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Criterion, Oregon
Criterion, Oregon is located in Oregon
Criterion, Oregon
Criterion, Oregon
Location in Oregon
Criterion, Oregon is located in the United States
Criterion, Oregon
Criterion, Oregon
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Oregon
County Wasco
3,107 ft (947 m)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
Area code(s) 541 and 458
Coordinates and elevation from United States Geological Survey

Criterion is an historic unincorporated community in Wasco County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. It lies along U.S. Route 197 between Maupin and Madras. Nearby is Criterion Summit, which at about 3,360 feet (1,020 m) above sea level is the highest point along the highway between The Dalles to the north and Redmond to the south. In the late 19th century, the route over the summit was a wagon road linking The Dalles to Lakeview and California.

A post office was established here in 1913. The name comes from the dictionary word meaning a standard by which to judge quality. The founder who proposed the name linked it to the idea of a model community. Although other local residents preferred the name Three Notches, for a large, notched juniper tree growing nearby, the Post Office rejected the two-word proposal in favor of the single word, Criterion. The post office closed in 1926.

The Criterion Ranch Trail is an 11-mile (18 km) hiking route between Route 197 at Criterion and the Deschutes River to the west. It follows power lines and an old ranch trail used recently as a firebreak during a wildfire in 2011. The trail connects with other trails in the Criterion Tract, a recreational area administered by the Bureau of Land Management. It has frontage along a 5-mile (8 km) stretch of the highway and extends to the river.

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