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Wallowa County, Oregon

Wallowa County is a county located in the U.S. State of Oregon. The name may have the same origin as nearby Walla Walla, Washington. The journals of Lewis and Clark Expedition record the name of the Wallowa River[?] as Wil-le-wah. Levi Ankeny, a local historian of the area, offered the origin of the name as a Nez Perce word used to describe a weir made for catching fish. There is no one accepted origin of this name. As of 2000, the population is 7,226. Its county seat is Enterprise6.

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Economy The principal industries in Wallowa County are agriculture, ranching, lumber, and tourism. The Forest Service is the largest landlord in the county, owning 56% of the land.

Geography Wallowa is the northeastern most county of Oregon. It has a total area of 8,163 km² (3,152 mi²). 8,146 km² (3,145 mi²) of it is land and 16 km² (6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.20% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 7,226 people, 3,029 households, and 2,083 families residing in the county. The population density is 1/km² (2/mi²). There are 3,900 housing units at an average density of 0/km² (1/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 96.50% White, 0.03% African American, 0.71% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.95% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. 1.73% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 3,029 households out of which 28.50% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.70% are married couples living together, 6.90% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% are non-families. 27.10% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.90% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.35 and the average family size is 2.85.

In the county, the population is spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 4.90% from 18 to 24, 21.90% from 25 to 44, 30.00% from 45 to 64, and 18.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 44 years. For every 100 females there are 100.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 96.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $32,129, and the median income for a family is $38,682. Males have a median income of $28,202 versus $21,558 for females. The per capita income for the county is $17,276. 14.00% of the population and 9.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 18.30% are under the age of 18 and 11.40% are 65 or older.

History In 1871, the first white settlers came to the area, crossing the mountains in search of livestock feed in the Wallowa Valley. The county was established on February 11, 1887, from the eastern portion of Union County. Boundary changes occurred with Union County in 1890, 1900, and in 1915.

In 1877 the younger Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces, incensed at the government's attempt to deprive his people of the Wallowa Valley, refused to be moved to an Idaho reservation. Several regiments of United States troops were dispatched to force him onto the reservation. After several battles and a march of almost two thousand miles towards sanctuary in Canada, Chief Joseph was forced to surrender in Montana, forty miles from the Canadian border. He and the remnants of his band were detained in Oklahoma, and later were relocated to Colville Reservation in Washington State.

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