Mitchell, Oregon

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Mitchell is a city in Wheeler County, Oregon, United States. The population was 170 at the 2000 census. It was founded in 1873 and was named after John H. Mitchell, a politician. The Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is about 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Mitchell.



Since its founding, Mitchell has experienced three catastrophic flash floods along Bridge Creek, which runs through the center of the city. Flooding caused great damage to the city in 1884 and 1904.[3] The third flood occurred on July 13, 1956, shortly after an intense thunderstorm in the hills to the south. The creek is usually less than 12 inches (30 cm) deep during July.[4] Minutes after the thunderstorm, a sudden surge of water destroyed or heavily damaged 20 buildings in the city and several bridges over the creek. An observer from the United States Geological Survey estimated that about 4 inches (10 cm) of rain had fallen in about 50 minutes at the storm's center.[4] Total damage from the flood, which also caused extensive damage to crops and roads in a nearby valley, was $709,000.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), all of it land.[6]


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 170 people, 75 households, and 42 families residing in the city. The population density was 144.6 people per square mile (55.6/km²). There were 91 housing units at an average density of 77.4/sq mi (29.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.00% White, 2.35% Native American, 1.18% Asian, 1.18% from other races, and 5.29% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.65% of the population.

There were 75 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.7% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.79.

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