La Grande, Oregon: Wikis


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La Grande, Oregon
—  City  —
Motto: The Hub of Northeast Oregon
Location in Oregon
Coordinates: 45°19′38″N 118°5′36″W / 45.32722°N 118.09333°W / 45.32722; -118.09333Coordinates: 45°19′38″N 118°5′36″W / 45.32722°N 118.09333°W / 45.32722; -118.09333
Country United States
State Oregon
County Union
Incorporated 1865
 - Mayor Colleen F. Johnson
 - Total 4.3 sq mi (11.3 km2)
 - Land 4.3 sq mi (11.3 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 2,785 ft (848.9 m)
Population (2006)
 - Total 12,540
 - Density 2,833.5/sq mi (1,094.1/km2)
Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) Pacific (UTC-7)
ZIP code 97850
Area code(s) 541
FIPS code 41-40350[1]
GNIS feature ID 1164107[2]

La Grande (pronounced /ləˈɡrænd/) is a city in Union County, Oregon, United States. Originally named "Brownsville," it was forced to change its name due to that name already being used for a city in Linn County. Its current name comes from an early French settler, Charles Dause, who often used the phrase "La Grande" to describe the area's beauty. The population was 12,327 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimate is 12,540 residents.[3] It is the county seat of Union County.[4] La Grande lies east of the Blue Mountains and southeast of Pendleton.




Early settlement

The Grande Ronde Valley had long been a waypoint along the Oregon Trail. The first permanent settler in the La Grande area was Benjamin Brown in 1861.[5] Not long after, the Leasey family and about twenty others settled there. The settlement was originally named after Ben Brown as Brown's Fort, and then Browns Town or Brownsville.[5] There was already a Brownsville in Linn County, so when the post office was established in 1863, a more distinctive name was needed.[6][7] It was decided to use "La Grande", a phrase used by a Frenchman, Charles Dause, to describe the area's scenic splendor.[7] Before the post office was established, William Carter charged 50 cents a letter to carry the mail on horseback from the nearest post office, in Walla Walla, Washington.[7] La Grande was incorporated as a city in 1865,[6] and platted in 1868.[8]


La Grande grew rapidly during the late 1860s and early 1870s, partially because of the many gold mines in the region and the valley's agricultural capabilities. The early business establishments centered on C Avenue between present day Fourth Street and the hillside on the west end.[7]

In 1884, the railroad came to the flat slightly east of "Old Town".[7] This helped the town to grow, and also gave rise to "New Town", centered on Adams Avenue and built parallel to the railroad tracks.

By 1900, La Grande's population was 2992, representing half of the population of Baker City.[9]

La Grande's Eastern Oregon University, formerly known as Eastern Oregon State College, began in 1929 as Eastern Oregon Normal School, a teachers college.[10]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.3 km²), all of it land.

Mount Emily is a recognizable Grande Ronde Valley landmark that towers over the city of La Grande to the north. It often features prominently on logos of local organizations.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 240
1880 400 66.7%
1890 2,583 545.8%
1900 2,991 15.8%
1910 4,843 61.9%
1920 6,913 42.7%
1930 8,050 16.4%
1940 7,747 −3.8%
1950 8,635 11.5%
1960 9,014 4.4%
1970 9,645 7.0%
1980 11,354 17.7%
1990 11,766 3.6%
2000 12,327 4.8%
Est. 2007 12,527 1.6%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 12,327 people, 5,124 households, and 2,982 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,833.5 people per square mile (1,094.1/km²). There were 5,483 housing units at an average density of 1,260.3/sq mi (486.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.92% White, 0.68% African American, 0.78% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.90% Pacific Islander, 1.40% from other races, and 2.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.77% of the population.

There were 5,124 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age of 18, 16.5% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,576, and the median income for a family was $40,508. Males had a median income of $32,746 versus $21,930 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,550. About 8.3% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.0% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.



LGDWS - La Grande Weather Service


The Observer is the local daily newspaper.




Eastbound exit 261 into La Grande off Interstate 84


La Grande is a crew change point on the Huntington and La Grande subdivisions of the Union Pacific Railroad, originally constructed through the area in 1884 by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company.[13] Between 1977 and 1997, the city was a regular stop along the former route of Amtrak's Pioneer between Chicago, Salt Lake City, Portland and Seattle.[14] La Grande is also the junction of the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad's 20-mile short line to Elgin.[15]



  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ PSU:Population Research Center
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ a b "History and Geography of Union County". Union County Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved December 29, 2008.  
  6. ^ a b McArthur, Lewis A.; McArthur, Lewis L. (2003) [First published 1928]. Oregon Geographic Names (7th ed.). Portland, Oregon: Oregon Historical Society Press. ISBN 9780875952772.  
  7. ^ a b c d e Reavis, J (2005). "La Grande History, Union County, Oregon". Oregon Genealogy. Retrieved December 29, 2008.  
  8. ^ Bailey, Barbara Ruth (1982). Main Street: Northeastern Oregon. Oregon Historical Society. p. TODO. ISBN 0875950736.  
  9. ^ Bailey, Barbara Ruth (1982). Main Street: Northeastern Oregon. Oregon Historical Society. p. 27. ISBN 0875950736.  
  10. ^ Allen, Cain (2005). "Eastern Oregon Normal School". Oregon Historical Society. Retrieved December 3, 2009.  
  11. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 211.
  12. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Oregon 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-04-29.  
  13. ^ Halvorson, Gary (2005). "A 1940 Journey Across Oregon: Baker to La Grande". Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved May 15, 2009.  
  14. ^ "P.R.I.I.A Section 224 Pioneer Route Passenger Rail Study". Amtrak.;filename=Amtrak_PioneerServiceStudy.pdf.. Retrieved December 3, 2009.  
  15. ^ "Idaho Northern & Pacific Railroad INPR #331". Union Pacific. Retrieved December 3, 2009.  

External links


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