Gaston, Oregon

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Gaston, Oregon
settlement_type = City
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


imagesize =
image_caption =


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location in Oregon

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Oregon
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Washington
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Rick Lorenz
established_title = Incorporated
established_date = 1914
area_magnitude =
area_total_sq_mi = 0.2
area_total_km2 = 0.6
area_land_sq_mi = 0.2
area_land_km2 = 0.6
area_water_sq_mi = 0
area_water_km2 = 0
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_urban_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
population_as_of = 2006
population_note =
population_total = 630
population_metro =
population_urban =
population_density_km2 = 1053.0
population_density_sq_mi = 2691.7
timezone = Pacific
utc_offset = -8
timezone_DST = Pacific
utc_offset_DST = -7
latd = 45 |latm = 26 |lats = 11 |latNS = N
longd = 123 |longm = 8 |longs = 29 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 91.4
elevation_ft = 300
website =
postal_code_type = ZIP code
postal_code = 97119
area_code = 503
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 41-28100GR|2
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1157988GR|3
footnotes =

Gaston is a city in Washington County, Oregon, United States. The population was 600 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimate is 630 residents. [ PSU:Population Research Center] ]


Gaston is located at coor dms|45|26|11|N|123|8|29|W|city (45.436337, -123.141501).GR|1

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of convert|0.6|km2|sqmi|1|sp=us, all land.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 600 people, 196 households, and 139 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,691.7 people per square mile (1,053.0/km²). There were 204 housing units at an average density of 915.2/sq mi (358.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.33% White, 0.83% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 7.00% from other races, and 3.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.50% of the population.

There were 196 households out of which 44.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 14.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.73.

In the city the population was spread out with 37.7% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 4.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,458, and the median income for a family was $42,031. Males had a median income of $31,641 versus $25,833 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,758. About 9.8% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.3% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


Early history

Prior to the arrival of European immigrants in the 1800s, little is known about Native American settlements in the Gaston area. What is known indicates that Native Americans in the area lived similarly to other Pacific Northwest tribes. In nearby Cherry Grove there are a few petroglyphs usually credited to the Atfalati tribe, which is a division of Kalapuya. Like many other indigenous peoples in North America, it is thought as many as 90% of the local population were killed by smallpox, malaria, influenza or other European diseases even before the area began to feel the presence of significant European settlement.


In the 1860s, the census recorded only about 70 people in the Gaston area. Nonetheless, in 1866, the first Gaston School was founded. In 1870, a new school was built near the connecting road between Old Highway 47 and the new Highway 47. Initially students only attended school for 3-6 months per year, later expanded to 9 months. In 1871, as a stage coach line brought more settlers, and in anticipation of a new rail line, railroad developer and town namesake Joseph Gaston set aside convert|2|acre|km2|2 of land on what was then the edge of town for a school.

Rail services

In the early 1870s, stagecoach and rail service was expanding rapidly in Washington County. By 1872, a stop on the Portland-St. Joseph line in Patton Valley was officially named Gaston. With a train stop, more people came and by 1873 a post office opened in the new town. The same year, the first church, Gaston Congregational Church, was also built. In the 1880s, Joseph Gaston was responsible for draining Wapato Lake, which lay in the valley around the rail stop, creating the farmland that exists today. "Wapato" is a word from the local Indians that refers to a water-based starchy root vegetable related to arrowroot sometimes called a "water potato" in local English.

1900 to present

The addition of a spur line to the nearby Cherry Grove area for the construction of a lumber mill in 1911 added significant activity to the local economy, although it had to be shut in 1913 during a lumber market crash. The crash of 1913 notwithstanding, by 1916 Gaston had added a bank, J.H. Wescott and Sons General Merchandise, Bell & Owens General Merchantile Company, and other businesses.

New high school

In 1915 a new high school was built on the land Joseph Gaston had previously set aside for a school. That high school was in use through the 1986-1987 school year, when it was condemned. The condemning of the building became a crucial local issue for the town, with residents split between merging with a nearby district (both Forest Grove or Yamhill were considered), and building a new high school. In the end, a new high school was built and Gaston retained its independent school system and with it a degree of local pride. Currently the Gaston School District is a full K-12 district, with 525 students total in 2007.

Modern expansion

The growing popularity of Portland and the Pacific Northwest in general has led to population growth throughout the region. Though too far from Portland to benefit much at first, recently Gaston has started to see new housing and an uptick in school registrations. The late 1980s brought a new fire station and the 1990s baseball/softball-oriented park. Just after 2000, a new post office was built on the edge of town. Thus far, the town has not been able to effectively capitalize on the local wine industry's growing national and international recognition. In 2006, the mayoral candidate advocated obtaining state or federal funding to revitalize the commercial strip on Main Street which, in theory, could help the city capture some of the wine tourism dollars.


External links

* [ Oregon Blue Book entry for Gaston]
* [ History Summary by Gaston High School]

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