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King City grew fastest; Wilsonville, Beaverton, Tigard expanded more than 1% in past year

PMG FILE PHOTO - While not the fastest-growing city in Oregon, Wilsnville has maintained steady gains in the last decade, often leading other metro cities. New population estimates from Portland State University show marked growth in Beaverton, Tigard and Wilsonville, amid changes across Washington County and the state of Oregon.

PSU's population research center released its annual report Friday, Nov. 15, and the preliminary results show strong growth in the tricounty region. Washington County saw its population increase by 1.2%, the highest rate in the region, from 2018 to 2019.

The study said Wilsonville is quick on the heels of its neighbor to the north, with 25,635 people to West Linn's 25,905. Wilsonville grew 1.5% from July 2018 to July 2019, gaining 385 new residents.

The city of Portland saw just 1% growth.

It estimated that Beaverton grew from a population of 97,000 last year to 98,255 as of July 1. That's a growth rate of 1.3%.

Tigard matched Beaverton's 1.3% growth rate, expanding from an estimated 52,785 last year to 53,450 this year, according to the PSU study.

Although it's still less than half Tigard's size, Wilsonville grew faster still, growing by 1.5% to a population of 25,635, the study estimated.

Sandwiched between Tigard and Wilsonville, the cities of Tualatin and Sherwood grew much more slowly from 2018 to 2019, according to the preliminary results. Both added under 100 people each, with Tualatin's population increasing to 27,135 and smaller Sherwood's population at 19,595.

The most dramatic growth in the region was in King City, which grew 13.2% as its population increased from an estimated 3,700 to 4,190 in just a year's time. Continued growth is expected in King City, where city leaders have plans to expand westward as far as Southwest Roy Rogers Road.

Outside the metro area perennial-grower Redmond experienced a 5% change from year-to-year. .

In Seaside, there was a 1% drop in population and tiny Vale in Eastern Oregon was walloped with a 4% drop. Both communties lost 75 residents in the past year.

Cornelius saw more modest growth but cracked 12,000 for the first time, growing by about 300 people to 12,225, according to the estimates.

Newcomers continued to flock to Oregon, according to the study, with the statewide population rising by more than 41,000 in the last year — and 400,000 in a decade.

Multnomah County added nearly 8,500 people between 2018 and 2019, while Washington County grew by about 7,100 and Clackamas County increased by almost 4,000. That's nearly half of the state's total growth.

Overall, the Beaver State is on track for 1% population growth this year, with the state's populace now topping 4.2 million. Portland itself attracted 8,360 out-of-towners, making the Rose City a bustling place filled with 657,100 folk.

"These estimates are based on fluctuations in the numbers of housing units, persons residing in group quarter facilities, births and deaths, students enrolled in public school, persons employed, Medicare enrollees, state and federal tax exemptions, Oregon driver license holders as well as other administrative data that are symptomatic of population change," the study noted.

The boomtown effect isn't felt everywhere equally. Shrinking rural counties include Wheeler, Wallowa, Union, Sherman, Lake, Harney and Grant, though the total lost citizenry for those counties was less than 200 people.

The PSU study indicated that 86% of the state's growth came from net migration, with the remainder thanks to new births.

Because of differences in methodology, PSU's estimates often vary from those produced by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Among other discrepancies, PSU has historically pegged the population of Hillsboro much lower than the Census Bureau, which estimated Hillsboro's population at 108,389 as of July 1, 2018.

PSU also has a lower estimate of Beaverton's population, which it estimated last year at 97,000, nearly 2,000 lower than the Census Bureau estimate of 98,962.

The estimates for Forest Grove are considerably closer, as Forest Grove's population was estimated by PSU at 24,125 and the Census Bureau at 24,624 as of July 1, 2018.

The Census Bureau has not yet released its own population estimates for 2019.

Whatever accounts for the differences in the numbers, there isn't too much longer to wait until we know the "official" population of Oregon, Washington County and local cities. The decennial census will be conducted next year, with results to be reported in late December 2020.

Proportional redistricting for congressional and legislative districts will be based on the 2020 Census. Oregon is widely expected to add a sixth congressional district, and as growth in Washington County and other parts of the Portland area continues to outstrip growth elsewhere in the Willamette Valley, the tricounty region is expected to gain more representation in Salem.

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