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The Dalles, Oregon

the dalles oregon weather report 10 days, the dalles oregon population
The Dalles /ˈdælz/ is the county seat and largest city of Wasco County, Oregon, United States The population was 13,620 at the 2010 census, and is the largest city on the Oregon side along the Columbia River outside of the Portland Metropolitan area


  • 1 History
    • 11 Etymology
    • 12 Fur trade
    • 13 Wascopam Mission
    • 14 American settlement
  • 2 Geography
    • 21 Climate
  • 3 Economy
    • 31 Top employers
  • 4 Education
  • 5 Demographics
    • 51 2010 census
    • 52 2000 census
  • 6 Arts and culture
    • 61 Annual cultural events
    • 62 Museums and other points of interest
  • 7 Media
    • 71 Radio
    • 72 Television
  • 8 Rajneeshee Movement
  • 9 Notable people
  • 10 Sister cities
  • 11 References
  • 12 External links


The site of what is now the city of The Dalles was a major Indian trading center for at least 10,000 years The general area is one of the continent's most significant archaeological regions6 Lewis and Clark camped near Mill Creek on October 25–27, 1805, and recorded the Indian name for the creek as Quenett


The name of the city comes from the French word dalle meaning either "sluice" akin to English "dale" and German Thal, "valley" or "flagstone" and referring to the columnar basalt rocks carved by the river,78 in voyageur French used to refer to rapids, which was used by the French-Canadian employees of the North West Company to refer to the rapids of the Columbia River between the present-day city and Celilo Falls Also in the same area was the Petite Dalles or Little Dalles, or Short Narrows

Fur tradeedit

The first use of the name Dalles, according to Oregon Geographic Names, appears in fur trader Gabriel Franchère's Narrative, on April 12, 1814, referring to the long series of major rapids in the river8 Starting in the 1810s, Americans and Europeans passed by what became The Dalles, active in the North American fur trade as employees of either the American Pacific Fur Company PFC or the Canadian North West Company NWC Men like NWC officer David Thompson voyaged both down and up the Columbia, traveling through Celilo Falls The War of 1812 led to the 1813 liquidation of the PFC, its properties like Fort Astoria sold to the North West Company9

Early illustration of The Dalles, attributed to Joseph Drayton

In 1821 the North West Company was absorbed by the giant London-based Hudson's Bay Company HBC Fort Vancouver, built in 1824, replaced Fort Astoria as the regional fur trade headquarters The HBC's trading network made extensive use of the Columbia River The rapids of the Columbia River at The Dalles was the largest and longest of the four "great portages", where fur trading boats had to unload and transship their cargoes Sometimes, during high water, boats traveling downriver would "shoot the rapids" instead of portaging, although the practice was dangerous and many people died as a result over the years10

The Dalles in the 1880s Second Street circa 1880 The Umatilla House hotel circa 1880 E B McFarland House circa 1881

Wascopam Missionedit

Main article: Wascopam Mission

In 1838 a branch of Jason Lee's Methodist Mission was established at Celilo Falls, named the Wascopam Mission, after the native Wasco Indians11 In 1850 the US Army founded a small post at the site of the old mission, being eventually named Fort Dalles Fort Dalles became the nucleus of the town of The Dalles, which began to develop along the waterfront11 In 1855, at the end of the Cayuse War, the Indians living near The Dalles were forceably relocated by the US Army to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation11

American settlementedit

In the early 1840s American settlers began to arrive in significant numbers, traveling overland via the Oregon Trail The trail ended at The Dalles It was not possible to take wagons farther west due to steep cliffs that fell straight into the Columbia River Until the construction of the Barlow Road in 1846, the only way to reach Fort Vancouver and the Willamette Valley was by rafting down the river from The Dalles11

A post office was established within the boundaries of the current city in 1851, and The Dalles was incorporated as a city in 1857 It has been the major commercial center between Portland and Pendleton since The city was originally named just "Dalles" In 1853 it was changed to "Wascopum," then, in 1860, to "The Dalles"6

In 1864, the US Congress appropriated money to build a US mint in The Dalles that was to use gold from Canyon City for coinage The supply of gold from Canyon City began to dwindle, however, and other problems, such as cost over-runs, workers leaving to work the gold fields, and flooding from the Columbia River, also contributed to the project running two years behind schedule and led eventually to its demise In 1870, the State of Oregon received the property from the US Government and the building was put to other uses12 The mint is now home to Freebridge Brewing1314

The Dalles City Hall

In 1924, Bobbie the Wonder Dog stopped briefly in The Dalles while on his 2,600 mile 4,200 km journey home by foot from Indiana to Silverton, Oregon Emaciated and tired, he was aided by members of the community before moving westward through the Columbia Gorgecitation needed

Construction of The Dalles Dam in 1957 submerged the Long Narrows and Celilo Falls

In 1963, Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was published featuring the narrator, Chief, who is from The Dalles15

In 1970, the Bonneville Power Administration opened the Celilo Converter Station near the northern terminus of the Pacific DC Intertie which sends 3,100 megawatts of electricity to Los Angeles

In 1982 a curly-coated kitten was born on a farm in The Dalles owned by Linda and Dick Koehl The Koehls used this kitten and her offspring to develop a new breed of cat called the LaPerm, which went on to become a popular, established, championship pedigree cat breed around the world16

In 1984 The Dalles was the site of the first and single largest bioterrorism attack in United States history

In 1986, Penalty Phase, a film starring Peter Strauss and Melissa Gilbert, was filmed in and around The Dalles17


The Dalles and the Columbia River showing surrounding landscape

Highways I-84, US 30, and US 197 meet in the city

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 661 square miles 1712 km2, of which, 635 square miles 1645 km2 is land and 026 square miles 067 km2 is water3


The Dalles is usually classified as a cool semiarid Köppen BSk climate region However it has some characteristics of the midlatitude oceanic climate that dominates west of the Cascade Mountains, combined with seasonal precipitation patterns very similar to those found in Mediterranean climates The city's location in the eastern Columbia Gorge results in there being numerous microclimates within a few miles of town Winters are significantly wetter, and summers significantly cooler, to the immediate west while upland locations to the south are significantly cooler in all seasons The generally warm and dry summers near town make it the ideal climate for the many Bing cherry orchards in the area

The summer season runs from mid-June through early September and is quite warm by Pacific Northwest standards; however, summer weather often oscillates between intense heat waves and much cooler and windier periods Except for the occasional sporadic thunderstorm, there is almost no summer rainfall

From late September through early November, the area experiences an abrupt autumn during which normal temperatures drop very rapidly and cloudy, wet weather quickly picks up Prior to the sudden onset of the rainy season in mid- to late fall, there are often days with a very wide disparity between daytime and nighttime temperatures, sometimes exceeding 20 C / 36 F There is far less wind in the fall than in spring and early summer, though passing frontal systems can still bring quick bouts of strong wind

Winter is the wet season in The Dalles Despite the rain shadow effect created by the Cascades, there is still enough precipitation most years to support relatively high soil moisture levels for most of the winter This is a very similar pattern to what happens in classic Mediterranean climates - except that the temperatures are significantly colder The area receives measured snowfall virtually every year, but the snow totals fluctuate dramatically from one year to the next; some seasons see only one or two brief light snow events while others get major snowstorms and cumulative totals of 50 cm 20 in or more Average winter temperatures are only about 2–3 C 3–5 F degrees colder than in cities such as Portland and Seattle, and temperatures below −20 C −4 F are very rare, but not unheard of As in the summer, winter temperatures can vary tremendously from one day to the next: during arctic air events the daytime high temperatures will generally be well below 0C / 32F, while a strong subtropical push can raise temperatures into the 50s and low 60s F, even in January It is quite common for relatively cold air to become trapped at low elevations due to an inversion above; depending on the temperature of the surface airmass, depth of the inversion layer, and temperatures above the inversion layer, this can result in snow, sleet, freezing rain or a very cold liquid rain

Springtime conditions generally run from late February through early June, during which time the overall trend gradually becomes warmer and drier and the landscape briefly turns lush and green This is the windiest season of all, with a powerful west wind on most afternoons During stormy periods in spring it is usually cloudy and cool while most sunny and calm days become intensely warm, especially from April onward Spring temperatures often vary more from one week to the next than they do from one month to the next

The growing season is roughly 200 days in a typical year, generally running from early April through most of October However spring frost dates can range from mid-March to early May, and fall frost dates from late September to mid-November

Climate data for The Dalles Muni Airport 1981-2010 extremes 1948–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F °C 68
Average high °F °C 422
Average low °F °C 310
Record low °F °C −14
Average precipitation inches mm 250
Source: NOAA18


In 2006, the Internet company Google began building a major data center, known locally as Project 02, along the Columbia River in The Dalles, using the area's reliable hydroelectric power and the underutilized fiber optic capacity of the area The new complex includes two buildings, each approximately the size of a football field, and two cooling plants, each four stories high The project promised hundreds of jobs in the area, mainly in construction, with an additional 200 permanent positions expected later in 2006 although as of 2013 Google employed only 150 combined company employees and contractors in The Dalles192021

Top employersedit

As of 2012, the top 15 employers in The Dalles according to the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District report on "Largest Employers in Wasco County" are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Mid-Columbia Medical Center 915
2 North Wasco County School District 360
3 Oregon Cherry Growers 275
4 State of Oregon 243
5 Fred Meyer 230
6 Oregon Veteran's Home 208
7 Columbia Gorge Community College 200
8 Wasco County 181
9 Google 150
10 Safeway 142
11 US Army Corps of Engineers 125
12 City of The Dalles 100
13 Home Depot 100
14 Cousin's Country Inn 100
15 Orchard View Farms 90


Main article: Columbia Gorge Community College

The Dalles is home to the main campus of Columbia Gorge Community College which began in 1977 as Wasco Area Education Service District It is a leading institution in renewable energy technology education and training22


Historical population
1860 802
1870 942 175%
1880 2,232 1369%
1890 3,239 451%
1900 3,542 94%
1910 4,880 378%
1920 5,807 190%
1930 5,833 04%
1940 6,266 74%
1950 7,676 225%
1960 10,493 367%
1970 10,423 −07%
1980 10,820 38%
1990 11,060 22%
2000 12,156 99%
2010 13,620 120%
Est 2016 15,572 143%
source:24 US Decennial Census25
2013 Estimate5

2010 censusedit

As of the census4 of 2010, there were 13,620 people, 5,472 households, and 3,441 families residing in the city The population density was 2,1449 inhabitants per square mile 8282/km2 There were 5,903 housing units at an average density of 9296 per square mile 3589/km2 The racial makeup of the city was 879% White, 05% African American, 15% Native American, 10% Asian, 08% Pacific Islander, 57% from other races, and 27% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 170% of the population

There were 5,472 households of which 303% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 461% were married couples living together, 124% had a female householder with no husband present, 44% had a male householder with no wife present, and 371% were non-families 310% of all households were made up of individuals and 141% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 240 and the average family size was 299

The median age in the city was 397 years 238% of residents were under the age of 18; 83% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 241% were from 25 to 44; 258% were from 45 to 64; and 179% were 65 years of age or older The gender makeup of the city was 484% male and 516% female

2000 censusedit

As of the census26 of 2000, there were 12,156 people, 4,896 households, and 3,226 families residing in the city The population density was 8923/km2 There were 5,227 housing units at an average density of 3837/km2 The racial makeup of the city was 8783% White, 039% African American, 120% Native American, 096% Asian, 077% Pacific Islander, 623% from other races, and 262% from two or more races Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1050% of the population

There were 4,896 households out of which 300% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 511% were married couples living together, 106% had a female householder with no husband present, and 341% were non-families 292% of all households were made up of individuals, and 135% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older The average household size was 240, and the average family size was 294

In the city, the population was spread out, with 248% under the age of 18, 79% from 18 to 24, 257% from 25 to 44, 235% from 45 to 64, and 181% who were 65 years of age or older The median age was 39 years For every 100 females, there were 947 males For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 915 males

The median income for a household in the city was $35,430, and the median income for a family was $43,041 Males had a median income of $36,387 versus $22,583 for females The per capita income for the city was $17,511 About 90% of families and 124% of the population were below the poverty line, including 166% of those under age 18 and 86% of those age 65 or over

Arts and cultureedit

Former Carnegie library, currently The Dalles Art Center

Annual cultural eventsedit

The Northwest Cherry Festival is held in The Dalles in April27

Museums and other points of interestedit

  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, the official interpretive center for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area28
  • Fort Dalles Museum, Oregon's oldest history museum located in the Surgeon's Quarters built in 1856 at Fort Dalles29
  • Pulpit Rock, used by Methodist missionaries to preach to the Indians30



  • KACI 1300/1039 FM
  • KODL 1440AM/991 FM
  • KMSW 927/1029 FM
  • KACI-FM 935 FM
  • KCGB-FM 1055/969 FM


  • K34KE-D translator for KGW Portland, NBC affiliate
  • K38KV-D translator for KOIN Portland, CBS affiliate

Rajneeshee Movementedit

Main article: 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack

In 1984, The Dalles was the scene of a bioterrorist incident launched by members of the Rajneesh Movement in an attempt to gain control of the local government of Wasco County Salmonella placed in ten restaurants resulted in 751 cases of Salmonellosis It was the first known bioterrorism attack of the 20th century in the United States31 The circumstances of the attack are documented in an American Medical Association article JAMA Vol 278, No 5, page 389, 6Aug1997

Notable peopleedit

  • Homer D Angell, Republican US congressman, 1939–1955
  • Lefty Bertrand, Major League Baseball player
  • John Callahan, cartoonist, grew up in The Dalles
  • H L Davis, Oregon's only Pulitzer Prize winner in literature with Honey in the Horn 193632
  • Ken Dayley, Major League Baseball player
  • Alan Embree, Major League Baseball player
  • Jennifer Lyon, Survivor: Palau contestant
  • Todd Nelson, retired touring professional tennis player
  • Wilma Roberts, local photographer who lived and worked at the Elite Studio, later called "Mel O's" in The Dalles
  • Philip Whalen, a poet associated with the Beat Generation, grew up in The Dalles

Sister citiesedit

The Dalles has one sister city:

  • Miyoshi City, Japan formerly Ikeda33


  1. ^ "Stephen Lawrence" Democratic Party of Oregon Retrieved 2 October 2015 
  2. ^ "City of The Dalles" 
  3. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2012-12-21 
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2012-12-21 
  5. ^ a b "Population Estimates" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2014-09-26 
  6. ^ a b "Historic The Dalles" Wasco County Historical Society Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  7. ^ Gibson, James R 1997 The Lifeline of the Oregon Country: The Fraser-Columbia Brigade System, 1811–47 University of British Columbia UBC Press p 125 ISBN 0-7748-0643-5 
  8. ^ a b McArthur, Lewis A; McArthur, Lewis L 1992 1928 Oregon Geographic Names 6th ed Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press p 826 ISBN 978-0875952369 
  9. ^ "Fort Astoria, 1813" Oregon Historical Society Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  10. ^ Gibson, James R 1998 The Lifeline of the Oregon Country: The Fraser-Columbia Brigade System, 1811–47 UBC Press p 114 ISBN 978-0-7748-0643-5 Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  11. ^ a b c d "Fort Dalles History" Fort Dalles Museum and the Anderson Homestead Retrieved August 28, 2011 
  12. ^ Wasco History Wasco-historyr9esdk12orus Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  13. ^ The Dalles US Branch Mint/Erin Glenn Winery 1870
  14. ^ Mint that Never Was Makes Interesting Tale
  15. ^ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Summary and Analysis: There's a Monopoly Game CliffsNotes Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  16. ^ "History of the Breed" The LaPerm Society Retrieved May 29, 2011 In the midst of these hunting grounds, near The Dalles, Oregon and under the watchful eye of Tsagaglalal, the LaPerm came into existence in the spring of 1982 
  17. ^ Tarlton Law Library – Law in Popular Culture Collection – Law and Lawyers in Popular Culture Tarltonlawutexasedu Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  18. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data" Retrieved May 2, 2016 
  19. ^ Rogoway, Mike "Google plans much bigger data center if it expands in The Dalles" The Oregonian Retrieved 5 June 2013 
  20. ^ Markoff, John; Saul Hansell June 14, 2006 "Hiding in Plain Sight, Google Seeks More Power" The New York Times 
  21. ^ The Dalles · Google Data Centers Googlecom Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  22. ^ "Columbia Gorge Community College Leads Nation in Wind Training" Retrieved 2016-04-29 
  23. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" Retrieved June 9, 2017 
  24. ^ Moffatt, Riley Population History of Western US Cities & Towns, 1850–1990 Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 216
  25. ^ United States Census Bureau "Census of Population and Housing" Retrieved September 26, 2014 
  26. ^ "American FactFinder" United States Census Bureau Retrieved 2008-01-31 
  27. ^ 30th Annual Northwest Cherry Festival Archived January 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Authorized by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act PL99-663
  29. ^ Fort Dalles Museum Historicthedallesorg Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  30. ^ Horner, John B 1919 Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature Portland: The JK Gill Co pp 72–73 
  31. ^ "Bioterrorism in History – 1984: Rajneesh Cult Attacks Local Salad Bar" Special Coverage WBURorg Associated Press Archived from the original on December 31, 2001 Retrieved August 21, 2011 
  32. ^ Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission Ochcomorg 2004-06-30 Retrieved on June 4, 2012
  33. ^ Tukwila Sister City Affiliation Citukwilawaus 1979-11-19 Retrieved on June 4, 2012

External linksedit

  • Oregon portal
  • City website
  • Entry for The Dalles from the Oregon Blue Book
  •  "Dalles, The" Encyclopedia Americana 1920 

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