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​Sustainable City Year: Albany, OR

Albany, Oregon

Albany, Oregon is a city with keen sense of its place in history. The first people to live in the part of the Willamette Valley Basin were the Kalapuyans.  European Americans began arriving in the valley in the mid 1840s and by the 1850s pressured federal forces to remove the Kalapuyans from “productive lands” to reservations.[1] 

The city now known as Albany has an established history as a central hub in the Willamette valley. Founded in 1848 and incorporated in 1864 the city has served as the Linn County seat since 1851.  Albany's unique place in Oregon's history is exemplified in its dedication to historical preservation.  Albany is often noted to have the most varied collection of historic buildings in Oregon.  Its "four historic districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior".[2] This downtown core has served as the center of revitalization efforts since 2001.[3]

Located on the Willamette and Calapooia rivers Albany spans both Linn and Benton counties. With a population of 51,720 people, Albany is Oregon’s 11th largest city and the second largest city in Benton County.[4] Albany is administered under a home rule charter, adopted in 1957 established a Council and City Manager model.[5] The city's  vision, to be a "vital and diverse community that promotes a high quality of life, great neighborhoods, balanced economic growth and quality public services" is exemplified by its administration and government.[6]  The City Council is comprised of six city councilors elected to four-year terms and a Mayor elected to a two-year term. In addition to elected officials and appointed administrators, Albany has a very civically active community with nearly 100 citizens serving on advisory commissions and committees dedicated to municipal issues. Albany has been recognized repeatedly for its achievements in municipal management, winning the "Certificate of Excellence from the International City/County Management association"  between 2011 and 2015 as well as being recognized for its use of digital infrastructure to increase government transparency.[7] 

Historically, Albany's economy has relied on natural resources.  As the self-styled "rare metals capital of the world", Albany produces zirconium, hafnium and titanium.  Major employment sectors include "wood products, food processing, and manufactured homes". As a result of its short, dry temperate growing season Albany farmers excel in producing specialized crops such as  grass flower and vegetable seeds,"tree fruits, nursery stock ,nuts,berries,mint and grains".[8]  Albany and the surrounding (Linn and Benton) counties are so agriculturally productive that Linn County is often referred to as "The Grass Seed Capital of the World".[9]

Albany’s central location and mild climate has made it a popular destination for a variety of outdoor and leisure activities.  Located in the heart of Oregon's most populous region with the Pacific coast to the west and the Cascade range to its east, Albany is connected to the wider state by Interstate 5, Oregon Routes 99E and 34, and US Route 20.[10]  The city is also served by Amtrak, a municipal airport as well as a local and regional bus network.[11] 

[1] Kalapuya & the U.S. Government. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

[2] About the City of Albany, Oregon. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

[3] City of Albany. (n.d.). Albany, Oregon: Appication for 2016-2017 Sustainable City Year Program.

[4] Oregon Historical County Records Guide: Linn County History. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

[5] City Council. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

[6]Strategic Plan. (n.d.). Retrieved September 16, 2016, from

[7] City of Albany, Oregon. (n.d.). Albany, Oregon: Application for 2016-2017 Sustainable City Year Program.

[8] City of Albany, Oregon. (n.d.). Albany, Oregon: Application for 2016-2017 Sustainable City Year Program.

[9] FAQs – Oregon Seed Council. (n.d.). Retrieved from

[10] City of Albany, Oregon. (n.d.). Albany, Oregon: Application for 2016-2017 Sustainable City Year Program.

[11] Albany Municipal Airport. (n.d.). Retrieved August 31, 2016, from

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