County Seat: Courthouse, 221 S Oregon St., Condon 97823-0427
Phone: 541-384-2311 (General); 541-384-3303 (Court Administrator)
Population (2013): 1,945
Established: Feb. 25, 1885
Elev. at Condon: 2,844'
Area: 1,223 sq. mi.
Average Temp.: January 31.9° July 71.3°
Assessed Value: $753,454,980
Real Market Value: $2,009,131,634
Annual Precipitation: 11.39"
Economy: Agriculture, recreation, environmental services and wind power generation
Points of interest
Old Oregon Trail, Arlington Bay and Marina, Lonerock area, Condon historic district, tribal pictographs
History and general information
Gilliam County was established in 1885 from a portion of Wasco County and was named after Colonel Cornelius Gilliam, a veteran of the Cayuse Indian War. The first county seat was at Alkali, now Arlington. In 1890, voters chose to move the county seat to Condon, known then as “Summit Springs.” A brick courthouse was built in Condon in 1903 which was destroyed by fire in 1954. The present courthouse was built on the same site in 1955.
Gilliam County is in the heart of the Columbia Plateau wheat area. The economy is based mainly on agriculture, with an average farm size of about 4,200 acres. Wheat, barley and beef cattle are the principal crops. The largest individual employers in the county, Chemical Waste Management of the Northwest and Oregon Waste Systems, subsidiaries of Waste Management Inc., are regional waste disposal landfills.
With elevations of over 3,000 feet near Condon, in the south of the county, and 285 feet at Arlington, 38 miles north, the county offers a variety of climates. Hunting, fishing and tourism are secondary industries. Two major rivers, the John Day and Columbia, and Interstate 84 traverse the area east to west. Highway 19 connects the county’s major cities north to south and serves as the gateway to the John Day Valley.
Commissioners—Dennis Gronquist (D) 2017, Judge Steve Shaffer 2019, Mike Weimar (R) 2019; Dist. Atty. Marion Weatherford 2019; Clerk Ellen Wagenaar 2017; Justice of the Peace Cris Patnode 2019; Sheriff Gary Bettencourt 2019; Surv. Todd Catterson 2019; Treas. Nathan Hammer 2019; Assess. Dave Messenger 2017