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Rowena is an unincorporated community in Wasco County, Oregon, United States. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Rowena as a census-designated place (CDP). The census definition of the area may not precisely correspond to local understanding of the area with the same name. The population was 187 at the 2010 census.
Rowena is located west of The Dalles on the Columbia River, where the river passes through the natural feature Rowena Gap. Interstate 84 (Columbia River Highway) and U.S. Route 30 (Historic Columbia River Highway) pass through the community. Route 30 near Rowena is notable for the Rowena Loops.
The origin of the name "Rowena" is disputed. Two sources say Rowena was named for H.S. Rowe, a railroad company official, in the early 1880s. Another source says it was named for a girl, Rowena, who had been living in the area at the time the community was founded. It is also possible that the name comes indirectly from Rowena, Ivanhoe's lover in the novel of the same name by Sir Walter Scott.
There was once a ferry operating between Rowena and Lyle, Washington across the Columbia.
The Nature Conservancy has a nature reserve on the plateau near Rowena, The Tom McCall Preserve known for its spring wildflowers.