There’s a certain charm to a small town that those big cities can’t touch. 

Things like waving “hi” to your neighbors and knowing they will actually wave back and not look at you like you’re crazy (that happens to me all the time, ha).

In small counties with a population less than 30,000, which is the general consensus for that definition, you usually know everybody’s business, whether you want to or not.

You know the best watering holes in town and the popular hangout places along the county line, up to the hidden gems that you hope don’t become a tourist hot spot.

The kids growing up in a small town all go to the same school (unless they are being homeschooled of course), but either way, all the kids know each other.

Travelers to some of Oregon’s smallest counties can experience a truly unique Oregon travel lodging in a farmstay.

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A FEW FAMOUS PEOPLE YOU KNOW HAIL FROM THE SMALLEST COUNTIES IN OREGON

Sometimes people from small Oregon towns go on to become famous Hollywood stars, like Bridget Marquardt, who grew up in Tillamook County. She ended up becoming one of Hugh Hefner’s famous live-in girlfriends and star of the show, The Girls Next Door alongside another former Oregon resident, Holly Madison. Holly briefly lived in the small town of Astoria, located in Clatsop County, and in St. Helens, which is in Columbia County.

Hugh Hefner Movie Screening at Playboy Mansion
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
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Bridget Marquardt used to live in Tillamook, Oregon.

Bridget Marquardt used to live in Tillamook, Oregon.
Jerod Harris/Getty Images for The ACE Agency
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Holly Madison used to live in Astoria, St. Helens, and Portland, Oregon

Holly Madison used to live in Astoria, St. Helens, and Portland, Oregon
Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Oceana
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Another famous Oregonian who lived in a small county went on to become the famous voice for popular animations including Tony the Tiger, Gumby, and multiple characters in Walt Disney animated films.

Dallas McKennon, voice actor for many Disney Characters lived in LaGrande, Portland, and Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Dallas McKennon, voice actor for many Disney Characters lived in LaGrande, Portland, and Canonn Beach, Oregon
Will C Wilson via YouTube
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One young lad who lived in Oregon ended up becoming one of the most popular actors of his day, and although his life was tragically ended in the 90s, his heartthrob status has permanently endured:

River Phoenix briefly lived in the small town of Madras in Jefferson County before his family joined a cult and moved to another country.

 

Explore These Hidden Gems Inside Oregon's 7 Tiniest Counties

See what scenic treasures and experiences you can find inside some of the smallest (and scenic) counties in Oregon by population according to the 2023 census.

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

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