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Settlement Patterns

In the town of Stayton, the post office contains a mural showing a logging truck next to a man fly-fishing in a pristine lake. The logging truck is a regional symbol—the town itself has never been strongly oriented to timber except in its very early years. However, the image seems to capture the transition from the old to the new in this area—from timber and a workingman, outdoor orientation to hosting recreation visitors. “It’s a farming town,” one woman told us, reflecting the historical roots of the community. Now, the sentiment of local residents is that it’s a “bedroom community.” Others described the blue collar nature of the workforce, and the rapidly urbanizing population. All of these images express the reality of Stayton and Sublimity.

Stayton got its start when entrepreneurs from Salem began the Salem Ditch Diversion in 1857 to power a woolen mill located near Front Street in Salem. Drury Stayton, a homesteader living near Sublimity, bought acreage between the Santiam and the Willamette Rivers, recognizing that the diversion ditches could power an assortment of mills. The first was a wool-carding mill in 1868. The sawmill was built in 1870. Eventually, about 10 small water- powered mills were operating. It was truly a market town, with the first reliable cash crop for farmers coming from the Flour Mill. German farmers in the 1870s began raising livestock, wheat, corn, green beans, and children. In the 1890s, the largest wheat purchasers were the Doerfler Brothers, now one of the major producers of grass seed in the area (Ernst Lau, personal communication, 1/17/02). Figure 17 shows the Jordan Bridge, which was constructed in 1998.

The Stayton population was 5112 in 1990 and 6816 in 2000, an increase of 25 % (Census Data, Table Two).

North of Stayton and Highway 22 is the town of Sublimity, settled by a large population of Germans. Sublimity is known as a community of “better” houses, education, and income levels, more upscale developments, and higher voter turnout. Sublimity’s population was 1524 in 1990 and 2148 in 2000, an increase of 29% (Census Data, Table Two).

A JKA Report


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