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The 20 Wealthiest and Poorest Cities in Oregon

Friday, January 23, 2015

 

The wealthiest cities in Oregon are concentrated in the suburbs surrounding Portland, while the state’s lowest-income communities are spread throughout rural southern and eastern counties, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Based on data from the Census Bureau's 2009-2013 American Community Survey, GoLocalPDX ranked incorporated cities throughout the state with the highest and lowest median household incomes.

Slides Below: 20 Wealthiest and Poorest Cities 

The three wealthiest communities in Oregon were all in unincorporated areas of Washington County. They were Bethany, with an median income of $109,948, Cedar Mill, with a median income of $99,708 and Bull Mountain, with a median income of $92,860.   

“The reason these places have high incomes is they are largely bedroom communities for the Portland area,” said Charles Rynerson of Portland State University’s Population Research Center.  

The rankings below only include incorporated urbanized areas as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. GoLocalPDX’s analysis focused only on cities with a population of 5,000 or more. 

High and Low income distribution 

Save for Troutdale in Multnomah County, the 10 cities with the highest household incomes were all in Clackamas or Washington Counties.  Household income measures the combined earnings of family members living under one roof. Demographers use the median, rather than the average, as an economic index for communities. 

Median household incomes reflect a correlation between struggling rural economies in the south and east of the state, and growing industry in the Portland area, according to Rynerson.

Although the Portland Metro Area is the state’s economic powerhouse, inside the city itself, Portland’s median household income only ranked twentieth in Oregon. The city, however, has seen a recent spike in growth, as job creation in Portland proper outpaced its high tech Washington County suburbs for the first time this decade.

That said, recent reports have stated that economic growth in the Portland region is widening the gap between the richest and poorest Oregonians as rural communities hit hardest by the recession have failed to recover. 

Eight of the poorest places in the state are either in southern or eastern Oregon. Ontario, with a median household income of $24,455, Prineville home Les Schwab, with a median income of $29,959 and  Monmouth, home to Western Oregon University, with a median income of $31,090. 

“Towns outside major metropolitan areas haven’t shared in the economic rebound,” Rynerson said. 

Focus on development

Ryan Frank, a spokesman for Business Oregon, an organization that funds middle and small sized business endeavors throughout the state, said southern and eastern Oregon have been a focus for economic development. 

In Ontario, the Oregon city with the lowest median household income, projects including an onion ring plant for Ohio-based Fry Foods, and the possible revival of a now-defunct mine are in the works, Frank said. The purchase of the formerly vacant Select Onion building could mean as many as 350 jobs for the region. 

The organization is also looking at startup innovations, such as drones for agriculture and logging, and cross-laminated timber for wooden skyscrapers, to fuel economic growth in the regions. 

 

Related Slideshow: 20 Wealthiest and Poorest Communities in Oregon

GoLocalPDX looked at the most recent data from the census bureau's American Community Survey to compare the median household income of cities in Oregon. We used that data to rank the richest and poorest cities.

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20 Richest Communities

Portland

Median Income: $52,657

Population: 594,687

Job growth in Portland is up 2.9 percent, making it the 5th top U.S. for job growth, according to a study by Forbes

* Data is compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey 2009-2013

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19.

Bend​

Median Household Income: $53,027

Population: 78,128

Despite a housing bubble that devastated the local economy, Bend has been recovering. In 2013, Bend’s economy grew faster than Portland’s, according to economic report by the State of Oregon. 

Photo Credit: Gary Halvorson via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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18.

Gladstone​

Median Household Income: $54,353

Population: 11,602

Gladstone sits 8 miles south of downtown Portland, between I-205 and 99E. The city’s economic development goals include the redevelopment of its downtown, which will include new housing, expanded shopping and restaurants.

Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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17.

Beaverton

Median Household Income: $56,107

Population: 91,383

Beaverton is the 6th largest city in the state. It was ranked one of the “100 most desirable places to live in the US” by Money Magazine. Job and economic growth in Beaverton and other Washington County suburbs has traditionally outpaced growth in Portland.

Photo Credit: Ajbenj via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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16.

Eagle Point​

Median Household Income: $56,309

Population: 8,520

The small Jackson County town is located just northeast of Medford. One of the town’s largest features is the Robert Trent Jones Jr., designed Eagle Point Golf Course. “The course is an 18-hole, par 72 with four sets of tees and a championship length of 7,099 yards." Golf Digest ranks Eagle Point as the sixth best publicly accessible course in the State of Oregon,” according to the city’s website.

Photo Credit: By Little Mountain 5 via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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15.

Wilsonville​

Median Household Income: $56,430

Population: 19,636

Wilsonville, at the southern edge of the Portland Metro urban growth boundary, has consistently been one of Oregon’s ten fastest growing communities. The town’s population had grown by 97 and 39 percent according to the 2000 and 2010 census, respectively. The largest demographic group in the town are people aged 20 to 39. 

Photo Credit: By M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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14.

Sandy​

Median Household Income: $57,012

Population: 9,737

Sandy, the gateway to Mt. Hood, sits along the river for which it is named. From its past as a timber town, Sandy grew as a destination for outdoor adventurers, recently adding a new high school.

Photo Credit: Decumanus via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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13.

Scappoose​

Median Household Income: $57,239

Population: 6,716

Scappoose, roughly halfway between Portland and St. Helen’s, is still home to a gravel mine, shoe factory and Oregon Aero, although many residents now commute to Portland for work. The town boasts the Peace Candle of the World. 

Photo Credit: Cacophony via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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12.

Canby​

Median Household Income: $57,931

Population: 16,561

Just north of Salem, Canby sits in the scenic North Willamette Valley. Historically known for its farming, Canby’s crops include berries, asparagus, flowers, dairy products and livestock. The city even offers a 20-farm tour.

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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11.

Newberg​

Median Household Income: $59,528

Population: 22,291

Newberg’s biggest employers are spread between Christian University George Fox, dental equipment manufacturer A-dec. The city is within commuting distance of Portland.

Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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10.

Oregon City 

Median Household Income: $60,223

Population: 33,115

As the last stop on the Oregon Trail, Oregon City was once the hub of the Oregon Territory, chosen for its position at the confluence of the Willamette and Clackamas Rivers, near Willamette Falls Lock. The timber industry played a major role in the town, with several mills operating nearby in recent decades. With the fall of the lumber, Oregon City has become home primarily to light manufacturing and tech, with roughly a 30 minute commute to Portland. 

Photo Credit: By Decumanus via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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9.

Tualatin​

Median Household Income: $61,250

Population: 26,383

The economic powerhouse of the commuter suburb south of Portland is arguably the upscale Bridgeport Village Mall, which opened in 2005. The mall's 18-screen movie theatre, restaurants and shops drive thousands to the area, conveniently located on I-5. 

Photo Credit: Aboutmovies via Wikimedia Commons(image cropped) 

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8.

Tigard​

Median Household Income: $61,758

Population: 49,024

Another commuter suburb, but larger than neighboring Tualatin, Tigard lays claim to the Washington Square Mall and a portion of the Bridgeport Village Mall. The city sits roughly a 15-minute drive from Portland (depending on traffic). A handful of companies, such as Gerber and Stash Teas, have their headquarters here. 

Photo Credit: M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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7.

Troutdale

Median Household Income: $62,326

Population: 16,188

Mount Hood was given its name by a member of Captain George Vancouver's expedition in what is now Troutdale, in 1792. The town is roughly 20 minutes from Portland, towards the Columbia River Gorge. Troutdale had one of the state's first female Mayors. 

Photo Credit: West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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6.

Hillsboro

Median Household Income: $65,158

Population: 93,880

Hillsboro, just west of Portland, is home to tech giant Intel, and serves as a commuter suburb for Nike employees in neighboring Beaverton. 

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

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5.

Sherwood 

Median Household Income: $78,355

Population: 18,441

South of Portland, Sherwood was home to a brickyard for nearly one hundred years until it closed in the 1970s. The economy shifted to include a fruit and vegetable cannery, and leather tanning. 

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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4.

Lake Oswego 

Median Household Income: $83,625

Population: 37,037

The town has long had the reputation as one of the Metro areas’ wealthiest communities. The city has the state’s top high school, according to GoLocalPDX’s 2013 rankings.

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3.

West Linn

Median Household Income: $84,519

Population: 25,462

The semi-rural bedroom community of Portland directly across from Oregon City has been home to a number of Trailblazers.  Steve Blake, Nate McMillian, Brandon Roy and Monty Williams have all lived there.

Photo Credit: Ulmanor via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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2.

Damascus​

Median Household Income: $89,077

Population: 10,626

This rural area on the eastern edge of the metro area has had a contentious past. The city was formed out of an incorporated area, in part, to fight off Metro’s plans to develop the area. Since that time, the area has struggled to build consensus around a landuse plan required by state law of all municipalities. In Nov. a movement to disincorporate the city failed just a few votes.

Photo Credit: Tedder via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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1. Happy Valley

Happy Valley 

Median Household Income: $92,773

Population: 14,931

The city off I-205 just east of the Willamette National Cemetery is the state’s wealthiest town, according to the U.S. Census. Happy Valley's median household income has only grown by 3.78 percent since 2000. The income growth rate is lower than Oregon’s average rate of 22.29 percent, according to USA.com

Photo Credit: Esprqii via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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20 Poorest Communities

Madras

Median Household Income: $38,934

Population: 6,263

Madras, in central Oregon's Jefferson County, sits just to the east side of Mt. Hood. The economy hinges on agriculture, and several airports, including a heliport. The actor River Phoenix was born in Madras. 

Photo Credit: Tedder via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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19.

Stayton

Median Household Income: $38,536

Population: 7,690

Just 14 miles southeast of the state capitol, Stayton provides an easy commute to Salem. The region's industries include agriculture and manufacturing. To the Northeast, Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon, is a major tourist draw. 

Photo Credit: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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18.

Junction City

Median Household Income: $37,377

Population: 5,505

The Lane County city drew media buzz in 2003 when a group of men posed nude for a calendar to raise money for the local school in the face of budget cuts.The town's initial intention of being the junction between the state's east and west railway lines was never realized. Junction City is home to a range of dairy and Christmas tree farms. 

Photo Credit: Bruce Fingerhood via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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17.

Baker City

Median Household Income: $37,243

Population: 9,774

Baker City is the county seat of Baker County, in far eastern Oregon. Its unemployment rate is 20 percent. The City's motto is "On the Historic Oregon Trail."

Photo Credit: Finetooth via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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16.

Sutherlin

Median Household Income: $36,532

Population: 7,766

Between Roseburg and Eugene, Sutherlin's unemployment rate is more than three percent higher than the national average, at 9.9. Sutherlin is near the Copper Creek Reservoir, and the Umpqua Golf Resort. 

Photo Credit: Publichall via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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15.

Warrenton

Median Household Income: $36,266

Population: 5,057

Ten minutes from nearby Astoria, Warrenton has two charter fishing boat ports. The city was originally built on tidal flats. 

Photo Credit: City of Warrenton Website (image cropped) 

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14.

La Grande

Median Household Income: $35,860

Population: 13,114

La Grande is the county seat of Union County, south of Pendleton in eastern Oregon. Goldmines brought settlers to the region in the 1800s, but it is now the home of Eastern Oregon University.

Photo Credit: Ian Poellet (User:Werewombat) via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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13.

Coos Bay

Median Household Income: $34,870

Population: 15,982

Coos Bay is the largest city on the Oregon Coast. Its economy relies on tourism, lumber, agriculture and small businesses. However, a  plan to build a multi-billion dollar liquefied natural gas terminal at nearby Jordan Cove is in early stages of development. 

Photo Credit: Debbie Tegtmeier via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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12.

Talent

Median Household Income: $34,797

Population: 6,123

Sitting in the southern region of Jackson County, Talent is roughly five miles from the college town of Ashland, which is known for its Shakespeare festival. Homeowners pay their taxes to Jackson County, not to the city of Talent.  

Photo Credit: Talent Oregon Parks and Recreation (image cropped) 

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11.

Sweet Home 

Median Household Income: $34,443

Population: 9,000

Scenic Sweet Home is known as the "gateway to the Santiam playground," a pass in the Cascade Mountains. Howevever, 25 percent of people in Sweet Home were below the poverty line at the time of the last census. 

Photo Credit: Sword Fern via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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10.

Cottage Grove

Median Household Income: $34,325

Population: 9,734

Cottage Grove is the third largest city in Lane County and sits just south of Eugene. The city is nationally known as the "Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon."

Photo Credit: Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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9.

Lincoln City 

Median Household Income: $33,808

Population: 7,968

In Northwest Oregon, Lincoln city is one of the state's hot spots for coastal tourism. The city is known for its outlet mall and Chinook Winds Casino. 

Photo Credit: Justin Lonas via Wikimedia Commons(image cropped)

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8.

Grants Pass 

Median Household Income: $33,165

Population: 34,672

The city is the county seat of Josephine County in Southern Oregon. Grants Pass was known for its strong timber trade, but now tourism is one of its biggest economic draws. Its location on the Rogue River helps bring vistors from around the state. 

Photo Credit: Nicolas from Paris, France via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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7.

Milton-Freewater 

Median Household Income: $33,086

Population: 7,066

In the far corner of northeastern Oregon, Milton Freewater is part of the Walla Walla Valley, and is well known for its agriculture

Photo Credit: Bobjgalindo via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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6.

Winston

Median Household Income: $32,232

Population: 5,359

Winston is located in the southern part of Douglas County. Its biggest tourist attraction is the wildlife park WildLife Safari, which attracts around 150,000 people every year. 

Photo Credit: Visitor7 via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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5.

Klamath Falls

Median Household Income: $31,990

Population: 2,1026

The southern Oregon city will host the 2015 Babe Ruth World Series at the historical Kiger Stadium. 

Photo Credit: Bobjgalindo via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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4.

Florence

Median Household Income: $31,812

Population: 8,463

The costal city Florence hosts the Rhododendron Festival, the second-oldest flower festival in Oregon and third-oldest on the West Coast, which brings tourists from all over the state.  

Photo Credit: Sam Beebe via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped) 

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3.

Monmouth

Median Household Income: $31,582

Population: 9,687

Set off Highway 99 just south of Salem, Monmouth is home to Western Oregon University. The university serves many first-generation students and has received national recognition for its achievements in helping students.  

Photo Credit: ABy Finetooth via Wikimedia Commons via Wikimedia Commons(image cropped) 

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2.

Prineville

Median Household Income: $29,959

Population: 9,241

Prineville is in Central Oregon, next to the Ochoco National Forest. The Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce is the oldest in Central Oregon, formed in 1919. Almost half of all business in Crook County are members of the Chamber. 

Photo Credit: Cacophony via Wikimedia Commons (image cropped)

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1.

Ontario

Median Household Income: $25,455

Population: 11,227

Pulitzer Prize winning American children’s author and poet Phyllis McGinley, was born in Ontario, Oregon.

Photo Credit: Matthew Trump via Wikimedia Commons

 
 

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