Population (2011): 16,215
Established: Sept. 22, 1862
Elev. at Baker City: 3,471'
Area: 3,089 sq. mi.
Average Temp.: January 25.2° July 66.6°
Assessed Value: $1,245,463,000
Real Market Value: $1,536,244,322
Annual Precipitation: 10.63"
Economy: Agriculture, forest products, manufacturing and recreation
Points of interest
The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center and Old Oregon Trail, Sumpter Gold Dredge Park and ghost towns, Sumpter Valley Railroad, Baker City Restored Historic District (including Geiser Grand Hotel), Anthony Lakes Ski Resort and summer picnic areas, camping and hiking trails, Eagle Cap Wilderness area, Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon Reservoirs and Hells Canyon
History and general information
Baker County was established from part of Wasco County and named after Colonel Edward D. Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon. A Union officer and close friend of President Lincoln, Colonel Baker was the only member of Congress to die in the Civil War. He was killed at Ball’s Bluff, Virginia. Auburn, which no longer exists, was the first county seat. Baker City became the county seat in 1868. It was incorporated in1874, and it is the 17th oldest city in Oregon.
Before 1861, the majority of immigrants only paused in Baker County on their way west, unaware of its vast agricultural and mineral resources. Then the great gold rush began, and Baker County became one of the Northwest’s largest gold producers. Farming, ranching, logging, and recreation have become the chief economic bases for an area that displays spectacular scenery, including the world’s deepest gorge, Hells Canyon; an outstanding museum with the famous Cavin-Walfel rock collection; and numerous historic buildings with interesting architectural features.
Commissioners—Tim L. Kerns (R) 2017, Carl E. Stiff (R) 2015, Fred Warner Jr. (D) 2015; Dist. Atty. Matthew Shirtcliff 2017; Assess. Kerry Savage 2017; Clerk Tami Green 2015; Justice of the Peace Don Williams 2019; Sheriff Mitch Southwick 2017; Surv. Tom Hanley 2017; Treas. Alice Durflinger 2015; Co. Admin. Christena Cook; CIO Bill Lee