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Forest Grove is a city in Washington Countymarker, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker, west of Portlandmarker. Originally a small farm town, it is now primarily a bedroom suburb of Portland. Settled in the 1840s, the town was platted in 1850 and then incorporated in 1872 and was the first city in Washington County. The population was 17,708 at the 2000 census. As of 2007, the estimated population is 20,775.

Located in the Tualatin Valleymarker, Oregon routes 6, 8, and 47 pass through Forest Grove with 47 and 8 signed as the Tualatin Valley Highway. Pacific Universitymarker has been the most distinctive aspect of the town throughout its history. Old College Hall on campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places along with nine other structures in the city. Local employers include the university as well as Tuality Forest Grove Hospitalmarker and Merix Corporation.


Prior to the 1840s when Euro-Americans settled the area, the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya Native American tribe lived on the Tualatin Plains in what is now Forest Grove. In 1841, Alvin T. and Abigail Smith were among the earliest to use the Oregon Trail and settled on what was first known as West Tualatin Plain. They overwintered with Henry Harmon Spalding, arriving in what is now Forest Grove in the fall. Intending to be missionaries, they found little potential as most of the natives had succumbed to European diseases. Smith served as the community's first postmaster beginning on February 1, 1850, and his log cabin served as the post office.
Pacific Avenue circa 1920
According to Oregon Geographic Names, the name Forest Grove was selected on January 10, 1851, at a meeting of the trustees of Tualatin Academymarker (later known as Pacific University). Resident and school trustee J. Quinn Thornton suggested the name, which he also had used for the name of his homestead. The name referred to a grove of oak trees that still stand on what is now the campus of the university. Previous post offices in the area were called Tuality Plains and Tualatin, with Forest Grove adopted on December 31, 1858. The city was platted in 1850.

In 1860, the population reached 430, but declined to 396 in 1870. Forest Grove was incorporated by the state in 1872, the first in the county. In 1880, the now Chemawa Indian Schoolmarker opened in the city to train Native Americans, but moved to Salem in 1884. The population reached nearly 1,300 in 1900, and in 1908 the Oregon Electric Railway began serving the city.

There are ten buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and an entire 18 block district (Clark District) with homes dating as far back as 1854, and several dozen pre-1900. These include the Alvin T.marker Smith Housemarker, First Church of Christ, Scientistmarker, and Old College Hall.

Filming for the television show, Nowhere Man, took place in Forest Grove numerous times.


Forest Grove is located at (45.521372, -123.108759). It is on the western edge of the Portland metropolitan area and the Willamette Valley.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.3 km²), of which, 4.6 square miles (11.9 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (2.75%) is water.

The largest giant sequoia of the state of Oregon can be found in Forest Grove.


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,708 people, 6,336 households, and 4,131 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,850.5 people per square mile (1,486.3/km²). There were 6,702 housing units at an average density of 1,457.3/sq mi (562.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 81.46% White, 0.43% African American, 0.89% Native American, 2.11% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 11.39% from other races, and 3.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.31% of the population.

There are 6,336 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.3% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 13.4% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 16.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 90.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,135, and the median income for a family was $47,733. Males had a median income of $36,139 versus $25,703 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,992. About 10.4% of families and 14.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 11.4% of those age 65 or over.


Entrance to Pacific University
The principal landmark of Forest Grove is Pacific Universitymarker, a private school of higher education.

Forest Grove, as well as Corneliusmarker, Gales Creekmarker, and Dilleymarker, are all part of the Forest Grove School District.

Public transportation

Forest Grove is within the TriMet district, and public transit service is provided by TriMet's bus line 57-TV Highway, which operates seven days a week. Line 57 connects the city with Hillsboromarker and Beavertonmarker, via the Tualatin Valley Highway, and links Forest Grove with the Portland regionmarker's light rail system in Hillsboro.

Sister cities

Forest Grove has one sister city, located in Japan:

Notable residents

See also


  • Smith, Alvin T. Original diaries at Pacific University Archives
  • Drury, Clifford Merrill. 'Henry Harmon Spalding: Pioneer of Old Oregon." Caxton Printers, Caldwell, ID, 1936.

External links

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