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Clackamas County, Oregon facts for kids

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Clackamas County
Willamette Falls from drone.jpg
Government Camp at night - horizontal - 237 (8408218339).jpg
Spire of the Portland Oregon Temple, 2018.jpg
Clackamas County Courthouse (Clackamas County, Oregon scenic images) (clacD0034).jpg
Oregon City Municipal Elevator in Oregon City, OR.jpg
Mt Hood and Lost Lake, Oregon.jpg
Official seal of Clackamas County
Map of Oregon highlighting Clackamas County
Location within the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Oregon
Founded July 5, 1843
Seat Oregon City
Largest city Lake Oswego
 • Total 1,883 sq mi (4,880 km2)
 • Land 1,870 sq mi (4,800 km2)
 • Water 13 sq mi (30 km2)  0.7%%
 • Total 421,401
 • Estimate 
422,537 Increase
 • Density 223/sq mi (86/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional districts 3rd, 5th

Clackamas County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 421,401, making it Oregon's third-most populous county. Its county seat is Oregon City. The county was named after the Native Americans living in the area, the Clackamas people, who are part of the Chinookan peoples.

Clackamas County is part of the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is in the Willamette Valley.


Originally named Clackamas District, it was one of the four original Oregon districts created by Oregon's Provisional Legislature on July 5, 1843 along with Twality (later Washington), Champooick (later Marion), and Yamhill. The four districts were redesignated as counties in 1845. At the time of its creation, Clackamas County covered portions of four present-day U.S. states and a Canadian province. The Columbia River became the northern boundary of the county in 1844. Soon after John McLoughlin staked a land claim in Oregon City and built a house that in 2003 became a unit of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Oregon City was also the site of the only federal court west of the Rockies in 1849, when San Francisco, California was platted. The plat was filed in 1850 in the first plat book of the first office of records in the West Coast and is still in Oregon City.

In 1902, the Willamette Meteorite was recovered from a field just outside present-day West Linn.

In contrast with the more liberal and cosmopolitan Multnomah County to the north, and the more corporate Washington County to the west, some citizens of Clackamas county have espoused a blue-collar, yet conservative political outlook of the backlash mold described by Thomas Frank. It is the headquarters of Lon Mabon, whose Oregon Citizens Alliance has worked to pass a number of anti-homosexual initiatives, and where Bill Sizemore, who has championed various anti-government initiatives for most of the 1990s, had his base before he moved to Klamath Falls. However, it is a very mixed area overall, narrowly voting for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat John Kerry in 2004, but moderately voting for Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in 2008.

As of August 2005, Clackamas is the first county in Oregon to have four models of governance for its communities. Like the rest of Oregon, it has cities (which are formally incorporated) and rural communities (some of which for federal purposes are considered census-designated places).

After completion of a process that began late in 1999, the county adopted an ordinance on August 11, 2005 which defined hamlets and villages. By the November 30, 2005 deadline, three communities had submitted petitions to start the process of becoming one. Boring petitioned to become a village, but the application was rejected in a town hall referendum in August 2006. The communities along US 26 near Mount Hood from Brightwood to Rhododendron petitioned to become "The Villages at Mount Hood", and it was approved by residents in May 2006. Beavercreek petitioned to become a hamlet, and was officially recognized as such in September 2006.


Clackamas County forest in winter
Forest west of Clackamas River Valley.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,883 square miles (4,880 km2), of which 1,870 square miles (4,800 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (0.7%) is water.

The county includes parts of two national forests: Mount Hood National Forest and Willamette National Forest.

Major highways

  • I-5.svg Interstate 5
  • I-205.svg Interstate 205
  • US 26.svg U.S. Route 26
  • OR 35.svg Oregon Route 35
  • OR 99E.svg Oregon Route 99E
  • OR 212.svg Oregon Route 212
  • OR 213.svg Oregon Route 213
  • OR 224.svg Oregon Route 224

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,859
1860 3,466 86.4%
1870 5,993 72.9%
1880 9,260 54.5%
1890 15,233 64.5%
1900 19,658 29.0%
1910 29,931 52.3%
1920 37,698 25.9%
1930 46,205 22.6%
1940 57,130 23.6%
1950 86,716 51.8%
1960 113,038 30.4%
1970 166,088 46.9%
1980 241,919 45.7%
1990 278,850 15.3%
2000 338,391 21.4%
2010 375,992 11.1%
2020 421,401 12.1%
2021 (est.) 422,537 12.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 375,992 people, 145,790 households, and 100,866 families in the county. The population density was 201.0 inhabitants per square mile (77.6/km2). There were 156,945 housing units at an average density of 83.9 per square mile (32.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.2% white, 3.7% Asian, 0.8% American Indian, 0.8% black or African American, 0.2% Pacific islander, 3.1% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 24.9% were German, 14.5% were English, 13.3% were Irish, 5.0% were Norwegian, and 4.9% were American.

Of the 145,790 households, 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.8% were non-families, and 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.04. The median age was 40.6 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $62,007 and the median income for a family was $74,905. Males had a median income of $53,488 versus $39,796 for females. The per capita income for the county was $31,785. About 6.1% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.


Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake, Oregon
Mount Hood reflected in Trillium Lake
Milo McIver SP Clackamas
Clackamas River flowing through Milo McIver State Park

Several of the county's cities extend into other counties. Lake Oswego and Milwaukie include areas in Multnomah County. Lake Oswego, Rivergrove and Wilsonville include areas in Washington County. The cities of Portland and Tualatin extend into Clackamas County from Multnomah and Washington counties respectively.

In Clackamas County, hamlets and villages are models of local governance for unincorporated areas. The four hamlets in Clackamas County are Beavercreek, Molalla Prairie, Mulino, and Stafford. The county's only village is the Villages at Mount Hood.


Census-designated places


Unincorporated communities


Since the county's creation, agriculture, timber, manufacturing, and commerce have been the principal economic activities. Mount Hood, the only year-round ski resort in the United States and the site of Timberline Lodge, is a major attraction for recreation and tourism, offering outdoor recreation activities from skiing and rafting to fishing and camping.


The county supports the Library Information Network of Clackamas County. The urban areas of the county are also served by Metro.

Notable people

  • Bob Amsberry (1928–1957), original member of The Mickey Mouse Club
  • Rebecca Anderson (1991–), beauty pageant titleholder
  • Debby Applegate (1968–), biographer and historian
  • Jay Baller (1960–), baseball player
  • Howard C. Belton (1893–1988), Oregon State Treasurer
  • William H. Boring (1841–1932), Union soldier; founder of Boring
  • Nan Britton (1896–1991), secretary and mistress of President Warren G. Harding
  • George Bruns (1914–1984), Walt Disney Pictures film composer
  • Ed Coleman (1901–1964), baseball player
  • Ralph Coleman (1895–1990), baseball coach
  • Ryan Crouser (1992–), shot putter, discus thrower, Olympic Gold Medalist
  • Carson Ellis (1975–), artist and illustrator
  • Philip Foster (1805–1884), pioneer
  • Alma Francis (1890–1968), stage actress and singer
  • Tom Gorman (1957–), baseball pitcher
  • Tonya Harding (1970–), Olympic figure skater
  • Joni Harms (1959–), musician
  • Bill Johnson (1960–2016), Olympic skier
  • Edwin Markham (1852–1940), Poet Laureate of Oregon
  • Colin Meloy (1974–), musician
  • Charis Michelsen (1974–), actress, model, and makeup artist
  • Bill Morgan (1910–1985), football player
  • Ben Musa (1905–1974), Oregon state legislator
  • Alan Olsen (1948–), Oregon State Senator
  • Ralph Patt (1929–2010), the jazz-guitarist who invented major-thirds tuning, and also a geological expert on groundwater contamination from the Hanford Site.
  • Burt Rutan (1943–), aerospace engineer
  • Kurt Schrader (1951–), U.S. Representative from Oregon
  • Martha Schrader (1953–), Oregon State Senator
  • Chael Sonnen (1977–), wrestler
  • Brenda Strong (1960–), film and television actress
  • Maria Thayer (1975–), actress and comedian
  • Mark Thorson (1983–), football player
  • Aaron E. Waite (1813–1898), Oregon Supreme Court justice
  • Brian Wilbur (1986–), Granada Lions quarterback

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Clackamas para niños

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