Oroville, Washington

Coordinates: 48°56′19″N 119°26′6″W / 48.93861°N 119.43500°W / 48.93861; -119.43500
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A walking bridge sits in the center of a bright lake with a business district in the background.
The townsite of Osoyoos Lake within the northern Okanogan Highlands in Oroville, Washington
A white flag with a semicircular logo depicting a sailboat on a lake in front of a rising sun in the lower center, and in the upper hoist a collection of fruit, and a rail wagon.
Projection of Okanogan County with Oroville in red
Location of Oroville in
Okanogan County, Washington
Projection of the United States with Oroville captioned in a pushpin
Projection of the United States with Oroville captioned in a pushpin
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 48°56′19″N 119°26′6″W / 48.93861°N 119.43500°W / 48.93861; -119.43500
CountryUnited States
EstablishedJanuary 1, 1892
IncorporatedAugust 7, 1908
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorEd Naillon[1]
 • Governing bodyOroville City Council
 • Total1.85 sq mi (4.78 km2)
 • Land1.69 sq mi (4.38 km2)
 • Water0.16 sq mi (0.40 km2)
938 ft (286 m)
 • Total1,686
 • Estimate 
 • Density991.12/sq mi (382.78/km2)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP codes
Area code509
FIPS code53-51970[3]
GNIS feature ID1524077[5]
WebsiteCity of Oroville

Oroville is a city located in the northern bulk of the Okanogan Highlands in north-central Washington, United States. Oroville is a member municipality of Okanogan County, Washington, situated between Omak and Penticton. The population was 1,686 at the 2010 census.


Oroville was first settled by European settlers in the late 1850s and known as 'rag town.' The settlement was named Oro, after the Spanish word for gold, in 1892 after the surrounding gold mines and in an attempt to attract prospectors and merchants. The Post Office objected to the name "Oro" because a town was already named "Oso" in Washington, so the name was changed to Oroville,[6] in 1909. Oroville was a stop along the Spokane Falls and Northern Railway line from British Columbia to Spokane, via Molson and Chesaw. In 1914 a third branch south to Wenatchee was constructed to avoid the steep inclines on the original Spokane track.[7][8]

Passenger train service to Oroville was operated by the Great Northern Railway until July 14, 1953, with freight operations continuing later.[9]

Oroville started to become a tourist location; in the mid-2000s, large condo developments were proposed. The city had an economy peak in 2005–2007, but has continued suffering since to the 'great recession.' It is home to the Dorothy Scott Airport, an international municipal airport with U.S. Customs check, located two miles outside of the town center that was opened in August 1937.[10][11]


Oroville is located 4 miles (6.4 km) south of the Canada–US border, and features an official crossing into Osoyoos, British Columbia.[12] It is located at the south end of Osoyoos Lake, which empties into the Okanogan River on the east side of the town; the town is bound to the west by the Similkameen River. U.S. Route 97 runs through Oroville.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.68 square miles (4.35 km2), of which, 1.64 square miles (4.25 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.[13]


Oroville lies in a climatic region that is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot summers and moderately cold winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Oroville has a humid continental climate, Dfb on climate maps.[14]


Most of the economy of Oroville and the surrounding areas is based on agriculture. Numerous orchards and a few grape vineyards are within the town limits. During Oroville's heyday as a mining town, many saloons, restaurants, shops, and a drive-in movie theater were there.[15] Today, the town's economy is depressed with a nearly 30% poverty rate and a median household income of only $22,000. Recently, three vacation cottage developments have been built, two east of Lake Osoyoos, Sandalia, and the Veranda Beach Resort, and one just north of downtown, Sonora Shores.

The city is home to a weekly newspaper, the Okanogan Valley Gazette-Tribune, established in 1905 as the Oroville Weekly Gazette.[16]

Oroville is the northern terminus of the Cascade and Columbia River Railroad, a short line railroad owned by Genesee & Wyoming.


Historical population
2019 (est.)1,675[4]−0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]

2010 census[edit]

At the 2010 census there were 1,686 people in 698 households, including 434 families, in the city. The population density was 1,028.0 inhabitants per square mile (396.9/km2). There were 797 housing units at an average density of 486.0 per square mile (187.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.8% White, 0.8% African American, 2.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 12.7% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.4%.[3]

Of the 698 households 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.8% were non-families. 32.1% of households were one person and 16.3% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age was 39.4 years. 26.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.3% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 16.7% were 65 or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.2% male and 50.8% female.

2000 census[edit]

At the 2000 census, there were 1,653 people, 691 households, and 433 families in the town. The population density was 1,336.5 people per square mile (514.7/km2). There were 794 housing units at an average density of 642.0 per square mile (247.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 82.34% White, 0.12% African American, 4.23% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.30% Pacific Islander, 9.32% from other races, and 3.39% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.06% of the population.

Of the 691 households 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.6% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.2% were non-families. 32.0% of households were one person and 14.5% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.99.

The age distribution was 28.9% under the age of 18, 5.1% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.3 males.

The median household income was $22,301 and the median family income was $30,114. Males had a median income of $25,833 versus $21,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,220. About 22.6% of families and 28.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.0% of those under age 18 and 19.5% of those age 65 or over.


Crime rates* (2012)
Violent crimes
Aggravated assault1
Total violent crime2
Property crimes
Motor vehicle theft1
Total property crime78

*Number of reported crimes per 100,000 population.

2012 population: 1,715

Source: 2012 FBI UCR Data

According to the Uniform Crime Report statistics compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2012, two violent crimes and 78 property crimes per 100,000 residents occur per year. Of these, the violent crimes consisted of one forcible rape, no robberies, and one aggravated assault, while 20 burglaries, 57 larceny-thefts, one motor vehicle theft, and no arson defined the property offenses.[18]


  1. ^ ""City of Oroville, Washington; Officials & Staff"". oroville-wa.com. April 15, 2023. Retrieved April 15, 2023.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  5. ^ "Oroville". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  6. ^ Gulick, Bill. A Traveler's History of Washington. Caxton Press, 1996. ISBN 0-87004-371-4. p. 340
  7. ^ "Railway Age 1914 Vol 57 Great Northern Line from Oroville to Wenatchee". July 31, 1914.
  8. ^ "GN in Southern BC".
  9. ^ Barta, Linda (March 13, 2014). "Old news: Last run for passenger train". The Wenatchee World. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  10. ^ "Dorothy Scott Airport". AirNav. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  11. ^ "Airport Identification Information". Washington. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  13. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  14. ^ Climate Summary for Oroville, Washington
  15. ^ "Pow Wow Drive-In Oroville". Archived from the original on October 25, 2014.
  16. ^ "Oroville Gazette". Washington Secretary of State. Retrieved June 24, 2017.
  17. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  18. ^ "Washington Offenses Known to Law Enforcement by City, 2012". Federal Bureau of Investigation. 2012. Retrieved October 4, 2013.

External links[edit]