city, seat (1903) of Roosevelt county, eastern New Mexico, U.S., near the Texas state line. It was founded by Josh Morrison in 1898 and named for nearby Portales Springs, a watering place on the Fort Sumner Trail and so called because the waters flow from a series of cave openings that resemble the "porches" (Spanish: portales) of adobe houses. Irrigated farming, food processing, and ranching are the economic mainstays. Portales is the site of Eastern New Mexico University, founded in 1927. Oasis State Park is 7 miles (11 km) northwest. The nearby Blackwater Draw Museum exhibits 12,000-year-old artifacts from adjacent archaeological sites. Inc. 1930. Pop. (1990) 10,690; (2000) 11,131.
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