Canyon City, Oregon

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Canyon City is a city in Grant County, Oregon, United States. It is the county seat of Grant County, and is about a mile south of John Day on U.S. Highway 395. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 669.



Canyon City was established in June 1862 as a result of the discovery of gold in Canyon Creek, which flows through the town. The discovery led to land between Canyon City and John Day being worth $500 per square yard ($598/m²).[3] Panning for gold could yield several ounces in each pan of sediment. At the peak of the local gold rush, it is claimed that 10,000 people lived in Canyon City, making it larger than Portland at the time.

The preeminent geologist, Waldemar Lindgren, during his 1900 visit to the gold belt of the Blue Mountains, estimated that no more than $16 million in gold had been recovered from Canyon Creek by then. At the fixed value of $20.67 per troy ounce, this would correspond to roughly 800,000 ounces, worth today (at $1,000 an ounce) about $800-million.

The town was platted in 1862 and was chosen as the county seat two years later, when Grant County was split from Wasco County. It was incorporated in 1891.


Canyon City is located a few miles northwest of Canyon Mountain, at an altitude of over 3100 feet (940 m).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km²); none of the area is covered with water.[4]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there are 669 people in the town, organized into 257 households and 180 families. The population density is 480.3 people per square mile (185.8/km²). There are 294 housing units at an average density of 211.1/sq mi (81.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town is 90.58% White, 2.84% Native American, 0.15% Black or African American, 2.09% from other races, and 4.33% from two or more races. No one identified himself as Asian or Pacific Islander. 4.63% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

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