Woodburn is a city in Marion County, Oregon, United States. Incorporated in 1889, the community had been platted in 1871 after the arrival of the railroad. Take a look below for 20 amazing and interesting facts about Woodburn, Oregon, United States.
1. The city is located in the northern end of the Willamette Valley between Portland and Salem.
2. Interstate 5 connects it to major cities to the north and south.
3. Oregon routes 211, 214, 219, and 99E also serve the city, as do Union Pacific and Willamette Valley Railway freight rail lines.
4. Woodburn is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.
5. With a population of 24,080 at the 2010 census, it is the third-most populous in that metropolitan area after Salem and Keizer.
6. Originally, the area around Woodburn was inhabited by the Kalapuya Native Americans. After the Provisional Government of Oregon set-up land claims in the Oregon Country, the United States annexed much of the Pacific Northwest and established the Oregon Territory in 1848.
7. Congress passed the Donation Land Claim Act in 1850 and many earlier land claims became donation land claims.
8. Eli C. Cooley, Bradford S. Bonney, George Leisure, and Jean B. Ducharme all established donation land claims on the eastern part of the French Prairie where Woodburn would later be founded.
9. Cooley immigrated to Oregon in 1845, and Bonney established his land claim in 1849.
10. Ducharme’s land was sold off in 1862 in a foreclosure, with Mt. Angel farmer George Settlemier purchasing the 214 acres (87 ha) on the cheap.
11. Settlemier had traveled west over the Oregon Trail in 1849 and first settled in California before moving north to Oregon in 1850. He settled in the Mt. Angel area where he was a successful nurseryman.
12. Settlemier then moved to his new property in 1863 and established the Woodburn Nursery Company. Despite improvements to the land, including construction of his home, title in the land remained in doubt due to the purchase via a foreclosure.
13. During the litigation over title in the land, Settlemier borrowed money from capitalist William Reed with the land as collateral. When Reed began to build a railroad through the area, he decided to run the line through what became Woodburn in anticipation of acquiring the land himself, as he expected Settlemier to default on the mortgage.
14. However, Settlemier did not default and eventually his case made it to the Supreme Court of the United States in Settlemier v. Sullivan, 97 U.S. 444 (1878). He gained a favorable ruling and retained the land.
15. Meanwhile, transportation baron Ben Holladay ran his Oregon and California Railroad through what became Woodburn in 1871, at which time Settlemier platted the first four blocks of the town.
16. Originally, the town and station were called Halsey, but the name was changed to Woodburn due to the existence of Halsey, Oregon, further down the valley.
17. The name Woodburn came about after a slash burn that got out of control and burned down a nearby woodlot in the 1880s, after the railroad line had been laid through the area. A railroad official witnessed the fire and renamed the community. The city was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on February 20, 1889.
18. In the 1950s, Mexican immigration to Oregon began to increase. Woodburn became a destination that accumulated immigrant farmworkers, and was a place where Mexican workers were caught in sweeps during a federal initiative called Operation Wetback, which returned about one million illegal immigrants to Mexico. Immigration of Mexicans to Woodburn continued to increase through the 1980s, when Latinos made up about 2.5 percent of Oregon’s population. By the early 21st century, 59% of the population of Woodburn was Latino, with a mix of first-generation immigrants and long-term residents.
19. Woodburn is also home to the largest 55+ retirement community in Oregon with 1510 single family homes, a mobile home park, a private, eighteen hole golf course surrounding a clubhouse with auditorium, swimming pool, fitness center, restaurant, billiards room, crafts room, RV storage, and a variety of social events, clubs and activities.
20. Scenes from the 2007 Hallmark Hall of Fame production The Valley of Light, starring Chris Klein, were filmed in Woodburn.