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Lane County is a county in the U.S. state of Oregonmarker. In 2008, its population was 345,329. It is named in honor of Joseph Lane, Oregon's first territorial governor. The seat of the county is Eugenemarker.


Although 90 % of Lane County is forested, the county also contains the second-largest urban area in Oregon, comprising Eugenemarker and Springfieldmarker.

The US Forest Service is landlord of 48% of the lands within the county boundaries, a fact which has contributed to the county's inability to fund basic government services. The federal land, which can not be taxed, previously generated hundreds of millions of dollars in logging-derived support for government, but that support was sharply reduced when various environmental regulations curtailed logging by approximately 78%. Although Congress subsequently passed a series of revenue replacing bills culminating in the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self Determination Act (SRSCSDA) of 2000, the federal subsidies have not been adequate to fully replace logging as a means of supporting basic government services. Today, according to the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission Report of 2009, Lane County crime rates are bad and continuing to worsen, but county law enforcement programs and services, from investigation to jail capacity, have been reduced to as little as 15% of state and national average capacity for a jurisdiction of similar size.

Historically, Lane County's economy has been based on timber and agriculture. Agriculture is important because of the fertile soil and moderate climate that exists in the Willamette Valley, making this valley one of the most productive farming areas in the nation. However, with the reductions in timber harvesting, and the continued pressure of population growth on many agricultural areas, these have become less important in the economic development of the county.

Growth in the next decades is predicted to shift away from these two pursuits to services, manufacturing of transportation equipment, printing and publishing, and high technology. A major manufacturer of recreation vehicles, Monaco Coach Corporation, is headquartered in Coburgmarker, and operates one of four manufacturing plants there. Another major economic asset is the University of Oregonmarker in Eugene. Lastly, with access to the mountains and the coast, tourism makes a noticeable contribution to the county's economy.


Lane County is one of two Oregon counties that extend from the Pacific Oceanmarker to the Cascades. (The other is Douglas Countymarker.) According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,722 square miles (12,229 km²), of which, 4,554 square miles (11,795 km²) of it is land and 168 square miles (435 km²) of it (3.55%) is water. A portion of the Umpqua National Forestmarker is in Lane County.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democratic
2008 34.9% 63,835 62.3% 114,037
2004 40.4% 75,007 58.0% 107,769
2000 40.4% 61,578 51.6% 78,583
1996 34.5% 48,253 49.7% 69,461
1992 27.5% 41,789 48.8% 74,083
1988 39.7% 47,563 58.4% 69,883
1984 48.9% 61,493 50.9% 63,999
1980 43.6% 54,750 41.6% 52,240
Lane County is governed by a County commission. Commissioners are elected officials and serve four-year terms. The current commissioners are:
  • Bill Dwyer, Springfield
  • Bill Fleenor, West Lane
  • Faye Stewart, East Lane
  • Pete Sorenson, South Eugene
  • Rob Handy, North Eugene


As of the census of 2000, there were 322,959 people, 130,453 households, and 82,185 families residing in the county. The population density was 71 people per square mile (27/km²). There were 138,946 housing units at an average density of 30 per square mile (12/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.64% White, 0.78% Black or African American, 1.13% Native American, 2.00% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 1.95% from other races, and 3.32% from two or more races. 4.61% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.3% were of German, 12.2% English, 9.6% Irish and 8.1% Americanmarker ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 130,453 households out of which 28.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.90% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.00% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.90% under the age of 18, 12.00% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,942, and the median income for a family was $45,111. Males had a median income of $34,358 versus $25,103 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,681. About 9.00% of families and 14.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.10% of those under age 18 and 7.50% of those age 65 or over.


Lane County was established on January 29, 1851. It was created from the southern part of Linn County and the portion of Benton Countymarker east of Umpqua County. It was named after the territorymarker's first governor, Joseph Lane. Originally it covered all of southern Oregon east to the Rocky Mountains and south to the Californiamarker border. When the Territorial Legislature created Lane County, it did not designate a county seat. In the 1853 election four sites competed for the designation, of which the "Mulligan donation" received a majority vote; however, since it was contiguous to the "Skinner claim" both became part of the new county seat known as Eugenemarker.

In 1852 John Diamond, a pioneer from Eugenemarker, led an exploration party to survey a shortcut for the Oregon Trail across the Cascade Range. Misled by word that the shortcut was complete, some 1500 people with 650 wagons left the usual Oregon Trail route in Idahomarker and followed Elijah Elliott through the central Oregon desert. The group couldn't decide which of the Cascade peaks was Diamond's landmark and followed sporadic blazes to Emigrant Pass at Summit Lake. In mid-October they abandoned their wagons and a rescue party eventually found them on the Middle Fork Willamette River and led them down to the Willamette Valley where they doubled the population of Lane County.

It has been vastly reduced from its original size by several boundary changes. One of the first changes gave it access to the Pacific Ocean when it acquired the northern part of Umpqua County in 1853. With the creation of Wasco Countymarker in 1854, it lost all of its territory east of the Cascade Mountains. Minor boundary changes occurred with Douglas Countymarker in 1852, 1885, 1903, 1915, and 1917; with Linn County in 1907; and with Benton County in 1923.


Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities

Former communities

See also


  1. The Heartland Institute,
  2. Executive Summary Lane County Public Safety Report,
  3. 2009 Oregon Criminal Justice Commission,

External links

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