kids encyclopedia robot

Gresham, Oregon facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Gresham, Oregon
Downtown Gresham from City Park
Downtown Gresham from City Park
Location in Multnomah County, Oregon
Country United States
State Oregon
County Multnomah
Incorporated 1905
Named for Walter Q. Gresham
 • City 23.64 sq mi (61.23 km2)
 • Land 23.44 sq mi (60.70 km2)
 • Water 0.21 sq mi (0.53 km2)
325 ft (91.7 m)
 • City 105,594
 • Estimate 
 • Rank US: 254th
 • Density 4,667.22/sq mi (1,801.99/km2)
 • Metro
Demonym(s) Greshamite
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific)
ZIP codes
97030, 97080, 97233
Area code(s) 503 and 971
FIPS code 41-31250
GNIS feature ID 1121424

Gresham ( GRESH-əm) is a city located in Multnomah County, Oregon, in the United States of America, immediately east of Portland, Oregon. It is considered a suburb within the Greater Portland Metropolitan area. Though it began as a settlement in the mid-1800s, it was not officially incorporated as a city until 1905; it was named after Walter Quintin Gresham, the American Civil War general and United States Secretary of State.

The city's early economy was sustained largely by farming, and by the mid-20th century the city experienced a population boom, growing from 4,000 residents to over 10,000 between 1960 and 1970. The population was 105,594 at the 2010 census, making Gresham the fourth largest city in Oregon.


Gresham 1918
Downtown Gresham in 1918

The area now known as Gresham was first settled in 1851 by the brothers Jackson and James Powell, who claimed land under the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850. They were soon joined by other pioneer families, and the area came to be known as Powell's Valley. In 1884, a local merchant petitioned the United States Postal Service to get a post office in his store and offered to name it after the Postmaster General Walter Q. Gresham if his request was granted. At the same time, other members of the community secured a post office called "Campground," another name for the area referencing the religious camp meeting ground located there and the valley's usefulness as a stop-off for travelers on their way to Portland. Once the Postal Service realized their mistake, they revoked the Campground post office.

Gresham was incorporated in 1905, the year of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition. Its population at the time was 365. Lewis Shattuck, son of a pioneer family, was the first mayor. The town's economy was fueled largely by farming, including berries, grapes, and vegetables. At the time, trains ran between Gresham and Portland on an hourly basis. Gresham's early settlers would go on to form the outlying communities of Boring, Sandy, Fairview, and Estacada.

Gresham's city library, which began as a small book collection in the town general store, was officially established as the Gresham Branch Public Library in 1913 with a grant from the Andrew Carnegie library fund.

Gresham General Hospital opened in 1959 in downtown Gresham. In 1984, the hospital moved to Stark Street and became Mount Hood Medical Center.


Johnson Creek2
Johnson Creek in Gresham

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.43 square miles (60.68 km2), of which, 23.20 square miles (60.09 km2) is land and 0.23 square miles (0.60 km2) is water. The total area includes parts of Fairview Creek and Johnson Creek.


Gresham is located twelve miles from downtown Portland; the dividing line between Portland and Gresham's city limits is at SE 162nd Street. As with Portland, Gresham's north and south borders are divided along Burnside Street, which becomes the Mount Hood Highway in east Gresham. The city is located roughly seventy miles east of the Oregon Coast.

Though much of Gresham is relatively flat, Northeast Gresham is hilly, particularly where the city meets Troutdale toward the Columbia River. Its elevation is 325 feet (91.7 meters). Johnson Creek, which begins at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, runs westward through Gresham, with 23 percent of the creek's watershed running through the city.


Climate data for Gresham, OR
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 46
Average low °F (°C) 34
Precipitation inches (mm) 6.09


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 510
1920 1,103 116.3%
1930 1,635 48.2%
1940 1,951 19.3%
1950 3,049 56.3%
1960 3,944 29.4%
1970 10,030 154.3%
1980 33,005 229.1%
1990 68,235 106.7%
2000 90,205 32.2%
2010 105,594 17.1%
2019 (est.) 109,381 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
2018 Estimate

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 105,594 people, 38,704 households, and 25,835 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,551.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,757.3/km2). There were 41,015 housing units at an average density of 1,767.9 per square mile (682.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 76.0% White, 3.5% African American, 1.3% Native American, 4.3% Asian, 0.7% Pacific Islander, 9.8% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.9% of the population.

There were 38,704 households, of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.6% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.2% were non-families. 25.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.22.

The median age in the city was 33.6 years. 26.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.1% were from 25 to 44; 24.5% were from 45 to 64; and 10.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.

Parks and recreation

SkatePark in Main City Park, Gresham, Oregon
Main City Park in Gresham

There are numerous parks in Gresham: Main City Park, located near downtown Gresham. Other parks include East Gresham Park, Red Sunset Park, and Clatsop Butte Park, an upland butte located south of Powell Butte, which runs between Portland and Gresham. Other public points of interest are the Gresham Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1859, and the Plaza del Sol.

Historic sites

Louise Home Albertina Kerr - Gresham Oregon
Louise Albertina Kerr Home

There are several National Register of Historic Places sites located in Gresham. The Louise Albertina Kerr Home, formerly a hospital and residence hall, is located in west Gresham, and serves as a social services facility. Other sites include: the Jacob Zimmerman House, a farmhouse built by German-American settlers in 1874; the Hamlin–Johnson House, a farmhouse built in 1888; the Emanuel and Christina Anderson House and William Gedamke House, both Victorian Queen Anne homes built circa 1900; the Gresham Carnegie Library, built in 1913; the Dr. Herbert H. Hughes House, built in 1922; the Charles and Fae Olson House, a modernist home built in 1946; and the David and Marianne Ott House, a ranch home built in 1952.




Gresham is accessed from the west via Interstate 84 and via U.S. Route 26 from the east.

Mass transit

Gresham is serviced by TriMet's bus system and the MAX Light Rail Blue Line, which includes the following MAX stations:

  • East 162nd Avenue
  • East 172nd Avenue
  • East 181st Avenue
  • Rockwood/East 188th Avenue (serving the Rockwood neighborhood)
  • Ruby Junction/East 197th Avenue
  • Civic Drive
  • Gresham City Hall
  • Gresham Central Transit Center
  • Cleveland Avenue (the Blue Line's eastern terminus)

Gresham is also served by the fareless Sandy Area Metro shuttle bus to Sandy, Oregon.

Sister cities

Gresham has sister cities in other countries. They are:


Gresham is served by three school districts: Centennial, Gresham-Barlow, and Reynolds. High schools include Gresham High School, Sam Barlow High School, Centennial High School, and Reynolds High School. Private schools include Portland Adventist Elementary School, Eastside Christian School, and Morningstar Montessori school.

Mount Hood Community College is also located in Gresham, and is the only college located within the city limits. It offers associate degrees, as well as bachelor's programs through a partnership with Eastern Oregon University. According to the US Census, 27.16% of the Gresham residents had a bachelor's degree, while 9.93% had earned a master's degree or above.

Notable people

  • Shannon Bex (1980 –), member of Danity Kane
  • Brian Burres (1981 –), Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Randy Couture (1963 –), mixed martial arts fighter
  • Sam Crouser (1991 –), Olympic athlete
  • Marco Farfan, professional soccer player
  • Nikki Fuller (1968 –), professional female bodybuilder
  • Robert Garrigus (1977 –), PGA Tour
  • Katie Harman (1980 –), Miss America 2002
  • Jess Hartley (1967 –), author, editor, and tabletop game designer
  • Fred Jones (1979 –), National Basketball Association player
  • Fouad Kaady (January 8, 1978 – September 8, 2005), a resident who was shot to death by police after being injured in a car wreck
  • Robert S. Lucas, U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral
  • Ronald A. Marks, former CIA official
  • Khamphoui Sisavatdy, prime minister of the Gresham-headquartered Royal Lao Government in Exile
  • Stu Weber, Christian author
kids search engine
Gresham, Oregon Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.