Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Oregon City, Oregon
Oregon City is the first city in the United States incorporated west of the Rockies. It is the county seat of Clackamas County, Oregon. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 25,754.
Known in recent decades as the site of several large paper mills on the Willamette River, the city played a significant role in the early history of the Oregon Country. It was established by Dr. John McLoughlin in 1829 near the confluence of the Clackamas River with the Willamette to take advantage of the power of Willamette Falls to run a lumber mill. During the 1840s and 1850s it was the destination for those wanting to file land claims after traveling the Oregon Trail. It was the capital of the Oregon Territory from its establishment in 1848 until 1851 and rivaled Portland for early supremacy in the area. The center of the city retains part of its historic character through the preservation of houses and other buidlings from the era of the city's founding.
Many historical buildings have been preserved in Oregon City, including McLoughlin's Georgian home and the Ermatinger House from 1845. The Stevens Crawford Museum is a 1908 structure with 15 furnished rooms, many with their original fittings, as the house was used as a home continuously until 1968.
Other musems include the Clackamas County Museum of History and the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center , with costumed "living history" guides, and the Museum of the Oregon Territory. The city archives also include the incorporation plat for the city of San Francisco.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 21.6 km² (8.4 mi²). 21.1 km² (8.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.5 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.52% water. The Willamette River flows along the northwest side of Oregon City, and the Clackamas River merges with the larger river to the north of the city, providing recreational facilities.
The Willamette Locks in Oregon City were the first multi-lift navigational locks in the United States and are now a National Historical Site, although still in use. The first long-distance electrical service in the United States was also located in Oregon City.
The town is divided into upper and lower areas; the lower area is on a bench next to the Willamette River, and the upper area atop a bluff composed of Columbia Plateau basalt. For many years, Indian trails connected the two, but stairs were built in the 19th century. In 1915 the town built a water-powered elevator to connect the two parts, which was converted to electricity in the 1920s. In 1952, a new electric elevator was constructed with the specification that it was to be "as plain as possible and without ornament".
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 25,754 people, 9,471 households, and 6,667 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,221.6/km² (3,163.9/mi²). There are 10,110 housing units at an average density of 479.5/km² (1,242.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 92.44% White, 1.12% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 1.08% Native American, 0.58% African American, 2.15% from other races, and 2.53% from two or more races. 4.98% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 9,471 households out of which 36.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% are married couples living together, 12.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% are non-families. 22.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.62 and the average family size is 3.06.
In the city the population is spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 9.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 94.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $45,531, and the median income for a family is $51,597. Males have a median income of $38,699 versus $29,547 for females. The per capita income for the city is $19,870. 8.9% of the population and 6.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.0% of those under the age of 18 and 7.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
- Oregon City official website, includes information on history, museums, and culture.
- Oregon City Chamber of Commerce
- Community Profile from the state of Oregon's website
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