World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Dalles, Oregon

This page is about the city in Oregon. For the nearby geological formation called The Dalles, see Celilo Falls. For other uses see Dalles.
The Dalles
The Dalles, Oregon
Aerial view of The Dalles from the Washington side of the Columbia River
Aerial view of The Dalles from the Washington side of the Columbia River
Flag of The Dalles
Official seal of The Dalles
Location in Oregon
Location in Oregon
County Wasco County
Incorporated 1857
 • Mayor Stephen Elliott Lawrence (D)[1][2]
 • Total 6.61 sq mi (17.12 km2)
 • Land 6.35 sq mi (16.45 km2)
 • Water 0.26 sq mi (0.67 km2)
Elevation 109 ft (33 m)
Population (2010)[4]
 • Total 13,620
 • Estimate (2013)[5] 15,158
 • Density 2,144.9/sq mi (828.2/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC−7)
ZIP code 97058
Area code(s) 458 and 541
Website City of The Dalles

The Dalles is the county seat and largest city of Wasco County, Oregon, United States. The name of the city comes from the French word dalle (meaning either "sluice" (akin to English "dale" and German T[h]al, "valley") or "flagstone" and referring to the columnar basalt rocks carved by the river,[6][7] in voyageur French used to refer to rapids), which was used by the French-Canadian employees of the North West Company to refer to the rapids of the Columbia River between the present-day city and Celilo Falls. Also in the same area was the Petite Dalles or Little Dalles, or Short Narrows. The population was 13,620 at the 2010 census.


  • History 1
    • Fur trade 1.1
    • Wascopam Mission 1.2
    • American settlement 1.3
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Economy 3
    • Top employers 3.1
  • Education 4
  • Demographics 5
    • 2010 census 5.1
    • 2000 census 5.2
  • Arts and culture 6
    • Annual cultural events 6.1
    • Museums and other points of interest 6.2
  • Parks and recreation 7
  • Media 8
    • Radio 8.1
    • Television 8.2
  • Rajneeshee Movement 9
  • Notable people 10
  • Sister cities 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


The site of what is now the city of The Dalles was a major Native American trading center for at least 10,000 years. The general area is one of the continent's most significant archaeological regions.[8] Lewis and Clark camped near Mill Creek on October 25–27, 1805, and recorded the Native American name for the creek as Quenett.

Fur trade

The first use of the name Dalles, according to Oregon Geographic Names, appears in fur trader Gabriel Franchère's Narrative, on April 12, 1814, referring to the long series of major rapids in the river.[7] Starting in the 1810s European descendants passed by what became The Dalles, active in the North American fur trade as employees of either the American Pacific Fur Company (PFC) or the Canadian North West Company (NWC). Men like NWC officer David Thompson voyaged both down and up the Columbia, traveling through Celilo Falls. The War of 1812 led to the 1813 liquidation of the PFC, its properties like Fort Astoria sold to the North West Company.[9]

Early illustration of The Dalles, attributed to Joseph Drayton

In 1821 the North West Company was absorbed by the giant London-based Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). Fort Vancouver, built in 1824, replaced Fort Astoria as the regional fur trade headquarters. The HBC's trading network made extensive use of the Columbia River. The rapids of the Columbia River at The Dalles was the largest and longest of the four "great portages", where fur trading boats had to unload and transship their cargoes. Sometimes, during high water, boats traveling downriver would "shoot the rapids" instead of portaging, although the practice was dangerous and many people died as a result over the years.[10]

The Dalles in the 1880s

Wascopam Mission

In 1838 a branch of Jason Lee's Methodist Mission was established at Celilo Falls, named the Wascopam Mission, after the native Wasco people.[11] In 1850 the U.S. Army founded a small post at the site of the old mission, being eventually named Fort Dalles. Fort Dalles became the nucleus of the town of The Dalles, which began to develop along the waterfront.[11] In 1855, at the end of the Cayuse War, the Native Americans living near The Dalles were forceably relocated by the U.S. Army to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.[11]

American settlement

In the early 1840s American settlers began to arrive in significant numbers, traveling overland via the Oregon Trail. The trail ended at The Dalles. It was not possible to take wagons farther west due to steep cliffs that fell straight into the Columbia River. Until the construction of the Barlow Road in 1846, the only way to reach Fort Vancouver and the Willamette Valley was by rafting down the river from The Dalles.[11]

A post office was established within the boundaries of the current city in 1851, and The Dalles was incorporated as a city in 1857. It has been the major commercial center between Portland and Pendleton since. The city was originally named just "Dalles". In 1853 it was changed to "Wascopum," then, in 1860, to "The Dalles".[8]

In 1864, the U.S. Congress appropriated money to build a U.S. mint in The Dalles that was to use gold from Canyon City for coinage. The supply of gold from Canyon City began to dwindle, however, and other problems, such as cost over-runs, workers leaving to work the gold fields, and flooding from the Columbia River, also contributed to the project running two years behind schedule and led eventually to its demise. In 1870, the State of Oregon received the property from the U.S. Government and the building was put to other uses.[12] The mint is now home to Erin Glenn Winery.[13][14]

The Dalles City Hall

In 1924, Bobbie the Wonder Dog stopped briefly in The Dalles while on his 2,600 mile journey home by foot from Indiana to Silverton, Oregon. Emaciated and tired, he was aided by members of the community before moving westward through the Columbia Gorge.

Construction of The Dalles Dam in 1957 submerged the Long Narrows and Celilo Falls.

In 1963, Ken Kesey's novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest was published featuring the narrator, Chief, who is from The Dalles.[15]

In 1970, the Bonneville Power Administration opened the Celilo Converter Station near the northern terminus of the Pacific DC Intertie which sends 3,100 megawatts of electricity to Los Angeles.

In 1982 a curly-coated kitten was born on a farm in The Dalles owned by Linda and Dick Koehl. The Koehls used this kitten and her offspring to develop a new breed of cat called the LaPerm, which went on to become a popular, established, championship pedigree cat breed around the world.[16]

In 1984 The Dalles was the site of the first and single largest bioterrorism attack in United States history.

In 1986, Penalty Phase, a film starring Peter Strauss and Melissa Gilbert, was filmed in and around The Dalles.[17]


The Dalles and the Columbia River showing surrounding landscape

Highways I-84, U.S. 30, and U.S. 197 meet in the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.61 square miles (17.12 km2), of which, 6.35 square miles (16.45 km2) is land and 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2) is water.[3]


The Dalles is usually classified as a cool semiarid (Köppen BSk) climate region. However it has some characteristics of the midlatitude oceanic climate that dominates west of the Cascade Mountains, combined with seasonal precipitation patterns very similar to those found in Mediterranean climates. The city's location in the eastern Columbia Gorge results in there being numerous microclimates within a few miles of town. Winters are significantly wetter, and summers significantly cooler, to the immediate west while upland locations to the south are significantly cooler in all seasons. The generally warm and dry summers near town make it the ideal climate for the many Bing cherry orchards in the area.

The summer season runs from mid-June through early September and is quite warm by Pacific Northwest standards; however, summer weather often oscillates between intense heat waves and much cooler and windier periods. Except for the occasional sporadic thunderstorm, there is almost no summer rainfall.

From late September through early November, the area experiences an abrupt autumn during which normal temperatures drop very rapidly and cloudy, wet weather quickly picks up. Prior to the sudden onset of the rainy season in mid- to late fall, there are often days with a very wide disparity between daytime and nighttime temperatures, sometimes exceeding 20 C / 36 F. There is far less wind in the fall than in spring and early summer, though passing frontal systems can still bring quick bouts of strong wind.

Winter is the wet season in The Dalles. Despite the rain shadow effect created by the Cascades, there is still enough precipitation most years to support relatively high soil moisture levels for most of the winter. This is a very similar pattern to what happens in classic Mediterranean climates - except that the temperatures are significantly colder. The area receives measured snowfall virtually every year, but the snow totals fluctuate dramatically from one year to the next; some seasons see only one or two brief light snow events while others get major snowstorms and cumulative totals of 50 cm (20 in.) or more. Average winter temperatures are only about 2–3 C (3–5 F) degrees colder than in cities such as Portland and Seattle, and temperatures below −20 C (−4 F) are very rare, but not unheard of. As in the summer, winter temperatures can vary tremendously from one day to the next: during arctic air events the daytime high temperatures will generally be well below 0C / 32F, while a strong subtropical push can raise temperatures into the 50s and low 60s F, even in January. It is quite common for relatively cold air to become trapped at low elevations due to an inversion above; depending on the temperature of the surface airmass, depth of the inversion layer, and temperatures above the inversion layer, this can result in snow, sleet, freezing rain or a very cold liquid rain.

Springtime conditions generally run from late February through early June, during which time the overall trend gradually becomes warmer and drier and the landscape briefly turns lush and green. This is the windiest season of all, with a powerful west wind on most afternoons. During stormy periods in spring it is usually cloudy and cool while most sunny and calm days become intensely warm, especially from April onward. Spring temperatures often vary more from one week to the next than they do from one month to the next.

The growing season is roughly 200 days in a typical year, generally running from early April through most of October. However spring frost dates can range from mid-March to early May, and fall frost dates from late September to mid-November.

Climate data for The Dalles, Oregon
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 41
Average low °F (°C) 30
Record low °F (°C) −19
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.6
  • Annual Average High Temperatures: 88 °F (summer) 41 °F (winter)
  • Annual Average Low Temperatures 61 °F (summer) 30 °F (winter)
  • Highest Recorded Temperature: 111 °F (1998)
  • Lowest Recorded Temperature: -25 °F (1950)
  • Warmest Month: July
  • Coolest Month: January
  • Highest Precipitation: December
  • Annual Precipitation: 14.28 inches


In 2006, the Internet company Google began building a major data center, known locally as Project 02, along the Columbia River in The Dalles, using the area's reliable hydroelectric power and the underutilized fiber optic capacity of the area. The new complex includes two buildings, each approximately the size of a football field, and two cooling plants, each four stories high. The project promised hundreds of jobs in the area, mainly in construction, with an additional 200 permanent positions expected later in 2006 although as of 2013 Google employs only 150 combined company employees and contractors in The Dalles.[19][20][21]

Top employers

As of 2012, the top 15 employers in The Dalles according to the Mid-Columbia Economic Development District report on "Largest Employers in Wasco County" are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Mid-Columbia Medical Center 915
2 North Wasco County School District 360
3 Oregon Cherry Growers 275
4 State of Oregon 243
5 Fred Meyer 230
6 Oregon Veteran's Home 208
7 Columbia Gorge Community College 200
8 Wasco County 181
9 Google 150
10 Safeway 142
11 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 125
12 City of The Dalles 100
13 Home Depot 100
14 Cousin's Country Inn 100
15 Orchard View Farms 90


The Dalles is home to the main campus of

  • City Website
  • Entry for The Dalles from the Oregon Blue Book
  •  "Dalles, The".  

External links

  1. ^ "Stephen Lawrence".  
  2. ^ "City of The Dalles". 
  3. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ a b "Population Estimates".  
  6. ^ Gibson, James R. (1997). The Lifeline of the Oregon Country: The Fraser-Columbia Brigade System, 1811–47. University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. p. 125.  
  7. ^ a b  
  8. ^ a b "Historic The Dalles". Wasco County Historical Society. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Fort Astoria, 1813".  
  10. ^ Gibson, James R. (1998). The Lifeline of the Oregon Country: The Fraser-Columbia Brigade System, 1811–47. UBC Press. p. 114.  
  11. ^ a b c d "Fort Dalles History". Fort Dalles Museum and the Anderson Homestead. Retrieved August 28, 2011. 
  12. ^ Wasco History. Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  13. ^ The Dalles U.S. Branch Mint/Erin Glenn Winery (1870)
  14. ^ Mint that Never Was Makes Interesting Tale
  15. ^ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest: Summary and Analysis: There's a Monopoly Game. CliffsNotes. Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  16. ^ "History of the Breed". The LaPerm Society. Retrieved May 29, 2011. In the midst of these hunting grounds, near The Dalles, Oregon and under the watchful eye of Tsagaglalal, the LaPerm came into existence in the spring of 1982. 
  17. ^ Tarlton Law Library – Law in Popular Culture Collection – Law and Lawyers in Popular Culture. Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  18. ^ " Weather Channel Historical Weather for The Dalles, Oregon, United States of America". Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  19. ^ Rogoway, Mike. "Google plans much bigger data center if it expands in The Dalles". The Oregonian. Retrieved 5 June 2013. 
  20. ^ Markoff, John; Saul Hansell (June 14, 2006). "Hiding in Plain Sight, Google Seeks More Power". The New York Times. 
  21. ^ The Dalles · Google Data Centers. Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  22. ^ [Sustainablity Education & Economic Development] "Columbia Gorge Community College Leads Nation in Wind Training"] . Retrieved 2013-08-11. 
  23. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  24. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850–1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 216.
  25. ^  
  26. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  27. ^ 30th Annual Northwest Cherry Festival Archived January 9, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Authorized by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act (PL99-663)
  29. ^ Fort Dalles Museum. Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  30. ^ Horner, John B. (1919). Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature. Portland.: The J.K. Gill Co. pp. 72–73. 
  31. ^ "Bioterrorism in History – 1984: Rajneesh Cult Attacks Local Salad Bar". Special Coverage ( Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 31, 2001. Retrieved August 21, 2011. 
  32. ^ Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission. (2004-06-30). Retrieved on June 4, 2012.
  33. ^ Tukwila Sister City Affiliation. (1979-11-19). Retrieved on June 4, 2012.


The Dalles has one sister city:

Sister cities

Notable people

In 1984, The Dalles was the scene of a bioterrorist incident launched by members of the Rajneesh Movement in an attempt to gain control of the local government of Wasco County. Salmonella placed in ten restaurants resulted in 751 cases of Salmonellosis. It was the first known bioterrorism attack of the 20th century in the United States.[31] The circumstances of the attack are documented in an American Medical Association article (JAMA Vol 278, No 5, page 389, 6Aug1997).

Rajneeshee Movement


  • KACI 1300/103.9 FM
  • KODL 1440AM/99.1 FM



Sorosis Park is a 45-acre (180,000 m2) park in The Dalles. City Park is a 1.13-acre (4,600 m2) park close to downtown The Dalles. Firehouse Park is a 0.8-acre (3,200 m2) park located on the Columbia View Heights across from East Knoll. Thompson Park is a 12-acre (49,000 m2) park (6 developed, 6 non developed) located on 2nd Street on the west end of the historical district. Howe Park is a 1-acre (4,000 m2) neighborhood park located adjacent to The Dalles Middle School on the east end. Riverfront Park is a water front 10-acre (40,000 m2) developed park located just north of I84. Kramer Field Complex is a 16.5-acre (67,000 m2) sports complex which houses Little League, Babe Ruth, softball and soccer fields, owned by Wasco County and managed by Parks and Rec. Ted Walker Memorial Pool is a 50-meter outdoor swimming pool located within Thompson Park.

Parks and recreation

  • Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • Fort Dalles Museum, Oregon's oldest history museum located in the Surgeon's Quarters built in 1856 at Fort Dalles[29]
  • Pulpit Rock, used by Methodist missionaries to preach to the Native Americans[30]

Museums and other points of interest

The Northwest Cherry Festival is held in The Dalles in April.[27]

Annual cultural events

Former Carnegie library, currently The Dalles Art Center

Arts and culture

The median income for a household in the city was $35,430, and the median income for a family was $43,041. Males had a median income of $36,387 versus $22,583 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,511. About 9.0% of families and 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.6% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.

There were 4,896 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 29.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40, and the average family size was 2.94.

As of the census[26] of 2000, there were 12,156 people, 4,896 households, and 3,226 families residing in the city. The population density was 892.3/km2. There were 5,227 housing units at an average density of 383.7/km2. The racial makeup of the city was 87.83% White, 0.39% African American, 1.20% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.77% Pacific Islander, 6.23% from other races, and 2.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.50% of the population.

2000 census

The median age in the city was 39.7 years. 23.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.1% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 17.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.

There were 5,472 households of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.1% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.99.

As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 13,620 people, 5,472 households, and 3,441 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,144.9 inhabitants per square mile (828.2/km2). There were 5,903 housing units at an average density of 929.6 per square mile (358.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.9% White, 0.5% African American, 1.5% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.8% Pacific Islander, 5.7% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.0% of the population.

2010 census



This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.