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Polk County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregonmarker. The county is named for James Knox Polk, the 11th president of the United States. In 2000, its population was 62,380. The seat of the county is Dallasmarker.

Polk County is part of the Salemmarker Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The major industries of the county are agriculture, forest products, manufacturing, and education. Polk County has the second-largest area devoted to viticulture in Oregon, at 1322 acres (5.3 km²). Western Oregon Universitymarker in Monmouthmarker is a major employer.


Though Polk County is located in western Oregon, politically it falls in line with the eastern side of the state. The majority of registered voters who are part of a political party in Polk County, as well as most counties in eastern Oregon, are members of the Republican Party. In the 2008 presidential election, 48.92% of Polk County voters voted for Republican John McCain, while 48.43% voted for Democrat Barack Obama and 2.64% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate. These numbers show a small shift towards the Democratic candidate when compared to the 2004 presidential election, in which 55% of Polk Country voters voted for George W. Bush, while 43.6% voted for John Kerry, and 1.4% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 744 square miles (1,927 km²), of which, 741 square miles (1,919 km²) of it is land and 3 square miles (8 km²) of it (0.42%) is water.

About two thirds of Polk County, in the western part of the county is forest, mostly of the coniferous and mixed varieties, bordering on temperate rain forest around Laurel Mountain, the wettest place in Oregon.

The eastern half of the county lies in the Willamette Valley.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


As of the census of 2000, there were 62,380 people, 23,058 households, and 16,140 families residing in the county. The population density was 84 people per square mile (32/km²). There were 24,461 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.19% White, 0.42% Black or African American, 1.85% Native American, 1.09% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 4.48% from other races, and 2.72% from two or more races. 8.78% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 20.4% were of German, 12.3% English, 7.6% Americanmarker and 7.4% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 23,058 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.10% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 22.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% 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 25.40% under the age of 18, 11.70% from 18 to 24, 24.70% from 25 to 44, 23.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,311, and the median income for a family was $50,483. Males had a median income of $36,667 versus $26,272 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,282. About 6.30% of families and 11.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.50% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.


The county courthouse in Dallas
The Oregon Provisional Legislature created Polk County from Yamhill Districtmarker on December 22, 1845, granting to it the entire southwestern portion of present day Oregon to the Californiamarker border. County boundaries were periodically changed to reflect the creation of Bentonmarker and Lincolnmarker counties. Many other counties were subsequently carved out of these as settlement spread towards the south, leaving Polk County many counties away from its former border with California.

The first county seat was a settlement on the north side of Rickreall Creekmarker named Cynthian (also known as Cynthia Ann). In 1852 city officials renamed Cynthian to Dallasmarker after Vice President George M. Dallas, vice president to James Polk. During the 1880s and 1890s, there were a series of unsuccessful efforts to move the county seat to nearby Independencemarker.


Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities and CDPs


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