White Salmon, Washington

  Global Challenge Project

The Community of White Salmon, Washington
The town of White Salmon (population 2,000) sits on a bluff above the Columbia River, approximately 60 miles east of the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington metropolitan area. The White Salmon Valley School District draws its students from the neighboring towns of White Salmon and Bingen, as well as the outlying areas of Husum, Snowden, and Underwood.

The economy in the White Salmon area traditionally has been tied to agriculture and the timber industry. A decline in the timber industry has led to mill closures, job retraining, and a rise in unemployment, though the largest single employer in the area remains a lumber company. Lately, a slight rise in tourist-related service industries and light manufacturing has occurred, most of which is related to the popularity of windsurfing in the area. In Klickitat County as a whole, per capita income is only 78% of the Washington state average, and the number of food stamp recipients in the county is two times the state average.


Directly south of White Salmon, across the Columbia, lies Hood River, Oregon, famous for board sailing due to the powerful and ever-present winds. Nearby Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams provide a beautiful backdrop and recreation for the skiers, hiker, and rock climbers.

White Salmon's proximity to Hood River, The Dalles (20 miles to the east), and the Portland/Vancouver area allows residents to enjoy the benefits of a rural community without sacrificing the cultural amenities available in a larger city.