History of Hillsboro | Attractions | Community Links | Demographics | Living in Hillsboro | Churches | Education | Business Relocation | Hillsboro Magazine
Hillsboro averages 37.57 inches of precipitation a year, mostly in the form of light rain, from October to March. The average growing season between frosts is six months. Over 30 years, the maximum temperature on the average has been 62.4 degrees and the minimum, 41.3 degrees. Such temperature climatic conditions enable the Tualatin Valley to be one of the most productive and diverse agricultural areas in the nation.
Government and Public Services
As the county seat of Washington County, Hillsboro is a center of government and business. Hillsboro is governed by a City Council, seven elected members including a mayor. City administrative offices are located in the Public Services Building. The council appoints a city manager, a professional administrator. Hillsboro's city government takes pride in its business-like efficiency, concern for livability and careful planning for residential and industrial growth. The city has more than 300 employees including professionals in its administrative, finance, planning, building, engineering, public works, parks and recreation, library, human resources, information system, police and fire departments. In 1998 the city built a new downtown fire station and in 1999 a new branch station at Ronler Acres.
Hillsboro's Police Department is a distinguished law-enforcement agency providing 24-hour patrol throughout the city. It is proud of its nationally recognized canine program, its DARE program to combat drug abuse, a Crime Stoppers program and a Neighborhood Speed Watch program. The department works closely with other municipal police agencies and the county sheriff's office to combat illegal drug trafficking. Many Hillsboro police officers are bilingual.
The Hillsboro Fire Department is a highly trained and modernly equipped fire and rescue unit. Besides new fire stations, the department operates Rescue 10, a special rescue and emergency vehicle, conducts fire safety inspections and educational classes throughout the community.
As Hillsboro has grown, so also has its utility systems. New sewerage and water lines have been built through the city and north into high-growth areas. The county-wide Clean Water Services operates two modern water treatment plants in Hillsboro. Water is obtained from sources in the Coast Range mountains. A separate treatment and transmission system, jointly owned and operated by Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Beaverton, can deliver 40 million gallons of water daily if needed. Portland General Electric provides electrical power. NW Natural delivers natural gas to the area.
Few cities anywhere offer the diverse recreational opportunities that are available in Hillsboro. The city's Parks & Recreation Department operates 16 parks including the large, modern Hillsboro Sports Park at Ronler Acres and the Hillsboro Aquatic Center with its indoor and outdoor pools, hydro-therapy pool, saunas, and exercise facilities.
Most of the parks complement neighborhoods, providing green space, picnic facilities, playground and basketball court facilities. Tyson Recreation Center at 1880 NE Griffin Oaks St., offers children's classes. Noble Woods is a park within a small forest. Rood Bridge Park provides mooring areas for canoes into the Tualatin River. The main branch of the Hillsboro Public Library is located at Shute Park in southeast Hillsboro and near the Aquatic Center.
Besides the Sports Park with its impressive stadium and artificial turf, Hillsboro maintains several lighted softball fields, tennis courts and a soccer-football field at the Washington County Fair Complex. Also, the Hillsboro School District maintains Hare Field, a complex for football, soccer and baseball games.
If you are a golfer, you'll love Hillsboro. Nine courses, all within a 10 minutes' drive, beckon scratch golfers and duffers alike. Hillsboro also is situated within minutes by car of fishing, hunting, hiking and boating area. Hagg Lake is a popular recreation area just 15 miles southwest of Hillsboro in the foothills of the Coast Range. The 1,100-acre lake is stocked with trout, bass and perch.
A unique destination for passage recreation is Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve located on the southern edge of Hillsboro. Bordering the Tualatin River, the 700-acre preserve attracts thousands of students, biologists, wildlife experts and birdwatchers each year. Many species of water fowl and migratory birds make their homes there.
Hillsboro residents love a parade, a festival, a fair. And the community hosts a bundle of them. Hillsboro is host for the Washington County Fair in late summer. The Hillsboro Rotary July 4 Parade is one of Oregon's largest and best. A St. Patrick's Day Parade in held March, and the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce presents "Black Tie & Blue Jeans" in the fall. When the county fair isn't in town, the fair complex opens its doors almost daily for shows, exhibits and fairs of special interest groups.
No summer would be complete without the Hillsboro Farmers Market. This outdoor market takes place in downtown Hillsboro from May to November. Farmers and crafters sell their produce and wares from wagons and truck beds parked alongside the sidewalks near the Civic Center. The Hillsboro Tuesday Marketplace is also held in downtown. Farm products, hot foods and top-drawer live musical entertainment attract thousands of people well into the evenings. The Tuesday Marketplace extends through August. For a list of all events, visit our Hillsboro Magazine.
Culture and Education
Agriculture has always been a mainstay of the Tualatin Valley economy. Hillsboro in its early days was a marketing center for the many small farm settlements in the valley. Agriculture continues to provide a stable foundation for much of the community's economic life. Area farms grow a wide variety of products, from hazelnuts, apples, hay, grains, rye grass, berries, sweet corn, tulips, and a vast assortment of nursery products. Washington County is one of Oregon's leading nursery producing counties. Flowers, shrubs and saplings are shipped throughout the world from the Hillsboro area. The dairy industry, once the chief agricultural industry in the valley, remains an important segment of the industry.
Timber production also employs a large number of area residents. The Stimson Lumber Co. near Gaston is the largest mill in the valley. Several wood products manufacturers operate locally, also.
Horses, beef cattle, sheep, buffalo and alpacas are raised in the Tualatin Valley.
Washington County lays claim to 12 wineries, several of which produce world-class pinot noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. Oak Knoll Winery south of Hillsboro sells its fine pinot noir and other fine wines throughout the United States, Great Britain and Scandinavia. Montinore Vineyards near Forest Grove is one of the state's largest wineries. Sake One Brewery, also in Forest Grove, makes fine Japanese rice wine or sake.
Business and Industry
Over the past 30 years, advanced electronics manufacturers and software producers have forged a new industry and, in the process, created a new economic base for Hillsboro. Tektronix began making oscilloscopes after World War II. New start-up specialty companies producing components and providing high-precision tooling and manufacturing spun off from Tektronix and opened offices in Washington County. One was Rodgers Organ Co. (today's Rodgers Instruments LLC), makers of world-famous electronically assisted pipe organs. In the mid-1970s at the beginning of the personal computer era, Intel Corp. of Santa Clara, Calif., opened a manufacturing plant in nearby Aloha. Suppliers and customers of Intel followed. They in turn attracted software engineers, molded plastic manufacturers, assemblers and parts manufacturers. In the 1980s major Japanese firms such as Fujitsu, Epson and NEC built factories in Hillsboro. Soon, Hillsboro had amassed a proliferation of all kinds of high-tech design and manufacturing firms, which sold their products to other firms or marketed them to U.S., Asian and European companies.
Today, Hillsboro, the heart of the so-called "Silicon Forest," is home to a diverse group of companies that make personal computers and computer components, microprocessors and silicon wafers, devices and chemicals used in making computer chips, processors and advanced electronic components of telecommunication and mobile communication equipment, computer printers, computer testing and design software and hardware, molded plastic components and control equipment. Internet providers and web-based e-business firms are finding Hillsboro a good place to do business. Companies are moving their corporate offices to the area in the many new, modern Class A office buildings emerging in Hillsboro's landscape. As a consequence of such industrial growth, Hillsboro has seen a remarkable development of business centers, industrial parks and residential neighborhoods in the last 10 years. Intel, alone, employs more than 13,000 people in Hillsboro and Aloha and plans to expand its Ronler Acres and Jones Farm campus even more as the company keeps pace with the world demand for microprocessors, communication components and Internet technology.
Hillsboro has 35 business parks, some as large as 300 acres. The largest are Dawson Creek, Westmark and Tanasbourne Commerce centers, but many encompass 20 to 50 acres. Much of the new industrial construction is appearing in north and west Hillsboro and north of U.S. 26 near West Union.
Hillsboro community leaders and organizations such as the Greater Hillsboro Area Chamber of Commerce and the Westside Economic Alliance spearheaded the industrial expansion of Hillsboro. Realizing as early as the mid-1950s that the town needed new industry to form a solid tax base and to keep its young people from leaving for greener pastures, the city began annexing land and recruiting businesses. In 1957 city leaders formed a Hillsboro Economic Development Association. In the late 1970s investors and real estate developers, principally Standard Insurance Co., formed the Sunset Corridor Association. Standard bought 900 acres west of Hillsboro and began developing the infrastructure with the support of the association. Today, Tanasbourne is a beautiful and expansive mix of shopping centers, light industrial campuses, Class A office structures, apartments and upscale condominiums.
While major employers employ hundreds of people in Hillsboro, oddly enough 88 percent of Hillsboro's businesses employ fewer than 10 workers. Of 3,000 businesses registered with the City of Hillsboro, 31 percent are home businesses. At the same time, the unemployment rate in Hillsboro, and in Washington County, was as low 3.1 percent as reported in April 2000 by the Oregon Employment Department. As of April 2000, Hillsboro had an active labor force of 28,500 people, and Hillsboro businesses employed 40,600 people, both significant increases since 1998. In other words, Hillsboro employers continue to attract many residents who live outside of the community.
Despite its rapid growth, Hillsboro remains a small town at heart. No matter where residents live in or near Hillsboro, they enjoy the easy-going pace and outdoor beauty of western Washington County. Historic Hillsboro near the old downtown is a favorite neighborhood of many residents, especially those who enjoy a short walk to shopping and government offices and who value the historic tradition of the city. Other residents prefer the foothill communities of West Union, Bethany, Helvetia and North Plains north of Hillsboro.
Within Hillsboro itself, a variety of houses, condominiums and apartments can be selected. Within the past 10 years, developers have built more than 3,000 apartments and condominiums, many of them in central and east Hillsboro. Most are within walking distance or a short drive of landscaped industrial parks, shopping malls, restaurants and theaters. Most also are close to Tri-Met bus lines or Westside MAX light rail transit. Large, new residential communities such as Orenco Station, Jones Farm and the planned Stonebrook offer a mix of upscale apartments, row houses, brownstones, live/work units and cottages.
The Hillsboro area is served by our town newspaper, The Hillsboro Argus. The Argus, published twice weekly, has been recording happenings in and around Hillsboro for more than a century. It has won countless awards for excellence and twice in its history was chosen the best newspaper of its size in the United States. Radio station KUIK 1360 is Hillsboro on the air. Located at the Hillsboro Airport, KUIK provides coverage of local events and personalities.