Olene, Oregon

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Olene is an unincorporated community in Klamath County, Oregon, United States.[1] It is located 10 miles southeast of Klamath Falls on Oregon Route 140.[2] Olene currently has a general store and at one time it had a school.[3][4][5] In 1940 Olene had a population of 62 and was considered a suburb of Klamath Falls.[6] Olene was the center of a prosperous dairy and potato farming district.[6]

According to William Gladstone Steel, Olene is a Klamath word meaning "eddy place" or "place of drift." O. C. Applegate adopted the word for the site in 1884 when the post office was established.[7] The original Olene post office was up the Lost River from the current townsite.[7] When the post office closed in 1966, it was near The Gap, a restriction in the Lost River.[7][8] This gap is also known as Olene Gap, and the Olene Hot Springs are nearby.[9][10]

The community was located on a rail line operated jointly by Southern Pacific and Burlington Northern. Today the OC&E Woods Line State Trail, a rails to trails conversion, passes through Olene.[11] Originally built by the Oregon California and Eastern Railroad, the railroad line reached Olene in 1918.[9]

A geothermal drilling project near Olene was completed in early 2013, and the temperature produced by that well was in excess of 280 degrees Fahrenheit.[12] Plans are currently in progress to drill 2 to 3 more wells for a commercial-scale power plant, with a planned electrical capacity of 21 MWe.[12]


  1. ^ "Olene". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  2. ^ Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer (7th ed.). Yarmouth, Maine: DeLorme. 2008. p. 70. ISBN 0-89933-347-8. 
  3. ^ "Parking and Access". Klamath Rails-to-Trail Group. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  4. ^ "Itineraries". Klamath Visitor & Convention Bureau. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  5. ^ Tonsfeldt, Ward (August 1990). "Historical Resource Survey: Klamath County, Oregon". Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  6. ^ a b Writers' Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Oregon (1940). Oregon: End of the Trail. American Guide Series. Portland, Oregon: Binfords & Mort. p. 440. OCLC 4874569. 
  7. ^ a b c McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [First published 1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 720. ISBN 9780875952772. OCLC 53075956. 
  8. ^ "The Gap". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. November 28, 1980. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  9. ^ a b "OC&E Woods Line State Trail". Explore!. December 5, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  10. ^ "Olene Hot Springs". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. May 22, 1986. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  11. ^ "OC&E Woods Line State Trail". Klamath Rails-to-Trail Group. Retrieved 2010-12-13. 
  12. ^ a b [1] "Second Geothermal Well in the Works in Olene Area". Global Geothermal News. Retrieved October 14, 2013.

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Coordinates: 42°10′19″N 121°37′51″W / 42.171814°N 121.630832°W / 42.171814; -121.630832