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Crook County, Oregon facts for kids

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Crook County
Crook County Courthouse in Prineville
Crook County Courthouse in Prineville
Map of Oregon highlighting Crook County
Location within the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Oregon
Founded October 24, 1882
Seat Prineville
Largest city Prineville
 • Total 2,987 sq mi (7,740 km2)
 • Land 2,979 sq mi (7,720 km2)
 • Water 8.2 sq mi (21 km2)  0.3%%
 • Total 24,738
 • Estimate 
25,739 Increase
 • Density 7.0/sq mi (2.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Crook County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 24,738. The county seat is Prineville. The county is named after George Crook, a U.S. Army officer who served in the American Civil War and various Indian Wars.

Crook County comprises the Prineville, OR Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Bend--Prineville, OR Combined Statistical Area.


Logging in the Ochocos circa 1900
Logging in the Ochoco Mountains, circa 1900

Crook County was established on October 9, 1882, by an act of the Oregon State Legislature. The county was named after General George Crook, a veteran of various battles against the indigenous peoples of Eastern Oregon in the middle of the 19th Century. The county was formed from territory formerly part of Wasco County, including the hilly region where the foothills of the Blue Mountains intersect the Cascade Mountain Range.

Access into the region at first was difficult, which discouraged settlement. The first effort to develop routes into the area was in 1862 when a supply train with cattle crossed the Scott Trail. This was also the first group of non-natives to spend the winter in central Oregon. The discovery and development of the Santiam Pass in the 1860s improved access into the area.

Prineville, incorporated in 1880 and then the only incorporated town in the county, was established as the county seat. This decision confirmed by the voters in the 1884 general election.

From the start cattle ranching has been one of the primary industries of the county, with huge herds grazing the countryside from the 1880s. Farming was also developed in certain valley regions friendly to agriculture.

Logging in the Ochoco Mountains and the timber mills that accompanied also greatly contributed to the economic and population growth of the county. The first recorded mention of a sawmill was made by George Barnes, speaking about the Swartz sawmill on Mill Creek, circa 1867.


The county is located in the geographic center of Oregon. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,987 square miles (7,740 km2), of which 2,979 square miles (7,720 km2) is land and 8.2 square miles (21 km2) (0.3%) is water. The largest body of water in Crook County is the Prineville Reservoir. The county has been reduced from its original size of 8,600 square miles (22,000 km2) by the creation of Jefferson County in 1914 and Deschutes County in 1916. The present boundaries were established in 1927.

The oldest geological formation in Oregon is in the southeastern corner of Crook County, near its boundary with Grant County. This formation is an outcropping of Devonian limestone created from a larger reef when most of Oregon was covered by water.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Ochoco National Forest (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 3,244
1900 3,964 22.2%
1910 9,315 135.0%
1920 3,424 −63.2%
1930 3,336 −2.6%
1940 5,533 65.9%
1950 8,991 62.5%
1960 9,430 4.9%
1970 9,985 5.9%
1980 13,091 31.1%
1990 14,111 7.8%
2000 19,182 35.9%
2010 20,978 9.4%
2020 24,738 17.9%
2021 (est.) 25,739 22.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020
Oregon Population Growth by County
From 2000 to 2007, Crook County's population grew by 34.9%, more than three times the state average. It was the second fastest growing county in the state, after neighboring Deschutes County.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 20,978 people, 8,558 households, and 6,025 families living in the county. The population density was 7.0 inhabitants per square mile (2.7/km2). There were 10,202 housing units at an average density of 3.4 per square mile (1.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.7% white, 1.4% American Indian, 0.5% Asian, 0.2% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 3.2% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 20.7% were German, 14.6% were English, 12.6% were Irish, and 6.2% were American.

Of the 8,558 households, 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.1% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 29.6% were non-families, and 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.84. The median age was 45.6 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,059 and the median income for a family was $52,477. Males had a median income of $41,375 versus $29,545 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,275. About 10.6% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.1% of those under age 18 and 4.0% of those age 65 or over.



Unincorporated communities


Forest products, agriculture, livestock raising and recreation/tourism services constitute Crook County's total economy. Agriculture is supported by the development of irrigation districts, which permits the raising of hay, grain, mint, potatoes, and seed. Range and forest lands allow grazing for a sizable livestock industry. The Ochoco National Forest's stand of ponderosa pine is the main source of lumber. Tourism and recreation help round out the economy. Thousands of hunters, fishers, boaters, sightseers and rockhounds are annual visitors to its streams, reservoirs and the Ochoco Mountains. The Prineville Chamber of Commerce provides access to over 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of mining claims to rockhounds, who can dig for free agates, limb casts, jasper and thundereggs.

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