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Payette was originally named "Boomerang" when it was settled in 1882. It served as a construction camp for the Oregon Short Line Railroad until 1884. During that time, logs were floated down the Payette River to saw mills in the settlement to produce railroad ties. After the railroad was complete, the camp moved upstream to the present-day site of Payette and was incorporated in 1891. It was named in honor of Francois Payette, a French-Canadian fur trapper.
Payette maintains a variety of attractions including: