Polk County

Polk County was officially created from Yamhill District on December 22, 1845.



Polk County was officially created from Yamhill District on December 22, 1845. It was named after the 11th president, James Knox Polk who signed a bill in 1884 approving the boundaries of the Oregon territory. Polk County was the primary destination of early wagon trails which took the southern route to Oregon. Along with agriculture and farming, Polk County was known for its lumber mills and logging camps such as Black Rock and Valsetz. About two-thirds of the western part of the county is forest. This forestland also borders Laurel Mountain, named the wettest place in Oregon. 


There are about 722 logging firms within Oregon, and Polk County is home to over 15 logging corporations. Fall City and Valsetz are historical towns within Polk County that housed many loggers and their families. Today, the city of Dallas, Falls City, and surrounding areas are home to loggers. The forestland is vast in Polk County and is cherished throughout each community.


The population of Polk County is over 89,000 and has 8 cities including: Dallas, Independence, Monmouth, Falls City and portions of Salem and Willamina. Polk County’s main industries include agriculture, forest products, manufacturing, healthcare, and education. Western Oregon University, located in Monmouth, is one of the largest employers. Polk County is also known for being the second largest area dedicated to viticulture in Oregon.


AVAs (American Viticulture Area) are federally recognized grape-growing areas, and Polk county’s terrain, soil, and climate are making its stamp in the viticulture world. Within the larger Willamette Valley AVA, there are 11 sub-AVAs, and Polk County boasts two: Eola-Amity Hills AVA and the most recent appellation, Mount Pisgah AVA. Eola-Amity Hills appellation is over 39,000 acres, and Mount Pisgah is over 5,500 acres. Together, the two appellations comprise over 33 wineries, and countless vineyards. The Polk County region predominantly produces white wine, and pinot noir. Pinot gris, chardonnay, pinot noir, and Riesling are some of the most popular types of wine. 


There are other adventures you can take in Polk County from mountain biking Black Rock Mountain, canoeing the Willamette River, hiking the Valley of the Giants, to wine hopping the many wineries and tasting rooms. Polk County also offers an array of historical sites, museums, and festival celebrations.


There are about 10 school districts in Polk County, and the top ranked public schools are Kalapuya Elementary School, Straub Middle School and West Salem High School. Overall, schools in Polk County have an average ranking of 7/10, which is in the top 50% of Oregon public schools.


The median household income in Polk County is $65,665, the median price per square foot is $262, and the median house price is $489,900.

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