Curry County, Oregon

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Curry County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. In 2000, its population was 21,137. The county is named for George Law Curry, a governor of the Oregon Territory. The seat of the county is Gold Beach.



In 1852 explorers discovered gold and other precious metals in the rivers and along the beaches of this area. As a result, settlement in the county was concentrated along the coast, depending primarily on water transportation. The slow development of inland transportation routes kept the county relatively isolated well into the twentieth century. While there is still some mining of cobalt, nickel, and chromium in the Gasaquet Mountain area, the economy has reoriented to agriculture and timber. Port Orford cedar (also known as Lawson's Cypress) and myrtlewood are important export products.

The county has excellent grazing areas for raising cattle and sheep. The county also produces blueberries, horticultural nursery stock, and 90% of all Easter lilies raised in the United States. In 2001, the native tanoak in the county were afflicted by Sudden oak death, caused by infection of Phytophthora ramorum, which has threatened the success of the local nurseries; however, the infection has been successfully contained to an area 12 miles (19 km) in size. Tourism is also important to Curry County. The Forest Service owns 59% of the land within the county boundaries. The Port of Brookings is considered one of the safest harbors on the coast.

Geography and ecology

The county originally contained about 1,500 square miles (3,900 km2). However, boundary adjustments with Coos County in 1872 and 1951 and Josephine County in 1880 and 1927 increased the area to 1,989 square miles (5,151.5 km2). 1,627 square miles (4,213.9 km2) is land and 361 square miles (935.0 km2) (18.16%) is water.

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