Date of visit: May 30, 2011
Population: 586 (2010 Census)

Originally named Alkali when it was first settled, the town’s named changed to Arlington when it was incorporated in 1885. 71 years later, in 1956, the residents of the little riverside community had to decide if they wanted to abandon their town or relocate it. Arlington lies along the Columbia River and the John Day Dam was scheduled to be constructed downstream. Once that happened the downtown business section would be under 30 feet of water. 80% of the residents voted to relocate the town to higher ground, so that’s what happened.

On October 22, 1960 they held a farewell party and started the arduous process of moving the town. The new business district on higher ground had to be prepared, which included laying down 60,000 cubic yards of dirt. Water, sewer, and utility lines had to be located and removed. 40 businesses and 85 homes in the flood zone had to be relocated. Buildings were torn down or burned; the last of the buildings were burned on March 3 and 4, 1966. The John Day Dam was completed in 1971 and Lake Umatilla formed behind the dam, drowning the now empty space where downtown Arlington used to be. When all was said and done, the Army Corps of Engineers spent $5 million to relocate the town.

Welcome to Arlington

Town by the river
Looking down on the business district of town from the hills above.

Town on a hill
Looking down from the hills on the other side.

Earl Snell Memorial Park
The backwaters of the John Day Dam formed this lagoon in the depression of land where the business district used to be. Now Arlington has a nice waterfront park.

Another Caboose
A caboose at the park which has historical exhibits inside.

One of Arlington’s churches

Map of Arlington

Oregon Towns Project


Date of visit: May 30, 2011
Population: 682 (2010 Census)

Condon was established in the late 1800s. Originally named Summit Springs because of a nearby spring, its name was changed when the first postmaster suggested that the town be named after Harvey C. Condon, an attorney from Arlington who had agreed to not charge a fee to process the necessary paperwork for establishing the post office. (If you’ve ever heard of Thomas Condon, the geologist, Harvey was related to him.) By 1900 the population was 230 people, but the town experienced a big boom when a railroad line was finished in 1905. There were banks and a daily newspaper. A new flour mill and brick yard were built, a new city water works completed, and two wheat storage warehouses were constructed. The population was over 1,000. By 1908 Condon was the largest shipping point for wheat in the country.

But the depression hit the area hard. Condon recovered somewhat during the prosperous war years and when an air force base was built nearby. But the base closed in 1970, and one of the two rail lines was abandoned in 1976. As with many agricultural towns, Condon has never returned to its more prosperous times. The population was 759 in 2000 and 682 in 2010. But in 1990 the downtown area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Condon Commercial Historic District, and hopefully the area will see an increase in tourism.

Welcome to Condon

Main Street
The main drag of Condon. See that flower show on the right? They have a soda fountain where I bought a peach smoothie. BEST. SMOOTHIE.EVER.

And old building that looked abandoned.

Tiny library
The tiny library next door to an HVAC place.

Old truck
An old truck out at the museum.

Grain elevator
I believe this is a grain elevator.

Map of Condon

Oregon Towns Project