Cascade Locks is a city in Hood River County, Oregon, United States. The city took its name from a set of locks built to improve navigation past the Cascades Rapids of the Columbia River. The U.S. federal government approved the plan for the locks in 1875, construction began in 1878, and the locks were completed on November 5, 1896. The locks were subsequently submerged in 1938, replaced by Bonneville Lock and Dam, although the city lost no land from the expansion of Lake Bonneville behind the dam some 4 miles (6 km) downstream of the city. The city population was 1,144 at the 2010 census.
Cascade Locks is just upstream from the Bridge of the Gods, a toll bridge that spans the Columbia River. It is the only bridge across the Columbia between Portland and Hood River. Cascade Locks is a few miles upstream of Eagle Creek Gorge, a popular scenic area that doubles as an alternate route for the Pacific Crest Trail. Cascade Locks is used frequently by hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to cross the Columbia River. Cascade Locks is the lowest point along the trail, which runs from the Mexico–US border in California to the Canada–US border in Washington, and the largest city directly on the trail.
Since 1999, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have been pursuing an off-reservation casino to be sited in Cascade Locks. Since 2008, city officials have been pursuing an arrangement that would allow them to trade city well water for state-owned spring water and to sell it to Nestlé for bottling. In May 2016, Hood River County voters voted over 65% in favor of a ballot measure that essentially made Nestlé's plan inoperable from an economic sense. Voters in all precincts except Cascade Locks (Precinct 12) voted in favour of the measure (and against Nestlé); voters within Cascade Locks voted 58% against the measure (and in support of Nestlé's plans). In the wake of the election, Cascade Locks city leaders intend to follow the voters' desires and seek a new deal with Nestlé. Both Hood River County and Cascade Locks are governed by charter documents.
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