Clackamas County, Oregon

Clackamas County, Oregon
Clackamas County, Oregon
Seal of Clackamas County, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Clackamas County
Location in the state of Oregon
Map of the U.S. highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded July 5, 1843
Seat Oregon City
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,879 sq mi (4,867 km²)
1,868 sq mi (4,838 km²)
11 sq mi (28 km²), 0.58%
 - (2010)
 - Density

201/sq mi (77.7/km²)

Clackamas County (play /ˈklækəmɨs/) is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The county was named after the Native Americans living in the area, the Clackamas Indians, who were part of the Chinookan people. As of 2010, the population was 375,992. Its county seat is Oregon City.[1]



Since the county's creation, agriculture, timber, manufacturing, and commerce have been the principal economic activities. Mount Hood, the only year-round ski resort in the United States and the site of Timberline Lodge, is a major attraction for recreation and tourism. The mountain and its rivers and forests offer outdoor recreation activities, from skiing and rafting to fishing and camping.


Forest west of Clackamas River Valley.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,879 square miles (4,866.6 km2). 1,868 square miles (4,838.1 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28.5 km2), (0.58%) is water.

The county includes parts of two national forests: Mount Hood National Forest and Willamette National Forest.

Major highways

Adjacent counties


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1850 1,859
1860 3,466 86.4%
1870 5,993 72.9%
1880 9,260 54.5%
1890 15,233 64.5%
1900 19,658 29.0%
1910 29,931 52.3%
1920 37,698 25.9%
1930 46,205 22.6%
1940 57,130 23.6%
1950 86,716 51.8%
1960 113,038 30.4%
1970 166,088 46.9%
1980 241,919 45.7%
1990 278,850 15.3%
2000 338,391 21.4%
2010 375,992 11.1%
sources:[2] [3]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 338,391 people, 128,201 households, and 91,663 families residing in the county. The population density was 181 people per square mile (70/km²). There were 136,954 housing units at an average density of 73 per square mile (28/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.27% White, 2.45% Asian, 0.71% Native American, 0.66% Black or African American, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 2.28% from other races, and 2.46% from two or more races. 4.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 20.7% were of German, 11.6% English, 9.1% Irish and 7.5% American ancestry.

There were 128,201 households out of which 34.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.50% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.20% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 26.00% from 45 to 64, and 11.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 97.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $52,080, and the median income for a family was $60,791. Males had a median income of $43,462 versus $30,891 for females. The per capita income for the county was $25,973. About 4.60% of families and 6.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.60% of those under age 18 and 5.10% of those age 65 or over.


Abandoned barn in eastern Clackamas County; Bittner family estate

Originally named Clackamas District, it was one of the four original Oregon districts created by Oregon's Provisional Legislature on July 5, 1843 along with Twality (later Washington), Champooick (later Marion), and Yamhill. The four districts were redesignated as counties in 1845. At the time of its creation, Clackamas County covered portions of four present-day states and a Canadian province. The Columbia River became the northern boundary of the county in 1844. Soon after John McLoughlin staked a land claim in Oregon City and built a house that in 2003 became a unit of the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

Oregon City was also the site of the only federal court west of the Rockies in 1849, when San Francisco, California was platted. The plat was filed in 1850 in the first plat book of the first office of records in the West Coast and is still in Oregon City.

In 1902, the Willamette Meteorite was recovered from a field just outside present-day West Linn.

In contrast with the more liberal and cosmopolitan Multnomah County to the north, and the more corporate Washington County to the west, some citizens of Clackamas county have espoused a blue-collar, yet conservative political outlook of the backlash mold described by Thomas Frank. It is the headquarters of Lon Mabon, whose Oregon Citizens Alliance has worked to pass a number of anti-homosexual initiatives, and where Bill Sizemore, who has championed various anti-government initiatives for most of the 1990s, had his base before he moved to Klamath Falls. However, it is a very mixed area overall, narrowly voting for Republican George W. Bush over Democrat John Kerry in 2004, but moderately voting for Democrat Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in 2008.

As of August 2005, Clackamas is the first county in Oregon to have four models of governance for its communities. Like the rest of Oregon, it has cities (which are formally incorporated) and rural communities (some of which for federal purposes are considered census-designated places).

After completion of a process that began late in 1999, the county adopted an ordinance on August 11, 2005 which defined hamlets and villages. As of the November 30, 2005, deadline, three communities have submitted petitions to start the process of becoming a hamlet or a village. Boring petitioned to become a village. The communities along US 26 near Mount Hood from Brightwood to Rhododendron have petitioned to become "The Villages at Mount Hood". Beavercreek has become a hamlet.

Law and government

Presidential elections results[5][6]
Year Republican Democratic
2008 43.6% 83,595 54.0% 103,476
2004 50.1% 97,691 48.8% 95,129
2000 47.8% 77,539 47.1% 76,421
1996 41.0% 59,443 46.6% 67,709
1992 34.8% 53,724 39.0% 60,310
Elected Officials
  • Board of County Commissioners (one chair, four commissioners; nonpartisan)
    • Chair: Lynn Peterson
    • Commissioner: Paul Savas
    • Commissioner: Jim Bernard
    • Commissioner: Charlotte Lehan
    • Commissioner: Ann Lininger
  • Treasurer: Shari Anderson
  • Assessor: Bob Vroman
  • District Attorney: John Foote
  • County Clerk: Sherry Hall
  • Sheriff: Craig Roberts
  • Justice Court Judge: Karen Brisbin

Cities and communities

Mount Hood reflected in Trillium Lake

Several of the county's communities extend into other counties. Lake Oswego and Milwaukie include areas in Multnomah County. Lake Oswego, Tualatin, Rivergrove and Wilsonville include areas in Washington County.

Cities and CDPs in the Portland metropolitan area

Clackamas River flowing through Milo McIver State Park.

Other incorporated cities and CDPs

Other unincorporated communities


In Clackamas County, a hamlet is a model of local governance for unincorporated areas.[7]


County-wide services

The county supports the Library Information Network of Clackamas County. The urban areas of the county are also served by Metro.

See also


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ Oregon population by county, 1900-90 - accessed 2010-06-19
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Staff (2010). "Presidential General Election Results - Clackamas County, OR". Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  6. ^ Staff (2008-12-09). "President Map - Election Results". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  7. ^ "Complete Communities". Clackamas County. Retrieved May 26, 2010. 

External links

Coordinates: 45°11′N 122°13′W / 45.19°N 122.21°W / 45.19; -122.21

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