Hood River County, Oregon

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Hood River County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The county was established in 1908 and is named for the Hood River, a tributary of the Columbia River. In 2000, the county's population was 20,411. The county seat is the city of Hood River.[1]

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Economy

Agriculture, timber, lumber and recreation are the major sources of revenue and industry. Fruit grown in the fertile valley is of such exceptional quality the county leads the world in Anjou pear production. A 1997 census recorded 15,553 acres (63 kmĀ²) of commercial orchards growing pears, apples, cherries and peaches. Hood River County also has two ports and two boat basins, one serving local barge traffic, a steel boat manufacturing firm and Mid-Columbia yachting interests. The Forest Service owns 64% of the county's land.

The Columbia River, which runs right by the city of Hood River, has become a premier windsurfing destination, attracting windsurfers from throughout the United States and around the world. Cool, moist coastal air is drawn through the Columbia River Gorge as the desert to the east heats up on warm days, creating winds between 15-35 knots most days in the summer. With the current in the Columbia River flowing from east to west, and the wind blowing from west to east, large swells are created on the river that windsurfers enjoy riding like waves. Windsurfing has affected the local economy in many ways: windsurfing-oriented businesses and upscale restaurants catering to visiting windsurfers have reinvigorated the downtown area, many people who first visited Hood River in search of wind and waves have settled in the area and become an integral part of the community, and the local economy has been infused with much needed tourist dollars.

In 1987, a local group of businessmen purchased the 22 mile (35 km) branch line to Parkdale from the Union Pacific Railroad for $600,000, renaming it the Mount Hood Railroad. This rail line offers tourist rides and carries fruit from the local orchards.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 534 square miles (1,383.1 km2), of which 522 square miles (1,352.0 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28.5 km2) (2.10%) is water.

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