Clackamas County, in north central Oregon, is one of the four counties that make up the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan area. It is bounded by Multnomah County to the north, Wasco County to the east, Marion County to the south, and Yamhill and Washington counties to the west. The county encompasses 1,879 square miles (4,866.6 square kilometers). The county's heavily timbered geographical features include the 11,235-foot Mt. Hood, the Mt. Hood National Forest, the Bull Run Watershed and numerous rivers – including the Willamette, Clackamas, Sandy, Pudding, Molalla and Salmon. Some of Oregon’s richest farmland is located in areas surrounding the communities of Canby, Sandy, Boring, Wilsonville and Molalla.
Elected Officials -- The County is governed by a five-member commission that appoints a county administrator. Commissioners are elected to four-year terms. Other county elected officials include a district attorney, assessor, clerk, sheriff and treasurer. The county encompasses all or part of 16 cities.
Hamlets and Villages -- The nationally recognized Hamlets and Villages program is a grassroots, citizen-driven program developed by Clackamas County following the 2000 Complete Communities Congress. More than 2,000 residents participated in the formation of the program and now in continuing operations of the hamlets and villages.
Currently there are four Hamlets - Beavercreek, Molalla Prairie, Mulino and Stafford. There are no villages. Each Hamlet and Village has a board of directors publicly elected by their community. The Board is responsible for developing and implementing programs and projects chosen by the communities. Clackamas County provides a staff liaison and a small operating budget for each Hamlet and Village. Any additional funding for the organizations comes from donations, fundraising or grants.
Population and Growth
The population of Clackamas County has steadily increased since 1850. The population of the County in the 2010 U.S. Census was 375,992, a growth of 11 percent since 2000. The population was estimated to have grown to nearly 395,000 by 2014. Approximately one-eighth of Clackamas County’s land area is urban and the remainder is rural, with about half of the population living in each area.
Portions of Clackamas County were added to the Portland metropolitan area’s urban growth boundary in 2002 for the communities of Boring, Damascus, Happy Valley, Oregon City and Wilsonville. Big city attractions in downtown Portland, visits to the Oregon Zoo, outings to the Portland Opera, business trips to the Silicon Forest and the Portland International Airport are easily accessible via I-205 or I-5. The county is linked to the region’s light rail system through the Green Line to Clackamas Town Center. A strong transportation network with Interstate 5, Interstate 205, Highway 26 and Interstate 84 ties the Clackamas area to the Pacific Northwest and the international markets of Canada, Mexico, Japan and Asia.
Since its creation in 1843, agriculture, timber, manufacturing and commerce have been the county's principal activities. In recent years Clackamas County business districts and communities continue to grow at a strong rate. The many flourishing businesses include industry leaders in metals, machinery, healthcare, high tech, logistics, forestry, food and beverage processing, renewable energy, nursery/agriculture, tourism and software development. A variety of shovel-ready industrial sites within minutes of interstate and state highways and/or the Portland International Airport make Clackamas County additionally appealing to business and industry.
|This Clackamas County Courthouse was built in 1884. It was demolished in 1935 and was replaced by the current courthouse in 1937. (Letterhead engraving)|
(courtesy of the Oregon State Archives)
Clackamas County, named after the Clackamas Indians, was one of four original districts created by the Provisional Legislature on July 5, 1843. At that time Clackamas County covered portions of four present-day states and one Canadian province. In 1844 the Columbia River was made the northern boundary of the county, and the United States-Great Britain Boundary Treaty of 1846 relocated the northern border of both the United States and Clackamas County at latitude 49 degrees. In 1853 an Act of Congress that created the Washington Territory enclosed Clackamas County within the present-day boundaries of Oregon. In 1854 Clackamas County acquired the boundaries it has today.
Oregon City, the county seat for Clackamas County, was incorporated in 1844, making it the first incorporated city west of the Rocky Mountains. The area was the terminus for water transportation on the Willamette River and had been a meeting place for Indians, hunters, trappers and Hudson's Bay Company voyageurs for years.
The first major overland immigration to Oregon City occurred in 1842. Three years later Samuel Barlow established an immigrant route that ran from The Dalles, around the south side of Mt. Hood and into Oregon City. The Barlow Road funneled thousands of immigrants into Oregon City and Clackamas County during the 1840s. Oregon City became the primary urban center in Clackamas County, dominating social and political life in Oregon. This changed after the territorial capital was moved from Oregon City to Salem in 1852 and Clackamas lost its access to the Columbia River with the formation of Multnomah County in 1854.
The Clackamas County Courthouse in Oregon City was completed in 1937. It currently houses state court-related offices. Most county offices are now in the Public Services Building or the Development Services Building, both located in the Hilltop area of Oregon City.
POPULATION GROWTH OF CITIES
* In both Clackamas and Washington counties
Barlow - With a population of just 182, Barlow is the smallest city in the county.
Canby - Incorporated on Feb. 15, 1893, Canby is a thriving business, agricultural and residential community of 15,830 surrounded by some of the richest farmland in Oregon. The community is located on the Willamette River and Highway 99E, just four miles from I-5. Local nurseries produce a wide variety of plants, bulbs and seeds. Canby has the largest served industrial area in Clackamas County. Its development is actively promoted by the city government. Large employers include Johnson Controls-Battery, Shimadzu, USA, Inc, Pioneer Pump, Willamette Egg Farms, Cutsforth Thriftway, McGill & Son Nursery, JV Northwest, Willamette Falls Hospital, Bowco, Inc., and WW Grigg. Major annual events include the award-winning Clackamas County Fair, General Canby Days and Summer Concerts in the Park.
Damascus - Incorporated in 2004, Damascus is Clackamas County’s newest city with a population of more than 10,500. It was brought into the urban growth boundary of the metropolitan Portland area in 2002.
Estacada - A beautiful rural community on the banks of the Clackamas River, just 30 miles from the metropolitan amenities of Portland, this former timber town of 2,700 is the gateway to the Clackamas River canyon. Major employers include the Estacada School District, Estacada Lumber, Cascade Utilities Inc., PGE, Estacada Rock Products, Mastertech, Inc., and Seufert Engineering. Outdoor recreation options include kayaking, rafting the rapids, fishing for salmon, steel head and trout in the Clackamas River. Boating and water-skiing are popular on the nearby reservoir. There are also many trails for cross-country skiing, hiking, camping and backpacking in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Gladstone - A well-established community of 11,500. Residents are particularly proud of their schools, excellent park system and friendly small town atmosphere. Gladstone is located north of Oregon City at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas rivers. The community offers excellent access to employment, shopping and recreational activities. Major employers include a number of car dealerships, the Gladstone School District, Clackamas Rehabilitation & Specialty Care and McCafferty-Whittle Construction.
Happy Valley - A residential community of more than 15,000 people located on and around Mt. Scott. It is the fastest growing community in the county with a high median household income. Major expansion areas include Eagles Landing, residential and commercial development along Sunnyside Road, and a future employment district in the Rock Creek area. The scenic community is close to I-205 and the booming Clackamas Town Center Area.
Johnson City - With a population of 566, Johnson City is located just west of I-205 with easy access to other parts of the county and the Portland metropolitan area.
Lake Oswego - Home to many of Portland’s business leaders and professionals. The town, with more than 37,200 residents, is spread over rolling wooded hills and surrounds a large lake. The city is located on I-5 and Highway 43; only minutes to downtown Portland and employment centers in Washington County. The prestigious Kruse Way area, with 863,618 square feet of office space, is the largest office space concentration in the county. Major Lake Oswego employers include Lake Oswego School District, OTAK, Inc., Safeco, Gage industries, Bates Private Capital, Microsystems Engineering, and Waggener Edstrom Inc.
Milwaukie - A well established, middle income community with a large industrial base along Highway 224 and Highway 99E. Major employers include Warn Industries, Livebridge, Blount Inc., Cutting Systems Division, United Western Grocers, OECO Corporation and Providence Milwaukie Hospital. The 20,400 residents are located only five miles from downtown Portland along Highway 99E. It is also close to I-205, the Clackamas Town Center and convenient to the Portland airport. Light rail service is planned through the city’s downtown and along Highway 224.
Molalla - A small community of 8,200 in the foothills of the Cascade Range and a gateway to the Mt. Hood National Forest. It is located 15 miles south of Oregon City and 13 miles from I-5 with good access to both Portland and Salem. Major employers include Interfor Pacifica, Inc, RSG Forest Products, Brentwood Corp., Scotts Hyponex, Cencast, Inc., NW Polymers, LLC., Safeway Stores Inc., Les Schwab Tire Center and Molalla Steak House & Lounge. The surrounding area is rich in recreation opportunities such as fishing in the Molalla River, hunting and hiking. Molalla is surrounded by farms and rural residential development. The community offers full urban services, good schools, an excellent airport, a scenic golf course, and moderate housing and land costs. Molalla is the proud host of the over 70-year old Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo, the Apple Festival and a miniature steam train at Shady Dell Park.
Oregon City - The oldest city west of the Mississippi River and the county seat, located at the “End of the Oregon Trail,” with museums, historic homes and buildings. The nearly 32,700 residents live at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas rivers, near I-205 and Highways 99E and 213. Major employers include Clackamas County Government, Clackamas Community College, Willamette Falls Hospital, Miles Fiberglass & Composition and Home Depot, Inc.
Sandy - A small community of 9,900 on U.S. Highway 26 with stunning views of Mt. Hood and the Sandy River. The surrounding area is home to some of the largest nursery growers in the state and the city’s industrial base is expanding. Major employers include Oregon Trail School District, Safeway Stores Inc., US Metal Works Inc., Quality Tank Construction, Web Steel, Buildings, G & L Screw Machine Products, Inc., Konnel Construction, Firwood Medical Center, Eclectic Institute Lab, Suburban Ford and Fred Meyer. The town is located only 10 miles from Gresham and a few minutes more to the large urban population of east Multnomah County. Sandy is also within 30 minutes of year-round downhill skiing at Timberline Ski Resort and other recreational activities in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Tualatin -- With 26,700 residents, Tualatin is just 12 miles south of Portland and 30 miles north of Salem. The city, which is half residential and half commercial/industrial, is at the intersection if I-5 and I-205. Highlights of the city include numerous parks, a premier regional shopping center and excellent schools.
West Linn - A residential community of more than 25,600 people overlooking the Willamette and Tualatin rivers with scenic views of Mt. Hood. It has good access via Highway 43 and I-205 to Oregon City, Tualatin and Lake Oswego. Major employers include West Linn Paper Co., SmithKline Beecham, Zupan's Markets, Oregon Golf Club and Parr Lumber Co. West Linn has become a popular upper-middle income city that attracts small businesses and professionals. There are limited commercial and industrial opportunities. The Camassia Natural Area in West Linn is an ecological preserve that contains many unique and endangered plants.
Wilsonville - A relatively new city of 20,500, and a major regional employment center, home to corporate headquarters and distribution firms. Its prime location, just south of Portland on I-5 near the I-205 junction, is a major attraction. The largest employers include Xerox, Precision Interconnect Corp., Mentor Graphics, Sysco Food Services of Portland Inc. and InFocus Corporation. Wilsonville is the only city in the county that has more jobs than residents. Other amenities include fully served industrial land, many industrial parks, some rail service and suburban office buildings.
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