Nestled in the mountains along the northern Oregon state line, the city of Hood River is home to a population of 6,710. With a very diverse community made up of almost an even split between males and females, the median household income comes in at just around $31,580. Private companies make up about 76 percent of the workforce, while a remaining 15 percent are government employees, in addition to the last 9 percent being self-employed. While many may think of Hood River as just a popular tourist destination, this small city has a lot more to offer. One of the most talented group of custom painters groups are nestled in the outskirts of Hood River. Custom car painters, home painters and others come to check out their work.
Hood River first found its economic footing over a century ago when a group of immigrants and pioneers came to the area and began to plant orchards filled with fruit trees. To this day, Hood River’s 15,000+ acres of orchards are still responsible for producing over 45 percent of the United States’ winter pear crop. Soon after, Hood River also became famous for its rapid growth of wind sports including windsurfing and kiteboarding. Hood River found itself in the middle of the nation’s first National Scenic Area, and was quickly impacted by the popularity of the vast array of recreational outdoor activities that fell hand-in-hand.
The sweeping winds of the region not only helped Hood River earn the nickname, “Windsurfing Capital of the World,” but it also sparked the growth of another major industry in the region: aviation. Hood River saw the early developments of technology that would eventually lead to the invention of the unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone. Companies like Boeing brought innovation and continued to help place Hood River on the map as a new technological hotspot conveniently located just an hour outside of Portland.
Today, there are over 400 thriving businesses that make up the Hood River Chamber of Commerce. The Port of Hood River, which was established in 1933, also plays a major role in the economic development of the region. The Port controls four major assets including the Hood River Interstate Bridge, the Ken Jernstedt Airfield, the Hood River Marina and Port Marina Park, and a large piece of real estate at the Waterfront Business Park. Some of Hood River’s largest private employers also include Full Sail Brewing, DaKine, Tofurkey, and the Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. Education serves as another large source of employment for the area, with Hood River’s five elementary schools, two middle schools, one high school, one K-8 school, one private Christian school, and finally, Columbia Gorge Community College, focusing on higher education.
Whether you’re looking to move to the area to join Hood River’s robust hospitality or recreational outdoors industries, or you want to play a part in the development of the latest technology or the Port’s growing strategic plan, Hood River is a small city that provides big opportunities. From the orchards, mountains and rivers, to the local shops, restaurants, breweries and art studios, you can find your career, and more importantly, your passion in Hood River–not only a great place to work, but also a great place to live.