Our History

A legacy of industrial prowess and a wealth of natural resources.

The City of Oregon was named by Pierre M. Irving, a nephew of Washington Irving, author of the popular book Astoria.

Oregon Origins

Formed in 1838

The land was surveyed and there were public sales for settlements. The area that was the township, is now the City of Oregon, which is bounded on the west by the City of Toledo, the North by Maumee Bay/Lake Erie, on the east by Jerusalem Township (Lucas County) and on the South by the City of Northwood (Wood County). In 1856 the township took ownership of two cemeteries which remain owned by the City today.

How it Began

Oregon was once part of the Great Black Swamp. The swamp area was rich with oak, hickory, ash, walnut, elm and maple trees. This led to the establishment of numerous sawmills and settlements. The harvested forests created rich farmland, but the area remained swampy and there was a need for storm drainage. Major ditches were constructed, usually along roadways that followed the path of old Indian trails. These ditches continue to provide storm drainage today, carrying storm water into Maumee Bay.

Courtesy of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library

The 1800's and 1900's saw the development of an extensive rail system. The Port of Toledo began operations on the south bank of the Maumee River in the early 1800's and developed port operations on the Maumee Bay in Oregon in 1955. These operations continue in the Northwest area of the City.

Because of the water, rail, and surface transportation access available in the city, two major refineries, British Petroleum (BP) and Sun Marketing opened in Oregon around the turn of the century. These two refineries have historically been two of the City's largest employers.

The northwestern end of the city grew as an industrial center with a coal powered electrical generating facility and several chemical plants. Pipelines were laid to carry petroleum products to and from the port facilities and other regions. Buckeye Pipeline has the largest pipeline distribution system in Oregon.

As industrialization continued, commercial and residential growth followed. Generally, urban growth continued eastward from Interstate 280 - one of the nation's first Interstates. Recently, residential growth has also occurred south of Maumee Bay in the waterfront areas and with perimeter development in the more rural areas.

In 1954 Oregon Township trustees sought to zone the area. At about the same time, City of Toledo officials sought to annex the northwest industrial area of Oregon Township. The annexation failed, and in 1957 there was an election for Oregon to become an incorporated city. The vote was 3,660 in favor and 2,925 opposed. A key issue in incorporation was to have Oregon own and operate a water and a wastewater plant.

The City of Oregon adopted their Charter in 1958. The new city adopted a slogan of "City of Opportunity." In the mid 1980's, the city added Oregon on the Bay to the City of Opportunity. In 1959 voters approved an "earnings tax" now known as the municipal income tax. The water plant was constructed in 1964 and currently over 90% of the land in Oregon is serviced with waterlines. Plans for an estimated $17.9 million in improvements to the water plant continued in 1998. The original water plant was paid for by a combination of local and federal funds. The City also has a wastewater treatment plant, constructed in 1977, with local and federal funds, which can process up to eight million gallons per day. In 1997 a major upgrade to the wastewater plant was completed. Approximately one-third of the land in the City is serviced by sanitary sewer lines. The City's water and wastewater operations also service portions of Jerusalem Township, northern Wood County and northwest Ottawa County.


The original Charter adopted in 1958 called for a Mayor/Council form of government. The City was divided into five wards, each represented by a councilman, and there were two at-large members for a total of seven councilmen. The Charter named the Mayor as the Administrator. The Mayor and Council were elected for two-year terms. In 1968 the Charter was amended to elect all councilmen at large. In 1988, the Charter was amended to change the term of the Mayor to four years. In 1993 there were two Charter changes: one was to create the position of City Administrator who would report to the Mayor; and the other was to abolish the position of Clerk Auditor and to create the positions of Finance Director and Clerk of Council. Other technical charter changes, such as reading the title of an ordinance instead of the entire ordinance, have been periodically approved by the voters.


Wednesday, August 28, 2019