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Independence, Oregon
Independence National Bank
Independence National Bank
Location in Oregon
Location in Oregon
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Coordinates: 44°51′11″N 123°11′29″W / 44.85306°N 123.19139°W / 44.85306; -123.19139Coordinates: 44°51′11″N 123°11′29″W / 44.85306°N 123.19139°W / 44.85306; -123.19139
Country United States
State Oregon
County Polk
Incorporated 1874
 • Total 2.98 sq mi (7.71 km2)
 • Land 2.88 sq mi (7.45 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.26 km2)
168 ft (51.2 m)
 • Total 8,590
 • Estimate 
 • Density 3,571.63/sq mi (1,379.06/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (Pacific)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 503 and 971
FIPS code 41-36150
GNIS feature ID 1163064

Independence is a city in Polk County, Oregon, United States, on the west bank of the Willamette River along Oregon Route 51, and east of nearby Monmouth. It is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area. Thirty square blocks of the oldest part of Independence form the National Register of Historic Places-listed Independence Historic District.

The population was 8,590 at the 2010 census.


Independence was founded by pioneers who migrated from Independence, Missouri. Elvin A. Thorp arrived in the Independence area in 1845 and staked a claim north of Ash Creek in June of that year. He platted a small townsite that later became known as "Thorp's Town of Independence" or the "Original Town of Independence", now known as "Old Town". Thorp named the town for his hometown Independence, Missouri, and in honor of Andrew Jackson's characteristic of "Independence".

In 1847, Henry Hill came across the plains looking for a level piece of ground on which to raise stock. for a townsite, thereafter to be referred to as Henry Hill's Town of Independence. The city charter bill of February 26, 1885, incorporated E.A. Thorp's Independence and Henry Hill's Independence. Henry Hill Elementary School was named in honor of the latter.

Independence Oregon downtown 1920
Downtown Independence circa 1920.

Independence thrived as a shipping point, by both rail and boat, for agricultural products and lumber until the 1950s. The city was known for its hops production from the 1890s through the 1940s, hosting a festival called the "Hops Fiesta" from the early 1930s to the mid-1950s. When hop production began to decline in the early 1950s, the city's fortunes began to decline.

Downtown Independence was bypassed by major freeways in the 1960s, though the period saw an alternative form of transportation enabled by the construction of the Independence State Airport, which was dedicated on August 14, 1964.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.82 square miles (7.30 km2), of which, 2.73 square miles (7.07 km2) is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water. Ash Creek flows through Independence, where it meets the Willamette River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 425
1880 691
1900 909
1910 1,160 27.6%
1920 1,148 −1.0%
1930 1,248 8.7%
1940 1,372 9.9%
1950 1,987 44.8%
1960 1,930 −2.9%
1970 2,594 34.4%
1980 4,024 55.1%
1990 4,425 10.0%
2000 6,035 36.4%
2010 8,590 42.3%
2019 (est.) 10,272 19.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 8,590 people, 2,857 households, and 2,021 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,146.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,214.9/km2). There were 3,168 housing units at an average density of 1,160.4 per square mile (448.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.3% White, 0.4% African American, 1.8% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 19.1% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.3% of the population.

There were 2,857 households, of which 42.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.3% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.45.

The median age in the city was 28.3 years. 30.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 13.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.3% were from 25 to 44; 19.5% were from 45 to 64; and 8.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.4% male and 49.6% female.


Independence shares a school district (Central School District) with Monmouth. Two elementary schools (Henry Hill and Independence), a middle school (Talmadge), and a high school (Central) are shared between the two cities.

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