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20 Obscure And Interesting Facts About Heppner, Oregon, United States

Heppner is a city in, and the county seat of, Morrow County, Oregon, United States. Take a look below for 20 obscure and interesting facts about Heppner, Oregon, United States.

1. As of 2010, the population was 1,291.

2. Heppner is part of the Pendleton-Hermiston Micropolitan Area.

3. Heppner is named after Henry Heppner, a prominent Jewish-American businessman.

4. Native Americans lived and traveled along the land between the Columbia Gorge and the Blue Mountains for more than 10,000 years prior to European-American settlement.

5. Ancient petroglyphs have been found approximately 45 miles (72 km.) north of Heppner in Irrigon and Boardman.

6. In 1855, the U.S. Government and the predominant tribes in the region—the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla—signed a treaty whereby the tribes gave up, or ceded, to the United States more than 6.4 million acres in what is now northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

7. Prior to Heppner’s founding in 1872, European-American ranchers used the area as sheep and cattle range as early as 1858.

8. Records suggest these early cattlemen found abundant rye grass along creek bottoms.

9. Heppner was originally called Standsbury Flats for George W. Standsbury, one of the first European-American settlers in the area.

10. In 1872, Colonel (Col.) Jackson Lee Morrow, a merchant, entered into a partnership with Henry Heppner, a prominent Jewish businessman, and they built a store on the crossing of the present May and Main streets.

11. Soon thereafter, a mail and stagecoach line began operations between Pendleton and The Dalles and passed through Heppner.

12. Col. Jackson Lee Morrow was later elected to the Oregon legislative assembly and was instrumental in helping to carve out a new county for Heppner from neighboring Umatilla County and a portion of Wasco County.

13. The assembly named the new county in Morrow’s honor.

14. Heppner was designated the temporary county seat at the time the county was created and narrowly defeated nearby Lexington in an election held in 1886 to determine the permanent county seat.

15. Heppner was incorporated in the following year on February 9, 1887.

16. In 1888, the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company completed a railroad spur from the Columbia River up the Willow Creek drainage to Heppner.

17. The Historic Morrow County Courthouse was built in 1902-03 and is one of the oldest continuously used courthouses in Oregon

18. In 1985, the courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

19. Heppner was almost destroyed by a flash flood on Sunday, June 14, 1903. The flood was precipitated by a sudden cloudburst and accompanying hail that caused a debris dam collapse and flash flooding, notably on Willow Creek.

20. A wall of water and debris swept down the creeks and canyons and through the city. It has been estimated that 238 people (a quarter of the city’s population) drowned, making it the deadliest natural disaster in Oregon’s history. Property damage was reported at nearly $1 million. The nearby cities of Ione and Lexington also sustained significant damage. In 1983, the Willow Creek Dam at the outskirts of the city was finished.

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