Silverton, Oregon

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Silverton, Oregon
East Main Street in downtown Silverton
East Main Street in downtown Silverton
Nickname(s): Gateway to Silver Falls
Motto: Oregon's Garden City
Location in Oregon
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 45°0′24″N 122°46′57″W / 45.00667°N 122.78250°W / 45.00667; -122.78250Coordinates: 45°0′24″N 122°46′57″W / 45.00667°N 122.78250°W / 45.00667; -122.78250
Country United States
State Oregon
County Marion
Incorporated 1885
 • Mayor Stu Rasmussen
 • Total 3.47 sq mi (8.99 km2)
 • Land 3.43 sq mi (8.88 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
Elevation 252 ft (76.8 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 9,222
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 9,344
 • Density 2,688.6/sq mi (1,038.1/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97381
Area code(s) 503
FIPS code 41-67650[4]
GNIS feature ID 1126975[5]

Silverton is a city in Marion County, Oregon, United States, along the 45th parallel. The population was 9,222 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Silverton is located on the eastern edge of the Willamette Valley, at the base of the Waldo Hills, which are foothills of the Cascade Range. Unlike most small communities founded in Western Oregon during the second half of the nineteenth century[citation needed], Silverton was laid out largely around its local environment. Instead of the rigid north-south grid of the township and range system, Polly Coon Price[6] founded the town in 1854 by situating the town square around a large old Oregon White Oak. She named the town Silverton after Silver Creek, which flowed several hundred yards to the west of the oak. The oak tree had been a meeting spot along the Santiam Trail[clarification needed] for the local Native Americans.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.47 square miles (8.99 km2), of which, 3.43 square miles (8.88 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.[1]


As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $38,429, and the median income for a family was $46,196. Males had a median income of $34,707 versus $24,479 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,062. About 10.4% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 9,222 people, 3,452 households, and 2,442 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,688.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,038.1 /km2). There were 3,677 housing units at an average density of 1,072.0 per square mile (413.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.0% White, 0.3% African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.9% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.3% of the population.

There were 3,452 households of which 37.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.3% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.15.

The median age in the city was 35.8 years. 28.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.7% were from 25 to 44; 26% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.6% male and 52.4% female.


Silverton is the population core of the Silver Falls School District. In 1994, voters passed a bond levy for construction of Phase I of a two-phase project to build a new high school. The new Silverton High School was constructed on Pine Street. It was completed in 1997, with a capacity for approximately 500 students. The bond levy for Phase II, failed, however, leaving the Silver Falls School District with two high school campuses. As of 1997, the roughly 350 freshmen attended the new campus, and were routinely bused to the old campus for some higher level classes and electives. As of November 2006, a new bond levy passed and Phase II of the high school was slated to begin. The second phase was completed in the summer of 2009, and in the fall of 2009 the old campus moved into the new campus. All of the students are now in the same building together.

Points of interest[edit]

A frog kite hangs from the ceiling of O'Briens, a coffee house on Water Street

Silverton is the gateway to Silver Falls State Park, Oregon's largest state park. It is also the home of the Oregon Garden, an 80 acre (320,000 m²) botanical park. Located next door to the Oregon Garden is the Gordon House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed home open to the public in the Pacific Northwest. Each summer, Silvertonians celebrate their most famous citizen in the Homer Davenport Community Festival and parade. Also notable is the farmers market on Saturdays where local farmers and artisans sell their wares. The first bank robbery and chase scene in the movie Bandits (starring Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton) was filmed in Silverton.[7]

The Palace Theater in the Silverton 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.[8] One of the current co-owners of the theater is the mayor, Stu Rasmussen, the first openly transgender mayor in the United States.[9]

Killing of Andrew Hanlon[edit]

In June 2008, Silverton came to international attention when an unarmed Irish citizen, Andrew James (AJ) Hanlon (20), was killed by a police officer, Tony Gonzalez, in controversial circumstances.[10][11][12][13][14] Gonzalez, who was responding to a reported disturbance of the peace, shot the unarmed Hanlon five times, although Hanlon's sister recalled seeing seven bullets in her brother's body.[15] The death, the first in Silverton in twenty years,[13] was greeted with shock there as well as in Ireland, particularly when it emerged that Hanlon had been experiencing psychological issues and had most probably gotten lost on his way home to his sister's house in Silverton.[11][16] Complaints were made by Hanlon's family that it took six hours for the police to inform his sister of her brother's death, despite her living only a mile away,[17] and questions were asked why the police had not used a tazer, which was available to them.[13] Requests for transparency were greeted by obfuscation and secrecy and claims that, in Andrew Hanlon's mother's words, the city's establishment "had closed ranks on" the Hanlon family to protect Gonzalez.[13][18] while the Consulate in San Francisco of the Government of Ireland registered concern over the killing.[17] Protests outside Silverton City Hall were also ignored.[19] On 24 July 2008, a Silverton grand jury found that because Gonzalez had testified that he believed that Andrew James Hanlon was armed, his killing was justified.[20] Eight days later, on August 1, 2008, and just over a month after Andrew was killed on the 30th of June, Gonzalez resigned from Silverton's police department. He had been arrested in July and charged with child abuse.[21] On December 7, 2008, Gonzalez was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months imprisonment when he pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a teenage girl.[22]

Notable people[edit]


This region experiences warm (but not hot) and dry summers, with no average monthly temperatures above 71.6 °F. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Silverton has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csb" on climate maps.[25]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-02. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ McEachern, Phillip D. Silverton: Evolution of an Oregon Town, 1989. University of Oregon Press.
  7. ^ "Bandits (2001) filming locations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 26, 2007. 
  8. ^ "Will the show go on after Silverton theater fire?". Statesman Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Palace Theater - Fire Damage Report". Palace Theater. Retrieved April 13, 2012. 
  10. ^ 'Irishman's killing spurs uproar abroad' (The Oregonian, 5 July 2008)
  11. ^ a b 'Family wants answers after US shooting (RTÉ,3 July 2008)
  12. ^ 'Inquest hears Dublin shot by police was unarmed (19 March 2009)
  13. ^ a b c d 'Irishman shot dead by US police'
  14. ^ 'Andrew Hanlon: gunned down by an American cop'
  15. ^ 'Andrew Hanlon shot seven times by US police'
  16. ^ 'Andrew Hanlon: gunned down by an American cop (Bock the Robber, 3 July 2008)
  17. ^ a b 'Cops kill Irishman in Oregon' (IrishAbroad, 10 July 2008)
  18. ^ 'Irishman's killing spurs uproar abroad' (The Oregonian, 5 July 2008)
  19. ^ 'Almost 100 protest deadly police shooting' (The Oregonian, 3 July 2008)
  20. ^ 'Grand jury: Silverton police officer justified in shooting death' (The Oregonian, 24 July 2008)
  21. ^ 'US officer who killed Dubliner arrested'(Irish Examiner,(14 July 2008)
  22. ^ 'Former Silverton cop pleads guilty to sex abuse' (, 9 December 2008)
  23. ^ "Teacher's video on global warming a hit online", Newhouse News Service via Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 20, 2007 (accessed June 21, 2009)
  24. ^ Penning, Jack (November 7, 2008). "Transgender man elected mayor of Silverton". KGW (Portland, Oregon: Belo Corp). Retrieved November 7, 2008. [dead link]
  25. ^ Climate Summary for Silverton, Oregon

External links[edit]