Springfield is a city in Lane County, Oregon, United States. Located in the Southern Willamette Valley, it is within the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. Take a look below for 20 amazing and fun facts about Springfield, Oregon, United States.
1. Separated from Eugene to the west, mainly by Interstate 5, Springfield is the second-most populous city in the metropolitan area after Eugene.
2. As of the 2010 census, the city has a total population of 59,403.
3. The Briggs family first settled the Springfield area, arriving in 1848.
4. The community was incorporated as a city in 1885.
5. The city was named after a natural spring located in a field or prairie within the current city boundaries.
6. For the majority of the 20th century the economy of Springfield was largely dependent on the Oregon timber industry, but since the 1990s the economy has diversified with PeaceHealth now the largest employer in the city.
7. Public education in the city is provided by the Springfield School District.
8. The first inhabitants to the area were the Kalapuya people. Also sometimes written as Calapooia or Calapooya, the people maintained the valley and their main food sources by controlled burning.
9. Springfield was settled when Elias and Mary Briggs and their family arrived in 1848. They were among the first party to travel to the region via the “Southern Route” by Klamath Lake, over the Cascades, into the Rogue Valley, then north to the Willamette Valley.
10. Elias Briggs along with William Stevens ran a ferry on the nearby Willamette River.
11. According to donation land claim records, Stevens was the first settler to stake a claim in the Springfield locale, arriving in October 1847.
12. He commenced building a house with his three oldest sons, and when the house was completed in December, the rest of his family joined him on Christmas Day that year.
13. Another early arrival in the Springfield vicinity was Captain Felix Scott, Sr. who settled between the McKenzie and Willamette rivers in 1847.
14. In 1854 Springfield School District No. 19 was formed. A small schoolhouse was built near the corner of south 7th and B streets; it served the community until the 1880s.
15. Miss Agnes Stewart, a young woman from Pennsylvania, was the first teacher. She had arrived in Springfield via the Lost Wagon Train of 1853.
16. In May 1992 the municipality became the first in the United States to include anti-gay legislation in its city charter after a campaign by the Oregon Citizens Alliance. However, the state legislature later passed a law that prevented anti-gay ordinances from being enforced.
17. For years, the economy of Springfield hinged on the timber industry, with the largest employer being Weyerhaeuser Company. Weyerhaeuser opened its Springfield complex in 1949, and after years of aggressive logging was forced to downsize as old growth lumber became less available.
18. In the 1990s, the Weyerhaeuser sawmill and veneer (plywood) plants closed, and the paper plant was downsized. Springfield has now developed a more diversified economy.
19. Ken Kesey’s brother Chuck, and Chuck’s wife Sue, started the Springfield Creamery in 1960. The business survives today based partly on sales of their flagship product, Nancy’s Yogurt, developed from recipes of Nancy Hamren.
20. In the 1970s, the creamery avoided bankruptcy with the help of the rock band Grateful Dead, who over time held a series of 10 benefit concerts on behalf of the creamery. The documentary film Sunshine Daydream was shot at the first performance August 27, 1972.