Cove Community Profile

PO Box 8, 504 Alder Street, Cove, OR 97824
Phone 541-568-4566 • Fax 541-568-7747
• E-Mail:

City Location

County(ies): Union    Incorporated in 1904
Location: Northeast Oregon
Nearest Major Highway and Distance: I-84 | 14 miles
Nearest Major City and Distance:
La Grande | 14 miles, Estimated Drive Time: 20 minutes
Distance to Portland: 273 miles

Source: Oregon Department of Transportation, State of Oregon Map; Oregon Blue Book

Recreational Amenities

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Catherine Creek State Park, Hilgard Junction State Park, Red Bridge State Park, Umatilla National Forest, Wallowa National Forest and Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Cove Hot Springs Pool.

Planning a vacation or a tour through an area of Oregon? Visit the Oregon Tourism Commission's web site at for more information.

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce, local convention and visitor bureau


Elevation: 2,893'      Measurement Location: La Grande

Monthly Ave. Low: 24°F           Monthly Ave. High: 86°F
Hottest Month: July                  Coldest Month: January
Driest Month: July                    Wettest Month: January
Average annual precipitation: 17.180"

Humidity (Hour 10, local time):
Average July afternoon humidity: 34%
Average January afternoon humidity: 77%

Source: Oregon Climate Service

Information in the Community Profiles was derived from many sources, including local, state and federal sources. The Oregon Business Development Department cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions. Questions and comments may be directed to the department by telephone 503-986-0123, by fax 503-581-5115 or by email

Profile Topics

Community Age Groups
Industries and Products
Demographic Data
5 Largest Employers
Economic Development Orgs
Financial Institutions
Business Taxes
Public Safety
Community Communications
Water Supply
Wastewater Treatment System
Natural Gas & Electrical

Profiles Home Page



City of Cove507 594 620 620
Union County 23,598 24,530 24,950 25,110
Sources: 1990, 2000 US Census; 2205, 2006 Center for Population Research and Census, Portland State University. 0 indicates data is unavailable.

Union County 2,038 sq miles   12 persons/sq mile Sources: figures based on 2006 PSU population estimates;
Oregon Bluebook county square mileage

Community Age Groups

Under 5 years0 0 28 45

5-19 years0 0 144 126

20-44 years0 0 159 157

45-64 years0 0 111 164

65+ years0 0 69 102

Median Age0 0 36 41.6

Source: US Census, 0 or N/A indicates data is not available. Median value is the middle value, not an average.


Total Housing Units1970198019902000Median Value of
Housing, 2000
City of Cove99 160 190 248 $111,100
Union County 5,720 8,461 9,974 10,603 $93,600

City of Cove 2000 Housing Breakout:Also visit Housing and
Community Services Web Site:
Vacancy Rate:8.47%
Median Owner Cost
Owner Occupied:177

Renter Occupied:54
Median Gross Rent:$462

Source: US Census. Median value is the middle value, not an average.

Economic Development and Employment

Principal Industries of the County(ies):
Union County—Agriculture, lumber, education

Source: Oregon Employment Department, Covered Employment and Payroll Reports, 1998

Agricultural Products of the Area (Top 3 largest gross farm sales):
Union County—Field crops, cattle and calves, specialty products

Source: Oregon State University, Extension Economic Information Office

Total Number of Manufacturing Companies in the County:
Union County 52

Source: Oregon Employment Department, Covered Employment and Payroll Reports, 1998

Total Number of Manufacturing Companies in the City: 0
Source: City Administration

Economic Indicators

Union CountyOregon


Labor Force12,43512,6581,802,9381,793,7731,840,133
Total Employment1,715,4531,679,9141,701,390
Unemployment Rate5.8%5.6%4.9%6.3%7.5%
Non-Farm Payroll Employment10,10010,2201,606,8001,596,1001,572,500
Total Covered Employment9,6449,6321,607,9441,596,9431,573,083
Total Covered Payroll
($ thousands county/
$ millions state)
Ave. Annual Payroll Per Employee$24,762$26,033$32,776$33,202$33,684
Number of Business Units822832108,432111,353113,097
Total Personal Income ($ millions)$563,824$586,607$94,999$98,500$101,358
Annual Per Capita Personal Income$$24,007$27,649$28,40028,792
Assessed Value of Property ($ millions)$0$1,285$198,911$210,435$219,878
Residential Construction
  Building Permits
  Value ($ thousands)





Travel Expenditures ($ millions)$0$31,000$6,133$6,128$6,208
Travel-Related Employment053089,80091,10090,200

 Preliminary Data
Sources: Oregon Employment Department; Center for Population Research & Census, PSU; U.S. Census Bureau; Bureau of Economic Analysis; Oregon Tourism Commission; Oregon Department of Revenue; Oregon Economic and Community Development Department.

5 Largest Employers, Public and Private as of December, 2002

Employer—Product/ServiceNumber of
Cove Public School—Education

Ascension School, Camp & Conference Center—Education, Tourism 25

Artesian Blue Water—Water 11

Source: City Administration

Oregon Employment Labor Market Information

This link takes you to the Oregon Employment Department, Labor Market Analysis database. County information can be obtained here.—Click on Regional Information.

Local and Regional Economic Development Organizations

City of Cove 541-568-4566

Cove Community Association 541-568-4482

Union County— 541-963-1001

Union County Economic Development Corp— 541-963-0926

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District— 541-963-2399

Economic & Community Development Department Regional Development Officer— 541-963-8676

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce, Oregon Economic and Community Development Department


Public and Private Schools K–12

Public School District:
Cove School District 15
803 Main St
PO Box 68
Cove, OR 97824-0068
Phone: 541-568-4424
Fax: 541-568-4251

Staff and Enrollments:
District Certified Staff: reported October 2000—18
Total District Enrollment: reported October 2001—221

Other Schools in the School District (Private, Parochial)
To see if there are private and/or parochial schools in this district please visit

Source: Oregon Department of Education

Oregon Community Colleges and Public Universities

Oregon map with higher ed institutions identified

legend for map

For a list of public and private educational institutions in Oregon visit


Oregon Economic and Community Development Department Workforce Advocate 503–986–0207, or visit Locate local workforce assistance at

Financial Information

Financial Institutions

Commercial Banks: 0   Savings and Loans: 0   Credit Unions: 0

Source: City Administration


Sales Tax Oregon has no general sales tax.

Property Tax
Property—Who pays? Owners of real and business personal property, according to the assessed value of taxable residential, commercial, farm, industrial, utility and timber property.

County assessors use permanent rates set for all taxing districts in fiscal year 1997–98, when taxes were significantly reduced with a statewide average 17 percent cut in tax levies. Certain types of levies are outside this reduction. The tax rates cannot exceed $15 per $1,000 of real market value. For 1997–98, all property was valued by county assessors at 90 percent of the July 1, 1995, levels. For subsequent years, assessed values are limited to a 3 percent annual growth rate. Construction since July 1, 1995, is valued at the average rate of similar properties in the area. Business personal property requires annual filing. One–third payment is due by November 15. If fully paid by November 15, a 3 percent discount is allowed. Special exemptions, tax relief programs and deferrals are available. For more information contact the Union County assessor’s office at 541–963–1002.

Tax rates are representative of the largest tax code in the city. The rates are expressed as tax liability per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Union County
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1997-98$13.87
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1998-99$13.90
Average 1999 Housing Value$56,527
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1997-98$763.48
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1998-99$785.73
Average School rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . $7.59

Average Non-School Rate 1998-99. . . . $6.50

Average City Rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . . $1.48

Business Taxes
Property—see above

Income—Corporations doing or authorized to do business in Oregon pay excise tax. Corporations not doing or authorized to do business, but having income from an Oregon source, pay income tax. For more information contact the Oregon Department of Revenue, 955 Center St., NE, Salem, OR 97301, 503–378–4988,

Unemployment Insurance—Employers pay this. For 2002, new employers are assigned a fixed rate of 3 percent of taxable wage base. Tax rates for existing employers are based on employers' experience and range from 1 percent to 5.4 percent of taxable wage base. Taxes are paid quarterly and are due by the end of the month following the quarter. In 2002, the tax is paid on the first $25,000 of wages paid to each employee. The rate schedule in effect depends on the balance in the Trust Fund as of August 31 each year and the amount of revenue needed to maintain the balance at a level adequate to pay benefits. For more information contact the Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union St., NE, Salem, OR 97301, 503–947–1488, web

Utilities, Railroad, Weight-mile—Who pays? All railroads and investor-owned utilities operating with the state pay an annual fee. For-hire and private motor carriers operating into, within and through the state pay weight-mile taxes. Rates—limit of .25 percent of gross operating revenues of investor-owned utilities; .25 percent charged on 2002 revenues. Limit of .35 percent on gross operating revenues of railroads; .267 percent charged in 2002 revenues. Applications, plate fees and per-mile rates dependent on declared combined weight of vehicle. For more information contact the Oregon Public Utility Commission, 550 Capitol St., NE, Suite 215, Salem, OR 97301–2551, 503–378–6611, web; Oregon Department of Transportation, Rail Section, 555 13th St., NE, Salem, OR 97310–1333, 503–986–4125, web; Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Transport Branch, 550 Capitol St., NE, Salem, OR 97301–3871, 503–378–6699, web

Oregon's Business Incentives.

Motor Vehicle Licensing, Driver Licensing, Fuels—Who pays? Owners and operators of motor vehicles. Oil companies importing fuels. Truckers using Oregon highways. Fees—Registration fees, driver license fees and renewals (contact the Oregon Driver & Motor Vehicle Services division 503–945–5000, web

Hunting and Fishing Licenses—contact Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, PO Box 59, Portland, OR 97207, general information 503–872–5268, licenses/tags/permits 503–872–5275, web

Amusement Device Tax—An excise tax is imposed upon every person who operates an amusement device in Oregon. An amusement device is a video lottery game terminal. More information from the Oregon Lottery Commission, 500 Airport Rd SE, Salem, 97301, web

Emergency Communications (9–1–1) Tax—Telephone companies providing local exchange access services in Oregon Collect this tax from their customers. The tax, which is $0.75 per line per month, is reported and paid quarterly. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Hazardous Substance Fee—Paid by possessors of nonpetroleum hazardous substance. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Petroleum Load Fee—Paid by petroleum suppliers and importers to Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Timber Severance Tax—Paid by timber owners on harvested timber’s value. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Forest Products Harvest Tax—Paid on timber cut from any land in Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Dry Cleaning Tax—Paid by operators of dry cleaning facilities. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Alcoholic Beverages—Manufacturers and/or import wholesalers of malt beverages and wines pay a privilege tax. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of distilled spirits, malt beverages and wines pay license fees. Employees who serve alcoholic beverages pay for service permits. For more information contact the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, PO Box 22297, Portland, OR 97222, 503–872–5000 or 1–800–452–6522 (in Oregon), web

Tobacco Products—Cigarette and tobacco products distributors are required to purchase tax stamps for cigarettes or pay a percentage of the wholesale price on other tobacco products. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web

Transit Payroll Tax–paid by employers in the Tri-Met (Portland area) and Lane Transit District (Eugene) for mass transit systems. Administered by the Department of Revenue, web

Many local governments in Oregon collect other taxes, such as hotel-motel taxes. Contact the city or county in which you are interested for more complete information about taxes in that area.

Source: Oregon Department of Revenue, “A Summary of Taxes,” January 2002; County information–County Assessor’s Office

Community Services and Resources

Public Safety/Emergency Services

Fire Station(s) serving community: Cove Rural Fire Department
Number of paid and volunteer firefighters: 18
Rating by Insurance Services Organization (ISO): 7*
Comments: 2000 data; *ISO rating unreported in directory
Source: Oregon State Fire Marshal, Oregon Fire Service Resource Directory 2000

Police Department:
Number of paid and reserve officers:
Comments: Served by Oregon State Police and Union County Sheriff

Nearest Hospital and distance: Grand Ronde Hospital, 14 miles in La Grande
Regional Hospital and distance: Grand Ronde Hospital, 14 miles in La Grande
Emergency services to community: None
General Clinic(s): 0

Source: City Administration

Communications Resources

Local Newspapers: The Valley News (Elgin, Imbler, Cove, Union)

Regional Newspapers: The Observer (La Grande)

Radio Stations: Several from Union County, Umatilla County, Oregon and Washington

TV Stations: None

Available Cable Television: Mallard

Telephone Service Provider(s): Verizon, Union-Wallowa Telephone Co.

Local Internet Service Provider(s): Yes
Number of Internet Service Providers: 3
Source: City Administration

Library System
1 public library

Source: City Administration

Planning Service/Regulatory

Regulatory SystemYear AcknowledgedYear Last
Year of Periodic ReviewComments
Comprehensive Plan1984
Zoning Ordinance
Will be updated in 2003
Building Permit System

Subdivision Ordinance

Strategic Plan


Territory Covered by Zoning
Municipality Yes     County Data unavailable at this time.
Source: City Administration

Industrial Lands
Does the Community seek industrial development? No
Access Statewide industrial lands database—
Source: Economic and Community Development Department

Special Districts and Associations (ports, water, sewer, etc.)
Name of Special District and the Oregon Revised Statute it was created under:
La Grande R.F.P.D., ORS; Union County 4-H and Extension Service District; Union County E.S.D.; Union County Vector Control District; Union R.F.P.D.; Union S.W.C.D.; Cove R.F.P.D.; Irrigation District

Special Districts Association of Oregon—727 Center St., NE Salem, OR 97301, 503–371–8667 or 800–285–5461
Source: City Administration


Water Supply

Operator: City of Cove
District: City of Cove
Source: Ground Water; Well
Supply: Treated; Capacity (MGD)–0.576; Pressure (PSI)–30-80

Current Water Utilization on Meter Size (MGD):
Water Costs per thousand gallons: Base rate per/7,500 = $31.90 7,500 - 15,000 = $0.10/thousand Over 15,000 = $1.00/thousand
Water Costs for Total Consumption of Residential: Based on 7,000 gallons = $31.90

Age of Water System: 1981

Water System Comment(s): System Development charges $31.90/month. Hook up fees: $900 plus parts & labor up to $1,800 plus parts & labor for 1-2" lines.

Compliance Issues: Yes

Water debt repayment included as part of tax assessment? No

Date of Current Master Plan: 2001

Plans for Upgrading or Expanding: The system will be upgraded in 2003-2004. A new well, reservoir and pipeline improvements will be made. A high pressure area will be created to solve low pressure issues in some areas of the delivery system.
Source: City Administration

Wastewater Treatment System

Operator: City of Cove          Age of Wastewater Collection System:
District: City of Cove

System Design Capacity (MGD): 0 MGD     System Utilization (MGD): 0 MGD
Collection System Fees: $16/moth    Hook-up or Connection Fee: $600-$1,000 + parts & labor
Access Fee or System Development Fee:

Comment(s) on Wastewater System: In the future, Inflow and Infiltration work needs to be done to prevent run-off water from entering the wastewater system.

Compliance Issues:

Date of Last Facility Plan: 2002

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion: System improvements to solve inflow and infiltration problems needs to be completed

Storm Drain: Yes    Storm Water Discharge Fee:
Fees or issues related to storm drains: None
Source: City Administration


Is there access to broadband

If yes, check all that apply:
Microwave  Fiberoptic  Satellite

Is there route diversity? No
AccessMonthly FeeOther Fee
T1 Yes
Cable Data unavailable

For Oregon Telecommunications information and resources, visit

Natural Gas—Provider: Avista
Lines and Feed:

Rate Structure:

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion: Still adding distribution lines to new areas in the community.

Electrical—Provider: OTEC
Lines and Feed: Data not available at this time.

Rate Structure Data not available at this time.

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

Solid Waste Management: Recycling Bins, City Garbage Service

Permit Status: NA

Utility Expansion Plans:

Utilities Source: City Administration; PGE information supplied by PGE. Note: We update utility rates periodically. Actual rates may change more often than that. For the most current rate for any carrier please consult the Public Utilities Commission web site at Click on the Statistics 200x label (x being the most recent year).


Highways Hwy 237 W/S route, local access   Transportation Access Fee: $0

Community Air Service No
If no local service, list closest Air Facility
Air Passenger Service: No
Airport Freight Service: No
La Grande Airport, 8.5 miles
Air Service Comments:

Rail Service: No 
Freight Service: No    Passenger Service: No
If no local service, list closest Rail Service: Union Pacific Railroad in Union

Marine No

Transportation issues which might confront development, such as non-attainment air shed, etc.:

Public Transportation Comment:

Bus Service Available in the Community: Yes Greyhound, 15 miles in La Grande
Scheduled Bus Service Available: Yes    Buses Per Day: 3
Local Charter Services: No 
Distance to Nearest Bus Service: 15 miles

Trucking Service
Scheduled Freight Carrier Services: No  
Overnight Express Parcel Service Available: No 
Overnight Express Mail Service Available: No
Transportation Comments:

For more information relating to transportation topics please visit the Department of Transportation web site. Airports (maps and general information); Bicycle and Pedestrian Route information; Public Transportation, bus and rail

Source: City Administration, local chamber of commerce (proprietary information)