Springfield, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon
—  City  —
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 44°3′11″N 122°59′28″W / 44.05306°N 122.99111°W / 44.05306; -122.99111
Country United States
State Oregon
County Lane
Incorporated 1885
 – Type Council–manager
 – Mayor Christine Lundberg[1]
 – City manager Gino Grimaldi
 – Total 14.4 sq mi (37.3 km2)
 – Land 14.4 sq mi (37.3 km2)
 – Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 454 ft (138.4 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 59,403
 – Density 3,670.7/sq mi (1,417.4/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 – Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP codes 97477, 97478, 97482
Area code(s) 458 and 541
FIPS code 41-69600[2]
GNIS feature ID 1127456[3]
Website www.springfield-or.gov
The historic Southern Pacific depot in Springfield

Springfield is a city in Lane County, Oregon, United States. Located in the Southern Willamette Valley, it is within the Eugene-Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. Separated from Eugene to the west, mainly by Interstate 5, Springfield is the second-most populous city in the metropolitan area after Eugene. As of the 2010 census, the city has a total population of 59,403.[4]

The Briggs family first settled the Springfield area, arriving in 1848. The community was incorporated as a city in 1885. The city was named after a natural spring located in a field or prairie within the current city boundaries. Traditionally the economy of the community was resource dependent, but since the 1990s the economy has diversified with PeaceHealth now the largest employer in the city. Public education in the city is provided by the Springfield School District. The city's most notable native son is the deceased author Ken Kesey.



Springfield was settled when Elias and Mary Briggs and their family arrived in 1848. They were among the first party to travel to the region via the "Southern Route" by Klamath Lake, over the Cascades, into the Rogue Valley, then north to the Willamette Valley.[5] Elias Briggs along with William Stevens ran a ferry on the nearby Willamette River.

According to donation land claim records, Stevens was the first settler to stake a claim in the Springfield locale, arriving in October 1847. He commenced building a house with his three oldest sons, and when the house was completed in December, the rest of his family joined him on Christmas Day that year.

Another early arrival in the Springfield vicinity was Captain Felix Scott, Sr. who settled between the McKenzie and Willamette rivers in 1847.

In 1854 Springfield School District No. 19 was formed. A small schoolhouse was built near the corner of south 7th and B streets; it served the community until the 1880s. Miss Agnes Stewart, a young woman from Pennsylvania, was the first teacher. She had arrived in Springfield via the Lost Wagon Train of 1853.

In 1871 the main line of the Oregon and California Railroad bypassed Springfield for Eugene. The story goes that a group of prominent Eugene businessmen paid railroad financier, Ben Holladay, $40,000 to bypass Springfield by crossing the Willamette River near Harrisburg instead of Springfield. Thus began a rivalry that lasts up to the present day.[citation needed]

Springfield was incorporated as a city in 1885. Albert Walker, a blacksmith in town, was Springfield's first mayor.

In May 1992 the municipality became the first in the United States to include anti-gay legislation its city charter after a campaign by the Oregon Citizens Alliance.[6] A state law later however prevented anti-gay ordinances from being enforced.[7]


For years, the economy of Springfield hinged on the lumber industry, with the largest employer being Weyerhaeuser Company. Weyerhaeuser opened its Springfield complex in 1949, and after years of aggressive logging was forced to downsize as old growth lumber became less available. In the 1990s, the Weyerhaeuser sawmill and veneer (plywood) plants closed, and the paper plant was downsized. Springfield has now developed a more diversified economy, and the largest employers are now PeaceHealth, which recently opened a new hospital, Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, and PeaceHealth Laboratories.[citation needed]

Ken Kesey's brother Chuck, and Chuck's wife Sue started the Springfield Creamery in 1960, and the business survives today based partly on sales of their flagship product, Nancy's Yogurt, developed from recipes of Nancy Hamren. In the 1970s, the Creamery staved off bankruptcy with the help of the rock band the Grateful Dead, who over time held a series of 10 benefit concerts on behalf of the creamery.

The city of Springfield is surrounded by filbert (hazelnut) orchards. The production has declined over time as fields have been developed into housing. Until recently the city has sponsored an annual Filbert Festival in early August as a general summer celebration, featuring music, food, and family fun; this was canceled in 2007 due to withdrawal of a key sponsor, and the future for the festival is presently uncertain. Filbert harvesting occurs in October. 98% of American filbert production is harvested in the Willamette Valley.[8]


Springfield is home to two hospitals, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center and PeaceHealth's Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.


Springfield has a council–manager form of government. The current mayor of Springfield is Christine Lundberg,[1] and the city manager is Gino Grimaldi.[9] The city council comprises members from 6 wards.[10] The current council members are[10]:

  • Ward 1: Sean Van Gordon
  • Ward 2: Hillary Wylie
  • Ward 3: Sheri Moore
  • Ward 4: Dave Ralston
  • Ward 5: Marilee Woodrow
  • Ward 6: Joe Pishioneri

Public safety

Springfield is served by the Springfield Police Department.[11]
Springfield Fire and Life Safety[12] protect the property, life, and environment of the people of Springfield.


Gateway Mall in Springfield

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.4 square miles (37 km2), all of it land.

The McKenzie River passes by Springfield's northern limits.


Springfield has no official neighborhood designations. Unofficial neighborhood areas include:


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 198
1870 200 1.0%
1880 160 −20.0%
1890 371 131.9%
1900 353 −4.9%
1910 1,838 420.7%
1920 1,855 0.9%
1930 2,364 27.4%
1940 3,805 61.0%
1950 10,807 184.0%
1960 19,616 81.5%
1970 27,047 37.9%
1980 41,624 53.9%
1990 44,683 7.3%
2000 52,864 18.3%
2010 59,403 12.4%

2000 Census data

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 52,864 people, 20,514 households, and 13,477 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,670.7 people per square mile (1,417.4/km²). There were 21,500 housing units at an average density of 1,492.9 per square mile (576.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.64% White, 0.71% African American, 1.38% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 3.09% from other races, and 3.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.91% of the population. There were 20,514 households out of which 35.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was 27.2% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 95.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males. The median income for a household in the city was $33,031, and the median income for a family was $38,399. Males had a median income of $30,973 versus $22,511 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,616. About 14.8% of families and 17.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture


The Springfield Public Library, in the Springfield city hall, serves Springfield.[15]

Cultural venues

The Richard E. Wildish Community Theater on Main Street in downtown Springfield, a complete renovation of the historic McKenzie Theater, opened in December 2006. The theater seats 284 people and is designed to host music concerts and recitals, dance, drama, festivals and small musicals. The Springfield Renaissance Development Corporation spearheaded the six-year renovation project, completed at a cost of $3.1 million.[citation needed]


There are 15 elementary, 5 middle, and 4 high schools in the Springfield School District, making it one of the largest in the state.[16][17] The largest public high schools, by enrollment, are Thurston High School and Springfield High School. Pioneer Pacific College also has a campus in the Gateway area of Springfield.[18]

Notable people

Author Ken Kesey moved to Springfield at a young age, and graduated from Springfield High School before moving on to the nearby University of Oregon. After some years of wandering (described in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe), Ken bought a farm in nearby Pleasant Hill and remained a prominent local celebrity until his death in 2001.

In popular culture

The Simpsons

Matt Groening sent a plaque to the city of Springfield that stated, in part "Yo to Springfield, Oregon - the real Springfield."[19] Many fans of the TV show The Simpsons believed Springfield, Oregon as representative of the Springfield of the show, because Matt Groening is from Oregon (specifically Portland).

The city was voted on as one of the sixteen possible Springfields across the nation, and took third to host the premiere of The Simpsons Movie.[20]

See also


  1. ^ a b Palmer, Susan (December 7, 2010). "Lundberg selected Springfield mayor". The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.). http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/25637008-57/mayor-lundberg-council-springfield-vote.csp. Retrieved 8 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder: Oregon population". U.S. Census Bureau. http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=DEC_10_PL_GCTPL2.ST13&prodType=table. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Early History of Springfield, Oregon". City of Springfield. http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/history.htm. 
  6. ^ "Oregon to vote on plan to allow bias against gays. Conservative group forces a referendum". New York Times News Service. The Baltimore Sun. 1992-08-16. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1992-08-16/news/1992229021_1_homosexuals-oregon-mabon/2. Retrieved 2011-04-10. "The campaign was used successfully by Mr. Mabon's group in May, when the Oregon town of Springfield voted, by 55 percent to 45 percent, to become the nation's first municipality to include anti-gay language in its city charter." 
  7. ^ Neville, Paul (1995-04-13). "Appeals court deals setback to gay rights foes". Eugene Register-Guard (Eugene, Oregon): p. 1. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=zHAVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7eoDAAAAIBAJ&pg=2905,3081538. Retrieved 2011-04-10. "The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a state law Wednesday that bars cities and counties from enforcing anti-gay rights ordinances." 
  8. ^ http://www.uga.edu/fruit/hazelnut.html uga.edu
  9. ^ "Springfiled City Manager's Office". http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/dept_cmo.htm. 
  10. ^ a b "City Council and Wards". City of Springfield, Oregon. http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/council.htm. 
  11. ^ "SPD Website". http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/Police/home.html. 
  12. ^ "Springfield Fire and Life Safety Website". http://www.springfieldfire.org/. 
  13. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 216.
  14. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Oregon 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2007-41.csv. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  15. ^ "SPL Downtown City Hall.". http://www.ci.springfield.or.us/library/. 
  16. ^ "SPS". http://www.sps.lane.edu/1577101121196317/site/default.asp. 
  17. ^ "SPS- Homepage.". http://www.sps.lane.edu/sps/site/default.asp. 
  18. ^ "PPC". http://www.pioneerpacific.edu/. 
  19. ^ The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, USA
  20. ^ Staff Writer. "Springfields Vie For "Simpsons" Premiere." CBS News. March 9, 2007. Retrieved on March 9, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 44°03′11″N 122°59′28″W / 44.053064°N 122.991052°W / 44.053064; -122.991052

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