Historical Markers in
Morrow County, Oregon

The Willamette Meteorite, the largest meteorite found in North America and the sixth largest in the world, was discovered in Oregon in 1902. It weighs over 15.5 tons and is estimated to be over 10,000 years old.
Located in north-central Oregon, Morrow County has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The area was traditionally inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Umatilla, Walla Walla, and Cayuse. These tribes lived off the land, utilizing the Columbia River for trade and sustenance.

European exploration and settlement began in the 19th century, with the Lewis and Clark Expedition passing through the region in 1805. However, it was not until the Oregon Trail migration in the mid-1800s that permanent settlers arrived. The growing agricultural potential of the area attracted pioneers, who established farms and ranches along the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Morrow County was officially established in 1885 and named after one of Oregon's early pioneers, Jackson L. Morrow. The county's economy flourished with the development of wheat and barley farming, aided by the establishment of irrigation projects. Agriculture quickly became the backbone of the county's economy, attracting more settlers and leading to the growth of towns such as Heppner and Boardman.

In the early 20th century, the county saw the construction of the Columbia River Highway, which connected the region to the rest of Oregon. This increased accessibility facilitated further growth and development. In the latter half of the century, Morrow County experienced industrial expansion with the construction of the Boardman Coal Plant, providing much-needed jobs and energy to the area.

Today, Morrow County continues to be an agricultural powerhouse, known for its wheat and barley production. It also benefits from a diverse economy, including renewable energy projects such as wind farms and solar installations. With its scenic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant communities, Morrow County remains an integral part of Oregon's heritage.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Morrow County, Oregon.

  • 1840s: The area that would become Morrow County is inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Umatilla, Cayuse, and Walla Walla.
  • 1850s: European settlers, including missionaries and fur traders, begin to arrive in the area.
  • 1862: The U.S. Government establishes the Umatilla Indian Reservation in the western part of Morrow County.
  • 1870: The town of Heppner is founded and becomes the county seat.
  • 1871: Morrow County is officially established, named after Oregon pioneer Jackson L. Morrow.
  • 1881: Morrow County experiences its first major flood, causing significant damage and loss of life.
  • 1930s: The construction of the Willow Creek Dam provides irrigation water and flood control for the region.
  • 1940s: Agriculture becomes a major industry in Morrow County, with crops like wheat, barley, and alfalfa being grown.
  • 1980: The Columbia Generating Station, a nuclear power plant, begins operation near the town of Boardman.
  • 2016: Morrow County experiences another devastating flood, resulting in damage to infrastructure and loss of property.