Malheur County was created February 17, 1887, from the southern portion of Baker County. It was first settled by miners and stockmen in the early 1860s. The discovery of gold in 1863 attracted development, including settlements and ranches. Basques from Spain settled in the region in the 1890s and were mainly engaged in sheep raising.
The county has a total area of 9,930 square miles, 9,887 square miles of it is land and 43 square miles of it is water.
Harney County - (west)
Grant County - (northwest)
Baker County - (north)
Washington County, Idaho - (northeast)
Payette County, Idaho - (east)
Canyon County, Idaho - (east)
Owyhee County, Idaho - (east)
Humboldt County, Nevada - (south)
National protected areas
Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge (part)
Malheur National Forest (part)
Whitman National Forest (part)
See also: Bully Creek Reservoir
Highways traversing the county include I-84, US 20, US 26, US 30, US 95, OR 78.
The county is 94% rangeland, with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) controlling 72% of the land. Irrigated fields in the county's northeast corner, known as Western Treasure Valley, are the center of intensive and diversified farming. Malheur County's economy also depends on tourism.
Because of its economic relationship with Idaho, most of Malheur county is in the Mountain time zone, making it the only county in Oregon that does not completely follow Pacific Time. The largely unpopulated southern quarter of the county, near McDermitt, observes Pacific Time.
The county's two largest employers are the Snake River Correctional Institution and Ore-Ida, a potato processor owned by H.J. Heinz.
Malheur County is the poorest county in Oregon. As of 2008, 21% of its residents live in poverty.
Like all counties in eastern Oregon, the majority of registered voters who are part of a political party are Republicans. In the 2008 election, 69.10% of Malheur County voters voted for Republican John McCain, while 28.47% voted for Democrat Barack Obama, and 2.42% of voters supported a third party candidate.
These numbers show a small shift towards the Democratic candidate when compared to the 2004 election in which 74.9% of Malheur Country voters voted for George Bush and 23.8% voted for John Kerry, and 1.3% of voters either voted for a Third Party candidate or wrote in a candidate. Oregon's 2nd congressional district for over 27 years has been represented by Republicans, Greg Walden being the current representative.
Danner (a ghost town)