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Silverton is a city in Marion County, Oregon, United States. The city is situated along the 45th parallel about 12 miles (19 km) northeast of Salem, in the eastern margins of the broad alluvial plain of the Willamette Valley. The city is named after Silver Creek, which flows through the town from Silver Falls into the Pudding River, and thence into the Willamette River. Silverton was originally called Milford, then Silver Creek; on July 16, 1855, Silver Creek became Silverton. Human habitation of the Silverton area extends back approximately 6,000 years before the present. In historical times, the region was dominated by the Kalapuya and Molala peoples, whose seasonal burns of the area made it plow-ready and attractive to early 19th century Euro-American settlers. Farming was Silverton’s first major industry, and has been a dominant land-use activity in and around Silverton since the mid-19th century.
Silverton is situated on the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley, a fertile and alluvial plain which stretches from the western foothills of the Cascade Range on the east, known as the Waldo Hills, to the eastern foothills of the Oregon Coast Range on the west. Silverton lies on either side of Silver Creek, a tributary of the Pudding River, which joins the Molalla River before emptying into the northward-flowing Willamette River. Abiqua Creek also empties into the Pudding River; it flows across the eastern valley north of Silverton, further draining the land around the city.
Silverton’s elevation is between 200 and 250 feet (61 and 76 m) above mean sea level with the steep-sided, heavily-wooded Waldo Hills to the south rising an additional 200 feet (61 m). The agricultural richness of the environs is due to massive and repeated floods from prehistoric Lake Missoula in western Montana. Beginning approximately 13,000 years before the present, repeated flooding from Lake Missoula scoured eastern Washington and Oregon, carved out the Columbia River Gorge, and periodically swept down the Columbia River; when floodwaters met ice jams in southwest Washington, the backed-up water spilled over and filled the entire Willamette Valley to a depth of 300 to 400 feet (91 to 122 m) above current sea level, creating a body of water known as Lake Allison. The gradual receding of Lake Allison’s waters left layered sedimentary volcanic and glacial soils to a height of about 180 to 200 feet (55 to 61 m) above current sea level throughout the Tualatin, Yamhill and Willamette Valleys.
Until the mid-19th century, the Silverton area was a broad, open grassland with small stands of Oregon white oak, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir. Stands of Oregon white oak, red alder, big leaf maple, and black cottonwood lined streams and river banks. While these tree species are extant today, widespread farming in the Willamette Valley between 1850 and 1870 altered the land through the discontinuation of widespread seasonal burning in the valley plains previously employed by the Kalapuya people. Large stands of Douglas fir and western red cedar, mixed with Oregon white oak, remain in the Silverton area, especially on eastern ridge tops and on the slopes of the Waldo Hills to the south. Due to decades of intensive timber extraction, mature second- and third-growth trees comprise existing evergreen stands.
This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Silverton has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated “Csb” on climate maps. The climate is relatively mild, considering Silverton’s northern latitude, and temperature fluctuations are generally small. Precipitation, primarily in the form of fall and winter rain, ranges between 40 and 50 inches (1,000 and 1,300 mm) annually. Silverton’s climate and its soil have made the area well suited for a variety of crops and for livestock grazing.
- Silverton is the gateway to Silver Falls State Park, Oregon’s largest state park.
- The Oregon Garden, an 80-acre (32 ha) botanical park, is in Silverton.
- Gordon House, located on the grounds of Silverton’s Oregon Garden, is the only house in the Pacific Northwest designed by Frank Lloyd Wright which is open to the public. Gordon House was one of the last of Lloyd Wright’s famed Usonian designs.
- Silverton has a number of outsized murals, including Norman Rockwell’s The Four Freedoms painted on the side of a building located at 402 Main Street in Silverton, and visible from Second Street
- Every August, the Homer Davenport Community Festival celebrates Silverton’s most famous citizen—writer, political cartoonist, and Arabian horse breeder Homer Davenport (1867–1912)—with exhibits, entertainment, an arts and crafts fair, rides, races, contests, a cartooning competition, a party, and a parade.
- Saturday’s Farmers Market showcases the produce and wares of local farmers and artisans.
- The first bank robbery and chase scene in the movie Bandits (starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton) was filmed in Silverton.
- The Palace Theater in Silverton’s Commercial Historic District is a movie theater constructed in the early 1900s. Originally called the Opera House, it has been showing motion pictures to the public since at least 1909. The Palace Theater has survived two fires, one in 1935 that destroyed a large portion of downtown, and the other in April 2012. The 2012 fire was mostly limited to the concession area, although the smoke damage was extensive and caused at least one other business to temporarily close. One of the current co-owners of the theater is the former mayor, Stu Rasmussen, the first openly transgender mayor in the United States.
If you considering selling your Silverton home, we utilize the latest, cutting-edge, real estate marketing tools to expose your property to the widest range of potential buyers. We are here to get your house aggressively marketed to sell as quickly as possible and for the best price! Our goals are to help you get your Silverton home sold, put you in the strongest negotiating position as possible, and to make it easier for you and reduce surprises.
If you are a Silverton home buyer, our foremost goal is to provide you with exceptional customer service. Our goals are to help you purchase the right home, make sure you don’t miss out on any homes that meet your needs, and make sure you don’t pay too much for your next home. Please utilize our Silverton real estate expertise to make your home search and buying experience as stress free and rewarding as possible.