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Pendleton ( ) is a city in Umatilla County, Oregonmarker, United Statesmarker. Pendleton was named in 1868 by the county commissioners for George H. Pendleton, Democratic candidate for Vice-President in the 1864 presidential campaign. The population was 16,354 at the 2000 census. The 2006 estimate is 17,310 residents. It is the county seat of Umatilla County.

Pendleton is the larger of the two principal cities of the Pendleton-Hermiston Micropolitan Statistical Area, a micropolitan area that covers Morrowmarker and Umatilla counties and had a combined population of 81,544 at the 2000 census.


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Stake Center, in northwest Pendleton
A commercial center in the locality of Pendleton began as early as 1851, when Dr. William C. McKay established a trading post at the mouth of McKay Creek. A Post Office with the name of Marshall (named for the owner of another local store, and sometime gambler) was established April 21, 1865, and later renamed Pendleton. The city was incorporated by the Oregon Legislative Assembly on October 25, 1880.

By 1900, Pendleton had a population of 4,406 and was the fourth-largest city in Oregon. Like many cities in Eastern Oregon, it had a flourishing Chinatown from the 1880s into the 1920s.

Pendleton had a red light district, which as late as 1947 counted 20 brothels in the heart of the city. In 1953, the district closed after a Presbyterian minister threatened to read a list of names of brothel patrons in church. One survivor, however, Stella Darby, continued to operate her establishment until she retired in 1965. The four blocks that were once the red-light district are now the "old town" of Pendleton, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Pendleton Woolen Mills, founded in 1893, is known worldwide as a maker of fine Indian trading blankets and men's plaid shirts.

Eastern Oregon Correctional Institutionmarker (EOCI) is located in Pendleton. EOCI is the state's only facility where the internationally-recognized "Prison Blues " line of blue denim clothing is manufactured. The garment factory is one of two prison industries programs operating at the facility. The prison's commercial laundry cleans clothing and other items for EOCI and Snake River Correctional Institution, in addition to Pendleton's local high school, the city's fire department, the Pendleton Convention Center, and Krusteaz Flour Mill. Other inmate work opportunities include: food service, clerical, and facility maintenance.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 square miles (26.0 km²), all of it land.

The Umatilla Rivermarker flows through Pendleton.

Historic Rainbow Cafe in downtown Pendleton (before 2006 facade restoration)

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 70 75 80 91 100 108 110 113 102 92 80 67
Norm High °F 40.1 46.5 54.8 62.2 70.2 78.7 87.7 86.6 77.1 63.8 48.5 40
Norm Low °F 27.4 30.9 35.4 39.7 45.9 52 57.5 57.3 49.7 40.7 33.8 27.7
Rec Low °F -22 -18 1 18 25 35 42 40 30 11 -12 -19
Precip (in) 1.45 1.22 1.26 1.13 1.22 0.78 0.41 0.56 0.63 0.99 1.63 1.48
Source: [19700]


As of the census of 2000, there were 16,354 people, 5,964 households, and 3,727 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,627.2 people per square mile (628.3/km²). There were 6,352 housing units at an average density of 632.0/sq mi (244.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.15% White, 1.53% African American, 2.52% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 3.68% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.00% of the population.

There were 5,964 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.4% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 114.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 116.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,800, and the median income for a family was $47,410. Males had a median income of $31,763 versus $23,858 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,551. About 8.7% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.4% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Annual events

In addition to the woolen mills, Pendleton is also famous for its annual rodeo, the Pendleton Round-Upmarker. First held in 1910, it is part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) sanctioned rodeo circuit. In 1999, the Pendleton Round-Up Association added a two night Professional Bull Riders Classic to the Annual events. The rodeo is noted for being the only PRCA ever held on a grass field.

The Pendleton Christmas Carriage Parade began in 2007 and occurs midday every year on the first Saturday of December. Riders, travois, and carriages with costumed drivers represent the history of the region, and carolers also perform. The Festival of Trees follows on the same evening.

Museums and other points of interest

Pendleton has been a center of culture and art in the region for many years. Local arts institutions include the Pendleton Center for the Artsmarker (in the town's old Carnegie Library building) and Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts on the nearby Umatilla Indian Reservationmarker.

Sports and recreation

Every year since 1964, Pendleton has hosted the Oregon School Activities Associationmarker 2A basketball tournament. It is held in the Pendleton Convention Center.

The Pendleton Aquatic Center opened in 1996.


Highways serving Pendleton include Interstate 84 and U.S. Route 30 running east-west and U.S. Route 395 running north-south. The city is also served by Oregon Route 37 and Oregon Route 11.

Pendleton is on the La Grande Subdivision of the Union Pacific Railroad, constructed originally through the area in the 1870s as the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company. Between 1977 and 1997, the city was a regular stop along the former route of Amtrak's Pioneer between Chicagomarker, Salt Lake Citymarker, Portlandmarker and Seattlemarker.

Regional commercial aviation service is through Eastern Oregon Regional Airportmarker located three miles outside Pendleton. The airport is owned by the City of Pendleton. Horizon Airlines schedules three daily flights to and from Portland.


Notable residents

Sister cities

Pendleton has two sister cities:


  1. PSU:Population Research Center
  2. MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS AND COMPONENTS, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-07-27.

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