the turn of the twentieth century, the people
of the Hood River region in the northwest portion
of Wasco County expressed a desire for political
separation from the parent county. The passage
of a statewide initiative established Hood River
as the thirty-fourth county of the state. It was
made official by a governor's proclamation on
June 23, 1908. Hood River County was named after
Hood River and Mt. Hood which are both located
within its boundaries. Mt. Hood was named in 1792
after Lord Hood (Samuel) who, among other things,
served in the British Navy during the American
county's boundaries have remained unchanged throughout
its existence. It is bordered by Wasco County
to the east, by Clackamas and Multnomah Counties
to the west, and by the Columbia River to the
north. Hood River County is the second smallest
county in terms of size in the state, outranking
only Multnomah County, with a total area of 533
City of Hood River, first platted in 1881, has
been the county seat since the county's creation.
The first county courthouse was an old primary
school building. In 1937, after failing to approve
a new courthouse, the county was forced to purchase
the Butler Bank Building, which housed the county
government until 1954 when the present courthouse
county officials included the county judge, two
county commissioners, sheriff, clerk, treasurer,
assessor, school superintendent, surveyor, and
coroner. In 1964, Hood River County adopted the
home rule form of government. A five-member elected
board of commissioners creates ordinances and
resolutions to govern the county. The commission
appoints a county administrator to oversee operations
of county services. Except for an elected sheriff,
all county department heads are selected by and
responsible to the commission. Several specialized
advisory boards, committees, and commissions give
the board advice and recommendations concerning
various county services.
2000 population of Hood River County was 20,411.
This represented a 20.75% increase from 1990.
first permanent settlers in Hood River County
filed a donation land claim in 1854; by 1880 seventeen
families lived in the region. By the latter part
of the nineteenth century farmers of Japanese,
Finnish, German, and French ethnicity had settled
in the valley. The Columbia River Highway was
completed in 1922 from Portland to The Dalles,
making the towns of Hood River County more accessible
to people and commerce from throughout the Columbia
River Gorge and the state.
principal industries of Hood River include agriculture,
timber, hydroelectric production, and recreation.
The fertile Hood River Valley has an ideal climate
for the production of apples, cherries, peaches,
and pears. It also offers recreational activities
such as snow skiing, yachting, and fishing which
bring both people and capital to compensate for
the decline in logging and hydroelectric production.
The Columbia River near Hood River is a premier
windsurfing area and attracts windsurfers from
throughout the United States and around the world.
courtesy of The Oregon State Archives