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Pendleton is a city in Umatilla County, Oregon, United States. Developed along the Umatilla River, 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 16,612 at the 2010 census, which includes approximately 1,600 inmates incarcerated at Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. The city is the county seat of Umatilla County.
Pendleton is the smaller of the two principal cities of the Hermiston-Pendleton Micropolitan Statistical Area. This micropolitan area covers Morrow and Umatilla counties and had a combined population of 87,062 at the 2010 census.
A European-American commercial center began to develop here in 1851, when Dr. William C. McKay established a trading post at the mouth of McKay Creek. A United States Post Office named Marshall (for the owner, and sometime gambler, of another local store) 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. The Pendleton Woolen Mills and Pendleton Round Up became features of the city captured in early paintings by Walter S. Bowman. Like many cities in Eastern Oregon, where thousands of Chinese immigrant workers built the transcontinental railroad, it had a flourishing Chinatown that developed as the workers settled here. The sector is supposed to have been underlain by a network of tunnels, which are now a tourist attraction. The authenticity as a Chinese tunnel system has been questioned.
The town is the cultural center of Eastern Oregon. Pendleton's "Old town" is listed as a Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) have their property nearby. They have established the Wildhorse Resort & Casino and golf course on the reservation to generate revenue for development and welfare. They have also built the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, for education and interpretation of their cultures.
Pendleton Woolen Mills is a maker of wool blankets, shirts, and an assortment of other woolen goods. Founded in 1909 by Clarence, Roy and Chauncey Bishop, the company built upon earlier businesses related to the many sheep ranches in the region. A wool-scouring plant opened in Pendleton in 1893 to wash raw wool for shipping. In 1895, the scouring mill was converted into a mill that made wool blankets and robes for Native Americans. Both businesses failed to survive, but the Bishops, with the help of a local bond issue, enlarged the mill and improved its efficiency. They developed a successful line of garments and blankets with "vivid colors and intricate patterns."
St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton is a 25-bed medical center.
Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution (EOCI) in Pendleton is the only place in Oregon where inmates make "Prison Blues" denim clothing. The prison also operates a commercial laundry serving customers that include EOCI, the Snake River Correctional Institution, Pendleton High School, a local flour mill, and other entities. In addition, some EOCI inmates work as clerks or have jobs in food service or maintenance.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.52 square miles (27.25 km2), all of it land.
The city was built on both sides of the Umatilla River, which has periodically flooded and caused some damage. In the beginning, the river was vital as a transportation and trading route for settlers, as well as a water and power source. It connected the city to the Columbia River.
Pendleton has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with short, cool winters and hot summers. Pendleton had the highest temperature recorded in Oregon at 119 °F (48 °C) on August 10, 1898 , which was later proven to be unreliable).
As of 2000 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.
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,612 people, 6,220 households, and 3,789 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,579.1 inhabitants per square mile (609.7/km2). There were 6,800 housing units at an average density of 646.4 per square mile (249.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 1.4% African American, 3.2% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 3.6% from other races, and 3.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.7% of the population.
There were 6,220 households of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.9% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.1% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.96.
The median age in the city was 36.9 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28% were from 25 to 44; 26.3% were from 45 to 64; and 12.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 53.4% male and 46.6% female.
In addition to the woolen mills, Pendleton is also famous for its annual rodeo, the Pendleton Round-Up. First held in 1910, it is part of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA)-sanctioned rodeo circuit. It is among the top ten PRCA venues in terms of prize money.
The Festival of Trees is held in early December each year. It is a fundraising event produced by the St. Anthony Hospital Foundation.
Local arts institutions include the Pendleton Center for the Arts (in the town's old Carnegie Library building) and Crow's Shadow Institute of the Arts on the nearby Umatilla Indian Reservation.
The Pendleton Farmers' Market operates on Friday evenings from May through October on South Main Street. Pendleton Underground Tours which features the history of Pendleton and a tour through the underground tunnels and the Brothels. It is open year-round.
The city hosts the annual Oregon School Activities Association 2A basketball tournament at the Pendleton Convention Center. Eight teams of boys and eight of girls compete for their respective championships during a four-day tournament. Civic leaders regard the influx of family and other fans the second-most important boost to the local economy, behind the Round-Up. Total attendance at the tournament in 2010 exceeded 13,000.
The Pendleton Aquatic Center, managed by Pendleton Parks & Recreation, features two tower water slides as well tubes and smaller slides, three pools, a diving well, and picnic areas. The aquatic center is adjacent to the high school.
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 lies along the Union Pacific Railroad (UP), constructed originally through the area in the 1880s by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (OR&N). In 1880, the OR&N began construction of a rail line from Portland through the Columbia Gorge to eastern Oregon. It reached Umatilla and Wallula in 1881, Pendleton in 1882, and then La Grande, Baker City, and Huntington, where by 1884 it met the UP line from Utah. Since Pendleton was also connected by rail to the Northern Pacific line at Wallula and Walla Walla, by 1885 it was a stop on two transcontinental lines. The UP absorbed the OR&N line in 1889.
Between 1977 and 1997, the city was a regular stop along the former route of Amtrak's Pioneer between Chicago and Seattle via Salt Lake City and Portland.
Regional public aviation service is through Eastern Oregon Regional Airport, 3 miles (5 km) outside Pendleton. The airport is owned by the City of Pendleton. Boutique Air will offer daily flights between Pendleton and Portland beginning late 2016.
Two newspapers are published in Pendleton. The East Oregonian is a daily with a circulation of about 6,800. The Pendleton Record is a weekly with a circulation of about 900.
KFFX-TV (Fox 11), a television station based in Pendleton, serves a market that also includes the Washington cities of Yakima, Pasco, Richland, and Kennewick. Oregon radio stations based in or near Pendleton include: KTIX AM 1240, sports; KUMA AM 1290, news and talk; KRBM FM 90.9, Oregon Public Broadcasting, news and talk; KLKY FM 96.1, based in Stanfield and broadcasting by translator K237DS in Pendleton at FM 95.3, classic rock;KZIU-FM 101.9, based in Weston and broadcasting by translator K262CJ in Pendleton at 100.3 FM, top 40; KWHT FM 103.5, country; and KWVN-FM 107.7, variety.
Pendleton has a sister city relationship with Minamisoma, Japan. Minamisoma is 16 miles (26 km) north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant damaged by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Since then, Japanese exchange students from Minamisoma have continued visiting Pendleton, but students from Pendleton have stopped going to Minamisoma because of concerns about radiation.
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