County Seat: Courthouse, 450 N Buena Vista Ave., Burns 97720
Phone: 541-573-6641 (General); 541-573-5207 (Court Administrator)
Population (2011): 7,375
Established: Feb. 25, 1889
Elev. at Burns: 4,118'
Area: 10,228 sq. mi.
Average Temp.: January 27.5° July 69.4°
Assessed Value: $482,879,278
Real Market Value: $1,267,124,347
Annual Precipitation: 10.13"
Economy: Forest products, manufacturing,
livestock and agriculture
Points of interest
Steens Mountain, Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Alvord Desert, Alvord Hot Springs, Squaw Butte Experimental Station, “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 1858–59. 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 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.
Commissioners—Judge Steven E. Grasty 2019, Dan Nichols 2017, Peter Runnels 2015; Dist. Atty. Tim Colahan 2017; Assess. Ted Tiller 2015; Clerk Derrin (Dag) Robinson 2017; Justice of the Peace Donna Thomas 2019; Sheriff David Glerup 2017; Surv. Kenny Delano; Treas. Ellen (Nellie) Franklin 2015