Living Legends: Charlie Sitton

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Charlie and Tracey Sitton.
Charlie and Tracey Sitton.

 It’s probably hard for newcomers to Tualatin to believe that the city in 1970 had 750 citizens, the Tualatin River was identified in Life magazine as the most polluted stream in America, the downtown was badly “blighted,” and the only major employer located downtown until 1987 was the smelly Blue Mountain Dog Food Company who advertised on its huge trucks “Tualatin, Oregon, Going to the dogs.” It is just as hard to believe that city officials and leading planning consultants and engineers worked so very hard and came so close to the planning goals for a city of 20,000 by the year 2000 (In 2019, the current population is over 26,000).

It took a lot of work for business people too. It wasn’t at all easy or pleasant but today the planning and investments have paid off with the location of a regional hospital that employs 800, and many, many industrial and commercial businesses that employ thousands. Many living legends in the public and private sector can take credit for the city’s success but most of their stories have not been shared within the community so that we can all be proud. It even is not known very well that the Portland Trail Blazers practice center is in Tualatin where all of their news comes from.

One of my favorite business persons and former sports star is Charlie Sitton. In 1989, he helped in the redevelopment of the downtown area in a Big Way! Charlie and his father-in-law Don Roberts were the first investors to develop along with the city’s improvement known as the Lake of the Commons in the downtown urban renewal area not far from the I-5 freeway. They bought the land after the city demolished the abandoned and decrepit dog food cannery and replaced it in 1994 with today’s plush 70 room Century Hotel and in 1999 with the Hayden’s Lakefront Grill. Both are located at 8185 SW Tualatin-Sherwood Road.

Any day, you can find businessman Charlie Sitton at work at the hotel and restaurant and always visiting with customers. Charlie has made Oregonians proud for many years. 

Born in 1962, Charlie was raised on the family farm of about 2000 acres in Yamhill County, Oregon. His cousins still operate the farm. As a 6’8” tall forward he played high school basketball at McMinnville High School, winning a state championship in 1979. He later played college basketball for Oregon State from 1981 to 1984. As a freshman, Charlie was a member of the last Oregon State team to achieve a number 1 ranking in 1981. He was a two-time All-American and three-time All-Pac-10 selection and was chosen as Oregon State’s Most Valuable Player in 1983. In Charlie’s four years at Oregon State, the Beavers were 93-25 and appeared in the NCAA tournament three times and the NIT once. Sitton scored 1561 points in his college career and shot at a .575 field goal percentage according to Beaver Legends and Player History.

After college, Charlie was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 1984 NBA Draft and played one season for the Mavericks before continuing his career in Europe. He was named to both the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2010 was featured in the Oregonian regarding the McDonald’s All American award. You can get a look at his interesting basketball career by viewing his many photos and honors and famous other stars which are displayed in the hallway of Hayden’s.

Charlie and wife Tracey Sitton have two children, Jennifer and Charles Sitton the 5th (CJ), and live on a farm in Wilsonville, just south of Tualatin in Clackamas County.