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Deschutes County, Oregon facts for kids

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Deschutes County
Old U.S. Post Office in Bend, Oregon
Old U.S. Post Office in Bend, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Deschutes 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 December 13, 1916
Named for Deschutes River
Seat Bend
Largest city Bend
Area
 • Total 3,055 sq mi (7,910 km2)
 • Land 3,018 sq mi (7,820 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (100 km2)  1.2%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 198,253
 • Estimate 
(2021)
204,801 Increase
 • Density 65/sq mi (25/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Deschutes County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 198,253. The county seat is Bend. The county was created in 1916 out of part of Crook County and was named for the Deschutes River, which itself was named by French-Canadian trappers of the early 19th century. It is the political and economic hub of Central Oregon. Deschutes comprises the Bend, Oregon Metropolitan Statistical Area. Deschutes is Oregon’s fastest-growing county.

History

French-Canadian fur trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company gave the name Riviere des Chutes (River of the Falls) to the Deschutes River, from which the county derived its name.

On December 13, 1916, Deschutes County was created from the southern part of Crook County. Bend has been the county seat since the county's formation. It was the last county in Oregon to be established.

The Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company also operated within the Bend area processing Ponderosa pine trees.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,055 square miles (7,910 km2), of which 3,018 square miles (7,820 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (1.2%) is water.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 9,622
1930 14,749 53.3%
1940 18,631 26.3%
1950 21,812 17.1%
1960 23,100 5.9%
1970 30,442 31.8%
1980 62,142 104.1%
1990 74,958 20.6%
2000 115,367 53.9%
2010 157,733 36.7%
2020 198,253 25.7%
2021 (est.) 204,801 29.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020
Oregon Population Growth by County
Deschutes County grew by 39.4% from 2000 to 2007, making it by far the fastest-growing county in Oregon, at more than four times the state average.

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 157,733 people, 64,090 households, and 43,062 families living in the county. The population density was 52.3 inhabitants per square mile (20.2/km2). There were 80,139 housing units at an average density of 26.6 per square mile (10.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.2% white, 0.9% Asian, 0.9% American Indian, 0.4% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 3.0% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 7.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 24.0% were German, 15.3% were Irish, 14.5% were English, and 4.8% were American.

Of the 64,090 households, 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 32.8% were non-families, and 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.88. The median age was 40.2 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $53,071 and the median income for a family was $61,605. Males had a median income of $43,543 versus $33,207 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,920. About 7.6% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.

Geology

The overall defining landscape of Deschutes County is primarily marked with that of lava flows. Most of the lava found in Deschutes County issued forth from Newberry Volcano located just south of Bend. Because of this, many lava tubes are located within, including the prominent Lava River Cave. As a consequence, the county is the most cave-rich in the state of Oregon, with over 500 known caves in the county. Other prominent lava flows exist too, especially those related to the Mount Bachelor Volcanic Chain which consists of Mt. Bachelor as well as three smaller shield volcanos, and a series of cinder cones.

The Three Sisters from Peter Skene Ogden State Park
Three Sisters mountains visible over the Crooked River Railroad Bridge north of Terrebonne

Large volcanoes serve as a backdrop to the city of Bend in Deschutes County, ranging from the prominent Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, Newberry, Tumalo Mountain, Maiden Peak and others. A group of geologists have discovered Smith Rock State Park is part of an ancient supervolcano called the Crooked River caldera with a rim nearly six times the diameter of Newberry Volcano's caldera. This ancient supervolcano has long gone extinct. Its crater rim is barely recognizable as remnants mark portions of Powell Buttes, Gray Butte, and the western front of the Ochoco Mountains at Barnes Butte.

On the eastern side of the county, it is mostly characterized by large buttes of much older volcanic origin. Most of these did not create any proper lava flows, or at least none that are known to exist. Some of the prominent buttes include: Horse Ridge, Pine Mountain, China Hat, and several others on the county border.

Two main types of lava flows are found within the county. The most common are the pāhoehoe flows which have been partially buried by volcanic ash, tephra deposits, and dirt over tens to hundreds of thousands of years. The ʻaʻā flows are fewer, but are much more prominent, with the most notable being associated with Lava Butte and the Lava Cast Forest in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

Communities

DSCN7240 roadsouthofbend e 300
View of the Cascades near La Pine, Oregon.

Cities

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Economy

DesCoPlow
Deschutes County Road Department at work, February 2011

During the 1990s, Deschutes County experienced the most rapid growth of any county in Oregon, largely due to the year-round availability of recreational activities, and its location as the nearest population center to much of the central Cascade Range. Beyond tourism, principal industries in the county are lumber, ranching and agriculture—chiefly potatoes. The Forest Service owns 51% of the lands within the county boundaries.

Deschutes County is the home of four destination resorts as defined by Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development. These resorts are major employers within the county. Three of these resorts, Sunriver, Eagle Crest, and Pronghorn, are among the county's ten largest tax payers.

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