Extension in the Portland Metro Area
According to Wikipedia , the “Portland metropolitan area” or “Greater Portland” is an urban area in Oregon and Washington centered around the city of Portland, Oregon. The U.S. Census Bureau's currently all of the following counties: Clackamas, Columbia, Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill Counties in Oregon and Clark and Skamania Counties in Washington. In the Flickr-verse that is our own making, or at least according to the loosely logical map that we’ve organized the Extension Centennial set around, we’ve dropped Yamhill and the two counties in Washington to come up with our version of the Portland Metro area!

Though it’s heavy on the rural, the Portland Metro area itself is a delightful mix of rural and urban … As are its counties…

In the Community Report 2011 for Clackamas County, FARMS•FOOD•FAMILIES, the first person to work in Extension was a woman, Lorene Parker – the year was 1917. “One month later, the first staff chair administrator was hired, Richard Werner. Eight months later in June, 1918, agent Brenton Vedder joined the staff. These three agents concentrated on home economics and agriculture. Interestingly, from 1917 to today, there have been only 12 staff chairs. John Inskeep held the title and managed programs throughout the county for 35 years from 1926 to 1961.”

Columbia County, named for the Columbia River, was created in 1854 from the northern half of Washington County. According to the Oregon Historical County Records Guide , “the primary industries of Columbia County are timber, fishing, water transportation, dairying, horticulture, and recreation. The extensive stands of old growth timber, which had attracted many of the early settlers to the area, were completely logged over by the 1950s. Second growth timber provides the raw material for local lumber and paper mills. The Trojan Nuclear Plant, located near Rainier, was in operation from 1975 to 1993.”

Multnomah County was created on December 22, 1854 “when the people living in Portland found it difficult to travel to Hillsboro to conduct business at the county seat of Washington County” ( Oregon Historical County Records Guide ). Residents also thought they were “paying too much in taxes to support the farmers in the rural areas surrounding Portland,” so in 1854, Portland business owners “petitioned the Territorial Legislature for a new county and Multnomah County was created at the subsequent session.” The county was named after the Multnomah Indians, a part of the Chinookan tribe that lived on the eastern tip of what we now call “Sauvie Island” in the Columbia River. Ironically, while the “principle industries of Multnomah County are manufacturing, transportation, wholesale and retail trade, and tourism,” the Portland Metro Area Extension Services provide a plethora of information on local food and farms, rural/urban connections, sustainable living, urban forestry, urban gardening, and 4-H youth Programs.

Washington County, settled on a fertile plain that attracted farmers long before there was an Extension Office to offer community assistance, still boasts a strong economy based on agriculture! Vineyards, lumber, manufacturing, and food processing are all mainstay. Hover, in the 19080s and 1990s, electronics moved in as well. And, on a non-Extension note, you’ll also find the headquarters for Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and Reser’s Fine Foods in Washington County.
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