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Hood River County, Oregon

Hood River County is a county located in the U.S. State of Oregon. It was named for the tributary of the Columbia River within its boundaries, Hood River[?]. As of 2000, the population is 20,411. Its county seat is Hood River6.

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Economy Agriculture, timber, lumber and recreation are the major sources of revenue and industry. Fruit grown in the fertile valley is of such exceptional quality the county leads the world in Anjou pear production. A 1997 census recorded 15,553 acres of commercial orchards growing pears, apples, cherries and peaches. Hood River County also has two ports and two boat basins, one serving local barge traffic, a steel boat manufacturing firm and Mid-Columbia yachting interests. The Forest Service owns 64% of the lands within the county boundaries.

The Columbia River near Hood River is a premier windsurfing[?] area, attracting windsurfers from throughout the United States and around the world. This has affected the local economy in many ways: not only are there many local businesses focussed on windsurfing products and services, but more affluent windsurfers have purchased many local houses as vaction homes, and forced local inhabitants to find affordable housing in adjacent towns.

In 1987, a local group of businessmen purchased the 22 mile branch line to Parkdale from the Union Pacific Railroad for $600,000, renaming it the Mount Hood Railroad. This rail line not only offers tourist rides, but carries fruit from the local orchards as well as lumber to market.

Geography According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,382 km² (534 mi²). 1,353 km² (522 mi²) of it is land and 29 km² (11 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.10% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 20,411 people, 7,248 households, and 5,175 families residing in the county. The population density is 15/km² (39/mi²). There are 7,818 housing units at an average density of 6/km² (15/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 78.87% White, 0.57% African American, 1.12% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 15.37% from other races, and 2.46% from two or more races. 25.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 7,248 households out of which 35.70% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.60% are married couples living together, 8.80% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.60% are non-families. 22.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.70 and the average family size is 3.15.

In the county, the population is spread out with 28.00% under the age of 18, 8.20% from 18 to 24, 29.40% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 98.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 99.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $38,326, and the median income for a family is $41,422. Males have a median income of $31,658 versus $24,382 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,877. 14.20% of the population and 9.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 17.30% are under the age of 18 and 7.80% are 65 or older.

History The first permanent settlers in present-day Hood River County filed a donation land claim[?] in 1854. The first school was built in 1863 and a road from The Dalles was completed in 1867. By 1880 there were 17 families living in the valley. By the latter part of the nineteenth century farmers of Japanese, Finnish, German, and French ethnicity had settled in the valley.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the people of the Hood River region in the northwest portion of Wasco County expressed a desire for political separation from the parent county. The passage of a statewide initiative established Hood River as the thirty-fourth county of the state. It was made official by a governor's proclamation on June 23, 1908. The Columbia River Highway was completed in 1922 from Portland to The Dalles, improving access between both those cities as well as to Hood River.

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