Warrenton is already one of the largest cities in Oregon, by square miles. It includes over 17 square miles of officially recognized territory and up to 34 square miles of territory that is considered “under dispute” with neighboring cities, such as Astoria.
It has been decades since Warrenton last annexed a disputed territory, the town formerly known as Hammond. With a growing population and strengthening economy, Warrenton is likely to annex other areas to expand its empire in the coming years. Here are the top 5 places the Warrenton Warrior believes Warrenton will annex next.
5. Sunset Beach
Sunset beach has long-shared Warrenton’s school district, leading to a number of cross-city line romances since the 1970s. There is an estimatd 20-50 young professionals of mixed Warrenton-Sunset Beach heritage living along the border today. Much like Ukranians who consider themselves to be ethnically Russian, Sunset Beachians are taking to the streets demanding that the Warrenton City Council annex Sunset Beach once and for all. This is a key issue to watch in the next mayoral race. Current mayor Henry Balensifer, has been non-committal on the issue. But increased tensions along the Sunset Beach border mean he’ll likely have to take some sort of action in the next 18 months.
4. Fort Clatsop
This is a beloved re-creation of the Lewis and Clark expedition’s 1805-1806 winter encampment, located a hop skip and a jump to the east of Warrenton’s city borders. Little known fact: Several members of the expedition loved the area so much, they stayed behind and homesteaded small communities along the Skipanon river in what is now Warrenton (the Warrior promises to write some short stories about these early pioneers at a later time). Many of the pre-Warren Warrentonian Families consider the Lewis & Clark encampment part of their cultural heritage. These same families wield above-average political influence in Warrenton, so expect Fort Clatsop to be annexed in the coming years.
3. The Astoria Regional Airport/Jeffers Garden
We all know this is really part of Warrenton. I mean, come on.
2. The Astoria Country Club
There’s one big thing standing between the City of Astoria and the Astoria Country Club: Warrenton. You’d have to take a very circuitous driving route to get from Astoria to its Country Club without driving through Warrenton, a source of shame for many Astorians.
The Astoria Country club is a 6.7 mile drive from Astoria’s western-most edge, about a 9 minute drive. The Astoria Country club is only 3 miles, or a 5 minute drive from the Warrenton High School, which guards Warrenton’s southern border. It’s just a matter of time before Warrenton claims this treasured golfing resource as its own.
1. The area surrounding Peter Toth’s Chinook Head Statue Across the Young’s Bay
Many Warrentonians took it as a personal slight when Peter Toth donated his strange Native Chinook head statue to Astoria in 1987 instead of Warrenton. The mayor at the time lobbied aggresively to get the statue in Youngs Bay Plaza parking lot, near the Payless and Video Horizon (about 10 yards east of where the Rite Aid is today). But Astoria had the greater numbers and many Astorians, including the Astoria mayor, threatened violence and stealth raids into Warrenton’s borders if they did not secure Toth’s statue.
At the time, Astoria’s population exceeded that of Warrenton by nearly 8:1. Fast-forward 31 years, and Warrenton’s catching up in prowess. Warrenton’s strength in numbers, plus its strong economy (thank you North Coast Business Park), is giving many Warrentonians the confidence to take back what they believe is rightfully theirs. Don’t expect them to simply steal the statue, though. My guess is that Warrenton will simply claim the 101 roundabout and grassy area surrounding the statue as their own.