Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
The Dalles (dălz), city (1990 pop. 11,060), seat of Wasco co., N Oreg., on the Columbia River; inc. 1857. It is a busy inland port; ships passing through the locks at Bonneville Dam (c.50 mi/80 km downstream) can tie up at The Dalles and proceed upstream through the locks of The Dalles Dam. A processing and shipping point in an area producing cherries, apples, wheat, oats, barley, hogs, and cattle, the city has cherry canning and manufactures lumber, millwork, and plastic and aluminum products. It also commands the sole entry to the Columbia River Gorge, the only low-level pass route through the Cascade–Sierra Nevada ranges. between southern California and Canada. The site became the terminus of the Oregon Trail. A settlement grew up c.1852 around a fort (now a museum) there. A gorge and rapids once rendered the river unnavigable at The Dalles, but they were bypassed by a canal with several locks (built 1908–15). In 1957 the gorge, rapids, and canal were inundated by the reservoir formed by The Dalles Dam, c.3 mi (5 km) above the city.