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The city of Dallas is the county seat of Polk County, Oregon, United States. The population was 14,583 at the 2010 census.
Dallas is along Rickreall Creek, about 15 miles (24 km) west of Salem, at an elevation of 325 feet (99 m) above sea level. It is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Dallas was settled in the 1840s on the north side of Rickreall Creek and was originally named "Cynthian" or "Cynthiana". A 1947 Itemizer-Observer article states: "[T]he town was called Cynthiana after Cynthiana, Ky., so named by Mrs. Thos. Lovelady." The History of Polk County Oregon, 1987, Page 12, states: "To Mrs. Thomas J. Lovelady was given the honor of naming the new settlement and she selected the name after her home town of Cynthiana, Kentucky."
Another source claims that the origin of the name may have been Jesse Applegate's wife, Cynthia Ann. However, she lived in the Salt Creek area of northern Polk County and, according to the 1850 Federal Census, had already left Polk County by 1850.
Dallas post office was established in 1852.
In 1856, the town was moved more than a mile south because of an inadequate supply of water.
Dallas was in competition with Independence to be the county seat and the citizens of Dallas raised $17,000 in order to have a branch of the narrow gauge railroad come to their town, thus securing the honor. The line was built from 1878–80. A more suitable name for a county seat was needed, and since George Mifflin Dallas was vice-president under James K. Polk, for whom the county was named, "Dallas" was a natural choice.
Dallas was incorporated as a town in 1874, and as a city in 1901.
Louis Gerlinger, Sr. incorporated the Salem, Falls City and Western Railway Company late in October 1901 and announced plans to build a railroad from the Willamette River at Salem to the mouth of the Siletz River on the Oregon Coast, a distance of 65 miles (105 km).
In 1902, Louis's son George T. Gerlinger organized a group of investors to build railroad lines in the area.
On May 29, 1903, the first train ran from Dallas to Falls City. At the end of June, passenger trains began regularly scheduled trips to and from Dallas and Falls City each day; the 9-mile (14 km), 40-minute, one-way trip cost 35 cents.
Willamette Industries was founded in Dallas in 1906. At that time the company name was Willamette Valley Lumber Company. Louis Gerlinger, Sr. was president of the new company and H.L. Pittock, vice president. George T. Gerlinger served as secretary and manager while F.W. Leadbetter was treasurer. George Cone served as director and mill superintendent. In 1967, Willamette Valley Lumber and several others merged to become Willamette Industries.
In March 2002, Willamette Industries was officially acquired by Weyerhaeuser Company in a hostile takeover. In early 2009, Weyerhaeuser's Mill formally closed down its Dallas operation.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.81 square miles (12.46 km2), all of it land.
The median income in 2000 for a household in the city was $35,967, and the median income for a family was $45,156. Males had a median income of $34,271 versus $22,941 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,734. About 7.8% of families and 9.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,583 people, 5,747 households, and 3,952 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,031.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,170.6/km2). There were 6,137 housing units at an average density of 1,275.9 per square mile (492.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.6% White, 0.2% African American, 2.0% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.6% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 5.9% of the population.
There were 5,747 households of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 31.2% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.
The median age in the city was 39.8 years. 25% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.3% were from 25 to 44; 24.8% were from 45 to 64; and 18.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.
The Polk County Itemizer-Observer is a weekly newspaper published in Dallas since 1875. KWIP, 880 AM, is the only radio station currently licensed to the city.
Dallas' only hospital is West Valley Hospital. Oregon Route 223 is the only state highway that serves the city.
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