Map the Cities of Klickitat County
Wasco County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The county is named for a local tribe of Native Americans, the Wasco, a Chinook tribe who lived on the south side of the Columbia River. In 2000, its population was 23,791. Its county seat is The Dalles.
The county's economy is based upon agriculture (orchards, wheat farming, livestock ranching), lumber, manufacturing, electric power, transportation, and tourism.
Celilo Falls on the Columbia River served as a gathering place and major trading center for the local Native Americans, including the Wasco, Paiute, and Warm Springs tribes, for thousands of years. These rapids came to be named Le Grand Dalles de la Columbia or "The Great Falls of the Columbia" by the French Canadian fur traders.
The Dalles served initially as a way station on the emigrant road to the Willamette Valley. The construction of a pioneer road over the Cascades in 1845, and the Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 encouraged families to settle in the area. Over the following years, Wasco County was a major transportation hub for both river and inland traffic.