East is east, and west is west ... but where is Lakeview?

Something has been bugging me for a couple of decades. Everybody I know in this area refers to Lakeview as being in Eastern Oregon. Could you tell me why that is? It is definitely not in Eastern Oregon. It drives me crazy.

— Dan S., Medford

Most folks here do refer to Lakeview as being in Eastern Oregon. Never mind the mile-high town is smack dab in the center of the state.

We could hazard a couple of guesses, one being that a lot of folks figure anything east of the Cascade Range is Eastern Oregon, because the lion's share of the population is found along the Interstate 5 corridor.

But those living in places such as Burns Junction, Vale, Baker City and Joseph know where the real Eastern Oregon lies.

To help you avoid going bonkers, we decided to check in with veteran cartographer Stuart Allan of Medford, who truly knows Oregon like the back of his hand. He is a longtime member of the Oregon Geographic Names Board.

Given the layout of the state, it's understandable that many move the center of the state a bit to the west, he observes.

"They have big counties over there," he says. "It's implausible to me that Central Oregon is only one county wide. So I've always thought of Lakeview as being in Eastern Oregon."

On the map, Lakeview is dead center on an east-to-west trajectory, he says. But he is quick to observe human reference points go beyond the mere geographic.

"In Central Oregon, you have The Dalles, Madras, Redmond, Bend and Klamath Falls," he says. "But you only have these tiny places east of that."

Yet Allan, who notes he has been to the real Eastern Oregon a zillion times, finds the region attractive.

"It's a fantastic area, especially when you get tired of the gray over here," he says.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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