Detroit, Oregon

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Detroit is a city in Marion County, Oregon, United States. It was named for Detroit, Michigan in the 1890s because of the large number of people from Michigan in the community. The population was 262 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Salem Metropolitan Statistical Area.



The original townsite of Detroit was inundated in the summer of 1952 when the Corps of Engineers finished Detroit Dam on the Santiam River.[3] The community was relocated about a half mile northwest of the original site, on State Highway 22, and was incorporated as a city the same year.

Located near Detroit Lake and Detroit Lake State Park, Detroit's economy is dependent on tourism. The community suffered from a drought in 2001, when Detroit Lake was little more than the Santiam River through the summer.[4]

In 2010, by a vote of 47-37[5] citizens in Detroit voted down a ballot measure that would have changed the city's name to Detroit Lake, the name of the neighboring reservoir and one of the most visited summer sites in Oregon. The proposal was put forth by Doug DeGeorge, a local builder and motel owner, who wanted to disassociate the town from Detroit, Michigan and its close ties to "crime, corruption, failing schools and a shaky auto industry".[6] Detroit City Councilman Gary Brown, who disagreed with the proposal, said local residents would have made a big mistake because the Motor City will one day return to its previous glory.[7]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.9 square miles (2.2 km²), of which, 0.5 square miles (1.4 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (38.82%) is water.[8]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 262 people, 119 households, and 69 families residing in the city. The population density was 496.7 people per square mile (190.9/km²). There were 383 housing units at an average density of 726.2/sq mi (279.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.56% White, 1.15% Native American, 0.38% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.82% of the population.

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