Tualatin Valley

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Tualatin Valley
Bald Peak with Tualatin Valley.JPG
The Tualatin Valley from Bald Peak State Scenic Viewpoint
Wpdms shdrlfi020l tualatin river.jpg
The Tualatin River
Floor elevation180 ft (55 m)
Location Washington County & Clackamas County, Oregon
Borders on
Coordinates 45°30′38″N122°59′19″W / 45.51056°N 122.98861°W / 45.51056; -122.98861 Coordinates: 45°30′38″N122°59′19″W / 45.51056°N 122.98861°W / 45.51056; -122.98861
Coordinates [1]

The Tualatin Valley is a farming and suburban region southwest of Portland, Oregon in the United States. The valley is formed by the meandering Tualatin River, a tributary of the Willamette River at the northwest corner of the Willamette Valley, east of the Northern Oregon Coast Range. Most of the valley is located within Washington County, separated from Portland by the Tualatin Mountains. Communities in the Tualatin Valley include Banks, Forest Grove, Cornelius, Hillsboro, Aloha, Beaverton, Sherwood, Tigard, and Tualatin.



In the early 19th century, the valley was inhabited by the Atfalati, a hunter-gatherer Kalapuyan band that spoke a dialect of Northern Kalapuyan. In the middle 19th century, the Atfalati lived in several villages in the valley, including Chakeipi ("Place of the Beaver", translated by early white settlers as "Beaver Dam"). Early Euro-American settlers called the valley the "Twality Plains", a corruption of the name of the Atfalati tribe. Other early variations included Falatin, Nefalatine, Twalaity, and Quality, with each roughly translated as slow river to describe the Tualatin River, or may translate as land without trees. [2]

The valley was one of the earliest settled farming regions in Oregon, as settlers began arriving in 1840. [2] In the spring of 1847, Lawrence Hall filed the first land claim, comprising 640 acres (2.6 km²), at Beaver Dam (later Beaverton) and constructed the first grist mill in the valley. In 1849 Thomas Hicklin Denney and his wife Berrilla built the first sawmill in the Beaverton area, leading to a later boom in the timber industry.

The lack of roads connecting the upper valley to the Willamette River quickly became a hindrance to early settlers. In 1850, the Oregon Territory created the Portland & Valley Plank Road Company to build a road through the Tualatin Hills connecting Portland with Beaverton. The road was completed in 1860 after financial setbacks. According to Oregon historian Stewart Holbrook, the building of the plank road was the decisive event that allowed Portland to surpass its rival Oregon City for supremacy as the economic hub of the territory. The railroad was extended into the valley in 1868.

The growth of agriculture in the valley was eventually limited in the middle 20th century by the need for irrigation. [3] In 1966, the United States Bureau of Reclamation built the Tualatin Project, bringing additional water to many parts of the valley in the last federal reclamation project in the Pacific Northwest. [3]

Valley from the Chehalem Mountains on the southern end of the valley Tualatin Valley from OR219.JPG
Valley from the Chehalem Mountains on the southern end of the valley

In the second half of the 20th century the valley became increasingly suburbanized and now forms a distinct cultural area that rivals Portland itself in political and economic influence. The communities along the Tualatin Valley Highway (the descendant of the old plank road), form a suburban corridor stretching west of Beaverton. Beaverton is famous as the location of the Nike, Inc. campus, the company's world-wide headquarters. Nike, along with Intel in Hillsboro, provide a large base of employment in the valley. Much of the valley is now within the Portland urban growth boundary, resulting in a suburban growth patterns that interspersed with remaining areas of orchards and farm fields. Most of the communities in the valley are served by TriMet, the Portland-area mass transit agency. In 1998, the MAX Light Rail system was extended from Portland into the valley as far as Hillsboro. [4]


The valley is traversed by the Tualatin River and is bordered on the north and east by the Tualatin Mountains, a spur of the Northern Oregon Coast Range. [2] The latter range also comprises the valley's western border. To the south lie the Chehalem Mountains, separating the region from the main Willamette Valley. [2] The Tualatin River flows mainly from the west to the east and leaves the valley in the southeast at West Linn in Clackamas County. Tualatin Valley's geographical center is located southeast of Hillsboro, and the general elevation of the valley is 180 feet (55 m) above sea-level. [1]

See also

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Beaverton is a city in Washington County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. The city center is 7 miles (11 km) west of downtown Portland in the Tualatin River Valley. As of the 2010 census, the population is 89,803. This makes it the second-largest city in the county and Oregon's sixth-largest city. Fire protection are provided through Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue, EMS services are provided by Metro West Ambulance

Washington County, Oregon U.S. county in Oregon

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Hillsboro, Oregon City in Oregon, United States

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Tualatin River river in the United States of America

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The Kalapuya are a Native American ethnic group, which had eight independent groups speaking three mutually intelligible dialects. The Kalapuya tribes' traditional homelands were the Willamette Valley of present-day western Oregon in the United States, an area bounded by the Cascade Range to the east, the Oregon Coast Range at the west, the Columbia River at the north, to the Calapooya Mountains of the Umpqua River at the south.

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The AtfalatiIPA: [aˈtɸalati], also known as the Tualatin or Wapato Lake Indians were a tribe of the Kalapuya Native Americans who originally inhabited some 24 villages on the Tualatin Plains in the northwest part of the U.S. state of Oregon; the Atfalati also lived in the hills around Forest Grove, along Wapato Lake and the north fork of the Yamhill River, and possibly at Portland.

Oregon Route 219 Highway in Oregon

Oregon Route 219 is an Oregon state highway which runs between the cities of Hillsboro and Woodburn, Oregon, in the United States. The Hillsboro-Silverton Highway continues further south to Silverton, signed as OR 214. The highway mainly serves local residents and agricultural traffic; despite its proximity to the Portland area it lies outside the Portland Urban Growth Boundary and so maintains its character as a country road.

Oregon Route 47 Oregon state highway

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Tualatin Valley Highway highway in Oregon

The Tualatin Valley Highway No. 29 is an Oregon highway which passes through the Tualatin Valley, between the cities of McMinnville and Beaverton. Between McMinnville and Forest Grove, the highway is signed as Oregon Route 47; between Forest Grove and Beaverton it is signed as Oregon Route 8. Oregon 8 becomes Canyon Road in Beaverton east of Hocken Road.

Tualatin Mountains

The Tualatin Mountains are a range on the western border of Multnomah County, Oregon, United States. A spur of the Northern Oregon Coast Range, they separate the Tualatin Basin of Washington County, Oregon, from the Portland Basin of western Multnomah County and Clark County, Washington.

John Smith Griffin American missionary

John Smith Griffin (1807–1899) was an American missionary in Oregon Country who participated at the Champoeg Meetings that created the Provisional Government of Oregon in 1843. In Oregon he served as a tutor at Fort Vancouver and later organized a church on the Tualatin Plains in the Tualatin Valley.

Canyon Road is a road connecting Beaverton and Portland, Oregon, United States. It was the first road between the Tualatin Valley and Portland and contributed significantly to Portland becoming the area's major deep water port, and subsequent early growth of the city. The total modern length is 6.5 miles (10.5 km).

Tualatin Plains Region in Oregon, United States

The Tualatin Plains are a prairie area in central Washington County, Oregon, United States. Located around the Hillsboro and Forest Grove areas, the plains were first inhabited by the Atfalati band of the Kalapuya group of Native Americans. Euro-American settlement began in the 1840s.

Chehalem Mountains

The Chehalem Mountains are a mountain range located in the Willamette Valley in the U.S. state of Oregon. Forming the southern boundary of the Tualatin Valley, the Chehalems are the highest mountains in the Willamette Valley. Composed of a single land mass that was uplifted by tectonic forces, the mountain range includes several spurs and ridges such as Parrett Mountain, Ribbon Ridge, and Bald Peak. The range extends from the Willamette River east of Newberg northwest to the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range south of Forest Grove. The highest peak in the Chehalem Mountain Range is Bald Peak, rising to 1,629 feet (497 m), which is also the highest peak point within the Willamette Valley.

Fanno Creek River in Oregon, United States

Fanno Creek is a 15-mile (24 km) tributary of the Tualatin River in the U.S. state of Oregon. Part of the drainage basin of the Columbia River, its watershed covers about 32 square miles (83 km2) in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties, including about 7 square miles (18 km2) within the Portland city limits.

Cornelius Pass Road is an arterial road over Cornelius Pass in the Tualatin Mountains west of Portland, Oregon, United States, also extending several miles to the south. Running north–south, the road stretches between U.S. Route 30 on the north and Blanton Street, just south of Oregon Route 8, on the south. The road passes through Washington and Multnomah counties, crossing the Tualatin Mountains at Cornelius Pass, 581 feet (177 m) above sea level. TriMet's MAX Light Rail line travels over the road on a bridge.

Laurel, Oregon Unincorporated community in Oregon, United States

Laurel is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Oregon, United States. Settled in 1872, the community is located between Hillsboro and Newberg, in the southern portion of the Tualatin Valley in the foothills of the Chehalem Mountains. The community retains its agricultural heritage. Laurel is served by the Hillsboro School District and includes the century-old Laurel Valley Store building, which is in the process of being turned into a restaurant.

Farmington, Oregon Unincorporated community in Oregon, United States

Farmington is an unincorporated community in Washington County, Oregon, United States. It is located on the Tualatin River, a tributary of the Willamette, about eight miles southwest of Beaverton, at the intersection of Oregon Route 10 and River Road. It is about two miles east of the junction of OR 10 with Oregon Route 219. Farmington was one of the earliest settlements in Oregon and was prominent for a time as an important milling and grain-shipping point on the Tualatin when steamships were the principal means of shipping grain along the Willamette River. Farmington was the site of an early Christian Church, founded by 1845 pioneers in Sarah and Philip Harris, who arrived in Oregon via the Meek Cutoff. At that time the locale was called "Bridgeport". Baptisms were in the Tualatin River.

Cornell Road Street in Portland, Oregon, United States

Cornell Road is an east–west street and traffic corridor in the Portland metropolitan area, in Multnomah and Washington counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. It crosses the Tualatin Mountains between the Willamette Valley and the city of Portland on the east and the Tualatin Valley and the city of Hillsboro on the west.


  1. 1 2 "Tualatin Valley". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey. 2006-03-03. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Oregon (1940). Oregon: End of the Trail. American Guide Series. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort. p.  486. OCLC   4874569.
  3. 1 2 "Irrigation Water in Oregon's Green Willamette Valley Tualatin Project, Oregon". Tualatin Valley Irrigation District. Retrieved 2009-11-15.
  4. Mapes, Jeff (September 13, 1998). "Gore walks tight line on Clinton". The Oregonian .