Burns, Oregon
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Burns is a city in and the
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is used in Canada, China, Romania, Hungary and the United States. County towns have a similar fu ...
of
Harney County Harney County is one of the Oregon counties, 36 counties in the U.S. state of Oregon. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, the population was 7,422, making it the fifth-least populous county in Oregon. The county seat is Burns, Oregon, ...
, in the
U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a W ...
of
Oregon Oregon () is a U.S. state, state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington (state), Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its ...

Oregon
. According to the
2010 census2010 census may refer to: * 2010 Chinese Census * 2010 Dominican Republic Census * 2010 Indonesian census * 2010 Malaysian Census * 2010 Russian Census * 2010 Turkish census * 2010 United States Census * 2010 Zambian census {{Disambiguation ...
, the population was 2,806. Burns and the nearby city of Hines are home to about 60 percent of the people in the sparsely populated county, by area the largest in Oregon and the ninth largest in the United States. The Burns–Hines region has a high-desert climate but was much wetter in the recent geologic past. The
Harney Basin The Harney Basin is an endorheic basin An endorheic basin (; also spelled endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as river A river ...
was the largest of many depressions in which lakes formed in southeastern Oregon during the late
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally c ...
. Remnants of an ancient lake that reached as far north as Burns are at the center of the
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge National Wildlife Refuge System is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service The United States Fi ...
, south of the city.
Northern Paiute Northern may refer to the following: Geography * North, a point in direction * Northern Europe, the northern part or region of Europe * Northern Highland, a region of Wisconsin, United States * Northern Range, a range of hills in Trinidad School ...
s or their ancestors, who were
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
s, have lived in the region for thousands of years. Since the arrival of Euro-Americans in the 19th century, cattle ranching and other forms of agriculture have dominated land use in the area. In 1930, logging in the mountains north of Burns led to the creation of Hines, a lumber
company town A company town is a place where practically all stores and housing are owned by the one company that is also the main employer. Company towns are often planned with a suite of amenities such as stores, houses of worship, schools, markets and recr ...
, and the timber industry remained important to the local economy until the 1990s. In addition to ranching, a variety of private and public enterprises support the Burns–Hines economy in the 21st century. Annual events include a migratory bird festival, the county fair, and a country music jamboree.


History


Tribal

Archeologists have found evidence of human habitation in the general vicinity of Burns from as early as 10,000 years ago. Members of the contemporary
Burns Paiute Tribe The Burns Paiute Tribe of the Burns Paiute Indian Colony of Oregon is a federally recognized tribe This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly kno ...
of Harney County, descended mainly from the Wadatika band of Paiutes, were hunter-gatherers throughout central and southern Oregon. The Wadatikas were named after the wada seeds collected as food from near Malheur Lake. Their territory covered about from the
Cascade Range The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range of western North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as the northern ...
to near
Boise Boise () is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercas ...

Boise
and from the southern Blue Mountains to south of Steens Mountain. Scattered in the 19th century by clashes with white settlers and soldiers and through forced removal to distant reservations, some of the Paiutes eventually returned to Harney County. In the 1930s, the Burns Paiute Tribe began buying land near Burns and holding tribal elections. By the late 1960s, the
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...
had adopted a constitution and tribal bylaws, and in 1972 the Burns Paiute formally became an independent tribe, eligible to enter into contracts with other governments and legal entities. The tribe owns the Burns Paiute Reservation, north of Burns, and individual members of the tribe own more than of land elsewhere in the county. In 1991, the tribe had about 350 members, and about 200 lived on the reservation.


Cities and ranches

After the arrival of Euro-American settlers in the 19th century, Burns was established in the 1880s. It was formally incorporated after Harney County's creation in 1889 through the splitting of
Grant CountyGrant County may refer to: Places ;Australia * County of Grant, Victoria ;United States *Grant County, Arkansas *Grant County, Indiana *Grant County, Kansas *Grant County, Kentucky *Grant County, Minnesota *Grant County, Nebraska *Grant Cou ...

Grant County
into two counties. Early settler, merchant, and county commissioner George McGowan named the city after the Scottish poet
Robert Burns The name Robert is an ancient Germanic given name, from Proto-Germanic "fame" and "bright" (Hrōþiberhtaz). Compare Old Dutch ''Robrecht'' and Old High German ''Hrodebert'' (a compound of ''Hrōþ, Hruod'' (Old Norse: Hróðr) "fame, glory ...

Robert Burns
. By 1891, the community had stores, a post office, hotels, and other businesses. McGowan was the town's first postmaster. In the 1920s, timber cutting and milling brought many newcomers to the region. In 1928, the
Edward Hines Lumber Company Hines Supply (originally the Edward Hines Lumber Company), based in Buffalo Grove, Illinois, in the United States, is a business firm specializing in lumber, plywood, decking, doors, windows, trim, and other Wood#Uses, wood products. It also sells ...
acquired from the U.S. Forest Service the rights to cut timber in the Blue Mountains near
Seneca Seneca may refer to: People and language *Seneca (name), a list of people with either the given name or surname *Seneca the Elder, a Roman rhetorician, writer and father of the stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger *Seneca the Younger, a Roman Stoi ...
, north of Burns. After winning the timber contract, the Hines Company built the Oregon and Northwestern Railroad between Burns and Seneca. Edward Hines, the company owner, built a lumber mill and
company town A company town is a place where practically all stores and housing are owned by the one company that is also the main employer. Company towns are often planned with a suite of amenities such as stores, houses of worship, schools, markets and recr ...
, incorporated as the City of Hines in 1930. Timber and logging remained important to the local economy until the 1990s, when the area's last lumber mill closed for lack of timber. Cattle ranching in the region began as early as the 1860s and expanded after passage of the Desert Land Act of 1877. The act promoted development of arid and semi-arid public land in the western United States by making plots available to individuals willing to "reclaim, irrigate, and cultivate" the land. Some of the Harney County ranches established in the 19th century still exist in the 21st. Agricultural revenue for Harney County in 2011 totaled about $84 million. Of this, about 65 percent came from cattle sales, 29 percent from the sale of alfalfa hay, and most of the rest from other crops and the sale of horses.


Geography

Harney County is the largest county in Oregon and the ninth largest in the United States. It covers about but has a total population of only about 7,600. Most of that population lives in Burns or Hines, about southwest of Burns. Burns had about 2,800 residents in 2010 and Hines about 1,600, for a total of 4,400, nearly 60 percent of the county population. The city is east of Bend, and west of Ontario, Oregon, on U.S. Route 20 (Oregon), U.S. Route 20 at its intersection with U.S. Route 395 (Oregon), U.S. Route 395. Burns is about south of Pendleton, Oregon, Pendleton. Oregon Route 78 runs between Burns and communities to the southeast including Crane, Oregon, Crane, New Princeton, Oregon, Princeton, and Burns Junction, Oregon, Burns Junction, about away. A fourth highway, Oregon Route 205, links the city to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to the south, and to Frenchglen, Oregon, Frenchglen, further south near Steens Mountain. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , all land.


Geology

Burns is in southeastern Oregon near the northern edge of the arid
Harney Basin The Harney Basin is an endorheic basin An endorheic basin (; also spelled endoreic basin or endorreic basin) is a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as river A river ...
. The basin is part of the Northern Basin and Range ecoregion#High Lava Plains (80g), High Lava Plains, a region dominated by erupting volcanoes in the late Miocene, five to ten million years ago. Centered on the Brothers Fault Zone, which runs southeast–northwest between Steens Mountain and Bend, Oregon, Bend, the High Lava Plains merge with the Blue Mountains (Pacific Northwest), Blue Mountains to the north and the Basin and Range Province to the south. Shallow basins formed by crustal stretching in the Basin and Range province were much wetter during the late
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally c ...
, up to 11,000 years ago, than they are in the 21st century. Lakes formed in these basins, including those in the southern part of the High Lava Plains. Among these, the largest depression was the Harney Basin, covering . Within the Harney Basin, ancient Malheur Lake—the 21st-century remnants of which include Malheur Lake, Harney Lake, and Mud Lake—covered and extended as far north as Burns. These remnant wetlands have become the
Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Malheur National Wildlife Refuge is a National Wildlife Refuge National Wildlife Refuge System is a designation for certain protected areas of the United States managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service The United States Fi ...
.


Climate

Burns has a semi-arid continental climate (Köppen climate classification, Köppen ''BSk'') bordering upon a continental Mediterranean climate (''Dsb'') that averages 99 days with precipitation each year. Cloud cover varies from an average of 25 percent in July to 76 percent in January. Normal annual precipitation amounts to about , including of snow. The average relative humidity, measured at 4 p.m. daily, is 42 percent, varying from 21 percent in July to 68 percent in December and January. The normal monthly daily average temperature ranges from about in December to in July. On average, highs reach on 24 days annually and stay at or below the freezing mark on 31 days, while lows fall to or below on an average of 11 nights. The average first and last occurrences of freezing temperatures are September 2 and June 21, respectively, allowing a growing season of 72 days. In January 1950, during a series of snowstorms the National Weather Service has identified as one of Oregon's top 10 weather events of the 20th century, about of snow fell on Burns. During another top-10 event, which occurred in February 1933, the temperature at Seneca reached , the lowest ever recorded in Oregon. By highway, Seneca is about north of Burns in the Blue Mountains. At Burns itself, record temperatures since 1939 range from on December 8, 2013, up to on July 12, 2002; the record low maximum is on January 6, 1982, and December 21, 1990, while the record high minimum is on July 27 and 30, 1939. ;Notes:


Demographics

As of the census of 2010, there were 2,806 people, 1,280 households, and 720 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 1,490 housing units at an average density of . The racial makeup of the city was 92.2% White (U.S. Census), White, 0.3% African American (U.S. Census), African American, 2.6% Native American (U.S. Census), Native American, 0.7% Asian (U.S. Census), Asian, 0.7% from Race (U.S. Census), other races, and 3.3% from two or more races. Hispanic (U.S. Census), Hispanic or Latino (U.S. Census), Latino of any race were 4.7% of the population. There were 1,280 households, out of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were Marriage, married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.8% were non-families. 36.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.13 and the average family size was 2.77. The median age in the city was 44.5 years. 21.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.3% were from 25 to 44; 30.7% were from 45 to 64; and 18.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 51.2% male and 48.8% female. The median income for a household in the city was $32,877, and the median income for a family was $42,885. The per capita income for the city was $19,567. About 19.6% of families and 20% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.


Arts and culture

The Harney County Arts in Education Foundation (HCAEF) exists to support music education and the performing, visual, and theater arts in Burns and the region. The HCAEF is raising funds in hopes of creating a performing arts and education center with a 600-seat auditorium, art gallery, film studio, and other facilities for students and the community. The Portland Youth Philharmonic, which originated in Burns as the Sagebrush Symphony Orchestra, has performed in Burns in support of the HCAEF. Each April, Burns hosts the John Scharff Migratory Bird Festival and Art Show during the annual spring migration of waterfowl and other birds through the area. Pelicans, ducks, and raptors are among the birds frequenting the Harney Basin wetlands, a stopping place on the Pacific Flyway. Named for a former manager of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the festival includes tours of the wetlands and nearby ranches as well as classes in topics such as birdhouse building, Harney County archeology, and bird sketching. In June, the High Desert Fiddlers host the Country Music Jamboree at the Harney County Fairgrounds on the edge of Burns. Players of all skill levels take part in the jamboree, with stages in three fairground buildings. Admission is free; donations are accepted. Concession stand, Concessions, dinners by reservation, camping in tents or recreational vehicles, and dancing are part of the entertainment. At other times of the year, the High Desert Fiddlers gather on Fridays at various locations around the city to hold public jam sessions including folk, country, Bluegrass music, bluegrass, and other music played on instruments such as the guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and hammered dulcimer. The Harney County Fair is held annually in September at the Harney County Fairgrounds. The fair, which lasts about a week, includes a rodeo, carnival, talent show, horse races, parade, and other events, including those sponsored by 4-H and National FFA Organization, Future Farmers of America. The Harney County Historical Museum in Burns offers displays of relics, documents, and photographs from the region's past. Established in 1960 at the site of a former brewery, laundry, and wrecking yard, the museum is open five days a week (Tuesday through Saturday) from April through September and at other times by appointment.


Government

Image:HarneyCountyCourthouse.jpg, left, Harney County Courthouse Burns has a mayor–council government. Jerry Woodfin, one of seven elected members of the council, is the mayor. The city's public works department, consisting of a director and four full-time workers, maintains the water lines, sewers, and streets of Burns. The police department includes a chief of police, an office assistant, and three full-time officers who work for Hines as well as Burns. City officers and employees include a city manager, city clerk, municipal judge doubling as the utilities clerk, and an office assistant. A tribal council governs the Burns Paiute Tribe, immediately northwest of Burns. The
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...
has its own police, court, and health and other services, including a tribal community center. The Harney County Courthouse is in Burns. County officials include a judge and two commissioners, a clerk, treasurer, assessor, district attorney, justice of the peace, sheriff, and circuit court judge. Harney County in 2020 voted heavily Republican Party (United States), Republican. At the federal presidential level, Donald J. Trump won about 78 percent of Harney County's votes, and Joseph R. Biden won about 20 percent. Cliff Bentz, a Republican Party (United States), Republican, won election to represent Burns as part of Oregon's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both Democratic Party (United States), Democrats, serve the entire state of Oregon in the United States Senate. Republican Lynn Findley represents District 30, including Burns, in the Oregon Senate. Republican Mark Owens (Oregon politician), Mark Owens represents District 60, including Burns, in the Oregon House.


Education

Harney County School District 3 provides public education in Burns and Hines at Henry L. Slater Grade School in Burns, Hines Middle School, and Burns High School (Oregon), Burns High School. Formed in 1903 by the Ladies Afternoon Club, the Harney County Library in Burns has grown from an initial collection of 12 books to more than 30,000 items in 2013. Library offerings include public computers, wireless Internet, video conferencing equipment, meeting spaces, and public programs, as well as books, magazines, newspapers, audio books, videos, DVDs, and access to Interlibrary Loan.


Media

The weekly ''Burns Times-Herald'' is the only newspaper in the city. In 2006, five members of the ''Times-Herald'' staff formed Survival Media LLC, which bought the newspaper from its former out-of-state owners. According to Survival Media, this was the first staff buyout of a newspaper in Oregon. Two commercial radio stations, KZHC-FM (92.7 FM) and KZHC (AM), KZHC (1230 AM), are licensed to broadcast from Burns.


Infrastructure


Transportation

Burns Municipal Airport provides general aviation services. The airport, with of lighted runway, is east of the city. Pony Express provides air freight service. Public Oregon Intercity Transit (POINT) is an intercity bus system that includes service between Bend, Oregon, Bend and Ontario, Oregon, Ontario, Oregon. It departs from Burns once daily in each direction. The buses are wheelchair accessible, can seat up to 20 passengers, and can be used for package delivery as well as public transport.


Health care

Harney District Hospital in Burns is a general medical and surgical hospital with 20 patient beds. HDH Family Care and Mountain Sage Medical operate medical clinics in the city. The Burns–Hines United States Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Clinic in Burns provides general medical services to military veterans. Emergency medical services include AirLink Critical Care Transport and Life Flight Network via helicopter or airplane to the nearest appropriate treatment center.


Notable people

*Kellen Clemens – National Football League, NFL quarterback *Norma Paulus – former Oregon Secretary of State and former Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction *Robert Freeman Smith, Robert Smith – former member of the United States House of Representatives and former Speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives *Gene Timms - former Oregon State Senate, Oregon State Senator and business owner * Jackson Richard Thein - political aide and graduate of Lewis & Clark College and University of Edinburgh Medical School


References

Works cited * * . * * *


External links


Entry for Burns
in the ''Oregon Blue Book'' {{authority control Burns, Oregon, 1889 establishments in Oregon Cities in Oregon County seats in Oregon Populated places established in 1889 Cities in Harney County, Oregon