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    Welcome to Googleville, Washington

    Written by

    Michael Byrne


    About 80 miles east of the Portland, Oregon the climate shifts abruptly from the rain forests of the Cascades to the steppe desert occupying much of the state’s right half. It’s about as an abrupt a change you one can expect in nature. Right at this boundary, where the Columbia River Gorge opens up into the plains, is Googleville. There’s not much around Googleville—some scattered houses, orchards, and, otherwise, brown knee-high grass in every direction. Heading out that way on an unrelated errand, I stopped because …  journalism.

    Googleville on Google Street View

    It was a quick stop. Googleville is the sign above in front of a tiny house with a junk cluttered porch and a non-residential parking lot. The only person around, a tween playing a video game on the porch, explained that his dad sold “tools and juice” on the weekends there. The name? No explanation, but there's a Google data center in the nearby town of the Dalles, Oregon, which has been dubbed "Googleville" by locals, according to a 2008 story in Portland's alt-weekly Willamette Week. This, however, appeared to be a junk store, which I guess is the same general idea.