Eastern Oregon

Eastern Oregon is the eastern part of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is not an officially recognized geographic entity; thus, the boundaries of the region vary according to context. It is sometimes understood to include only the eight easternmost counties in the state; in other contexts, it includes the entire area east of the Cascade Range.[1] Cities in the basic 8-county definition include Baker City, Burns, Hermiston, Pendleton, John Day, La Grande, and Ontario. Umatilla County is home to the largest population base in Eastern Oregon; accounting for 74% of the region's population in 2016[2]. Hermiston, located in Umatilla County, is the largest city in the region. Major industries include transportation/warehousing, timber, agriculture, and tourism. The main transportation corridors are I-84, U.S. Route 395, U.S. Route 97, U.S. Route 26, U.S. Route 30, and U.S. Route 20.

Compared to the climate of Western Oregon, the climate of Eastern Oregon is a drier continental climate, with much greater seasonal variations in temperature. Unlike the Willamette Valley, Eastern Oregon receives a significant amount of snow in the winter. Some parts of Eastern Oregon receive fewer than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain yearly, classifying them as deserts. This desert climate is in part due to a rain shadow effect caused by the Cascade Range. Pine and juniper forests cover 35% of Eastern Oregon, much in the mountains that include the Blue Mountains, Strawberry Mountains, Wallowa Mountains, Trout Creek Mountains, Ochoco Mountains, and Steens Mountain. Volcanic basalt flows from the Columbia River Basalt Group covered large sections of Eastern Oregon 6 to 17 million years ago. Other landforms include the Alvord Desert, Owyhee Desert, Warner Valley, Deschutes River, Owyhee River, Grande Ronde River, Joseph Canyon, The Honeycombs, and Malheur Butte.

Eo pop
Eastern Oregon population according to the 8 county definition.


Wallowa mts lake
Mountains and glacial lake in Wallowa County attract tourists to the area.
Burns oregon
Downtown Burns

According to the Eastern Oregon Visitors Association, Eastern Oregon includes only the following eight counties: Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Grant, Baker, Harney, and Malheur.[3] Some definitions of the region are more restrictive,[4] while others include the base eight counties listed above plus several adjacent counties.[5][6] Still others include the entire area east of the Cascade Range;[7] this meaning would also include Sherman, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Wasco, and Wheeler counties.

The extreme eastern section of Oregon in the Snake River Valley, including the city of Ontario, is part of the Treasure Valley, which extends east to Boise, Idaho. Unlike the rest of the state, that section lies within the Mountain Time Zone. Sacajawea Peak is the region's highest mountain.


Although Oregon as a whole is generally considered a blue state, Eastern Oregon is far more conservative than the west.[8] In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney received at least 60% of the vote in every county in Eastern Oregon.[9]

The political divide between the eastern and western parts of the state have led some residents of Eastern Oregon to feel that the state of Oregon, with the majority of its population and political control based in the western part of the state, has neglected the eastern part of the state, preventing it from developing along with the western part. A movement to have Eastern Oregon secede and join the United States as a 51st state was underway in 2008.[10] This movement is similar to other Northwest secession proposals such as Jefferson, Lincoln, and Cascadia.


Top 15 most populated Eastern Oregon cities (according to the 8-county definition):

Rank City Population[11] (2018) County
1 Hermiston 18,200 Umatilla
2 Pendleton 16,810 Umatilla
3 La Grande 13,340 Union
4 Ontario 11,470 Malheur
5 Baker City 9,890 Baker
6 Umatilla 7,320 Umatilla
7 Milton-Freewater 7,105 Umatilla
8 Boardman 3,690 Morrow
9 Nyssa 3,310 Malheur
10 Burns 2,830 Harney
11 Stanfield 2,185 Umatilla
12 Union 2,160 Union
13 Irrigon 1,990 Morrow
14 Enterprise 1,985 Wallowa
15 Vale 1,950 Malheur
Hermiston Butte
The Hermiston Butte, in the middle of Hermiston features hiking trails and access to the adjacent Hermiston Aquatics Center

By extending the boundary outside to include neighboring counties, Eastern Oregon would include three of the largest population centers east of the Cascade Range: Bend, Redmond, and Klamath Falls. However, these lie outside the stricter boundary.

Climate and ecology

Compared to the maritime rainforest climate of Western Oregon, which is adjacent to the Pacific Ocean, the climate of Eastern Oregon is a drier continental climate, with much greater seasonal variations in temperature. Unlike the Willamette Valley, Eastern Oregon gets a significant amount of snow in the winter. Some parts of Eastern Oregon receive fewer than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain yearly, classifying them as deserts. The driest parts are the southeast and the area near Redmond. This desert climate is in part due to a rain shadow effect caused by the Cascade Range. Pine and juniper forests cover 35% of Eastern Oregon, especially in the mountains east of Klamath Falls and in the Blue Mountains.

Freshly tilled wheat fields on western edge of wheat growing area in central Wasco County


The region's economy is primarily agricultural.[12] Timber and mining, while formerly key industries, have decreased in importance in recent years.[13] Cultural tourism, agritourism and ecotourism continue to develop.[14][15] The wheat growing region of Eastern Oregon includes the Columbia Plateau portion of northeastern Oregon, which begins with very marginal wheat fields in central Wasco County and extends east through Umatilla County. Its rich loess soils "help make the Columbia Plateau one of the premier wheat-producing regions in the world."[16] South of the wheat lands of northeast Oregon, agricultural activity is generally limited to livestock grazing except where irrigation is available. Irrigated areas are often used to produce alfalfa hay.


From the high desert to the rugged mountainous areas of the Eagle Cap Wilderness area, Eastern Oregon has a range of outdoor recreational opportunities such as skiing, rafting, and hiking.[17]

Anthony Lakes is the largest ski resort in Eastern Oregon.[18] Spout Springs, located in the Umatilla National Forest in the Blue Mountains, is popular with families.[19] Rafting is often seasonal on the rivers that are snowpack-dependent and not dammed. The Owyhee River is an example of a desert canyon river experience. The Snake River offers boating experiences that range from a quiet drift through the desert to hair-raising thrills of class II to III+ rapids.


Joda sheeprock
The John Day River passing by Sheep Rock in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Historically, the region has been relatively isolated from Western Oregon, due to the difficulty of crossing the Cascades. Early settlers floated down the Columbia River from The Dalles to reach Western Oregon. In 1845, Sam Barlow built a road around the south side of Mount Hood, which served as the final leg of the Oregon Trail. The Applegate Trail and Santiam Wagon Road were constructed soon after, connecting eastern and western Oregon in the southern and central parts of the state. In the early 20th century, Samuel Hill built the Columbia River Highway, allowing automobiles to pass through the Columbia River Gorge.

Railroads began to be important as early as 1858 with the construction of the Oregon Portage Railroad which built a 4.5-mile (7.2 km) bypass around the rapids at Cascade Locks. This was followed by the 1862 incorporation of the Oregon Steam Navigation Company whose operations included building a rail bypass from The Dalles to Celilo Falls. In 1880 these two short sections of rail were incorporated into the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (OR&N). Shortly thereafter Henry Villard, who then controlled OR&N, moved aggressively to block entry of the then under construction Northern Pacific Railway into the Columbia Gorge.[20] In an agreement first made in March 1880 and formalized in the fall of 1880, the Northern Pacific Railway, then controlled by Frederick Billings, and the OR&N, at that time controlled by Henry Villard, agreed to divide the Columbia Plateau at the Snake River, with the Northern Pacific staying to the north and the OR&N staying to the south. Northern Pacific was not to build down the gorge into Portland, but would receive trackage rights on the tracks that OR&N was building on the south bank into Portland.[20] The first St. Paul-Portland Northern Pacific train arrived in Portland on September 12, 1883, via OR&N trackage down the Oregon side of the Columbia River from Wallula, Washington forever ending the isolation of at least the northern portion of Eastern Oregon.[20] A year later in November 1884, the Oregon Short Line was completed across southern Idaho and met the OR&N at Huntington,[20] providing rail service that essentially paralleled the Oregon Trail all the way from Omaha, Nebraska. Later the OR&N became part of the Union Pacific Railway.

The only other railroad ever built east over the Cascade Mountains was trackage that was to become part of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, which was opened in 1926 over Willamette Pass to Klamath Falls[21] to bypass the difficult line south of Eugene to Ashland.

All-weather highways over the Cascade Mountains were not completed until the 1930s and 1940s.[22][23]

Major road routes through eastern Oregon include I-84 from Ontario to the Columbia River Gorge. The only other interstate freeway in the region is an eleven-mile (18 km) stretch of Interstate 82 that ends at the Columbia River in Umatilla. Other major east-west routes include U.S. Route 26, U.S. Route 30, U.S. Route 20 and U.S. Route 730. U.S. Route 395 is a major north-south route, passing through Pendleton, Burns, John Day, and Lakeview. Further west, U.S. Route 97 runs north and south from the California border through Klamath Falls, Bend, and Redmond to Biggs Junction on the Columbia River.

See also


  1. ^ Davenport, T. W. (1903). "An Object Lesson in Paternalism" . Oregon Historical Quarterly. 4 (1).
  2. ^ "Population Estimates & Reports".
  3. ^ "Eastern Oregon Visitor's Association". Retrieved 2007-10-24.
  4. ^ "Frommer's: Eastern Oregon". Retrieved 2007-10-26.
  5. ^ Explore Eastern Oregon. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved on October 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Eastern Oregon. Guide to Oregon. Retrieved on October 26, 2007.
  7. ^ Are Introduced Plants Common in Eastern Oregon Forests? United States Forest Service. Retrieved on October 26, 2007.
  8. ^ Cohen, Micah (August 16, 2012). "Oregon, Sitting at the Border of Safe and In Play". FiveThirtyEight. The New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2016. Oregon, like Wisconsin, is an ideologically polarized state. The Cascade Mountains are a convenient dividing line, politically and geographically.
  9. ^ "US Election Atlas, Oregon 2012 Presidential Election". US Election Atlas.
  10. ^ Wright, Phil (2008-04-25). "Group eyes Eastern Oregon as 51st state". East Oregonian. Retrieved 2008-04-25.
  11. ^ "Portland State University Annual Population Estimates".
  12. ^ "Cattlemen Care: About Oregon's Economy". Oregon Cattlemen's Association. Retrieved January 3, 2016. Agriculture and related economic activity accounts for over 12 percent of Oregon’s economy. Agricultural products lead all Oregon exports by volume and rank second by value; and agriculture creates more than 234,000 jobs in the state.
  13. ^ Wilson, Jason (January 14, 2016). "The Oregon militia revolt recipe: timber, despair and a crippling political isolation". The Guardian. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  14. ^ Margulis, Jennifer (July 8, 2013). "Wolf tourism in Eastern Oregon". Oregon Business. p. 3. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  15. ^ "Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing and Shellfishing in Oregon 2008". Dean Runyan Associates. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Rost, Bob (2005). "Blessed with Soil and Precious Little Water". Oregon's Agricultural Progress. Oregon State University. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  17. ^ "Eastern Oregon Find Things to See & Do". Travel Oregon. Oregon Travel Commission. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  18. ^ The resort has three lifts that offer access to over 1500 acres of dry Eastern Oregon powder. On the Snow.
  19. ^ On the Snow.
  20. ^ a b c d Armbruster, Kurt (1999). Orphan Railroad: The railroad comes to Seattle, 1953-1911. Pullman, WA: Washington State University Press. pp. 63, 80. ISBN 0-87422-186-2.
  21. ^ "Southern Pacific Railroad." Trainweb.org.
  22. ^ Engeman, Richard H. (2005; revised and updated 2014). Subtopic : Revival Styles, Highway Alignment: 1890-1940: One Big City, Many Small Towns. The Oregon History Project. Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved on June 17, 2016.
  23. ^ Tonsfeldt, Ward and Paul G. Claeyssens (2004; revised and updated 2014). Subtopic : Post-Industrial Years: 1970-Present: Tourism and Recreation. The Oregon History Project. Retrieved on June 17, 2016.

Coordinates: 44°10′56″N 118°39′08″W / 44.182204°N 118.652344°W

Argus Observer

The Argus Observer is the daily newspaper of Ontario, Oregon, United States.

The newspaper was established on January 6, 1897, and went through several names and owners before becoming the Argus Observer, which is a reference to Argus Panoptes, a creature from Greek mythology that had 100 eyes. The Argus Observer is owned by Wick Communications.

The Argus was founded January 6, 1897 as the District Silver Advocate, originally in Vale, Oregon. It later changed its name to the Advocate, and became an organ of the Democratic Party. Don Carlos Boyd purchased it in 1900, changing its allegiance to Republican, assuming the name Argus, and moving it to Ontario. In the paper's first decade it was generally a weekly newspaper, with at least two short-lived efforts to switch to daily publication.The Eastern Oregon Observer was founded in Ontario by Elmo Smith in 1937.The two newspapers merged in 1947, and assumed a daily publication schedule in 1970.

Bryan Harsin

Bryan Dale Harsin (born November 1, 1976) is a college football coach, currently the head coach at Boise State University. He was previously the head coach at Arkansas State University for the 2013 season, and the co-offensive coordinator at the University of Texas for two seasons. Before leaving for Texas in 2011, Harsin was an assistant at Boise State for ten seasons, the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.From Boise, Idaho, Harsin is a graduate of Boise's Capital High School, a former quarterback at Boise State, and the first alumnus of BSU to lead the Broncos as head coach.

Cascade Collegiate Conference

The Cascade Conference (or Cascade Collegiate Conference) is a college athletic conference affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Member schools are located in the Northwestern United States. Its teams compete in NAIA Division II for basketball competition. The conference's ten members compete in 13 sports. The current commissioner of the conference is Robert Cashell.

Cliff Bentz

Cliff Bentz (born January 12, 1952) is a Republican politician from the US state of Oregon. He serves in the Oregon Senate, representing District 30 in Eastern Oregon. Previously, he served in the Oregon House of Representatives representing District 30, which encompasses the counties of Malheur, Baker, and Harney, Grant County and part of Lake County, and which includes the cities of Baker City, Burns, and Ontario.

Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution

The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution is one of 14 state prisons in Oregon, United States. The prison is located in Pendleton, Oregon. The facility was originally built in 1913 as the Eastern Oregon State Hospital, a hospital for long-term mental patients, but was converted into a prison in 1983. In addition to providing confinement housing, food service, and medical care, the correctional facility offers education, vocational training, and work opportunities within the prison. Inmates at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution produce Prison Blues garments, an internationally marketed clothing line.

Eastern Oregon Regional Airport

Eastern Oregon Regional Airport (IATA: PDT, ICAO: KPDT, FAA LID: PDT) (Eastern Oregon Regional Airport at Pendleton) is a public airport three miles northwest of Pendleton, in Umatilla County, Oregon. It sees one airline subsidized by the Essential Air Service program.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the airport had 7,217 passenger boardings in calendar year 2008, 3,828 in 2009, 4,898 in 2010 and 4,305 in 2015. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a non-primary commercial service airport (between 2,500 and 10,000 enplanements per year).

Eastern Oregon University

Eastern Oregon University (EOU) is a public university in La Grande, Oregon. It is one of seven state-funded, four-year universities of higher education in the state. The university offers bachelor's and master's degrees. Most students obtain a B.S. degree, which requires one quarter of science, whereas a B.A. degree requires two years of a foreign language. In 2016, the University also began work to introduce a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) degree with a vocational bent.

Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon

The Episcopal Diocese of Eastern Oregon is the diocese of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America which has jurisdiction over Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains. It also includes Klickitat County, Washington. It is in Province 8. The diocesan office is in Cove, Oregon.

The Diocese of Eastern Oregon was created as a missionary district in the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon in 1907 and became a separate diocese in 1970.

Following the resignation in 2007 of the 6th Bishop of Eastern Oregon, William O. Gregg, to become assistant bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, the diocesan leadership concluded that it was not financially possible to appoint another diocesan bishop for the time being. Instead, it was proposed that a Provisional Bishop be appointed on a part-time basis for a period of three years in the first instance.In March 2009, the Standing Committee of the Diocese appointed Nedi Rivera, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia since 2004, as Assisting Bishop. Rivera was subsequently elected and installed as Provisional Bishop at the Diocesan Convention on May 23, 2009, for a three-year term to Spring 2012, serving on a fractional time (one third) basis. She also assists in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio following her relocation to Cincinnati after retiring from her position in the Diocese of Olympia in January 2010. In Spring 2012, Rivera's term as Provisional Bishop was extended by one year, ending in March 2015.On December 12, 2015 Patrick W. Bell was elected as the seventh Bishop of the diocese. Bell, who was serving as pastor of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will be consecrated as bishop in April 2016. Bell has announced his intention to continue to reside in Coeur d’Alene and commute to Oregon for his work as Bishop.

Greg Smith (Oregon politician)

Greg V. Smith (born November 7, 1968) is an American politician in the State of Oregon. He is a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, serving District 57. He resides in Heppner with his wife Sherri and their five children.

Hermiston, Oregon

Hermiston () is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. Its population of 18,200 makes it the largest city in Eastern Oregon. Hermiston is the largest, and fastest-growing, city in the Hermiston-Pendleton Micropolitan Statistical Area, the eighth largest Core Based Statistical Area in Oregon with a combined population of 87,062 at the 2010 census. Hermiston sits near the junction of I-82 and I-84, and is 7 miles south of the Columbia River, Lake Wallula, and the McNary Dam. The Hermiston area has become a hub for logistics and data center activity due to the proximity of the I-82 and I-84 interchange, Pacific Northwest fiber optic backbone, and low power costs. The city is also known for its watermelons, which are part of its branding.

Josie Heath

Josie Ward Heath (born September 5, 1937) is an American politician. Heath ran for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1990 as a Democratic candidate. She had previously served as Chair of the Board of County Commissioners for Boulder County. Heath served as a U.S. Circuit Judge Nominating Commission member for the 10th District. She is a founder of the Boulder County Clean Air Consortium. She was most recently President of the Community Foundation of Boulder County; she retired in January 2017 after 21 years at the Foundation.

List of Oregon state parks

This is a list of state parks and other facilities managed by the State Parks and Recreation Department of the U.S. state of Oregon.

The variety of locales and amenities of the parks reflect the diverse geography of Oregon, including beaches, forests, lakes, rock pinnacles, and deserts. The state parks offer many outdoor recreation opportunities, such as overnight camping facilities, day hiking, fishing, boating, historic sites, and scenic rest stops and viewpoints.


Mycelium is the vegetative part of a fungus or fungus-like bacterial colony, consisting of a mass of branching, thread-like hyphae. The mass of hyphae is sometimes called shiro, especially within the fairy ring fungi. Fungal colonies composed of mycelium are found in and on soil and many other substrates. A typical single spore germinates into a homokaryotic mycelium, which cannot reproduce sexually; when two compatible homokaryotic mycelia join and form a dikaryotic mycelium, that mycelium may form fruiting bodies such as mushrooms. A mycelium may be minute, forming a colony that is too small to see, or it may be extensive, as in Armillaria ostoyae:

Is this the largest organism in the world? This 2,400-acre [970-hectare] site in eastern Oregon had a contiguous growth of mycelium before logging roads cut through it. ... Mushroom-forming forest fungi are unique in that their mycelial mats can achieve such massive proportions.

Through the mycelium, a fungus absorbs nutrients from its environment. It does this in a two-stage process. First, the hyphae secrete enzymes onto or into the food source, which break down biological polymers into smaller units such as monomers. These monomers are then absorbed into the mycelium by facilitated diffusion and active transport.

Mycelium is vital in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems for their role in the decomposition of plant material. They contribute to the organic fraction of soil, and their growth releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere (see carbon cycle). Ectomycorrhizal extramatrical mycelium, as well as the mycelium of Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase the efficiency of water and nutrient absorption of most plants and confers resistance to some plant pathogens. Mycelium is an important food source for many soil invertebrates.

"Mycelium", like "fungus", can be considered a mass noun, a word that can be either singular or plural. The term "mycelia", though, like "fungi", is often used as the preferred plural form.

Sclerotia are compact or hard masses of mycelium.

Owyhee Reservoir

Owyhee Reservoir or Owyhee Lake is a reservoir on the Owyhee River in Malheur County, Oregon, United States. Located in far Eastern Oregon near the Idaho border, the reservoir is Oregon's longest at 52 miles (84 km). The 13,900-acre (56 km2) lake is home to several species of fish, including crappie, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, and brown bullhead. An artificial lake, it was created in 1932 with the completion of the Owyhee Dam. The lake supplies water for irrigation for 1,800 farms covering 118,000 acres of land in Eastern Oregon and Southwestern Idaho. Seasonal Lake Owyhee State Park is located on the northeast shore and includes a boat ramp.

Pendleton, Oregon

Pendleton is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. The population was 16,612 at the 2010 census, which includes approximately 1,600 inmates incarcerated at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. The city is the county seat of Umatilla County.Pendleton is the smaller of the two principal cities of the Hermiston-Pendleton Micropolitan Statistical Area. This micropolitan area covers Morrow and Umatilla counties and had a combined population of 87,062 at the 2010 census.

Scouting in Washington (state)

Scouting in Washington has a long history, from the 1910s to the present day, serving thousands of youth in programs that suit the environment in which they live.

Treasure Valley

The Treasure Valley is a valley in the western United States, primarily in southwestern Idaho, where the Payette, Boise, Weiser, Malheur, Owyhee, and Burnt rivers drain into the Snake River. It includes all the lowland areas from Vale in rural eastern Oregon to Boise, and is the most populated area in Idaho.

Historically, the valley had been known as the Lower Snake River Valley or the Boise River Valley. Pete Olesen, president of the valley's association of local Chambers of Commerce, coined the name "Treasure Valley" in 1959 to reflect the treasure chest of resources and opportunities that the region offered.

Western Oregon

Western Oregon is a geographical term that is generally taken to mean the part of Oregon within 120 miles (190 km) of the Oregon Coast, on the west side of the crest of the Cascade Range. The term is applied somewhat loosely however, and is sometimes taken to exclude the southwestern areas of the state, which are often referred to as "Southern Oregon". In that case, "Western Oregon" means only the counties west of the Cascades and north of and including Lane County.

Western Oregon, being 120 by 250 miles (190 by 400 km) in area, is about the same size as Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Hampshire put together. Unlike the climate of Eastern Oregon, which is primarily dry and continental, the climate of Western Oregon is generally a moderate rain forest climate.

Wind power in Oregon

The U.S. state of Oregon has large wind energy resources. Many projects have been completed, most of them in rural Eastern Oregon and near the Columbia River Gorge. Wind power accounted for 12.1% of the electricity generated in Oregon in 2016.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.