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Deschutes County was named after the Deschutes River and was created from the western portion of Crook County on December 13, 1916. Its county seat located in the city of Bend was incorporated in 1905. The name Bend was derived from "Farewell Bend," the designation used by early pioneers to refer to the location along the Deschutes River where the town eventually was platted. In 1962 the first real settlers arrived in Central Oregon bringing Cattle Ranchers Felix Scott Jr., Marion Scott, John Craig and Robert Millican who brought 900 head of cattle into the region and spent the winter in what is presently known as Deschutes County. Most of the early settlers of today's Deschutes County were sheep, cattle, and wheat and potato farmers. In fact, potato farming was so popular that at one point the Deschutes County Fair was actually first known as the Annual Potato Show.

By 1900, the Columbia Southern Railroad had only reached Shaniko, then the largest town in the region. Regardless, the future of Central Oregon looked bright. Midwestern businessman Alexander M. Drake had arrived on the banks of the Deschutes River and by 1900 had platted the City of Bend. Within five years the city incorporated with approximately 500 people.

In 1914 the creation of Deschutes County began and failed in attempts to move the Crook County seat from Prineville to Bend. At the time, Bend was billed as the "spot of the railroad, in the actual center of business, population, and taxable property in Crook County." Despite the best efforts of Bend businessmen, the vote failed by a bare margin of 2 percent. The arrival of the lumber mills brought a large building boom and rapid expansion of the county's population. In 1916, when the county was formed, the population was just 5,000 people. By 1920 it grew to 9,622, almost doubling in size in just four short years.

By 1980 Deschutes County's population had reached the 50,000 mark and Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company sold their timber interests to Diamond International symbolizing the end of the logging era. With that change came the shift in the main industry from logging to tourism. During the past 10 years, Deschutes County has experienced the most rapid growth of any county in the state largely due to its invigorating climate and year-round recreation activities. Central Oregon offers downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, fishing, hunting, hiking, rock climbing, white water rafting, and golfing. Deschutes County is proud to be the hosting area of diverse annual events including the Cascade Festival of Music, the Bend Art Hop, Cascade Children's Festival, Pole Pedal Paddle, Sisters Rodeo, Sunriver Sunfest, the Cascade Cycling Classic and the Deschutes County Fair (now housed in one of the newest and largest fairground and expo center facilities in the west).



 

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