] In 1932 Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the first Democrat to ever carry the county, and he repeated this in 1936 and 1940, but between 1944 and 1988 the county was never won by a Democrat except in Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 landslide. As late as 1976 Washington was the second-most Republican county in the state behind remote rock-ribbed Malheur, [23] and Gerald Ford’s nineteen thousand-vote victory in the county was decisive in carrying the state for him during that year’s Presidential election.

Since the 1990s, the increasing drift of the Republican Party towards the South and evangelicialism, along with urbanization, has resulted in a strong shift of Washington County towards the Democratic Party. No Republican Presidential candidate has carried Washington County since George Bush senior did so in 1988, and over the past three Presidential elections Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have carried the county by over twenty percentage points. The last Republican to win a statewide election in Washington County was Gordon H. Smith in the 2002 Senate contest. In the 2008 Senatorial election Democrat Jeff Merkley winning 48.8 percent of the county’s vote (111,367) while Republican incumbent Smith won 46.5 percent (106,114), [24] but no subsequent Republican Senate candidate has won 40 percent of the county’s vote.

Economy

Washington County is centered on a fertile plain that attracted farmers before the first wagon trains. In 1997, orchards covered 8,403 acres (34 km²) of the county's lands and 1,163 acres (4.7 km²) were devoted to vineyards.[ citation needed] Agriculture is still a major industry in Washington County, as are lumber, manufacturing, and food processing. (The county is home to Roloff Farms, featured in the TV show Little People, Big World.)

The development of a large electronics industry during the 1980s and 1990s is the dominating factor of the county economy. California-based Intel, Oregon's largest private for-profit employer, [25] has its largest concentration of employees in the county, mainly in Hillsboro.[ citation needed] Other technology companies include Electro Scientific Industries, Lattice Semiconductor, FEI Company, Merix, TriQuint Semiconductor, Tektronix, SolarWorld, Planar Systems, and EPSON.[ citation needed]

Nike, one of two Fortune 500 corporations based in Oregon, has its headquarters in Washington County. Until it was acquired by IBM, Sequent Computer Systems was headquartered right next door to Nike. Other companies with headquarters in Washington County include optical instruments manufacturer Leupold & Stevens, Columbia Sportswear, and Reser's Fine Foods.

Communities

Downtown Beaverton
Downtown Forest Grove in 1920

Cities

City 1990 population 2000 population 2010 population [26] Incorporated Notes
Banks 563 1,286 1,777 1921
Beaverton 53,310 76,129 89,803 1893
Cornelius 6,148 9,652 11,869 1893
Durham 748 1,382 1,351 1966
Forest Grove 13,559 17,708 21,083 1872
Gaston 563 600 637 1914
Hillsboro 37,520 70,187 91,611 1876 County seat
King City 2,060 1,949 3,111 1966
Lake Oswego 30,576 35,278 36,619 1910 Small portion, most in Clackamas County [27]
North Plains 972 1,605 1,947 1963
Portland 437,319 529,121 583,776 1851 Small portion, most in Multnomah County [28]
Rivergrove 294 324 289 1971 Small portion, most in Clackamas County
Sherwood 3,093 11,791 18,194 1893
Tigard 29,344 41,223 48,035 1961
Tualatin 15,013 22,791 26,054 1913 Small portion also in Clackamas County
Wilsonville 7,106 13,991 19,509 1969 Small portion, most in Clackamas County [29]

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities


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