Milwaukie, Oregon
Exterior of Milwaukie City Hall, 2009
Exterior of Milwaukie City Hall, 2009
The Dogwood City of the West
Location in Oregon
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 45°26′46″N 122°38′21″W / 45.44611°N 122.63917°W / 45.44611; -122.63917Coordinates: 45°26′46″N 122°38′21″W / 45.44611°N 122.63917°W / 45.44611; -122.63917
CountryUnited States
CountiesClackamas, Multnomah
Founded byLot Whitcomb
Named forMilwaukee, Wisconsin
 • TypeMayor-council government
 • MayorMark Gamba
 • Total5.14 sq mi (13.32 km2)
 • Land4.98 sq mi (12.91 km2)
 • Water0.16 sq mi (0.41 km2)
43 ft (13 m)
 • Total21,119
 • Density4,237.36/sq mi (1,636.14/km2)
Time zoneUTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−7 (Pacific)
ZIP codes
97222, 97267, 97269
Area code(s)503 and 971
FIPS code41-48650[2]
GNIS feature ID1166682[3]

Milwaukie /mɪlˈwɔːki/ is a city mostly in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States; a very small portion of the city extends into Multnomah County.[4] The population was 20,291 at the 2010 census. Founded in 1847 on the banks of the Willamette River, the city, known as the Dogwood City of the West, was incorporated in 1903 and is the birthplace of the Bing cherry. The city is now a suburb of Portland and also adjoins the unincorporated areas of Clackamas and Oak Grove.


Lot Whitcomb
Lot Whitcomb

Milwaukie was settled in 1847 and formally platted in 1849 as a rival to the upriver Oregon City by Lot Whitcomb, who named it for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. At the time, the Wisconsin city was also frequently spelled "Milwaukie" before the current spelling was adopted.[5] Some accounts also state that the Oregon city used an alternate spelling to prevent confusion at the post office.[6]

Whitcomb arrived in Oregon in 1848 and settled on a donation land claim, where he built a sawmill and a gristmill.[7] Milwaukie rivaled Portland and Oregon City for a time, but Portland eventually became the bigger city because it had a deeper port.[7] The first post office at Milwaukie was established in 1850, with Whitcomb as the first postmaster.[5] The community was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on February 4, 1903, originally as the Town of Milwaukie.[8]

The Oregon and California Railroad named their station there Milwaukee in 1870 and corrected it to Milwaukie in 1892.[5] As the city center grew further from the railroad and a branch line was built across the Willamette to Oswego, Milwaukie station was replaced and renamed Lambert for Joseph H. Lambert, a pioneer orchardist who developed the Lambert cherry.[5] The name of the station was changed to East Milwaukee in 1913 and corrected to East Milwaukie in 1916.[5]

The Bing cherry, among other varieties, was developed in Milwaukie by Ah Bing, an orchard foreman employed by Seth Lewelling. A mural in the city commemorates Mr. Bing's accomplishment.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.85 square miles (12.56 km2), of which 4.82 square miles (12.48 km2) is land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is water.[9] Parks include Dogwood Park, Elk Rock Island, Kronberg Park, Milwaukie Riverfront Park, and Spring Park.


2010 census

Historical population
Census Pop.

As of the census of 2010, there were 20,291 people, 8,667 households, and 5,075 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,209.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,625.4/km2). There were 9,138 housing units at an average density of 1,895.9 per square mile (732.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.5% White, 1.3% African American, 1.3% Native American, 2.5% Asian, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.0% of the population.[2]

There were 8,667 households, of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no spouse present, 5.2% had a male householder with no spouse present, and 41.4% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.91.[2]

The median age in the city was 39.9 years. 20.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.8% were from 25 to 44; 29.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.[2]

An LDS Church meetinghouse in Milwaukie
An LDS Church meetinghouse in Milwaukie


Dark Horse Comics headquarters
Dark Horse Comics headquarters

Currently, the downtown area of Milwaukie is undergoing a revival in which new apartments and retail space are under construction and a riverfront park is being developed.[14]

A street in the Lewelling neighborhood
A street in the Lewelling neighborhood

Milwaukie is the home of Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse is known for publishing works including Sin City, the character Hellboy, and the original graphic novel series 300, as well for producing dozens of films and television series, including The Mask and Timecop, based on characters created by Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson. The total office space of Dark Horse Comics occupies three city blocks in downtown Milwaukie, sporting numerous display windows visible to transit riders.[15]

Bob's Red Mill is located here and employs a few hundred people.[16][17]


In 2015–2016, Milwaukie saw a boom in real estate. It was named the ninth hottest real estate market in 2016 by[18] A big draw to the city was noticed right after the Orange Line from TriMet finished in 2015. A $1.4 billion project connecting the close-in suburb right to the heart of downtown Portland. A year into the new Orange Line, pricing for homes raised up 12.2% and city officials said there are zero vacancies for retail storefronts in Milwaukie's downtown area.[19] In addition to the new Orange Line, Milwaukie finished a $2.2 million project to the city's waterfront park. The city had a grand opening on May 1, 2015.[20]

Top employers

According to Milwaukie's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[21] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Unified Grocers 630
2 PCC Structurals 500
3 RM International 500
4 North Clackamas School District 385
5 Meggitt OECO 425
6 Safeway 280
7 Warn Industries 250
8 Sabin-Schellenberg Center 200
9 Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette 200
10 Marquis Companies 200


Milwaukie High School entrance

Milwaukie is served by the North Clackamas School District and most children attend one of ten public elementary schools, Alder Creek Middle School or Wilbur Rowe Middle School, depending on area of residence, Rex Putnam High School, Milwaukie High School for regular high school education, and New Urban High School for alternative education. Since 1996, Milwaukie High School has annually hosted the nationally recognized[22] Living History Day. On this day thousands of veterans are welcomed into the school to help educate students about the past.

There is also a private Catholic high school, La Salle High School, named after St. Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, and the Portland Waldorf School, a private Waldorf school, which serves grades K–12.

The city is home to the Ledding Library, a public library that is part of the Library Information Network of Clackamas County.

The city has one college campus, Clackamas Community College Harmony.[23]


Public transit


Milwaukie/Main Street station, 2019

Milwaukie is within the TriMet transit district and is served by several TriMet bus lines.[24] TriMet established a transit center in downtown Milwaukie in 1981,[25] served by as many as 12 routes (as of 2000),[26] using on-street stops around the intersection of Jackson Street and 21st Avenue, next to Milwaukie City Hall. Since 2010, the bus stops that previously comprised Milwaukie TC are no longer designated as a "transit center" by TriMet. In fall 2015, the focal point for rider transfers between routes shifted southward from the former transit-center location, with the opening of a new light rail station at the south end of downtown.

TriMet's MAX Light Rail service was extended to Milwaukie on September 12, 2015.[27] Construction of the MAX Orange Line, a light-rail connection between Portland and Milwaukie, began in 2011.[28][29] Although this project had been planned for many years, it faced strong opposition by opponents of "Portland Creep";[30] in September 2012, opponents succeeded in passing a ballot initiative requiring that all Clackamas County spending on light rail be directly approved by the voters.[31] The 7.3-mile (11.7 km) line was sufficiently complete by May 15, 2015, for 500 passengers to make an initial special run along its whole length.[32] Regular passenger service began four months later.[27]


Streetcars began serving Milwaukie in August 1892, when the East Side Railway Company extended its service beyond the then-town of Sellwood.[33] The company built a carbarn and workshop in downtown Milwaukie, on Jackson Street at River Road (now McLoughlin Blvd. at that location), which opened in December 1892.[34] The following year, the company extended its line to Oregon City, and interurban service between Portland and Oregon City via Milwaukie began operating.[33][34] During the several decades after 1900, a succession of other private companies, including the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company, operated the streetcar and interurban service to and through the town.[33] All interurban service was discontinued in January 1958.[33][35] At the time, the Portland–Milwaukie–Oregon City and Portland–Sellwood–Bellrose lines had been the last streetcar or interurban service operating in the Portland metropolitan area, and not until 1986 did interurban service return—in the form of MAX (light rail) between Portland and Gresham.[35] Oregon Motor Stages, Inc., had provided some bus service through Milwaukie until 1954, when it abruptly ceased all operation.[36] Replacement transit-bus service was introduced in 1955 by Intercity Buses, Inc.,[37] a member of a consortium of four bus companies collectively known as the "Blue Bus" lines, and Intercity expanded its service after the 1958 abandonment of the rail service.[38] TriMet, a new government-owned public transit authority, was established in 1969, and in September 1970 it took over all of the "Blue Bus" companies.[39][40] TriMet has been the primary provider of transit service in Milwaukie since that time.

Former Amtrak service

See also: East Milwaukie station

Amtrak passenger trains pass through Milwaukie without stopping. However, for a brief period in the early 1980s an experimental Amtrak service named the Willamette Valley Express made a regular stop in Milwaukie,[41] just east of the intersection of Harrison Street and Highway 224 (a location Amtrak referred to as East Milwaukie). The service, which ran twice a day in each direction and connected Portland with Eugene, was introduced on a trial basis in August 1980 and discontinued at the end of 1981.[42]


Federal and state government

In the United States House of Representatives, Milwaukie is in Oregon's 5th congressional district represented by Conservative Democrat Kurt Schrader.

In the Oregon Legislative Assembly, Milwaukie is in the 21st Senate district, represented by Democrat Kathleen Taylor, and in 41st House district, represented by Democrat Karin Power.

City government

The Mayor and City Council are elected at-large for four-year terms.

Office Name Neighborhood Party
  Mayor Mark Gamba Historic Milwaukie/Downtown Democratic
  City Council, Position 1 Angel Falconer Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Democratic
  City Council, Position 2 Lisa Batey Island Station Democratic
  City Council, Position 3 Desi Nicodemus Ardenwald-Johnson Creek Democratic
  City Council, Position 4 Kathy Hyzy Island Station Democratic

List of mayors

Main article: List of mayors of Milwaukie, Oregon

Current mayor Mark Gamba took office on May 19, 2015, previously serving on the Milwaukie City Council.[43][44]

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ House, Kelly (November 4, 2013). "Multnomah County Election: District Boundary Quirks Put Hillsboro Measure on Ballot". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 5, 2013.
  5. ^ a b c d e McArthur, Lewis A.; Lewis L. McArthur (2003) [1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (Seventh ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. pp. 557, 648. ISBN 0-87595-277-1.
  6. ^ "City Facts & Trivia". City of Milwaukie. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cogswell, Philip Jr. (1977). Capitol Names: Individuals Woven Into Oregon's History. Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society. pp. 113–115.
  8. ^ Whitney, J. R. (1905). The Special Laws of the State of Oregon Enacted by The Twenty-third Legislative Assembly Regular Session. Salem, Oregon: State Printer. p. 1.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "Population-Oregon" (PDF). U.S. Census 1910. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "Population-Oregon" (PDF). 15th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
  12. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Oregon" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  13. ^ "Oregon: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  14. ^ "Milwaukie is Poised for Growth". Archived from the original on May 17, 2009. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  15. ^ Boucher, Geoff (May 19, 2008). "Welcome to Milwaukie, Ore., Hellboy's Hometown". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 1, 2009.
  16. ^ "Meet Bob & Charlee". Bob's Red Mill. Retrieved September 17, 2019.
  17. ^ Sahadi, Jeanne (February 14, 2020). "Bob's Red Mill founder is still working in his 90s and loving it". MSN. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  18. ^ Vivas, Javier (September 22, 2016). " Ranks the Hottest ZIP Codes for 2016". Economic Research. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  19. ^ Njus, Elliot (October 7, 2016). "Milwaukie basks in MAX Orange Line's economic glow". oregonlive. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  20. ^ "Milwaukie Riverfront Park | City of Milwaukie Oregon Official Website". Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  21. ^ "City of Milwaukie, Oregon, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2012" (PDF). City of Milwaukie. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 4, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  22. ^ "Living History Day: Milwaukie High School". The Virtual Schoolhouse.
  23. ^ "Clackamas Community College Online Application".
  24. ^ "TriMet".
  25. ^ Oliver, Gordon (June 14, 1981). "Two new [bus] lines begin Milwaukie service". The Oregonian (Clackamas County edition), p. B2.
  26. ^ "Milwaukie Transit Center [with map]". TriMet. 2000. Archived from the original on August 23, 2000. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  27. ^ a b Njus, Elliot (September 12, 2015). "The wait's over: TriMet's Orange Line, Tilikum Crossing up and running". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 18, 2015.
  28. ^ Rose, Joseph (June 29, 2011). "Construction begins on new light-rail bridge in Portland that will go up 'piece by piece'". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  29. ^ "Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. June 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2015.
  30. ^ "Checkpoint Clackamas! Keeping Portland Out—to Let More Republicans In?". Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  31. ^ "Clackamas County anti-rail measure passes comfortably; effect could resonate for decades". September 19, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  32. ^ Tomlinson, Stuart (May 15, 2015). "Kate Brown, 500 Others Are First Passengers on MAX's New Orange Line". The Oregonian. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  33. ^ a b c d Labbe, John T. (1980). Fares, Please! Those Portland Trolley Years. Caldwell, Idaho (US): The Caxton Printers. p. 100. ISBN 0-87004-287-4.
  34. ^ a b Thompson, Richard (2012). Portland's Interurban Railway. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 25, 27. ISBN 978-0-7385-9617-4.
  35. ^ a b Thompson, Richard (2006). Portland's Streetcars. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 114, 121, 123. ISBN 0-7385-3115-4.
  36. ^ "Oswego Fete Due Bus Line: Regular Service Set Next Monday". (February 3, 1955). The Oregonian, p. 8.
  37. ^ "Bus Service To Start Soon" [regarding Intercity Buses]. (January 20, 1955). The Oregonian, p. 9.
  38. ^ "Runs Started by Intercity". (April 7, 1959). The Oregonian, p. 11.
  39. ^ "Tri-Met Takes Over Operation Of Blue Buses, Finds Rolling Stock In Bad Condition". (September 9, 1970). The Oregonian, p. 9.
  40. ^ Ruble, Web (February 25, 1973). "Transit was created because it had to be". The Sunday Oregonian, p. F1.
  41. ^ "First run for train". The Bulletin. August 4, 1980. p. 11.
  42. ^ Erickson, Steve (January 1, 1982). "Valley Express fades into history". The Oregonian. p. C1.
  43. ^ "Mayor Gamba". Archived from the original on January 26, 2016.
  44. ^ Rendleman, Raymond (March 11, 2015). "Mark Gamba only candidate for Milwaukie mayor in special election". Portland Tribune. Oregon. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  45. ^ "Child's Play: Living Out a Dream - bowler Dave Husted". Bowling Digest. December 2000. Archived from the original on August 6, 2005. Retrieved September 15, 2010.
  46. ^ "Daredevil Flier Dorothy Stenzel". Seattle Times. March 13, 1991.