Hood River County

Community Development

Community Profile

Hood River County was established in 1908 as the thirty-fourth county in the state. Named for the Hood River, a tributary that flows into the Columbia River, the 533-square-mile county is located in the north central section of Oregon, on the eastern edge of Cascade Range.

 

About Hood River County

Hood River County sits in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge region, with the Columbia River as its northern border and Mt. Hood and the Mt. Hood National Forest to the south. The majestic snow-capped Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge provide the county’s stunning backdrop, making it one of the most picturesque areas in the Northwest.

A top producer of pears, apples, and cherries, Hood River County grows more winter pears than any other county in the United States. This agricultural richness combined with the county’s scenic, almost pastoral setting have made it a famous destinatinon for visitors who come to drive or bike the famous Fruit Loop—a 35-mile tour that features family farms, fruit stands, wineries and other local attractions. Over time, the county has evolved into a into a hotspot for visitors and is a mecca for outdoor-enthusiasts who enjoy hiking, rockclimbing, frequenting waterfalls, and more. It’s also world-renowned for its strong, warm summer winds that draw crowds of windsurfers, kiters, and paddleboarders.

 

Community Profile

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Population in 2014: 23,730

  • 24th most populated county in OR
  • Slightly less than neighboring Wasco County
  • Significantly less than neighboring Clackamas & Multnomah County
  • Population increase of 16% from 2000 to 2014
  • Expected to grow to 30,310 residents by 2035

 

Hood River County Cities/Communities:

  • Primarily rural
  • Includes two incorporated cities: Hood River & Cascade Locks
  • Five rural communities: Odell, Parkdale, Mt. Hood, Rockford and Oak Grove
  • The largest populated area: Hood River, where approximately 30% (7,167) of residents reside

 

Land Ownership: Approximately 73% owned & regulated by federal, local & state entities

  • 61% by the U.S. Forest Service
  • 9% by the county
  • 1% by the state
  • Land owned by the U.S. Forest Service arcs from the west of HRC to the southeast & is primarily designated as the Mt. Hood National Forest
  • A majority of the private land in the county is zoned as either agricultural or forest land

 

Local Land Use: Oregon’s statewide planning program for land use has adopted 19 statewide planning goals & serve as a basis for local land use programs. As required by state law, the county has a Comprehensive Plan that:

  • Implements state & regional policies
  • Outlines local aspirations
  • Establishes a framework that guides land use
  • Provides a zoning ordinance for development & property use in unincorporated areas

 

National Scenic Area (NSA):

  • One of six counties between OR & WA within the Columbia River Gorge NSA
  • Northern portion contains 38,620 acres (11.5% of the county) in the NSA
  • Property use & development in the NSA is governed by the Management Plan for the Columbia River Gorge NSA  & Article 75 of the Hood River County Zoning Ordinance

 

Hood River County & National Scenic Area Goals:

  • Continue to implement programs to guide balanced, sustainable growth
  • Maintain environmental integrity
  • Preserve & maintain scenic and recreational opportunities