Lane County, Oregon

Lane County, Oregon

Infobox U.S. County
county = Lane County
state = Oregon

map size = 225
founded = January 29, 1851
seat = Eugene | area_total_sq_mi =4722
area_land_sq_mi =4554
area_water_sq_mi =168
area percentage = 3.55%
census yr = 2000
pop = 322959
density_km2 =27
web =

Lane County is a county in the U.S. state of Oregon. In 2000, its population was 322,959. It is named in honor of Joseph Lane, Oregon's first territorial governor. The seat of the county is Eugene.


Although 90 % of Lane County is forested, the county also contains the second-largest urban area in Oregon, comprising Eugene and Springfield. The Forest Service is landlord of 48% of the lands within the county boundaries.

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 Coburg, and operates one of four manufacturing plants there. Another major economic asset is the University of Oregon in Eugene. Lastly, with access to the mountains and the coast, tourism makes a noticeable contribution to the county's economy.


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 Forest is in Lane County.

Adjacent counties

* Lincoln County, Oregon - (northwest)
* Benton County, Oregon - (north)
* Linn County, Oregon - (northeast)
* Douglas County, Oregon - (south)
* Deschutes County, Oregon - (east)
* Klamath County, Oregon - (southeast)


As of the censusGR|2 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% American 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 County east of Umpqua County. Originally it covered all of southern Oregon east to the Rocky Mountains and south to the California 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 Eugene.

In 1852 John Diamond, a pioneer from Eugene, 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 Idaho 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.cite book| last =Sullivan| first =William L.| editor =Thurman, Paula (Ed.)| title =Exploring Oregon's Wild Areas (3rd ed.)| publisher =The Mountaineers Books| year =2002]

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 County in 1854, it lost all of its territory east of the Cascade Mountains. Minor boundary changes occurred with Douglas County in 1852, 1885, 1903, 1915, and 1917; with Linn County in 1907; and with Benton County in 1923.


Incorporated cities

Unincorporated communities


External links

* [ Official Lane County Website]
* [ Convention and Visitors Association of Lane County, Oregon]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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