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Hood River County is a county in the state of Oregon. Its county seat is the town of Hood River, and it the Hood River flows through it from its origin on Mount Hood. A pattern may be emerging. The county is small in size and population, being about 500 sq miles and having 20,000 people. Hood River County is located about an hour east of Portland, and in many ways resembles the terrain and climate of the Willamette Valley, although it is on the border of the much drier climate of Eastern Oregon.

I will plagiarize myself once again by saying that Hood River County's history follows the history of many areas in the Western States: European settlement was founded around the exploitation ofnatural resources, and the transportation centers needed to trade them, but the natural resource economy later became less lucrative, and tourism based on the natural beauty of the area became a more important part of the economy.

The specific natural resource in question is farming, specifically orchards, with the area being a center of pear farming. The Hood River starts on the slopes of Mt. Hood, and drops 2 miles to join the Columbia River at the town of Hood River. Along the way, it goes through a valley of rolling hills, that for whatever microclimactic reason, are one of the world's prime pear growing regions. Large areas of the county are also covered with timber, and like most places in Oregon, lumber was once an important economic activity.

Tourism is also an important part of the area's economy, mostly concentrated in the town of Hood River. Because of the way the Columbia River Gorge funnels wind, the Columbia River along this stretch has famous water for wind surfing. It is also, if you are so inclined, just really nice to look at. Mount Hood, which looks looms surrealistically large over the area, is also very nice to look at, and the towns in the area are a good jumping off place for touring the mountains. The influx of adventure sports enthusiasts has been a mixed blessing for the area: it has certainly given a good boost to the economy, and downtown Hood River is certainly a more interesting place than it used to be, but it has also disrupted the tranquility of a once obscure area. It has also, as is common across the Western States, made the area much more politically and socially liberal than it once was.

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