Washington County and the Portland metropolitan area are nationally recognized as being among the most livable areas in the country. Located on the western edge of the Portland metropolitan area, Washington County is the second largest and fastest growing county in Oregon, with an approximate population of 560,460. The community is one of Oregon’s most ethnically diverse, drawing from Europe, Central and South America, Asia, the Pacific nations and Africa. Residents and institutions alike reflect a global perspective.
Washington County encompasses 727 square miles, with 12 incorporated cities including Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard and Tualatin, along with a large urban unincorporated population. Focused residential and industrial growth has enabled the county to preserve more than 80% of its agricultural and forestlands with the nationally acclaimed Urban Growth Boundary.
The community enjoys excellent schools, and a uniquely diverse array of cultural and recreational activities. With only an hour’s drive from the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains and a half-hour to downtown Portland, Washington County enjoys the benefits of a healthy urban and rural environment. Light rail and commuter rail links our cities, and vibrant station area communities are growing around them.
The county’s developed regions are home to traditional suburban and new-mixed use neighborhoods, electronics leaders such as Intel, IBM and Tektronix, major new biotech (Genentech) and solar energy (Solar World) plants, and world headquarters for both Nike and Columbia Sportswear. Intel’s investment in Washington County exceeds that of any Intel site worldwide. Outside the Urban Growth Boundary, the county transitions to nurseries, wineries and other farm and forest enterprises.
Washington County is one of just nine Oregon counties operating under home rule charter. The Charter provides the county with the authority to design an organized structure that effectively responds to community needs. It establishes a Council-Manager form of government, with a five-member Board of Commissioners assuming the legislative role.
The Board Chair serves on a full-time basis and is elected at-large. The remaining four commissioners are elected by district voters and serve on a part-time basis. The Board appoints the County Administrator who is responsible for providing staff support to the Board and overseeing daily operations. In addition to the Department of Support Services (HR, IT, Finance, Facilities/Parks, Fleet), County offices and departments include: the Sheriff’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Housing Services, Health and Human Services, County Counsel, Juvenile Services, Land Use & Transportation, County Auditor, Cooperative Library Services and Assessment & Taxation. The Sheriff, District Attorney and Auditor are elected department head positions. County Counsel, like the County Administrator, is appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
Approximately 2,000 employees enjoy a collaborative culture and work-life balance. Working within our local government agency provides daily opportunities to serve, build and sustain communities now and into the future.