Oregon Historical County Records Guide
Deschutes County History
Deschutes Services Center
Volcano lovers should visit the Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Deschutes County. The centerpiece of the monument is Newberry Crater, a caldera that may have once looked much like Crater Lake. It is possible that at various times the caldera held a lake up to 1,600 feet deep. And the activity isn't over. Scientists think that Newberry Crater may produce the next volcanic eruption in the region.
The monument also features Lava River Cave where visitors can walk through the lava tube cave for over a mile. For real solitude, walk to the end of the cave, turn off your flashlight, and experience complete silence and darkness. (Sources: Oregon Geographic Names | Newberry National Volcanic Monument)
Deschutes County was created from the western portion of Crook County on December 13, 1916. It was named for the Deschutes River which flows through the county. Early fur traders had called the river Riviere des Chutes, which means "River of the Falls." The county encompasses 3,055 square miles and is located in the central portion of the state. Geographically, the county includes portions of the Cascade Mountains and the central high desert plateau. It is bounded by Jefferson County to the north, Crook County to the east, Klamath and Lake Counties to the south, and Lane and Linn counties to the west.
The first meeting to organize county government was held in the O'Kane Building. Appointments were made for the positions of district attorney, county judge, two commissioners, clerk, assessor, treasurer, surveyor, superintendent of schools, coroner, physician, and sheriff. The county judge position, which had juvenile jurisdiction, was abolished in 1971 and replaced by a third county commissioner. In that year the county court administrative system was replaced by the three-member board of commissioners.
Principal industries in the county are tourism, timber, and agriculture, chiefly cattle and potatoes. The destination resort, Inn of the Seventh Mountain, and the resort communities of Black Butte and Sunriver, were developed during the 1970s. The Mount Bachelor ski area and High Desert Museum add to the tourism-based economy in the county as well. Additional resorts and numerous golf courses have been added in recent years.
The first county census taken in 1920 enumerated a population of 9,622 inhabitants. Despite a significant downturn caused by the recession of 2008, Deschutes County has experienced the most rapid growth of any county of the state in recent decades. The 2011 population of 158,875 represented an increase of 0.7% over 2010.