Washington County, Oregon facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
From top, left to right: Washington County courthouse, Meier Road Barn, a canola field in rural Washington County
Location within the U.S. state of Oregon
Oregon's location within the U.S.
|Founded||July 5, 1843 (as Twality District)|
|Named for||George Washington|
|• Total||726 sq mi (1,880 km2)|
|• Land||724 sq mi (1,880 km2)|
|• Water||2.2 sq mi (6 km2) 0.3%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||826/sq mi (319/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−8 (Pacific)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−7 (PDT)|
Washington County is one of 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon and part of the Portland metropolitan area. The 2020 census recorded the population as 600,372, making it the second most populous county in the state and most populous "Washington County" in the United States. Hillsboro is the county seat and largest city, while other major cities include Beaverton, Tigard, Cornelius, Banks, Gaston, Sherwood, North Plains, and Forest Grove, the county's oldest city.
Originally named Twality when created in 1843, the Oregon Territorial Legislature renamed it for the nation's first president in 1849 and included the entire northwest corner of Oregon before new counties were created in 1854. The Tualatin River and its drainage basin lie almost entirely within the county, which shares its boundaries with the Tualatin Valley. It is bordered on the west and north by the Northern Oregon Coast Range, on the south by the Chehalem Mountains, and on the north and east by the Tualatin Mountains, or West Hills.
Major roads include sections of Interstate 5 and 205, the Sunset Highway, Oregon Route 217, 47, 10, 6 and 8. Public transportation is primarily operated by TriMet and includes buses, the Westside Express Service commuter rail, and MAX Light Rail. Other transportation includes air travel at Hillsboro Airport, private airfields and heliports, and heavy rail cargo on rail lines.
- See also: David Hill (Oregon politician), Tabitha Brown, and Joseph Meek
The Provisional Legislature of Oregon created the county as Twality District on July 5, 1843. Twality was one of the original four districts of the Provisional Government of Oregon in Oregon Country along with Clackamas, Champooick (later Marion), and Yamhill counties. Columbia, later known as Hillsboro, was selected as the county seat in 1850. Washington County obtained its present boundaries in 1854 with the creation of Columbia County to the north and Multnomah County to the east.
In November 2004, the County and the City of Beaverton agreed to a plan where the city would annex both unincorporated residential neighborhoods as well as high-value areas of land. This would result with Cedar Hills, Garden Home, Raleigh Hills, West Slope being incorporated by 2010, and the communities of Aloha, Bethany, and Cedar Mill at some point after that.
Those plans have since been put on hold after Beaverton attempted to forcibly annex Nike, Inc.'s World Headquarters, which would have increased Nike's taxes substantially. Nike successfully lobbied the legislature for a law that would prohibit their annexation for 99 years. Since that decision, annexation plans have been halted, and Washington County started urban planning to provide city-level services to the unincorporated urban areas in the county.
On January 1, 2014, 160 acres (65 ha) of Multnomah County in the Bethany area transferred to Washington County. The area had originally been split off from Washington County when Multnomah County was created, and was transferred back to allow for development of the property.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 726 square miles (1,880 km2), of which 724 square miles (1,880 km2) is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) (0.3%) is water. It is located approximately 20 miles (32 km) to the west of Portland. The Portland Metro Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) bisects the county. The county's highest point is South Saddle Mountain at 3,464 feet (1,056 m) above sea level in the Northern Oregon Coast Range.
Most of the county is in the Tualatin Valley, which is surrounded by the Tualatin Mountains to the east and north, the Chehalem Mountains to the south, and the Northern Oregon Coast Range to the west and north. In the valley is the only river in the county, the Tualatin River, the Tualatin Plains, and several small hills.
The Tualatin River is the main river in Washington County. Henry Hagg Lake, southwest of Forest Grove, is the largest lake. The Willamette River lies to the east, the Columbia River to the northeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the west of the county.
- Clackamas County (southeast)
- Clatsop County (northwest)
- Columbia County (north)
- Multnomah County (east)
- Tillamook County (west)
- Yamhill County (south)
- Interstate 5 (freeway)
- Interstate 205 (freeway)
- U.S. Route 26 (freeway for part)
- Oregon Route 6
- Oregon Route 8
- Oregon Route 10
- Oregon Route 47
- Oregon Route 99W
- Oregon Route 210
- Oregon Route 217 (freeway)
- Oregon Route 219
National protected areas
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census, there were 529,710 people, 200,934 households, and 134,323 families residing in the county. The population density was 731.4 inhabitants per square mile (282.4/km2). There were 212,450 housing units at an average density of 293.3 per square mile (113.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.6% white, 8.6% Asian, 1.8% black or African American, 0.7% American Indian, 0.5% Pacific islander, 7.5% from other races, and 4.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 15.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.8% were German, 12.4% were English, 12.1% were Irish, and 3.2% were American.
Of the 200,934 households, 36.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.2% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 25.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.14. The median age was 35.3 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $62,574 and the median income for a family was $76,778. Males had a median income of $54,417 versus $40,254 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,522. About 6.7% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.
|City||1990 population||2000 population||2010 population||Incorporated||Notes|
|Lake Oswego||30,576||35,278||36,619||1910||Small portion, most in Clackamas County|
|Portland||437,319||529,121||583,776||1851||Small portion, most in Multnomah County|
|Rivergrove||294||324||289||1971||Small portion, most in Clackamas County|
|Tualatin||15,013||22,791||26,054||1913||Small portion also in Clackamas County|
|Wilsonville||7,106||13,991||19,509||1969||Small portion, most in Clackamas County|
- Balm Grove
- Bonny Slope
- Bradley Corner
- Cherry Grove
- Gales Creek
- Kansas City
- Marlene Village
- Six Corners
- Somerset West
- West Union
- Witch Hazel
Washington County is centered on a fertile plain that attracted farmers before the first wagon trains. In 1997, orchards covered 8,403 acres (34 km2) of the county's lands and 1,163 acres (4.7 km2) were devoted to vineyards. Agriculture is still a major industry in Washington County, as are lumber, manufacturing, and food processing.
The development of a large electronics industry during the 1980s and 1990s is the dominating factor of the county economy. California-based Intel, Oregon's largest private for-profit employer, has its largest concentration of employees in the county, mainly in Hillsboro. Other technology companies include Electro Scientific Industries, FEI Company, Qorvo, Tektronix, SolarWorld, Planar Systems, and EPSON.
Nike, one of two Fortune 500 corporations based in Oregon, has its headquarters in Washington County. Until it was acquired by IBM, Sequent Computer Systems was headquartered near Nike. Other companies with headquarters in Washington County include optical instruments manufacturer Leupold & Stevens, Columbia Sportswear, and Reser's Fine Foods.
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