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About Goldendale

Goldendale is a scenic rural agricultural city in and the county seat of Klickitat County, Washington, United States, near the Columbia River Gorge. The population within city limits was 3,760 at the 2000 census. A nationally known point of interest is north of town, Goldendale Observatory State Park. The valley area in which Goldendale is located has sweeping and dramatic views of mountainous areas to the north and west.

History

In 1872 the town was given its name by the early homesteader John Golden. The Golden House is still viewable at Columbus and Collins St. in downtown Goldendale. In 1878 Goldendale became the county seat. Other early towns in the county were White Salmon, Lyle, Bingen, Glenwood, Dallesport and Bickleton, all still in existence. Goldendale was officially incorporated on November 14, 1879.

Goldendale has remained the employment, business, commercial and banking center for the valley and, as the county seat, is the location for Klickitat County's courts and government offices. In recent years this small community has suffered from severe economic decline. After a local aluminum plant that once employed many residents closed, the small community struggled economically. The loss of tax base has taken its toll on the funds available for maintaining the city's infrastructure. In recent years there has been an interest in installing wind turbines that would generate power. While it has provided some jobs, this industry has not been the economic solution for which many residents hoped.

In 2009, Goldendale was the site of the capture of an escaped insane killer, Philip Paul.

Industry

A lumber mill and logging used to be major industries in the area but have since ceased to exist.

Timber cutting, ranching, farming, agriculture are still key industries in the area, but have seen some hard times over the years. Many farms are being sold off and developed by local and non-local investors. Once beautiful farmland is now divided up into residential tracts.

An aluminum reduction plant was built by Harvey Aluminum (later Martin Marietta, forerunner to conglomerate Lockheed Martin) at an industrial site adjacent to the John Day Dam in 1968. The industrial development and resulting jobs brought an era of growth and prosperity to Goldendale for 35 years. This plant added payroll strength and diversity of the timber and agricultural based Goldendale area economy. The aluminum facility with 3 shifts of employment at its peak in the '70s and '80s was employing about 1,400–1,800 people and about 800 in the years from 1990–2003. The facility had been awarded a large allotment of low cost power from the hydro electric dam system that was nearby, with the assumption this would encourage industrial development and create jobs and resulting economic development. In 2003, the aluminum smelter closed operations. Reasons cited were high electricity costs and low world prices for aluminum. Many of the workers moved while others remained while they went back to school and retrained for other occupations.

At this time Rabanco Regional Disposal is the largest single employer of residents in the Goldendale area.

Held 2008 Mary hill festival of speed.

Geography

Goldendale is located at 45°49′16″N 120°49′17″W / 45.82111°N 120.82139°W / 45.82111; -120.82139 (45.821117, -120.821380).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.4 square miles (6.1 km²), all of it land.

Goldendale's elevation at the County Courthouse is 498 meters (1636 feet).

The Little Klickitat River flows roughly east-to-west across the northern portion of the city. Bloodgood Creek, an entirely spring-fed year-round water source, runs through the northwest part of town and intersects with the Little Klickitat just west of the city. Both are sources of rainbow trout as well as being home to waterfowl such as the great blue heron and several species of duck. Bloodgood Creek provides a portion of Goldendale's drinking water and is capped at the source for that purpose.

US Highway 97 runs along the eastern boundary of the city and connects Goldendale with Interstate 84, 21 km (13 miles) south in the state of Oregon and State Route 14, which is 19 km (12 miles) south and runs along the Washington side of the Columbia River. State Route 142 creates a major east-west route through Goldendale, beginning at US 97 on the north end of town.

Goldendale has started to receive much of the wind turbine business, ads major companies buy land and build around the town.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,760 people, 1,515 households, and 963 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,592.6 people per square mile (615.1/km²). There were 1,690 housing units at an average density of 715.8/sq mi (276.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.42% White, 0.21% African American, 4.63% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.27% Pacific Islander, 4.07% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.85% of the population.

There were 1,515 households out of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.4% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 7.7% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 22.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,030, and the median income for a family was $33,866. Males had a median income of $36,977 versus $22,289 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,111. About 21.9% of families and 25.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.5% of those under age 18 and 26.3% of those age 65 or over.

Climate

Goldendale is located within the arid area in eastern Washington known as a rain shadow, caused by the Cascade Mountains 40 miles to the west. Yearly rainfall averages 8 to 12 inches. This produces a landscape of open bunch-grass prairies dotted with sagebrush and rabbit brush containing the occasional juniper tree, while the more sheltered areas consist of ponderosa pine and oak savannahs. Overcast days are rare, occurring mostly in late fall and throughout winter. Summer temperatures can range well over 100 degrees, while winter, when most of the precipitation occurs, can see temperatures below zero, particularly in January. Summer thunderstorms occur intermittently, particularly in July and August, but due to high cloud bases, rain seldom reaches the ground in any appreciable amount. Lightning-caused range and forest fires are a common occurrence during this time of year, however. Spring flowers and green meadows and prairies make Goldendale a particularly beautiful site. Spring and summer can be very blustery since the Chinook winds off the Pacific Ocean are funneled through the Columbia Gorge. Fall tends to be almost windless, and the autuminal oak leaves add a lovely touch of golden rust red to Observatory Hill on the north side of town.

 


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