The endless rolling steppe of Eastern Oregon is dotted with high mountain ranges, and in one of these mountain ranges, around the triple divide that separates the John Day, the Snake River, and the Grand Ronde, at an elevation of 6300 feet, lies the city of Greenhorn.

It is a truism that America and Great Britain are "separated by a common language", and one of the words that separates them is "city". In Great Britain, a "city" is a very large town. In the United States, "city" has a legal definition, of an incorporated area, and the exact population, whether 2,000 or 2,000,000 is irrelevant from a legal standpoint. Greenhorn might be taking this a step too far, because it currently has a population of 2. This is exactly something of a boom for Greenhorn, since from 1970 to 2000, it had a population of zero.

Some of this is easy to understand. Like many areas across the American West, Greenhorn was settled around the turn of the 20th century as a mining community. Once the articles of incorporation were drawn up, its later sharp decline in population did not automatically undo that status.

Although I am a little perplexed at certain facts about the town's situation. Foremost of which is the existence of a mayor, who apparently neither lives in the city full time, residing around three hundred miles away, and who was first elected mayor when the town supposedly had no residents. These facts are attested to by an official publication of the State of Oregon, The Oregon Bluebook.

While I could, perhaps, investigate the matter further and explain the incongruence of a city with no population having a mayor, I will instead leave this conundrum of rural government and demographics as an exercise for the reader.

http://bluebook.state.or.us/local/cities/ek/greenhorn.htm
http://blog.oregonlive.com/breakingnews/2008/06/oregons_smallest_city_a_mile_h.html

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