Historic Orenco, Oregon

Orenco Walking Tour Map See all the Cultural Resources In Orenco, Oregon and take a self guided walk tour with this interactive map

The little town of Orenco, Oregon was platted in 1908 by Archibald McGill and Malcolm McDonald who were nurserymen from Canada.  The Oregon Nursery Company was the namesake for the town and 9 blocks were platted and built on the Bennett and Butler Donation Land Claims to the East of Hillsboro, Oregon.

Oregon Oregon History

The nursery took off and ramped up to be the biggest grower fruit trees and ornamentals in the USA,  shipping them world-wide.  The Company took care of the people who worked for them and had profit sharing and many benefits.  Homes were built for the workers, a general store, hospital, City hall, sheriff’s office, and Confectionary were among a few of the buildings built along bustling Alder Street.

In 1910 the Oregon Electric Railway began regular stops (6 times a day) at the new Orenco Station.   The people built a Church and a school (K-12) and the company employed up to 600 workers and farmed 1200 acres.  At the peak in the 1920s, the town of Orenco was booming and deemed by many as a utopia where people prospered in a true partnership with the company.

Oregon Electric Railway at Orenco

Oregon Electric Railway at Orenco

For a number of reasons (competition from outside countries and poor planning), the Oregon Nursery Company failed, leaving the town to struggle ahead without employment.  The town disincorporated and the company sold off its assets in the 1930s.  For decades Orenco hung on with many of the workers digging in and taking work where they could find it.  The train shut down in the 1930s as well and the community was forgotten to most of the world.

It was not until the 1990’s that the original energy and vigor returned to the community and so did the train as the MAX Light Rail came back.  Today (2020) Orenco and the surrounding area are the booming high-tech heart of the City of Hillsboro and the economic engine of the State of Oregon!   The spirit of the people never faltered and Orenco is still one of the most beautiful and friendliest places to live anywhere in the Unites States!  For more of a first-hand look on old Orenco, Oregon have a look at this video which will take you on a 5-minute travel through time!