Washington County is one of 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 529,710, making it the second most populous county in the state. The seat and largest city is Hillsboro. Other cities include Beaverton, Tigard, and Forest Grove, the oldest city in the county.
Originally named Twality when created in 1843, the territorial legislature renamed it for the first president of the United States, George Washington, in 1849. The original boundaries included the entire northwest corner of Oregon before sections became new counties. The Tualatin River and its drainage basin are almost entirely within the county, with the county nearly coterminous with the Tualatin Valley. It is bordered on the west and north by the Northern Oregon Coast Range, on the south by the Chehalem Mountains, and on the north and east by the Tualatin Mountains (or West Hills).
Major roads in the county include small sections of Interstate 5 and Interstate 205, the Sunset Highway, Oregon Route 217, Oregon Route 47, Oregon Route 10, Oregon Route 6, and Oregon Route 8. Public transportation is primarily operated by TriMet and includes buses, the Westside Express Service commuter rail, and MAX Light Rail. Other transportation includes air travel at the Hillsboro Airport, several private airfields and heliports, and heavy rail cargo on several rail lines.
Washington County is included in the Portland metropolitan area.
The Provisional Legislature of Oregon created the county as Twality District on July 5, 1843. Twality was one of the original four districts of the Provisional Government of Oregon in Oregon Country along with Clackamas, Champooick (later Marion), and Yamhill counties. Columbia, later known as Hillsboro, was selected as the county seat in 1850. Washington County obtained its present boundaries in 1854 with the creation of Columbia County to the north and Multnomah County to the east.
In November 2004, the County and the City of Beaverton agreed to a plan where the city would annex both unincorporated residential neighborhoods as well as high-value areas of land. This would result with Cedar Hills, Garden Home, Raleigh Hills, West Slope being incorporated by 2010, and the communities of Aloha, Bethany, and Cedar Mill at some point after that.
Those plans have since been put on hold after Beaverton attempted to forcibly annex Nike, Inc.'s World Headquarters, which would have increased Nike's taxes substantially. Nike successfully lobbied the legislature for a law that would prohibit their annexation for 99 years. Since that decision, annexation plans have been halted, and Washington County started urban planning to provide city-level services to the unincorporated urban areas in the county.
On January 1, 2014, of Multnomah County in the Bethany area transferred to Washington County. The area had originally been split off from Washington County when Multnomah County was created, and was transferred back to allow for development of the property.