A century ago, an influx of international immigrants and U.S. citizens from back east provided the labor that planted the orchards. They built the first shops downtown, and staffed the hotels that sprung up along the railroad line.
In the 1980s and 1990s the rapid growth of wind sports, specifically windsurfing and now kiteboarding, stoked the flickering tourism flames. After 1986, Hood River found itself in the heart of the country’s first National Scenic Area. The beauty and the recreational opportunities in the windswept gorge brought Hood River County into its present spot as a top tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest.
The wind also gave birth to a slew of companies making surfing components like carbon fiber masts. Though these designers and manufactures knew they were shaping the image of things to come in windsurfing, they never could have known that their creations would someday soon evolve and mutate into the birth of the Unmanned Ariel Vehicle—yes, the drone—and its myriad iterations.
Aviation giants like Boeing came calling for the lightweight, wind and weather resistant materials, and Hood River’s manufacturers were ready to supply UAV industry needs throughout the world. That’s how the wind gave birth to the area’s most rapidly growing industry, and how Hood River has arrived on the national scene as a technological hotspot just an hour outside of Portland.
Each of Hood River’s varied industries brings a cultural vitality and economic impact that is difficult to measure but easy to see. The county is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Northwest, and this influx of people fuels the robust hospitality, service, and tourism industries. The agricultural industry provides strong economic stability, and the technology and manufacturing industries help keep Hood River on the forefront of the modern tech economy while attracting impactful, skilled employees from around the world.
The Hood River Chamber of Commerce is the glue that bonds all the county’s businesses together. The organization is dedicated to ensuring the livability and economic prosperity of Hood River County. Over 400 businesses throughout the county are connected to the Hood River Chamber’s influential network by their membership and participation in the Chamber. Being a part of the success Hood River County business community means being a member of the Chamber of Commerce.