Things I Learned about Lakeview

June 17, 2008

Lakeview, Ore., named for its vantage over “formerly larger” Goose Lake (now shorelined some 15 miles from the town), is the county seat of the eponymous Lake County in south central Oregon.

With about 2700 folks, it’s a veritable bustling metropolis, when considered against the vastness of Lake County–fully a third of the county’s population lives within town limits. Heck, Wikipedia even goes so far as to claim Lake County has a population density of zero people per square mile, which, though romantic and apparently apropos when dashing around the emptier parts of the hinterlands, isn’t exactly accurate (it’s more like .88 person per square mile).

New Jersey, which is roughly the same size, packs 8.4 million people. So there you go. And I haven’t even started on Harney County.

Here’s what I can tell you about Lakeview after my first visit there, ever.

  1. Lakeview claims to be the “Tallest Town in Oregon” which turns out to obscure its slightly more complex technical claim, which is that it has the highest elevation of any incorporated town in Oregon with year-round residents. Phew. Coincidentally there was an article in The Oregonian today about Greenhorn, a town in northeastern Oregon that clocks in at 6300 feet (compare Lakeview’s measly 4800-ish). Not my war to fight.
  2. Literature about Lakeview boasts very friendly people. But really, what town doesn’t have a chamber of commerce that boasts of its friendly people? Yet Lakeview was alive with old-timers in Stetsons and happy-eyed teenager and every single one of them was astoundingly courteous. With cheer. There must be something in the water.
  3. Lakeview has Oregon’s only “active geyser.” In 1923, a fella called Hunter was starting work on a therapeutic hot springs resort a few miles north of the town. Guess what happens if you drill through rock that overlays a fairly sizable hot spring? Such a hole might just provide the only escape the pressurized hot water has. Zoinks! And thus Lakeview ended up with a “geyser.” Information about Old Perpetual (no, I am serious) claims it erupts every few minutes, but in our experience, it was more like every thirty seconds.
  4. Lakeview has a welcoming, tidy and comforting downtown. Despite the fact that pretty much the entire business district burned down in 1900, there is still a quiet, historical feel to things. Recommended.

Watch the video:

Lakeview, Ore.

Lakeview, Ore.

"Old Perpetual"

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