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Morrow County, Oregon facts for kids

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Morrow County
Morrow County Courthouse in Heppner
Morrow County Courthouse in Heppner
Map of Oregon highlighting Morrow 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 February 16, 1885
Seat Heppner
Largest city Boardman
Area
 • Total 2,049 sq mi (5,310 km2)
 • Land 2,032 sq mi (5,260 km2)
 • Water 17 sq mi (40 km2)  0.8%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 12,186
 • Estimate 
(2021)
12,303 Increase
 • Density 5.5/sq mi (2.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Morrow County is one of the 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,186. The county seat is Heppner. The county is named for one of its first white settlers, Jackson L. Morrow, who was a member of the state legislature when the county was created. Half of the Umatilla Chemical Depot, which includes the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, and the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility Boardman are located within the county. Morrow County is part of the Pendleton-Hermiston, OR, Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is located on the south side of the Columbia River and is included in the eight-county definition of Eastern Oregon.

History

Morrow County was created in 1885 from the western portion of Umatilla County and a small portion of eastern Wasco County. Heppner was designated the temporary county seat at the time the county was created and narrowly defeated Lexington in the election held in 1887 to determine the permanent county seat.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,049 square miles (5,310 km2), of which 2,032 square miles (5,260 km2) is land and 17 square miles (44 km2) (0.8%) is covered by water.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 4,205
1900 4,151 −1.3%
1910 4,357 5.0%
1920 5,617 28.9%
1930 4,941 −12.0%
1940 4,337 −12.2%
1950 4,783 10.3%
1960 4,871 1.8%
1970 4,465 −8.3%
1980 7,519 68.4%
1990 7,625 1.4%
2000 10,995 44.2%
2010 11,173 1.6%
2020 12,186 9.1%
2021 (est.) 12,303 10.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 11,173 people, 3,916 households, and 2,953 families living in the county. The population density was 5.5 inhabitants per square mile (2.1/km2). There were 4,442 housing units at an average density of 2.2 per square mile (0.85/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 77.7% white, 1.2% American Indian, 0.9% Asian, 0.5% black or African American, 0.1% Pacific islander, 16.9% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 31.3% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 19.5% were German, 13.1% were English, 10.7% were Irish, and 5.0% were American.

Of the 3,916 households, 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.7% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 24.6% were non-families, and 19.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.25. The median age was 36.5 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,902 and the median income for a family was $49,868. Males had a median income of $38,045 versus $30,173 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,201. About 12.4% of families and 15.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.7% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

Airports

  • Boardman Airport
  • Lexington Airport

Major roads

  • I-84.svg Interstate 84
  • US 30.svg U.S. Route 30
    • US 730.svg U.S. Route 730
  • OR 74.svg Oregon Route 74
  • OR 206.svg Oregon Route 206
  • OR 207.svg Oregon Route 207

Communities

Cities

Unincorporated communities

Economy

The principal industries in the county today include agriculture, food processing, lumber, livestock, and recreation. The Columbia River also provides Morrow County with a number of related jobs. A coal-fired generating plant in Boardman also employs a significant number of people.

Ione Elevator (Morrow County, Oregon scenic images) (morDA0001a)
A grain elevator just outside Ione

Early cattlemen found an abundance of rye along the creek bottoms of the region and drove their herds into the area to forage on these natural pastures. Ranching was the primary economic force in the county for many years. Increased settlement, the enclosure of the free grazing lands and diminished pastures due to overgrazing, resulted in the decline of ranching during the 19th century, and farming became predominant. The completion of rail lines into the county in 1883 increased access to markets and encouraged wheat production in the area. The advent of technology for center pivot irrigation has been a further stimulus to the local economy.

The Port of Morrow, situated on the Columbia River near the city of Boardman, was established in 1957.

The coal-fired electricity generation plant, the Boardman Turbine Coal Plant (601 megawatts), is 14 miles (23 km) southwest of the town of Boardman and is owned by Portland General Electric (PGE; 66%-owned and operated), Idaho Power (10%), Pacific Northwest Generating (10%), and General Electric Credit Corp. (16%). There are also two natural gas-fired plants located at the Port of Morrow; Coyote Springs I (255-276 MW), owned and operated by Portland General Electric; and Coyote Springs II (241-280 MW; PGE operator) owned by Avista Corp.

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