Umatilla County, Oregon

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Umatilla County, Oregon
Stafford Hansell Government Center in Hermiston
Map of Oregon highlighting Umatilla County
Location in the state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded September 27, 1862
Seat Pendleton
Largest city Hermiston
 • Total 3,231 sq mi (8,368 km2)
 • Land 3,216 sq mi (8,329 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 0.5%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 76,705
 • Density 23/sq mi (9/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7

Umatilla County /ˌjuːməˈtɪlə/ is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 75,889.[1] The county seat is Pendleton.[2] The county is named for the Umatilla River.

Umatilla County is part of the Pendleton–Hermiston, OR Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is included in the 8 county definition of Eastern Oregon.


Umatilla County was created on September 27, 1862, out of a portion of Wasco County. Adjustments were made to the county's boundaries following the creation of Grant, Morrow, Union, and Wallowa Counties. This legislative act also designated Marshall Station as the temporary county seat. An 1865 election selected Umatilla City, now known as Umatilla, as the county seat. With the development of wheat farming, population shifted to the north and east parts of the county, and a subsequent election in 1868 moved the county seat again to Pendleton.

The Umatilla Indian Reservation was established by the Treaty of Walla Walla in 1855. The Umatillas, Walla Wallas, and Cayuse tribes were resettled there, and is located immediately southeast of Pendleton.

EZ Wireless of Hermiston officially opened on February 4, 2004, one of the largest known Wi-Fi wide area networks in the United States, covering parts of Umatilla County, Morrow County and Benton County, Washington. Although created to facilitate communications among local police, firemen and EMT workers who immediately respond to possible accidents or terrorist attacks on the Umatilla Chemical Depot, where the U.S. Army maintained a national arsenal of nerve gas, the network can be accessed in some places by the public for free.[3]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,231 square miles (8,370 km2), of which 3,216 square miles (8,330 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (0.5%) is water.[4] It borders the Columbia River across from Washington.

Adjacent counties[edit]

I-84 eastbound and McKay Reservoir in Umatilla County

National protected areas[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,916
1880 9,607 229.5%
1890 13,381 39.3%
1900 18,049 34.9%
1910 20,309 12.5%
1920 25,946 27.8%
1930 24,399 −6.0%
1940 26,030 6.7%
1950 41,703 60.2%
1960 44,352 6.4%
1970 44,923 1.3%
1980 58,861 31.0%
1990 59,249 0.7%
2000 70,548 19.1%
2010 75,889 7.6%
Est. 2014 76,705 [5] 1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2014[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 70,548 people, 25,195 households, and 17,838 families residing in the county. The population density was 22 people per square mile (8/km²). There were 27,676 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 82.00% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 3.37% Native American, 0.75% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 10.67% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. 16.11% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.1% were of German, 13.0% American, 9.8% English and 6.8% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 84.4% spoke English and 14.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 25,195 households out of which 35.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.10% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.20% were non-families. 23.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the population was spread out with 27.80% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 104.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,249, and the median income for a family was $41,850. Males had a median income of $31,479 versus $22,325 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,410. About 9.80% of families and 12.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.20% of those under age 18 and 8.70% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics[edit]

State Legislature[edit]

Umatilla County contains two Oregon State House Districts: State House District 57, which is currently represented by Greg Smith, and State House District 58, which is currently represented by Bob Jenson. Umatilla County is also located in Oregon State Senate District 29, represented by David Nelson. Smith, Jenson, and Nelson are registered Republicans.[11]

Board of Commissioners[edit]

Umatilla County is represented and governed by three County Commissioners. The Umatilla County Board of Commissioners is currently made up of W. Lawrence Givens, William J. Elfering, and George Murdock.[12] Larry Givens, who serves as the boards Chair, is a former educator and was elected for his first term in 2006.

Make-up of Umatilla County voters[edit]

Registered voters in Umatilla County, April 2009.[13]

Like all counties in eastern Oregon, the majority of registered voters who are part of a political party in Umatilla County are members of the Republican Party.[13] In the 2008 presidential election 59.77 percent of Umatilla County voters voted for Republican John McCain, while 37.16 percent voted for Democrat Barack Obama and 3.07 percent of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[14] These numbers show a small but definite shift towards the Democratic candidate when compared to the 2004 presidential election, in which 65.8% of Umatilla Country voters voted for George W. Bush, while 32.8% voted for John Kerry, and 1.4% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[15]


The gold rush of 1862 brought miners and stock raisers to the mountains and grasslands of Umatilla County. Another stimulus was the arrival of the railroad in 1881, opening the region to the development of dry land wheat farming. Water for irrigation has been key to economic diversification and growth, most recently in the Hermiston area, where lush watermelons and other products are grown. The annual Pendleton Round-Up rodeo held in Pendleton is an important tourist attraction.


Trestle seen off Sparks Station Rd at Pendleton Country Club, opposite of the McKay Reservoir, Pendleton, Oregon. Transportation linkages in Umatilla are one of the county's major advantages.[16]
An old grain elevator along Steen Road south of Milton-Freewater, Umatilla County.


Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Associated Press (October 16, 2005). "Wi-Fi Cloud Covers Rural Oregon". Wired News. CondéNet Inc. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 28, 2015. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ Retrieved 11/17/09
  12. ^ Retrieved 20 November 2009
  13. ^ a b Retrieved on 4/20/09
  14. ^ retrieved 4/20/09
  15. ^ Retrieved on 4/21/09
  16. ^ 1996 Portrait: Regional (northwest) Economic Review And Outlook. DIANE Publishing Company. 2004. p. 32. ISBN 0-7881-3093-5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°22′30″N 118°45′05″W / 45.375131°N 118.7513661°W / 45.375131; -118.7513661