Entrance to Boring on Oregon Route 212
|Motto: "The most exciting place to live."|
|Time zone||Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|Area code(s)||503 and 971|
Boring is an unincorporated community located in Clackamas County, Oregon, United States. A part of the Portland metropolitan area, the town is located along Oregon Route 212, approximately eight miles (13 km) south of Gresham and about the same distance from Clackamas, both suburbs of Portland. The town is located twelve miles (19 km) southeast of downtown Portland.
Named after William Harrison Boring, a farmer who settled the area in 1856, Boring was officially founded as a railroad town in 1903 after the Portland Railway, Light and Power Company constructed a line to the area. The former railway is now part of the Springwater Corridor, a rail trail which begins in Boring and ends at the Eastbank Esplanade along the Willamette River in southeast Portland. After the town's establishment, it became a major logging community prior to and during World War I due to the abundance of timber in the area. In addition to logging, plant nurseries and agriculture have also historically been major economic forces in the town.
The land on which Boring was built was a former lava field. The Boring Lava Field, which takes its namesake from the town, is located just north of Boring. There are approximately 80 lava vents across the area, remnants of the volcanic activity that occurred there roughly 2.6 million years ago. The lava field extends across surrounding Portland and Vancouver, Washington, though the volcanic centers are extinct. The land that would later become Boring had no known inhabitants, though the Clackamas Tribe had a camp located south of Boring, near present-day Oregon City, along the Willamette River. By 1855, the remaining members of the tribe had relocated to the Grand Ronde.
Settlers began to arrive in the Oregon Territory in mid-1800s, after the establishment of Portland. Boring was named after William H. Boring, an early resident of the area who began farming there in 1856. Boring was a Union veteran who had moved out to Oregon after the Civil War. Boring died in 1932 at the age of 91 and was buried beside his wife Sarah in Damascus Pioneer Cemetery.
Boring was platted in 1903 as "Boring Junction". The post office was established and named "Boring" the same year, and the builders of the interurban railway adopted Boring as the name of the community. An electric trolley operated on the railroad line to Portland, Oregon and Gresham, which began boarding passengers in 1905. The electric trolley severely cut travel time to and from the city; horse and buggy travel from Boring to Portland took an average of six hours, while a trip to Portland via the trolley system took only one hour. Though younger students in the area attended a local school built on Richey Road, high school students in Boring commuted via trolley to Gresham and Portland to attend high schools there. After World War II and the prominence of automobile ownership, the trolley ceased passenger operations to Portland, but continued to travel between Boring and Gresham. The railway went defunct in the following years, and was incorporated as part of the Springwater Corridor, a rail trail that begins in Boring and ends at the Eastbank Esplanade in downtown Portland.
In 2005, citizens of Boring applied to become one of the first legally recognized villages in Oregon. However, after many months of polarizing debate on the village issue, residents narrowly defeated the village designation in a town hall referendum in August 2006, with 293 votes in favor and 298 against.
The unusual name of the town often prompts its inclusion on lists of unusual place names. The name "Boring" is embraced by locals, however, and found in many local businesses, resulting in many road signs that seem humorous to outsiders. Boosters of the village designation use the slogan "The most exciting place to live."
In June 2012, in a play on the town's name, the Boring Community Planning Organization voted to "pair" with Dull, Scotland, for the purpose of promoting tourism in both towns. Dull is a tiny village of only 84 residents, while Boring has about 8,000. In 2013, a farm community and former gold prospecting site Bland Shire in West Wyalong, New South Wales, Australia was added to the mix to create not a "twinned town" relationship but a "League of Extraordinary Communities" grouping Dull, Boring and Bland as a means of encouraging travel, promoting all three communities.
After its inception as a railroad town, Boring was a hub for the timber industry in the Northwest, beginning in the pre-World War I era and continuing throughout much of the 20th century. One of the first mills established in Boring was the Hillyard Sawmill, which began operating in the 1890s; the mill produced over 30,000 feet (9,100 m) of lumber per day, mostly consisting of railroad ties. Bert Jonsrud, an early resident of the area, would later establish the Jonsrud Bros. Lumber Company, which would become the main lumber mill in the town. In a 1915 survey of timber and logging camps in the Pacific Northwest, it was reported that Jonsrud mill was producing 20,000 feet (6,100 m) of lumber per day.
The Portland Traction Company, a now-defunct railroad, operated a rail line from Portland (near the current location of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) on the Willamette River) to Boring via Gresham. In the 1950s, the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads jointly took over operation of the remaining portion of the line for freight operations. Much of the line has since been purchased by local governments for the creation of a long-distance rail trail named the Springwater Corridor.
The community is also home to a large number of plant nurseries and berry farms, including Iseli Nursery, and Liepold Farms, who supplies produce to the local restaurant chain Burgerville.
The town was also home to Wescott's, builder of fiberglass reproduction bodies for custom cars, but that shop is officially in the city of Damascus now that there are official city limits. The town is home of a campus of Guide Dogs For The Blind, Inc., the oldest guide dog training program on the US west coast.
Pendarvis Farm, a local farm between Boring and Happy Valley, hosts an annual music festival called Pickathon, featuring independent musicians from around the country. Liepold Farms holds an annual fall festival and corn maze that runs each October and the town also holds an annual Christmas tree lighting.
In 2013, the town was home to an event hosted by Vitaminwater, in a series in which the company gave Boring and the town of Normal, Illinois, "makeovers". The event featured musical performances by Santigold, Matt & Kim, and Yung Skeeter, as well as standup comedy performances which included Amy Schumer.
Pairing with Dull, Scotland
Elizabeth Leighton of Aberfeldy, Scotland, proposed the town's pairing with the village of Dull, Scotland, while passing through Boring on a cycling holiday. In June 2012, Boring accepted the proposal of Dull to "pair" their municipalities, in an effort to promote tourism in both places as a play on their names. The Boring Community Planning Organization issued commemorative "Boring & Dull: a pair for the ages" T-shirts and mugs, as well as raffling off a trip to Dull, Scotland. However, the Boring CPO will not be attempting to get the pairing recognised by Sister Cities International.
After their pairing, August 9 was declared by the State of Oregon as "Boring and Dull Day" across the state. In 2013, the rural Australian town of Bland also twinned with the two cities, as a lighthearted way to embrace the community's name.
The town is served by the Oregon Trail School District, and is home to Naas Elementary School, Cottrell Elementary School, and Boring Middle School. Private schools in the area include Good Shepherd School and Hoodview Junior Academy.
The first schoolhouse built in Boring was the Fern Hill School, built in 1883. Later, a four-room school house called Oregonia was built in 1904. A 40-by-60-foot play shed was added to the school in 1918.
The Springwater Corridor, a rail trail that was originally a railroad running between Boring and Portland, begins in Boring next to Boring Middle School, and is used for running, walking, and cycling. The trail ends at the Eastbank Esplanade in downtown Portland.
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