Wasco Community Profile

PO Box 26, Wasco, OR 97065
Phone 541-442-5515 • Fax 541-442-5001

City Location

County(ies): Sherman    Incorporated in 1898
Location: Northern Oregon at the center of the Oregon/Washington border
Nearest Major Highway and Distance: I-84 | 9 miles
Nearest Major City and Distance:
The Dalles | 30 miles, Estimated Drive Time: 45 minutes
Distance to Portland: 100 miles

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

Recreational Amenities

Water skiing, windsurfing, fly fishing, whitewater rafting, boating, Sherares Grade, Gordon Ridge, LePage Park, Giles French Park, John Day Dam, Historic County Courthouse, Sherman County Museum.

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

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


Elevation: 1,807'      Measurement Location: Pendleton

Monthly Ave. Low: 38°F           Monthly Ave. High: 82°F
Hottest Month: July                  Coldest Month: January
Driest Month: July                    Wettest Month: December
Average annual precipitation: 10.810"

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 biz.info@state.or.us.

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 Wasco374 381 398 400
Sherman County 1,918 1,934 1,880 1,865
Sources: 1990, 2000 US Census; 2205, 2006 Center for Population Research and Census, Portland State University. 0 indicates data is unavailable.

Sherman County 831 sq miles   2 persons/sq mile Sources: figures based on 2006 PSU population estimates;
Oregon Bluebook county square mileage

Community Age Groups

Under 5 years0 0 24 16

5-19 years0 0 80 76

20-44 years0 0 116 96

45-64 years0 0 68 108

65+ years0 0 102 85

Median Age0 0 40 45.2

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 Wasco120 164 182 199 $68,700
Sherman County 637 813 900 935 $77,400

City of Wasco 2000 Housing Breakout:Also visit Housing and
Community Services Web Site:
Vacancy Rate:14.07%
Median Owner Cost

Owner Occupied:108

Renter Occupied:68
Median Gross Rent:$500

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

Economic Development and Employment

Principal Industries of the County(ies):
Sherman County—

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

Agricultural Products of the Area (Top 3 largest gross farm sales):
Sherman County—Grains, eggs and poultry, cattle and calves

Source: Oregon State University, Extension Economic Information Office

Total Number of Manufacturing Companies in the County:
Sherman County 0

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

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

Economic Indicators

Sherman CountyOregon


Labor Force9229311,802,9381,793,7731,840,133
Total Employment1,715,4531,679,9141,701,390
Unemployment Rate11.7%11%4.9%6.3%7.5%
Non-Farm Payroll Employment6356501,606,8001,596,1001,572,500
Total Covered Employment6276361,607,9441,596,9431,573,083
Total Covered Payroll
($ thousands county/
$ millions state)
Ave. Annual Payroll Per Employee$23,396$24,719$32,776$33,202$33,684
Number of Business Units7281108,432111,353113,097
Total Personal Income ($ millions)$25,825$31,553$94,999$98,500$101,358
Annual Per Capita Personal Income$$17,647$27,649$28,40028,792
Assessed Value of Property ($ millions)$0$207$198,911$210,435$219,878
Residential Construction
  Building Permits
  Value ($ thousands)





Travel Expenditures ($ millions)$0$7,200$6,133$6,128$6,208
Travel-Related Employment07089,80091,10090,200

 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 January, 2002

Employer—Product/ServiceNumber of
North Sherman Elementary School—Education 30

Morrow County Grain Growers—Agriculture 11

Mid-Columbia Producers—Agriculture 6

Sherman Farm Chemicals—Agriculture 6

Pioneer Implement—Agriculture 4

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. http://olmis.emp.state.or.us/—Click on Regional Information.

Local and Regional Economic Development Organizations

City of Wasco 541-442-5515

Sherman County Economic Development and Planning 541-565-3416

Mid-Columbia Council of Governments 541-298-4101

Mid-Columbia Economic Development District—http://www.mcedd.org/ 541-296-2266

Economic & Community Development Department Regional Development Officer—http://econ.oregon.gov/ 541-298-4140

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


Public and Private Schools K–12

Public School District:
Sherman County School District
304 W Second St
PO Box 38
Rufus, OR 97050-0038
Phone: 541-739-2772
Fax: 541-739-2623
E-mail: dwold@sherman.k12.or.us

Staff and Enrollments:
District Certified Staff: reported October 2000—34
Total District Enrollment: reported October 2001—344

Other Schools in the School District (Private, Parochial)
To see if there are private and/or parochial schools in this district please visit http://www.ode.state.or.us/pubs/directory/

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 http://www.oregon4biz.com/ed.htm.


Oregon Economic and Community Development Department Workforce Advocate 503–986–0207, or visit http://www.oregon4biz.com/workforce.htm. Locate local workforce assistance at http://www.worksourceoregon.org/.

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 Sherman County assessor’s office at 541–565–3505.

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.

Sherman County
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1997-98$17.01
Average Compressed Tax Rate 1998-99$16.73
Average 1999 Housing Value$30,222
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1997-98$0
Ave Res Property Tax Paid on Ave House 1998-99$505.61
Average School rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . $6.02

Average Non-School Rate 1998-99. . . . $12.55

Average City Rate 1998-99 . . . . . . . . . $3.03

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, http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

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 http://www.employment.oregon.gov/.

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 http://www.oregon.gov/PUC/; Oregon Department of Transportation, Rail Section, 555 13th St., NE, Salem, OR 97310–1333, 503–986–4125, web http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/RAIL/; Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Transport Branch, 550 Capitol St., NE, Salem, OR 97301–3871, 503–378–6699, web http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/.

Oregon's Business Incentives.

Other incentives: Enterprise Zone

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 http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/

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 http://www.dfw.state.or.us/.

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 http://www.oregonlottery.org/.

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 http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

Hazardous Substance Fee—Paid by possessors of nonpetroleum hazardous substance. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

Petroleum Load Fee—Paid by petroleum suppliers and importers to Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

Timber Severance Tax—Paid by timber owners on harvested timber’s value. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

Forest Products Harvest Tax—Paid on timber cut from any land in Oregon. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

Dry Cleaning Tax—Paid by operators of dry cleaning facilities. More information from the Oregon Department of Revenue, web http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

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 http://www.oregon.gov/OLCC/.

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 http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

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 http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/.

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: North Sherman County Rural Fire Dept, 1 station
Number of paid and volunteer firefighters: 15
Rating by Insurance Services Organization (ISO): *
Comments: 1998 data; *ISO rating and number of firefighters unreported in directory-last reported numbers
Source: Oregon State Fire Marshal, Oregon Fire Service Resource Directory 2000

Police Department: Sherman County Sheriff’s Office
Number of paid and reserve officers: 5

Nearest Hospital and distance: Mid-Columbia Medical Center, 30 miles in The Dalles
Regional Hospital and distance: Mid-Columbia Medical Center, 30 miles in The Dalles
Emergency services to community: Rufus Volunteer Ambulance Service
General Clinic(s): 1

Source: City Administration

Communications Resources

Local Newspapers: The Dalles Chronicle

Regional Newspapers: Sherman County Journal, Oregonian

Radio Stations: 3 AM stations (KODL, KACI), 3 FM stations (KMCQ, KYYT, Q104)

TV Stations: Provided by Goldendale cable company

Available Cable Television: J & N (Goldendale, WA)

Telephone Service Provider(s): Sprint

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

Library System
1 public library

Source: City Administration

Planning Service/Regulatory

Regulatory SystemYear AcknowledgedYear Last
Year of Periodic ReviewComments
Comprehensive Plan1978 1998

Zoning Ordinance

Building Permit System

Wasco and Sherman County
Subdivision Ordinance

Strategic Plan

Territory Covered by Zoning
Municipality Yes     County Yes
Source: City Administration

Industrial Lands
Does the Community seek industrial development? Yes
Access Statewide industrial lands database—http://www.oregonprospector.com/
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:
Moro R.F.P.D., ORS; North Sherman R.F.P.D.; Sherman County S.W.C.D.; Sherman E.S.D.

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


Water Supply

Operator: City of Wasco
District: N/A
Source: Ground Water; 2 city wells
Supply: Capacity (MGD)–.30; Pressure (PSI)–90

Current Water Utilization on Meter Size (MGD): 0 MGD
Water Costs per thousand gallons: Flat rate - Not on a meter
Water Costs for Total Consumption of Residential: Based on 7,000 gallons =

Age of Water System: 196

Water System Comment(s): System Development charges $400 flat fee; Hook up fees per individual unit depending on distance from source.

Compliance Issues:

Water debt repayment included as part of tax assessment? No

Date of Current Master Plan: 1999

Plans for Upgrading or Expanding: phase 11 will be completed soon and meters will be installed.
Source: City Administration

Wastewater Treatment System

Operator: City of Wasco Maintenance Tech          Age of Wastewater Collection System: 1991
District: N/A

System Design Capacity (MGD): .035 MGD     System Utilization (MGD): .024 MGD
Collection System Fees: 12.00 res 16.50 comm    Hook-up or Connection Fee: depending on distance from source
Access Fee or System Development Fee:

Comment(s) on Wastewater System: just completed wastewater evaluation. Upgrades will cost $608,000.

Compliance Issues: The city has twice been cited with notices on noncompliance with its water pollution control facilities permit. The basic problem is that because of insufficient storage, effluent is applied to the land at rates and times of year such that it is not taken up by the vegetation.

Date of Last Facility Plan: 2001

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion: funding for $608,000 project being requested. Possible EPA grant.

Storm Drain: No    Storm Water Discharge Fee:
Fees or issues related to storm drains: N/A
Source: City Administration


Is there access to broadband

If yes, check all that apply:
Microwave  Fiberoptic  Satellite

Is there route diversity? Data unavailable at this time.
AccessMonthly FeeOther Fee
T1 Data unavailable
DSL Data unavailable
Cable Data unavailable

For Oregon Telecommunications information and resources, visit http://www.oregon4biz.com/inn.htm.

Natural Gas—Provider: None
Lines and Feed:

Rate Structure:

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

Electrical—Provider: Pacific Power
Lines and Feed:

Rate Structure The Pacific Power rate structure can be found at www.pacificpower.net. Follow the links Community Service> Regulatory Information> Oregon> Approved Tarrifs.

Plans for Upgrade/Expansion:

Solid Waste Management: Sunrise Sanitation

Permit Status: unknown

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 http://www.puc.state.or.us/commsion/default.htm Click on the Statistics 200x label (x being the most recent year).


Highways I-84 E/W route, local access   Transportation Access Fee: $0

Community Air Service Yes Wasco Airport If no local service, list closest Air Facility
Air Passenger Service: No
Airport Freight Service: No
Air Service Comments:

Rail Service: No 
Freight Service:     Passenger Service:
If no local service, list closest Rail Service: Dallesport, WA, 30 miles

Marine No

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

Public Transportation Comment:

Bus Service Available in the Community: No 
Scheduled Bus Service Available: No    Buses Per Day:
Local Charter Services: Yes 
Distance to Nearest Bus Service: The Dalles, 30 miles

Trucking Service
Scheduled Freight Carrier Services: No  
Overnight Express Parcel Service Available: Yes UPS, FedEx
Overnight Express Mail Service Available: Yes
Transportation Comments:

For more information relating to transportation topics please visit the Department of Transportation web site. Airports (maps and general information) http://www.tripcheck.com/About/airport.htm; Bicycle and Pedestrian Route information http://www.tripcheck.com/About/bicycle.htm; Public Transportation, bus and rail http://www.tripcheck.com/About/busrail.htm.

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