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Home > Local > Counties > Harney County

Harney County

The sun sets behind a corral along Island Ranch Road.

The sun sets behind a corral along Island Ranch Road. (Oregon State Archives Photo)

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County Seat: Courthouse, 450 N Buena Vista Ave., Burns 97720
Phone: 541-573-6641 (General); 541-573-5207 (Court Administrator)
Fax: 541-573-8370


Population (2016): 7,320
Established: Feb. 25, 1889
Elev. at Burns: 4,118'
Area: 10,228 sq. mi.
Average Temp.: January 27.5° July 69.4°
Assessed Value: $534,653,065
Real Market Value: $1,331,081,033
Annual Precipitation: 10.13"
Economy: Forest products, manufacturing, livestock and agriculture


Harney County map

Related resources
Historical Records Inventory
Scenic Image
"County QuickFacts" (population and economic data from U.S. Census Bureau)
County Seat Map (from Yahoo! Maps)
County Map (from ODOT)


Incorporated cities
Burns | Hines


Points of interest
Steens Mountain, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Alvord Desert, Alvord Hot Springs, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, “P” Ranch Round Barn, Frenchglen, Wild Horse Corrals, Delintment Lake, Yellowjacket Lake


History and general information
In 1826, Peter Skene Ogden became the first white man to explore this area when he led a fur brigade for the Hudson’s Bay Company. In 1889, Harney, the largest county in Oregon, was carved out of Grant County and named for Major General William S. Harney, commander of the Department of Oregon, U.S. Army, from 1858–1859. Harney was instrumental in opening areas of Eastern Oregon for settlement.

A fierce political battle, with armed night riders who spirited county records from Harney to Burns, ended with Burns as the county seat in 1890. The courthouse was constructed five years later. Burns’ first newspaper was established in 1884 and its first church was established in 1887.

Harney County shares the largest ponderosa pine forest in the nation with Grant County and has more than 100,000 beef cattle on its vast ranges. Its abundance of game, campsites, excellent fishing and bird watching have stimulated fast-growing recreational activities.


County officials
County Court—Judge Peter Runnels 2023, Mark Owens 2021; Dist. Atty. Joseph W. Lucas 2021; Assess. Ted Tiller 2019; Clerk Derrin “Dag” Robinson 2021; Justice of the Peace Donna Thomas 2019; Sheriff David Ward 2021; Surv. Kenny Delano; Treas. Ellen “Nellie” Franklin 2019


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