Oregon City Real Estate


Oregon City, Oregon


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City of Oregon City
—  City  —

Nickname(s): End of the Oregon Trail, OC
Motto: Urbs civitatis nostrae prima et mater
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 45°21′26″N 122°36′26″W / 45.35722°N 122.60722°W / 45.35722; -122.60722Coordinates: 45°21′26″N 122°36′26″W / 45.35722°N 122.60722°W / 45.35722; -122.60722
Country United States
State Oregon
County Clackamas
Founded 1829
Incorporated 1844
 - Mayor Doug Neeley
 - Total 8.4 sq mi (21.6 km2)
 - Land 8.1 sq mi (21.1 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 141 ft (42 m)
Population (2009)
 - Total 31,826
 - Density 3,163.9/sq mi (1,221.6/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97045
Area code(s) 503, 971
FIPS code 41-55200[1]
GNIS feature ID 1136601[2]
Website www.orcity.org

Oregon City was the first city in the United States west of the Rocky Mountains to be incorporated. It is the county seat of Clackamas County, Oregon. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 25,754; the 2009 estimate has the population at 31,826.[3]

The city's motto is Urbs civitatis nostrae prima et mater (First and mothertown of our state), as seen on the city's seal.


Main Street circa 1920

Known in recent decades as the site of several large paper mills on the Willamette River, the city played a significant role in the early history of the Oregon Country. It was established by Hudson's Bay Company's Dr. John McLoughlin in 1829 near the confluence of the Clackamas River with the Willamette to take advantage of the power of Willamette Falls to run a lumber mill. During the 1840s and 1850s it was the destination for those wanting to file land claims after traveling the Oregon Trail as the last stop on the trail.[4][5] It was the capital of the Oregon Territory from its establishment in 1848 until 1851, and rivaled Portland for early supremacy in the area. In 1846, the city's newspaper, the Oregon Spectator, was the first American newspaper to be published west of the Rocky Mountains. The center of the city retains part of its historic character through the preservation of houses and other buildings from the era of the city's founding.


Willamette Falls and a paper mill at Oregon City Oregon, on the Willamette River

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (21.6 km²), of which, 8.1 square miles (21.1 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (2.52%) is water.[6]


The major waterways of Oregon City include the Willamette River, which flows along the northwest side of the city, and the Clackamas River, which merges with the larger Willamette to the north of the city. The Willamette forms the boundary between Oregon City and West Linn; the Clackamas serves as the boundary between Oregon City and Gladstone.

Other notable tributaries of the Willamette are Abernathy (sometimes spelled Abernethy) and Singer Creeks; Newell Creek is a tributary of Abernathy Creek which flows through a canyon on the city's eastern boundary.

Willamette Falls

The Willamette Falls Locks in West Linn were the first multi-lift navigational locks in the United States and are now a National Historical Site, although still in use. The first long-distance electrical service in the United States originated in Oregon City, transmitting electricity 14 miles to Portland.


Oregon City, c. 1850—1852

The town is divided into upper and lower areas; the lower area is on a bench next to the Willamette River, and the upper area atop a bluff composed of Columbia Plateau basalt. For many years, Indian trails connected the two, but stairs were built in the 19th century. In 1915 the town built the water-powered Oregon City Municipal Elevator to connect the two parts, which was converted to electricity in the 1920s. In 1952, a new electric elevator was constructed with the specification that it was to be "as plain as possible and without ornament."


Oregon City has several neighborhoods represented by official neighborhood associations:[7]

  • The Park Place neighborhood is in the northeastern corner of the city, located on a bluff overlooking Abernethy Green. The neighborhood includes a housing project, as well as numerous rural properties. Park Place, formerly an independent community, also includes unincorporated areas outside the city limits. First called Clackamas (a name that was later given to a community three miles north), then Paper Mill, the community was finally named Park Place for a park in a nearby oak grove. Park Place was platted in 1889, and a post office was established the following year. For a while the name was changed to "Parkplace."[8]
  • The McLoughlin neighborhood is bordered by Washington Street and Singer Hill on the Northwest, a bluff overlooking Abernethy Creek on the northeast and east, and Division Street on the south. It also includes extends to the west to border the Canemah district. The John McLoughlin House and the upper entrance to the Municipal Elevator are located in this neighborhood.
  • The Barclay Hills neighborhood lies between Rivercrest Park on the west, the city limits on the east, the McLoughlin Neighborhood on the north, and Warner-Milne Road on the south. This neighborhood is bisected by Molalla Avenue, the former route of Oregon Route 213 before it was moved to the Oregon City Bypass to the east.
  • The Canemah neighborhood lies along Oregon Route 99E, and is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Willamette River and a bluff. Canemah was once an independent city before being annexed into Oregon City. Canemah was founded in 1845 and was the portage site around Willamette Falls for many years. It was supposedly named after an Indian chief.[8]
  • The Rivercrest neighborhood includes Rivercrest Park, and the residential communities overlooking the Willamette River to the west.
  • The South End neighborhood lies to the southwest of Rivercrest Park. It centers around the intersection of South End and Warner-Parrot roads, and was the location of Oregon City's (now defunct) drive-in movie theater.
  • The Hazel Grove/Westling Farm neighborhood lies in the southwestern corner of the city, lying between the bluffs over the Willamette River and the unincorporated areas to the south.
  • The Tower Vista neighborhood lies southeast of South End, and east of Hazel Grove/Whistling Farm. It is bordered on the east and southeast by Leland Road.
  • The Hillendale neighborhood lies south of Warner-Milne Road, east of Leland Road, north of Clairmont Way and Beavercreek Road, and west of OR 213 and the city limits. The former site of City Hall is located here, as is the Clackamas County jail.
  • The Gaffney Lane neighborhood, centered around the elementary school of the same name, lies south of Hillendale, west of OR 213, and north/east of the city limits.
  • The Caufield neighborhood contains those parts of the city located south of Park Place, and east of OR 213. Clackamas Community College is located here, as is Oregon City High School.

In addition, the downtown core of Oregon City, along with Abernethy Green and those portions of the city north of I-205, are not represented by any neighborhood association.


[hide]Climate data for Oregon City, OR
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 48
Average low °F (°C) 36
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.59
Source: The Weather Channel[9]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1970 9,176
1980 14,673 59.9%
1990 14,698 0.2%
2000 25,754 75.2%
Est. 2009 31,826 [10] 23.6%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 25,754 people, 9,471 households, and 6,667 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,163.9 people per square mile (1,221.6/km²). There were 10,110 housing units at an average density of 1,242.0/sq mi (479.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.44% White, 1.12% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.08% Native American, 0.58% African American, 2.15% from other races, and 2.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.98% of the population.

There were 9,471 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. 22.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.06.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $45,531, and the median income for a family was $51,597. Males had a median income of $38,699 versus $29,547 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,870. About 6.5% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.0% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.


For much of its existence, Oregon City's economy has been dominated by the forestry industry, until the decline of the Pacific Northwest lumber industry started in the 1980s. At its height, several mills operated in the city and surrounding communities; all but one paper mill have been shuttered.

Today, the city is home to several notable high technology and light manufacturing concerns. Notable companies based in Oregon City include Benchmade, a leading manufacturer of high-end cutlery. Chrome Systems Corporation (formerly Chrome Data) was founded there, but has since moved its operations to nearby Portland. Medrisk, LLC is a major insurance brokerage which does business in the Northwest and is headquartered in Oregon City. In 2006 Anderson Vending Inc. chose Oregon City as its new headquarters.


The city, and several surrounding communities, is served by the Oregon City School District,[11] a public school district consisting of 10 elementary schools, two middle schools, a traditional four-year high school (Oregon City High School), and an alternative secondary school. Several schools in the district offer bilingual English/Spanish programs. Oregon City High School is the third most populated high school in Oregon, and is a state and national power in girls' basketball, winning three consecutive USA Today girls' national championships in the 1990s.[citation needed]

The city also is the home of Clackamas Community College, numerous private and parochial schools, and a public library that is part of the Library Information Network of Clackamas County.

Points of interest


Many historical buildings have been preserved in Oregon City, including the McLoughlin House, John McLoughlin's Georgian home. The Ermatinger House, the oldest house in Clackamas County, dates to about 1845. The Stevens Crawford Museum is an 1908 structure with 15 furnished rooms, many with their original fittings, as the house was used as a home continuously until 1968.

Other museums include the Museum of the Oregon Territory and the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, with costumed "living history" guides. The Clackamas County Historical Society archives, housed in the Museum of the Oregon Territory, also include the incorporation plat for the city of San Francisco. Clackamas Heritage Partners owns and operates these museums, along with the Stevens Crawford Museum. In 2009, Clackamas Heritage Partners announced that it could no longer afford to keep the museums open. The End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center was closed to the public indefinitely in September 2009, while the Stevens Crawford Museum and Museum of the Oregon Territory, which are staffed largely by volunteers, will operate on a limited schedule.[12]


Oregon City currently has over 22 city parks, with more planned for the future. One of the city's larger parks is Clackamette Park, at the confluence of the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers. The park's features include RV camping, a boat launch and dock, a skateboard park, and other recreational facilities. Several community festivals are held there throughout the year. Other major parks include Chapin, Hillendale, Rivercrest, and the new Wesley Lynn.

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