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Boring
Cyclists at the west entrance to Boring on Oregon Route 212
Cyclists at the west entrance to Boring on Oregon Route 212
Motto(s): 
"The most exciting place to live!"
Boring is located in Oregon
Boring
Boring
Location in Oregon
Boring is located in the United States
Boring
Boring
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Oregon
County Clackamas
Settled 1856
Platted 1903
Named for William Harrison Boring
Area
 • Total 30.0 sq mi (77.7 km2)
Highest elevation
755 ft (230 m)
Lowest elevation
548 ft (167 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 7,762
 • Density 258.73/sq mi (99.90/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP Codes
97009
Area code(s) 503 and 971
Sister cities Dull, Scotland
Bland, Australia

Boring is an unincorporated community in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States. It is located along Oregon Route 212 in the foothills of the Cascade mountain range, approximately twelve miles (19 km) southeast of downtown Portland, and fourteen miles (23 km) northeast of Oregon City. A bedroom community, Boring is named after William Harrison Boring, a Union soldier and pioneer whose family built a farm in the area in 1856, before Oregon had received statehood.

The community was officially platted in 1903 after the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company constructed an electric rail line, which operated from Portland to Cazadero. The former railway is now part of the Springwater Corridor, a rail trail which begins in Boring and ends at the Eastbank Esplanade along the Willamette River in southeast Portland. The Boring Lava Field, an extinct volcanic field zone that comprises terrain spanning between Boring and downtown Portland, took its namesake from the community.

Boring was a hub of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest prior to and during World War I due to the abundance of surrounding temperate coniferous and evergreen forests, as well as its proximity to the Port of Portland. In addition to logging, plant nurseries and agriculture have also historically been major economic forces in Boring.

Boring has often been included in lists of places with unusual names. In 2012, Boring was named a sister city of the village of Dull, Scotland, and later Bland, Australia.

History

The land on which Boring was built was a former lava field. The Boring Lava Field, which takes its namesake from the town, is located just north of Boring. There are approximately 80 lava vents across the area, remnants of the volcanic activity that occurred there roughly 2.6 million years ago. The lava field extends across surrounding Portland and Vancouver, Washington, though the volcanic centers are extinct. The land that would later become Boring had no known inhabitants, though the Clackamas Tribe had a camp located south of Boring, near present-day Oregon City, along the Willamette River. By 1855, the remaining members of the tribe had relocated to the Grand Ronde. Settlers began to arrive in the Oregon Territory in mid-1800s, after the establishment of Portland.

William H. Boring
The town took its name from William H. Boring, a Civil War veteran and pioneer.

Boring was given its namesake after William H. Boring, an Illinois-native and early resident who began farming there in 1874, and subsequently donated land for the community's first schoolhouse to be built. He was a Union veteran who had moved to Oregon after having fought in the Siege of Vicksburg during the Civil War. William's half-brother, Joseph, had settled in the area in 1856 prior to his arrival. William Boring died in 1932 at the age of 91 and was buried beside his wife Sarah in Damascus Pioneer Cemetery.

Boring, OR railway station
Boring station on the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company line, ca. 1904.

Boring was platted in 1903 as "Boring Junction" after the construction of a railway line by the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company. The post office was established and named "Boring" the same year, and the builders of the interurban railway adopted Boring as the name of the community. An electric trolley operated on the railroad line to Portland, Oregon and Gresham, which began boarding passengers in 1905. The electric trolley severely cut travel time to and from the city; horse and buggy travel from Boring to Portland took an average of six hours, while a trip to Portland via the trolley system took only one hour. Though younger students in the area attended a local school built on Richey Road, high school students in Boring commuted via trolley to Gresham and Portland to attend high schools there. The early residents of the area post-settlement were mainly German and Swedish immigrants.

After World War II and the prominence of automobile ownership, the trolley ceased passenger operations to Portland, but continued to travel between Boring and Gresham. The railway went defunct in the following years, and was incorporated as part of the Springwater Corridor, a rail trail that begins in Boring and ends at the Eastbank Esplanade in downtown Portland.

In 2005, citizens of Boring applied to become one of the first legally recognized villages in Oregon. However, after many months of polarizing debate on the village issue, residents narrowly defeated the village designation in a town hall referendum in August 2006, with 293 votes in favor and 298 against.

The unusual name of the town often prompts its inclusion on lists of unusual place names. The name "Boring" is embraced by locals, however, and found in many local businesses, resulting in many road signs that seem humorous to outsiders. Boosters of the village designation use the slogan "The most exciting place to live."

In June 2012, in a play on the town's name, the Boring Community Planning Organization voted to "pair" with Dull, Scotland, for the purpose of promoting tourism in both towns. Dull is a tiny village of only 84 residents, while Boring has about 8,000. In 2013, a farm community and former gold prospecting site Bland Shire in West Wyalong, New South Wales, Australia was added to the mix to create not a "twinned town" relationship but a "League of Extraordinary Communities" grouping Dull, Boring and Bland as a means of encouraging travel, promoting all three communities. The same month, construction of the Boring Station Trailhead Park was completed on the empty lot that once housed the original 1903 train station, and opened to the public.

Geography

Boring and Damascus, Oregon aerial
Aerial view of Boring and Damascus, with Mount Hood in the background.

Topography

Located at the northernmost end of the eastern Willamette Valley, Boring rests in the foothills of the Cascade mountain range, at the base of Mount Hood. The town is approximately 31 miles (50 km) from Government Camp, a major resort and skiing community on Mount Hood. The town comprises approximately 30 square miles (78 km2) of Clackamas County. Boring is part of the Portland metropolitan area, located approximately 12 miles (19 km) southeast of the Portland city limits, and 16 miles (26 km) from downtown Portland.

The town's landscape is hilly, with its elevation ranging between 548 feet (167 m) and 755 feet (230 m). Several creeks run west through the city limits into the Clackamas River, including Doane Creek, North Fork Deep Creek, and Tickle Creek.

Climate

According to the Köppen climate classification, Boring has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm summers and chilly, rainy winters. The town receives an annual average of 54.26 inches (1,378.2 mm) of rain—significantly more than neighboring Portland, which averages 36.03 inches (915.2 mm), or Gresham, which averages 44.85 inches (1,139.2). Boring's high volume of rainfall can be attributed to its location in the Cascade foothills, which situates it at a considerably higher elevation than other towns and cities in the Portland metropolitan area. The first frost in Boring typically occurs within the first week of November, while the last is typically in the first week of April.

Climate data for Boring, Oregon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46
(7.8)
51
(10.6)
56
(13.3)
61
(16.1)
68
(20)
73
(22.8)
80
(26.7)
81
(27.2)
75
(23.9)
64
(17.8)
52
(11.1)
46
(7.8)
63
(17.2)
Average low °F (°C) 34
(1.1)
36
(2.2)
38
(3.3)
41
(5)
46
(7.8)
50
(10)
54
(12.2)
54
(12.2)
50
(10)
44
(6.7)
39
(3.9)
35
(1.7)
44
(6.7)
Precipitation inches (mm) 7.53
(191.3)
6.16
(156.5)
5.51
(140)
4.36
(110.7)
3.55
(90.2)
2.45
(62.2)
.97
(24.6)
1.26
(32)
1.26
(32)
2.36
(59.9)
7.76
(197.1)
8.04
(204.2)
54.26
(1,378.2)
Source: Zip Data Maps Profile for Zip Code 97009

Demographics

According to the 2010 U.S. census, the ZCTA for Boring's ZIP code had a population of 7,726 in 2,875 households. This was a significant drop from the 2000 census, which had reported a population of 12,851. Males made up 50.50% of the population, while females made up 49.50%. According to this data, the population's ethnic profile was 77.3% white, 13.3% Hispanic or Latino, 2.6% Asian, .3% African American, and 4% two or more races.

32.20% of households in the ZCTA earned under $50,000 annually, while 39.80% earned between $50,000–$100,000, and 28% had reported earnings exceeding $100,000. As of 2018, the unemployment rate was 3.98%. 86.8% of residents were property owners, while 13.2% were renters. In 2015, Boring was ranked among the wealthiest ZIP codes in the Portland metropolitan area.

In popular culture

Farm in Boring, Oregon
Private farmland in Boring.

The eponymous fictional town of the Disney TV series Gravity Falls is inspired by Boring.

In 2013, the town was home to an event hosted by Vitaminwater, in a series in which the company gave Boring and the town of Normal, Illinois, "makeovers". The event featured musical performances by Santigold, Matt & Kim, and Yung Skeeter, as well as standup comedy performances which included Amy Schumer. The town was the subject of a 2016 promotional documentary short by Brooklyn, New York-based cinematographer Adam McDaid for Ogilvy & Mather.

Pairing with Dull, Scotland

Elizabeth Leighton of Aberfeldy, Scotland, proposed the town's pairing with the village of Dull, Scotland, while passing through Boring on a cycling holiday. In June 2012, Boring accepted the proposal of Dull to "pair" their municipalities, in an effort to promote tourism in both places as a play on their names. The Boring Community Planning Organization issued commemorative "Boring & Dull: a pair for the ages" T-shirts and mugs, as well as raffling off a trip to Dull, Scotland. However, the Boring CPO will not be attempting to get the pairing recognised by Sister Cities International.

Dull and Boring celebrations are held annually on 9 August in Oregon with a piper and a barbershop quartet; the Dull celebrations are in October.

After their pairing, August 9 was declared by the State of Oregon as "Boring and Dull Day" across the state. In 2013, the rural Australian town of Bland also twinned with the two cities, as a lighthearted way to embrace the community's name.

Sister cities

Economy

Shirley Gamble and Haroldine DeBord, 1946 (5836929896)
Two teen girls picking berries on a farm in Boring, 1946

After its inception as a railroad community, Boring evolved into a hub for the timber industry in the Northwest, beginning in the pre-World War I era and continuing throughout much of the 20th century. One of the first mills established in Boring was the Hillyard Sawmill, which began operations in the 1890s; the mill produced over 30,000 feet (9,100 m) of lumber per day, mostly consisting of railroad ties. Bert Jonsrud, an early resident of the area, would later establish the Jonsrud Bros. Lumber Company, which would become Boring's main lumber mill. In a 1915 survey of timber and logging camps in the Pacific Northwest, it was reported that Jonsrud mill was producing 20,000 feet (6,100 m) of lumber per day. Today, Vanport International is the main lumber company operating out of Boring. Although their main business is lumber export, they are co-located with a lumber mill actively processing timber products.

The Portland Traction Company, a now-defunct railroad, operated a rail line from Portland (near the current location of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on the Willamette River) to Boring via Gresham. In the 1950s, the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads jointly took over operation of the remaining portion of the line for freight operations. Much of the line has since been purchased by local governments for the creation of a long-distance rail trail named the Springwater Corridor.

The community is also home to a large number of dairy farms, plant nurseries and berry farms, including Iseli Nursery and Liepold Farms, who supplies produce to the local restaurant chain Burgerville. There are over thirty active plant and tree nurseries that operate within the community. Another Boring community staple, Mt. Hood Center, was built in Boring in 1974 and the facility is still functioning today as an equestrian center, event venue, and an equine based schooling alternative, Mt. Hood Center Academy. Boring is also home of a campus of Guide Dogs For The Blind, Inc., the oldest guide dog training program on the US west coast. The largest employer in Boring as of 2018 is Good Shepherd Community Church, an independent evangelical church.

Education

Kelso School, Boring, Oregon
Former Kelso Schoolhouse, est. 1885

The first schoolhouse in Boring was the Fern Hill School, built in 1883. The Kelso Schoolhouse opened two years later, in 1885. Another four-room school house called Oregonia was built in 1904. A 40-by-60-foot (12 by 18 m) play shed was added to the school in 1918.

Contemporarily, the community is served by the Oregon Trail and the Gresham-Barlow school districts as the community straddles the boundary between the two. Elementary schools in Boring include Naas Elementary and Kelso Elementary. Secondary schools serving Boring include Boring Middle School, Sandy High School (Oregon Trail), and Sam Barlow High School (Gresham-Barlow). Private schools in the area include Good Shepherd School and Hoodview Adventist School.

Boring is also home to Oregon Trail Academy, the only public K-12 single campus International Baccalaureate school in the Northwest. The school was established as a charter school in 2010 by the Oregon Trail School District and also serves students from Gresham-Barlow. In 2019, the school ranked in the top 15 schools in the Portland metro area and 17th in the state.

Students' test score performance in the public school system in Boring ranks at or above the national average in both elementary and middle school(s).

Infrastructure

Oregon Route 212 begins in Boring, and runs through the center of the downtown area. Its roads are maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation.

From the 1970s until the end of 2012, Boring was within the TriMet transit district, the Portland metropolitan area's mass transit system, and was served by bus line 84, albeit with only a single round trip in each peak period. In 2011, business owners in Boring petitioned the transit district's board to remove Boring from the district, arguing that Boring was receiving too little bus service relative to the amount being paid in employer-payroll taxes. The petition was approved, to take effect at the beginning of 2013, bringing an end to TriMet service in Boring.

The Springwater Corridor, a rail trail that was originally a railroad running between Boring and Portland, begins in Boring next to Boring Middle School, and is used for running, walking, and cycling. The trail ends at the Eastbank Esplanade in downtown Portland.

Notable people

  • Bob Amsberry (1928–1957), original member of The Mickey Mouse Club
  • William H. Boring (1841–1932), Union soldier; founder of town
  • Ryan Crouser (1992–), shot putter, discus thrower, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Charis Michelsen (1974–), actress, model, and makeup artist
  • Ben Musa (1905–1974), Oregon state legislator
  • Maria Thayer (1975–), actress and comedian
  • Brian Wilbur (1986–), Granada Lions quarterback

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