History

The City of Tangent is located in the central Willamette Valley in Linn County.  It is located approximately three 3 miles west of Interstate Freeway I-5. Highway 99E and Highway 34 intersect through the City.

City Hall

City Hall is located at the Bass Estate, just east of the Elementary School.

City Hall was first located on Highway 99E at the Community Center Building. When Mr. Bass died, he gave his estate to Kitty Kat, with the provisions that the when Kitty Kat died, the estate would be given to the City. For a time, Kitty Kat and the City shared quarters at the Estate. In 1998, the City moved back to the Community Center. However, the Community Center was deteriorating. It soon became apparent that a decision needed to be made as to whether the Community Center should be retained or a new Center built. To upgrade the Center to current building codes was too costly, so a new design for a Community Center was completed. Kitty Kat had passed away, and so the City Council decided to move City Hall back to the Estate. Within weeks after the move, a wind storm came through the City and a tree fell on the roof of the Center. It was decided to demolish the Center and it is now a park with picnic areas and a tennis court.

At the Bass Estate, the living and dining room areas are being used as the Council room.  The side room off the kitchen is used for an office and reception area. Upstairs is the City Coordinator Office, conference room, and archive room, as well as a second bathroom.  Kitty Kat has been buried on site and has a plaque to remind us of her life.

History of Tangent

It is believed that the first people to inhabit the Tangent area were the mound builders whose earthen mounds line the Calapooia River from Albany to Brownsville. When the first settlers arrived in the area, the Calapooia people used canoes as the primary means of transport and thrived on the rich natural abundance of the area as a fishing, hunting, and gathering people.

Tangent was established in 1871, when the railroad was built through the valley. The name “Tangent” refers to the twenty miles of straight track north and south of Town. The Town was a gathering place for local farmers and a train stop. The first Grange in Oregon was completed in Tangent in July 1873. In 1886, Tangent acquired a post office. By 1891, William Felzer of Tangent acquired a small amount of grass seed; this may have been the actual beginning of the present-day rye-grass industry. Forest Jenks may have been the first commercial producer of rye-grass, when he began growing seed in 1922. The seed grown by Jenks was later cleaned at W. A. Vollstedt’s seed-cleaning plant in Tangent. The seed was bought by Jenks White Seed Company that was instrumental in opening the eastern market for grass seed.

Historically, Tangent has been known for its agricultural activities of which grass seed is the most notable. The cultivation, cleaning, and packaging of grass seed for export around the world has given Tangent the title of “Grass Seed Capital of the World.”

Incorporation

In 1973, the citizens of Tangent began a movement towards local control and self-determination. On March 26, 1973, a partition of incorporation was delivered to the Linn County Board of Commissioners with 145 signatures. On July 10, 1973, an election was held and with a vote of 121 in favor and 67 against, the City of Tangent was established.

Historic Structures

CityHall

  • Bass Farm (City Hall) – pictured
  • Tangent Store
  • Tangent Depot (used now as a residence)
  • Martin Wertz House
  • Settlemeir House
  • Tangent South Methodist Church (Now Harmony School)
  • Wetzel/Green House
  • Floyd Jenks House