Lassen County, California
|Named for||Peter Lassen|
|• Chair||Gary Bridges|
|• Vice Chair||Aaron Albaugh|
|• Board of Supervisors|
|• Total||4,720 sq mi (12,200 km2)|
|• Land||4,541 sq mi (11,760 km2)|
|• Water||179 sq mi (460 km2)|
|Highest elevation||8,741 ft (2,664 m)|
|• Density||6.9/sq mi (2.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-7 (Pacific Daylight Time)|
Lassen County ( // ( listen )) is a county in the northeastern portion of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2020 census, the population was 32,730. The county seat and only incorporated city is Susanville. Lassen County comprises the Susanville, California, micropolitan statistical area. A former farming, mining and lumber area, its economy now depends on employment at one federal and two state prisons; the former in Herlong and the latter two in Susanville. In 2007, half the adults in Susanville worked in one of the facilities.
Lassen County was formed on April 1, 1864, from parts of Plumas and Shasta counties following the two-day conflict known as the Sagebrush War, also called the Roop County War,that started on February 15, 1863. Due to uncertainties over the California border, the area that is now Lassen County was part of the unofficial Nataqua Territory and Roop County, Nevada, during the late 1850s and early 1860s.
The county was named by California after Peter Lassen,along with Lassen Peak, which is in adjoining Shasta County. Lassen was one of General John C. Fremont's guides, and a famous trapper, frontiersman, and Indian fighter. He was murdered under mysterious circumstances near the Black Rock Desert in 1859, and his murder was never solved.
By the 1880s small towns began to spring up all over Lassen County. Bieber developed at the north end of the county, in rich farm land. Gold was discovered at Hayden Hill, and the small town developed to support the miners. Hayden Hill no longer exists: when the mining stopped, the townspeople left for other communities. Madeline was formed at the north end of another rich farming valley, and along the railroad tracks heading north to Alturas, California. This community still has about 50 people living in and around the town. In the 1890s many immigrant family groups arrived in the county, primarily coming from Lincolnshire and Herefordshire, England as well as the towns of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš and Kragujevac in Serbia.Several "Yankee" settlers arrived from Waldo County, Maine and Lincoln County, Maine as well.
During World War I, the area was heavily in favor of American entry into the war, and a disproportionate amount of volunteers from Lassen County signed up to take part in the war effort. A pro-German newspaper editor from San Francisco noted that "the inhabitants of Lassen County" were "sympathetic to Britain, hostile to Germany, and indifferent to France."
A narrow gauge railroad, the Nevada-California-Oregon Railway, ran through Lassen County from 1880 to 1927. The NCOR was the longest small gauge of the century. It was intended to connect Reno, Nevada, to the Columbia River, but only 238 miles (383 km) of track were laid, from Reno to Lakeview, Oregon.
In 1913, the Fernley & Lassen Railroad was built and it was used to export timber from the large forests of Lassen County. As this railroad was completed, the Red River Lumber Company set up shop,building the town of Westwood, California, to support its massive logging operation. Two other lumber mills followed the Red River Lumber Co. They built their mills in the county seat of Susanville. The Lassen Lumber and Box Company and the Fruit Growers Company both operated mills in Susanville for several decades.
In 2003, Anderson-based Sierra Pacific Industries announced plans to relocate or lay off 150 workers as they closed the last lumber mill in Susanville due to the lack of large timber for the mill.Sierra Pacific chose to close the mill permanently rather than spend the several million dollars required to convert the mill from large to small timber.
Since the late 20th century, three prisons have been opened in and near Susanville: California Correctional Center (minimum security, 1963) and High Desert State Prison (California) (maximum security, 1995), both in the city; and the nearby Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong (opened 2007). In 2007, half the adults in Susanville worked in one of the three prisons.In "job-starved rural America, ... residents see them [prisons] as the last and only chance for employment after work at the lumber mill or the dairy dries up."
Lassen County is served by Lassen Community College, Lassen High School District, Mt. Lassen Charter School, Thompson Peak Charter School, Diamond Mountain Charter High, Diamond Mountain Middle School, Herlong High School, Long Valley Charter School, Fort Sage Charter School, and Westwood Junior Senior High School.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,720 square miles (12,200 km2), of which 4,541 square miles (11,760 km2) is land and 179 square miles (460 km2) (3.8%) is water. Part of Lassen Volcanic National Park extends onto a western corner of the county.
|Population, race, and income|
|Black or African American||3,048||8.7%|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||1,300||3.7%|
|Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander||162||0.5%|
|Some other race||4,467||12.8%|
|Two or more races||1,045||3.0%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||6,075||17.4%|
|Per capita income||$19,339|
|Median household income||$52,484|
|Median family income||$65,396|
|Places by population and race|
|Place||Type||Population||White||Other ||Asian||Black or African|
|Native American ||Hispanic or Latino|
(of any race)
|Places by population and income|
|Place||Type||Population||Per capita income||Median household income||Median family income|
|U.S. Decennial Census |
The 2010 United States Census reported that Lassen County had a population of 34,895. The racial makeup of Lassen County was 25,532 (73.2%) White, 2,834 (8.1%) African American, 1,234 (3.5%) Native American, 356 (1.0%) Asian, 165 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 3,562 (10.2%) from other races, and 1,212 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6,117 persons (17.5%).
|Population reported at 2010 United States Census|
|All others not CDPs (combined)||10,120||8,366||461||353||113||36||443||348||1,186|
As of the census mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.8% White, 8.8% Black or African American, 3.3% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 13.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.8% were of German, 12.1% Irish, 10.5% English, 8.7% American and 5.0% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 88.2% spoke English and 10.3% Spanish as their first language.of 2000, there were 33,828 people, 9,625 households, and 6,776 families residing in the county. The population density was 7 people per square mile (3/km2). There were 12,000 housing units at an average density of 3 per square
There were 9,625 households, out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.6% were non-families. Of all households, 24.5% were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.8% under the age of 18, 10.8% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 168.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 192.2 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $36,310, and the median income for a family was $43,398. Males had a median income of $37,333 versus $26,561 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,749. About 11.1% of families and 14.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
|Population and registered voters|
|Peace and Freedom||37||0.3%|
|No party preference||2,875||20.6%|
|Cities by population and voter registration|
|City||Population||Registered voters ||Democratic||Republican||D–R spread||Other||No party preference|
From 1932 through 1976, Lassen was powerfully Democratic, voting for the Democratic presidential nominee in every election save 1972, when it voted for Nixon over McGovern by just 6.8%. From 1980 on, however, it has been overwhelmingly Republican in presidential and congressional elections; Jimmy Carter (in 1976) remains the last Democrat to have carried the county. In both 2016 and 2020, Lassen stood as Donald Trump's best county in the state, giving him a 50% or greater margin over overwhelming statewide winners Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Lassen County is in California's 1st congressional district , represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa. is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle, and the 1st Assembly District , represented by Republican Megan Dahle.
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
|Population and crime rates|
|Motor vehicle theft||25||0.71|
|Cities by population and crime rates|
|City||Population||Violent crimes||Violent crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
|Property crimes||Property crime rate|
per 1,000 persons
Susanville Municipal Airport, Herlong Airport and Westwood Airport are general aviation airports in the county.
Lassen Rural Bus (LRB), operated by the Lassen Transit Service Agency, runs a local service in Susanville, and longer distance routes to Westwood and Doyle.
The Lassen Municipal Utility District (LMUD) is the primary electric utility in the county, and was created in 1986 by purchasing transmission facilities from CP National (now Pacificorp) at a cost of $19 million.In 2019 it had 42 employees, and the General Manager was Doug C. Smith. It is powered in part by the Honey Lake biomass power plant, which runs on wood waste from the nearby Lassen National Forest. The Whaleback Fire caused a significant outage in 2018.
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2020 census of Lassen County.
|Rank||City/Town/etc.||Municipal type||Population (2020 Census)|
|6||Susanville Indian Rancheria||AIAN||570|
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Susanville is a town in and the county seat of Lassen County, California, United States. Susanville is located on the Susan River in the southern part of the county, at an elevation of 4,186 feet (1,276 m). Its population is 16,728 as of the 2020 census, down from 17,947 from the 2010 census.
Westwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lassen County, California, United States. Westwood is located 20 miles (32 km) west-southwest of Susanville, at an elevation of 5,128 feet. Its population is 1,541 as of the 2020 census, down from 1,647 from the 2010 census..
Doyle is a rural small town in Lassen County, California. It is located 40 miles (64 km) southeast of Susanville, at an elevation of 4275 feet. It is located 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Reno, Nevada. The ZIP Code is 96109. The community is inside area code 530. It is located within a census-designated place named after the town, while the population of the town itself was not given. Its population is 536 as of the 2020 census, down from 678 from the 2010 census.
Herlong is a census-designated place in Lassen County, California. Herlong is located at the extreme eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in the southeastern region of Honey Lake Valley, 8 miles (13 km) north of Doyle, at an elevation of 4,114 feet (1,254 m). Its population is 237 as of the 2020 census, down from 298 from the 2010 census. Herlong is located in southern Lassen County near the southeast edge of Honey Lake, about 70 miles (110 km) north of Reno, Nevada, and about 45 miles (72 km) south of Susanville, the county seat. The community is accessible to U.S. Route 395 via Lassen County Route A25 or Lassen County Route A26.
Lassen National Forest is a United States national forest of 1,700 square miles (4,300 km2) in northeastern California. It is named after pioneer Peter Lassen, who mined, ranched and promoted the area to emigrant parties in the 1850s.
Janesville is a census-designated place in Lassen County, California. It is located 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Susanville, at an elevation of 4239 feet. Janesville is located on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. Its population is 2,461 as of the 2020 census, up from 1,408 from the 2010 census.
The Federal Correctional Institution, Herlong is a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates in California, opened in 2007. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice. The facility also includes a satellite prison camp that houses minimum-security male offenders.
California Correctional Center (CCC) is a state prison in the city of Susanville in Northern California. It is a minimum-security facility.
High Desert State Prison (HDSP) is a high-security state prison that houses level IV inmates located in Leavitt, Lassen County, California. Opened in 1995, it has a capacity of 2,324 persons.
There are 28 routes assigned to the "A" zone of the California Route Marker Program, which designates county routes in California. The "A" zone includes county highways in Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Tehama counties.
The Susanville Indian Rancheria is a federally recognized ranchería of Native Americans in northeastern California whose people are from the Washoe, Achomawi, Mountain Maidu, Northern Paiute, and Atsugewi tribes.