The Dalles - Seat of Wasco County
The Dalles is the seat of Wasco County, just west of the East-West centre of Oregon along the Columbia River. Its name is French for "the rapids" because the largely French-speaking explorers and trappers of the Hudson's Bay Company who explored this region named it for rapids that were once here. However, the dam built at The Dalles has inundated the rapids so that they are no longer visible.
An old town and local transit hub, it has a fairly large downtown.
The area is also interesting for experiencing the rapid, sudden change in climate between eastern and western Oregon. Only about a 1.5 hour drive east of Portland, and 1 hour east of the lush, wet forests of the Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles is hot and dry, in scrubby, barren semi-desert.