Deschutes County, Oregon

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Deschutes County, Oregon
Map of Oregon highlighting Deschutes County
Location in the U.S. state of Oregon
Map of the United States highlighting Oregon
Oregon's location in the U.S.
Founded December 13, 1916
Named for Deschutes River
Seat Bend
Largest city Bend
 • Total 3,055 sq mi (7,912 km2)
 • Land 3,018 sq mi (7,817 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (96 km2), 1.2%
Population (est.)
 • (2014) 170,388
 • Density 52/sq mi (20/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7

Deschutes County /dəˈʃts/ is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 census, the population was 157,733.[1] The county seat is Bend.[2] The county was created in 1916 out of part of Crook County and was named for the Deschutes River, which itself was named by French-Canadian trappers of the early 19th century. It is the political and economic hub of Central Oregon.

Deschutes comprises the Bend-Redmond, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area.[3]

Deschutes is the fastest-growing county in Oregon.[4]


French-Canadian fur trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company gave the name Riviere des Chutes (River of the Falls) to the Deschutes River, from which the county derived its name.[5]

On December 13, 1916, Deschutes County was created from the southern part of Crook County. Bend has been the county seat since the county's formation. It was the last county in Oregon to be established.

The Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company also operated within the Bend area processing Ponderosa pine trees.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,055 square miles (7,910 km2), of which 3,018 square miles (7,820 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (1.2%) is water.[6]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 9,622
1930 14,749 53.3%
1940 18,631 26.3%
1950 21,812 17.1%
1960 23,100 5.9%
1970 30,442 31.8%
1980 62,142 104.1%
1990 74,958 20.6%
2000 115,367 53.9%
2010 157,733 36.7%
Est. 2014 170,388 [7] 8.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2014[1]
Deschutes County grew by 39.4% from 2000 to 2007, making it by far the fastest-growing county in Oregon, at more than four times the state average.

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 115,367 people, 45,595 households, and 31,962 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile (15/km²). There were 54,583 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.85% White, 0.19% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.36% from other races, and 1.96% from two or more races. 3.73% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.4% were of German, 13.2% English, 11.4% Irish and 9.1% American ancestry.

There were 45,595 households out of which 32.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.00% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.90% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 28.60% from 25 to 44, 25.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $41,847, and the median income for a family was $48,403. Males had a median income of $34,070 versus $25,069 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,767. About 6.30% of families and 9.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.40% of those under age 18 and 6.10% of those age 65 or over.


Deschutes County politically falls more in line with the eastern side of Oregon than the western side. A plurality of registered voters who are part of a political party in Deschutes County, as with most counties in eastern Oregon, are members of the Republican Party.[13] In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney won 51.85% of the vote in Deschutes County to 45.13% for President Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's nominee.[14] However, in the 2008 presidential election, Obama lost Deschutes County more narrowly, winning 48.66% of the vote to 48.96% for Republican John McCain.[15] Both the 2008 and 2012 results represented a significant shift towards the Democratic candidate when compared to the 2004 presidential election, in which 56.4% of Deschutes Country voters voted for Republican President George W. Bush, while 42.1% voted for Democratic challenger John Kerry, and 1.5% of voters either voted for a third-party candidate or wrote in a candidate.[16]

In 2008, the Oregon house seat encompassing the city of Bend switched parties and hosted the only Democratic state legislator from a district east of the Cascades,[17] though the Republicans retook the seat in 2010.[18]



Deschutes county road department at work, February 2011

During the 1990s, Deschutes County experienced the most rapid growth of any county in Oregon largely due to the availability of recreation activities year-round, and its location as the nearest population center to much of the central Cascade Range. Beyond tourism, principal industries in the county are lumber, ranching and agriculture—chiefly potatoes. The Forest Service owns 51% of the lands within the county boundaries.

Deschutes County is the home of four destination resorts as defined by Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development. These resort are major employers within the county. Three of these resorts, Sunriver, Eagle Crest, and Pronghorn, are among the county's ten largest tax payers.[19]


The overall defining landscape of Deschutes County is primarily marked with that of lava flows. Most of the lava found in Deschutes County issued forth from Newberry Volcano located just south of Bend. Because of this, many lava tubes are located within, including the prominent Lava River Cave. As a consequence, the county is the most cave-rich in the state of Oregon,[20] with over 500 known caves in the county.[21] Other prominent lava flows exist too, especially those related to the Mount Bachelor Volcanic Chain which consists of Mt. Bachelor as well as three smaller shield volcanos, and a series of cinder cones.[22]

Three Sisters mountains visible over the Crooked River Railroad Bridge north of Terrebonne

Large volcanoes serve as a backdrop to the city of Bend in Deschutes County, ranging from the prominent Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, Newberry, Tumalo Mountain, Maiden Peak and others. A group of geologists have discovered Smith Rock State Park is part of an ancient supervolcano called the Crooked River caldera with a rim nearly six times the diameter of Newberry Volcano's caldera. This ancient supervolcano has long gone extinct. Its crater rim is barely recognizable as remnants mark portions of Powell Buttes, Gray Butte, and the western front of the Ochoco Mountains at Barnes Butte.[23]

On the eastern side of the county, it is mostly characterized by large buttes of much older volcanic origin. Most of these did not create any proper lava flows, or at least none that are known to exist. Some of the prominent buttes include: Horse Ridge, Pine Mountain, China Hat, and several others on the county border.

Two main types of lava flows are found within the county. The most common are the pāhoehoe flows which have been partially buried by volcanic ash, tephra deposits, and dirt over tens to hundreds of thousands of years. The ʻaʻā flows are fewer, but are much more prominent, with the most notable being associated with Lava Butte and the Lava Cast Forest in the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.


View of the Cascades near La Pine, Oregon.


Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 14, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "OMB Bulletin No. 13-01: Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. February 28, 2013. Retrieved April 8, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Bilby, Robert; Hanna, Susan; Huntly, Nancy; et al. (2007-07-08). "Human Population Impacts on Columbia River Basin Fish and Wildlife" (PDF). Independent Scientific Advisory Board. Retrieved 2008-09-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Deschutes County". Oregon Blue Book. State of Oregon. Retrieved 2009-04-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved February 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved February 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved February 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. 13.0 13.1 [1]
  14. "Deschutes County Election Results 2012". Retrieved 2014-02-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Deschutes County Election Results 2008". Retrieved 2009-04-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Deschutes County, Oregon (OR)". Retrieved 2012-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. [2] Archived October 7, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. "Jason Conger - Oregon State Representative, House District 54". Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. Williams, Steve, "The Expansion of Oregon’s Destination Resorts", WorkSource Oregon,, Oregon Employment Department, Salem, Oregon, 29 March 2007.
  20. "Oregon High Desert Grotto". Retrieved 2012-10-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. Matt Skeels. "The Caves of Central Oregon". Oregon High Desert Grotto. Retrieved July 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Geologic Map of the Mount Bachelor Volcanic Chain and Surrounding Area, Cascade Range, Oregon (Map). 1 : 50,000. Cartography by D. F. Garcia; R. C. Ittner; S.E. Jefferies. U.S. Department of the Interior; U.S. Geological Survey; Scott, William E.; Gardner, Cynthia A. 1992.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. McClaughry, Jason D.; Ferns, Mark L.; Gordon, Caroline L.; Patridge, Karyn A. (2009). "Field Trip Guide to the Oligocene Crooked River caldera: Central Oregon's Supervolcano, Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson Counties, Oregon" (PDF). Oregon Geology. 69 (1): 25–44.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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