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Grants Pass, Oregon

Grants Pass is a city in, and the county seat of Josephine County, Oregon, United States . The city is located on Interstate 5, northwest of Medford. Attractions include the Rogue River, famous for its rafting, and the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument located 30 miles south of the city. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 23,003. As of 2007, the population is 34,237.


Early Hudson's Bay Company hunters and trappers, following the Siskiyou Trail, passed through the site beginning in the 1820s. In the late 1840s, settlers (mostly American) following the Applegate Trail began traveling through the area on their way to the Willamette Valley. The name was selected to honor General U.S. Grant's success at Vicksburg and a post office was established on March 22, 1865. The city of Grants Pass was incorporated in 1887, a year after it had become the county seat.

In 1922, a group of local businessmen incorporated the Grants Pass Cavemen. Taking their name from the nearby Oregon Caves National Monument, this group was one of many groups of boosterism common in the United States at the time. For decades afterwards, this group would represent their city in countless public gatherings, dressed in furs and bearing clubs, performing such uncivilized acts as capturing female crowd members and politicians and putting them in their cages. To honor this group, in 1971 a fiberglass statue of a caveman was erected at the corner of Morgan Lane and Sixth Street. Grants Pass High School's mascot is also the caveman. The original monument was damaged by arson in 2004 and repaired in 2005.


Grants Pass is located at (42.438969, -123.328249). U.S. Route 199 passes through the city, and joins I-5. It is located in the Rogue Valley.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , of which of it is land and of it or 1.56% is water.


True to its motto, "It's the climate!" Grants Pass enjoys a Zone 8 climate with hot, short summers and mild but pronounced winters with sharply defined seasons without the severe winter cold or enervating humidity. This climate zone differs from the rest of Western Oregon in that there is less ocean influence, cooler winters, and warmer drier summers.

Summer days are sunny, dry and hot but it cools down dramatically at night; the average July high temperature is 90°F (32°C) and the low, 53°F (12°C). Winters are cool and fairly rainy with only occasional snow; the average January high temperature is 47.5°F (8.5°C) and the low, 32.5°F (0°C). It receives roughly 30 inches (760 mm) of precipitation per year, with three-quarters of it occurring between November 1 and March 31. The mild winters and long dry summers support a native vegetation structure quite different from the rest of Oregon, dominated by madrone, deciduous and evergreen oak, manzanita, pine, chinquapin, and other species that are far less abundant further north.

The Rogue River

The Rogue River runs through Grants Pass and many people come to the city to raft the river's world-class rapids. Visitors can also travel down the river on jetboats.


As of the census of 2000, there were 23,003 people, 9,376 households, and 5,925 families residing in the city. The population density was . There were 9,885 housing units at an average density of 1,303.3 per square mile (503.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.97% White, 0.33% African American, 1.09% Native American, 0.98% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.63% from other races, and 2.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.37% of the population.

There were 9,376 households out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.5% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,197, and the median income for a family was $36,284. Males had a median income of $31,128 versus $23,579 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,234. About 12.2% of families and 34.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Historically the city's economy has been based on timber. However, in recent years the importance of timber on the local economy has decreased and has subsequently been replaced by tourism as the most prominent source of revenue for the city. Tourism is now a very visible part of the city.


During the summer, there are many different attractions for tourists to visit. There is a growers' market, concerts are held in Riverside Park on many summer nights, and there are many other parks to visit. The historic theater downtown has been transformed into a performing arts venue and frequently hosts top name national acts. The historic downtown area is lined with antique and specialty shops and is a destination for collectors and shoppers. Formerly, local artists decorated bear statues; this ended in 2006. From 2006-present, statues of various northwest animals have lined the streets. The Grants Pass Towne Center Association's "Back to the 50's" Celebration includes free concerts, a nearly 600-vehicle Classic Car Cruise, Poker Runs, and thematic shopping.

Boatnik is held every Memorial Day weekend in Grants Pass and is one of the years most popular events in Grants Pass, drawing many visitors to town. The activities start in Riverside Park with the Davis Shows Carnival. Friday includes the Boat Show on the River - 8:00pm to 9:00pm Sprints, Drags, and Hydros. Saturday morning is the well-known Boatnik parade. Sunday includes the Fireworks Display at Dusk at Riverside Park. Monday is the highlight of Boatnik featuring an F15 Flyover and the world famous white water hydroplane race.

During the winter, there are the Christmas murals on many downtown streets, along with Santa's arrival by train to the Town Square and a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

Year round, there is First Friday Art Nights. On the first Friday of every month, many the city's stores hold art shows and other showings.

In 1986, Grants Pass won one of ten All-America City Awards given out that year. The city has one of the top 100 hospitals: Three Rivers Community Hospital and Health Center.

The Grants Pass post office contains two tempera murals done through the U.S. Treasury Department Section on Fine Arts (often mistakenly referred to as the "WPA"), both painted in 1938. Of the ten government-sponsored New Deal era murals in Oregon, no other post office contains two. The murals are "Rogue River Indians" by Louis DeMott Bunce (who also did a 1959 mural at Portland International Airport) and "Early and Contemporary Industries" by Eric Lamade.

Parks and recreation

Grants Pass has numerous and diverse parks and green spaces.


Grants Pass area public schools are served by Grants Pass School District, including Grants Pass High School, and Three Rivers School District, including North Valley High School, and Hidden Valley High School. Rogue Community College's (RCC) main (Redwood Campus) is located south of Grants Pass on Redwood Highway with additional campuses located in Medford, Oregon (Riverside Campus) and White City (Table Rock Campus).



Notable residents

References in art

Country musician and Earth First! member Darryl Cherney has a country song called "Grants Pass" in which he describes being an environmentalist in the small logging town. The song makes many references to local landmarks including Shenanigan's Saloon, the Silver Fire Round-Up, The Giant Caveman, and the banner that reads "It's the climate".

Sister city

See also


External links

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