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Woodburn is a city in Marion County, Oregon, United States. Incorporated in 1889, the community had been platted in 1871 after the arrival of the railroad. The city is located in the northern end of the Willamette Valley between Portland and Salem. Interstate 5 connects it to major cities to the north and south. Oregon routes 211, 214, 219, and 99E also serve the city, as do Union Pacific and Willamette Valley Railway freight rail lines.
Originally, the area around Woodburn was inhabited by the Kalapuya Native Americans. After the Provisional Government of Oregon set-up land claims in the Oregon Country, the United States annexed much of the Pacific Northwest and established the Oregon Territory in 1848. Congress passed the Donation Land Claim Act in 1850 and many earlier land claims became donation land claims.
Eli C. Cooley, Bradford S. Bonney, George Leisure, and Jean B. Ducharme all established donation land claims on the eastern part of the French Prairie where Woodburn would later be founded. Cooley immigrated to Oregon in 1845, and Bonney established his land claim in 1849. Ducharme’s land was sold off in 1862 in a foreclosure with Mt. Angel farmer George Settlemier purchase the 214 acres (87 ha) on the cheap.
Settlemier had traveled west over the Oregon Trail in 1849 and first settled in California before moving north to Oregon in 1850. He settled in the Mt. Angel area where he was a successful nurseryman. Settlemier then moved to his new property in 1863 and established the Woodburn Nursery Company. Despite improvements to the land, including construction of his home, title in the land remained in doubt due to the purchase via a foreclosure.
During the litigation over title in the land, Settlemier borrowed money from capitalist William Reed with the land as collateral. When Reed began to build a railroad through the area, he decided to run the line through what became Woodburn in anticipation of acquiring the land himself, as he expected Settlemier to default on the mortgage. However, Settlemier did not default and eventually his case made it to the Supreme Court of the United States in Settlemier v. Sullivan, 97 U.S. 444 (1878). He gained a favorable ruling and retained the land.
Meanwhile, transportation baron Ben Holladay ran his Oregon and California Railroad through what became Woodburn in 1871, at which time Settlemier platted the first four blocks of the town.
Originally, the town and station were called Halsey, but the name was changed to Woodburn due to the existence of Halsey, Oregon, further down the valley. The name Woodburn came about after a slash burn that got out of control and burned down a nearby woodlot in the 1880s, after the railroad line had been laid through the area. A railroad official witnessed the fire and renamed the community. The city was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on February 20, 1889.
Woodburn is home for a sizable community of Russian Orthodox Old Believers. This Christian traditionalist church had escaped persecution from the official Russian Orthodox Church and moved to the United States from Turkey in the 1950s. Its women wear traditional long skirts and scarfs, and men have beards.
Also present in the city are communities of Russian Molokans, Doukhobors and recent refugees from the former USSR: Ukrainian and Russian Pentecostals and Baptists.
In August 1999, Woodburn Premium Outlets, known as the Woodburn Company Stores until June 2013, opened in Woodburn. This is an outlet mall with many name-brand clothing companies represented, including Adidas, Nike, Gap, and Banana Republic.
MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility is on Oregon Route 99E on the outskirts of Woodburn, in which young delinquent and criminal males are incarcerated.
Willamette Ballet Academy was founded in 1982. Scenes from 2007 Hallmark Hall of Fame production The Valley of Light, starring Chris Klein, were filmed in Woodburn.
Listed in 1974 on the National Register of Historic Places, the Jesse H. Settlemier House is a museum located on Settlemier Avenue. The World’s Berry Center Museum was founded in the early 1980s. The World’s Berry Center Museum occasionally produces plays by Miracle Theatre.
La Fiesta Mexicana is the most important Hispanic event in the area. Each fiesta should include a queen; Francisca Gonzalez was the first selected to receive this honor in the first fiesta in 1964. It was a one-day event that was held in downtown Woodburn. Forty-five years later, the event grew more popular and now it currently lasts close to a week. One of the main reasons this event happened was that the ranchers and merchants recognized the importance of the new bicultural relationship with the increased Hispanic population in the area.
The Woodburn Dragstrip is a 1/4-mile National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) dragstrip that annually hosts an event on the NHRA Lucas Oil Series. It is located about 2 miles (3 km) west of Woodburn on Oregon Highway 219.
The Oregon Golf Association (OGA) Golf Course in Woodburn is a public course, rated by Golf Digest in 1996 as one of the top 10 affordable courses in the United States. It routinely hosts many large amateur and high school events in the state.
Woodburn is served by the Woodburn School District, which includes four elementary schools and two middle schools. Woodburn High School includes the following small schools: the Wellness, Business and Sports School, the Woodburn Academy of Art, Science and Technology, the Academy of International Studies at Woodburn, and the Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy. Woodburn Success High School is the district’s alternative high school, serving grades 7–12. Chemeketa Community College has a satellite campus in Woodburn.
The Woodburn Independent is a weekly community newspaper serving the immediate area. The region is also served by the larger Statesman Journal daily newspaper based in Salem and the state’s largest newspaper The Oregonian based in Portland.
Woodburn is home to two radio stations. KWBY broadcasts a regional Mexican format and is owned by 94 Country, Inc. It transmits as “La Pantera” 940 AM. KPCN-LP is a low power community radio station owned and operated by Oregon’s largest farmworker union, los Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN). The station was built by volunteers from Woodburn and around the country in August 2006 at the tenth Prometheus Radio Project barnraising. KPCN broadcasts music, news, and public affairs to listeners in Spanish and several indigenous Latin American languages. It transmits as “Radio Movimiento” 95.9 FM with the slogan “La Voz del Pueblo.”
The Transit Division of the Woodburn Community Services Department runs the Woodburn Transit System (WTS), which uses small buses during non-holiday weekdays within the city’s limits, and the Dial-a-Ride program, which operates paratransit vans for reserve by the elderly and disabled during weekdays within the local area and, for medical appointments, anywhere between Portland and Salem.
Other public bus systems making stops in Woodburn are CARTS (Chemeketa Area Regional Transportation System), administered by Oregon Housing and Associated Services, Inc. (OHAS) in Salem, and CAT (Canby Area Transit), run by the city of Canby. Both also only operate during non-holiday weekdays.
Greyhound buses also stop in the city. Amtrak’s Coast Starlight and Cascades trains pass through but do not stop. The Amtrak affiliated Cascades POINT bus service stops at the Woodburn Park & Ride at the Woodburn I-5 exit.
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If you are a Woodburn 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 Woodburn real estate expertise to make your home search and buying experience as stress free and rewarding as possible.