Clackamas County, Oregon, stands as one of the most densely populated and prosperous counties in the state, boasting a median household income of $82,911 in the year 2020. Nevertheless, economic well-being is not uniform across all its regions. As reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, the county’s poverty rate in 2020 was 8.3%, signifying that approximately 35,000 individuals lived below the poverty line of $26,500 for a family of four.
Certain neighborhoods within the county experience markedly higher poverty rates than the county average, underscoring the economic and social disparities prevalent in the area. Here are the five most economically challenged neighborhoods in Clackamas County, determined by the percentage of residents living in poverty as of 2019:
1. Jennings Lodge
Situated south of Milwaukie and north of Gladstone, Jennings Lodge is a census-designated place (CDP) within Clackamas County. With a population of around 7,000 people, this suburban community faces a poverty rate of 19.7%.
Jennings Lodge features a lower median household income than the county’s average, at $51,250, along with a higher unemployment rate, standing at 8.1%. The area also contends with issues like crime, traffic congestion, and inadequate public services and amenities.
Molalla, located south of Oregon City and east of Canby, is a city in Clackamas County. With a population of roughly 9,000 inhabitants, it grapples with a poverty rate of 18.6%. Molalla’s economy predominantly relies on agriculture and timber as its primary sources of income.
It records a lower median household income compared to the county’s average, at $55,833, coupled with a higher unemployment rate of 7.6%. Molalla further faces challenges related to low educational attainment, housing affordability, and access to healthcare.
Estacada, located southeast of Portland and east of Oregon City, is another city within Clackamas County. Housing approximately 3,000 residents, it reports a poverty rate of 17.9%. Like Molalla, Estacada is a rural community heavily dependent on agriculture and timber as its principal industries.
The median household income in Estacada falls below the county’s average, at $50,625, and its unemployment rate is higher at 8.5%. The city also grapples with issues such as aging infrastructure, environmental concerns, and limited economic opportunities.
4. Oak Grove
Oak Grove, a census-designated place (CDP) positioned south of Milwaukie and north of Jennings Lodge, accommodates approximately 17,000 residents. It bears a poverty rate of 15.8%. Oak Grove, classified as a suburban community, exhibits a lower median household income than the county’s mean, registering at $60,417.
The unemployment rate in Oak Grove is similar to the county average, at 5.8%. Nevertheless, the area contends with challenges such as homelessness, food insecurity, and crime.
Sandy, located east of Portland and west of Mount Hood, is a city within Clackamas County, home to around 11,000 individuals. Sandy possesses a poverty rate of 14.7%.
While it boasts a higher median household income than the county’s average, standing at $87,500, it also endures a higher cost of living. Sandy faces its own set of issues, including traffic congestion, environmental preservation concerns, and the need for social integration.
Clackamas County, a beacon of prosperity in Oregon, bears the burden of economic disparity within its confines. The five neighborhoods identified as the poorest – Jennings Lodge, Molalla, Estacada, Oak Grove, and Sandy – confront poverty rates exceeding the county’s average and wrestle with a myriad of economic and social challenges that influence the residents’ quality of life.
Addressing these challenges necessitates collaboration among local governments, community organizations, businesses, and residents to foster more equitable opportunities and outcomes for all inhabitants of Clackamas County.