History and Geography of Forest Grove


Home to the Tualatin tribe, the site of Forest Grove was settled by pioneers in 1840. Pacific University was founded in 1849, making it one of the oldest educational institutions in the western United States. The City of Forest Grove was incorporated in 1872.

The City was named for a large grove of Oregon white oak situated on a knoll rising over the Tualatin Plains. Forest Grove has been designated a Tree City USA every year since 1990. Its community forest is noteworthy for its fine stands of white oak, its groves of Douglas fir and stately giant sequoia. Though not native to Oregon, giant sequoia seeds were brought into the area from California by pioneer John Porter over a century ago. The Oregon Department of Forestry has verified that Forest Grove contains the largest giant sequoia in Oregon. Located at the corner of Pacific Avenue and B Street, this tree is 32 feet in circumference, 152 feet high and has a crown averaging 70 feet in diameter.

According to the 2000 Census, Forest Grove's population is 17,709, an increase of 31% since 1990. Forest Grove is now the 26th largest city in Oregon. More local and regional Census data is available online.

Forest Grove is located at 45.520 degrees north latitude and 123.109 degrees west longitude.


A topographic map (128 K) of Forest Grove and vicinity.

Forest Grove is situated at the western margin of the fertile Tualatin Valley. While the downtown area is 210 feet above sea level, hills in the northwestern portion of the city rise to over 1,100 feet. The nearby Coast Range attains more than 3,000 feet and separates Forest Grove from the coastal city of Tillamook and its beaches, which are approximately one hour away. The vast Tillamook State Forest is less than a half-hour's drive west of town.

Mount Hood (11,237 feet), 65 miles east of Forest Grove, is visible from many parts of town on clear days. Other volcanic peaks in the Cascades, including Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams and Mt. Jefferson, can also be seen.

The floodplain of the Tualatin River south of Forest Grove includes the Fernhill Wetlands, a large wildlife refuge managed by the Fernhill Wetlands Management Council. The wetlands attract thousands of migratory birds and provide habitat for many species of mammals and other birds, including bald eagles. Gales Creek enters the Tualatin Valley at Forest Grove from its source in the Coast Range. Nearby Hagg Lake provides flood control, irrigation and recreation for a large area of Northwest Oregon.

Click for Forest Grove, Oregon Forecast


Due to its close proximity to the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean, Forest Grove enjoys a mild climate with few extremes of temperature. In January, the average daily maximum temperature is 45.0 degrees, with an average minimum of 32.4 degrees. In July, the average daily maximum is 82.2 degrees, with an average minimum of 51.8 degrees.

Annual precipitation in Forest Grove is 44.58 inches. In an average year, roughly half that precipitation falls during the period November 1-January 31st. January is the snowiest month with about 9 inches falling in a typical year. Spring begins early, with the first buds appearing by the beginning of March. July and August are usually the driest months, each averaging less than 1 inch of rain.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in Forest Grove was -18 degrees (-28 Celsius) in 1950. The highest recorded temperature was 109 degrees (43 Celsius) in 1956.

Photograph by M.J. O'Brien

Forest Grove and the neighboring communities of Cornelius, Banks,
Gaston and western Washington County are served by
GroveNet, the local telecommunications network.

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