Boardman

Boardman, located on the Columbia River in northeastern Oregon, is named for Samuel Boardman, the state’s first full-time superintendent of state parks. Boardman homesteaded the land in 1903, and he planted trees in the area along the highway. Eventually, that practice became the policy of the Oregon Highway Commission and helped lay the groundwork for Oregon’s park system.

The first permanent settler in Boardman was C.G. Blayden, who settled there in 1915. The town was laid out in 1916, a year after the articles of incorporation were drafted, and was incorporated in 1927.

Boardman was moved twice after it was originally built: first in 1952, when it was moved a half mile to accommodate U.S. Highway 30, and again in 1965 with the construction of the John Day Dam. The reservoir behind the dam was created in 1968, which required moving the town a quarter of a mile.

In 1964, the Boeing Company established a test site for rockets in Boardman, partly because of the work of Senator Mark O. Hatfield, who had lobbied for Boardman to become a NASA Control Center. Boeing helped develop Boardman, investing in irrigation projects to support area farms. Agriculture continues to be an important industry in Boardman.

Nature preserves, such as the Boardman Grasslands, are located close to Boardman, and there is a large U.S. Navy bombing range nearby, though only a few individuals are staffed there. The U.S. Army Umatilla Chemical Depot, located about eighteen miles east of Boardman, use to house 12 percent of the U.S. chemical weapons supply. The chemical weapons stocks were destroyed, and the facility closed in 2012.

In 2016, 3,555 people lived in Boardman.

Author


Map It


Further Reading

Cox, Thomas R. The Park Builders: A History of State Parks in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1988.


Related Articles

"Les Dalles," on the Columbia River
Columbia River

The River

For more than ten millennia, the Columbia River has been the most important and intensively used part of Oregon’s natural landscape. The river’s main stem gathers water from ten principal tributaries that drain 259,000 square miles in seven U.S. states and one Canadian province.

In Oregon ...

Samuel H. Boardman (1874-1953)

As the first state parks superintendent in Oregon, serving from 1929 to 1950, Sam Boardman is often called the father of the state park system. He had a germinal role in building a system that attracted a steadily increasing number of visitors, and he was the catalyst for the state’s ...

Umatilla Army Depot

In 1940, the U.S. Army identified twenty thousand acres straddling the Umatilla and Morrow county line, eight miles west of Hermiston, as the site for a military munitions and supply depot. The Umatilla Army Ordnance Depot stored and supplied munitions to the army until the early 1990s. Between 1962 ...


This entry was last updated on Aug. 28, 2018