Nyssa is located in Malheur County, along the banks of the Snake River on Oregon's eastern border with Idaho, 13 miles south of Ontario along US Highway 20.
In the early 1800s, small bands of fur trader's trapped along the Snake River including the area that is now known as Nyssa. The early trappers saw how the local Indians used the abundant food resources, fished, hunted wild game, and gathered plants. Early emigrant wagon trains traversed the Snake River at Fort Boise, a few miles south of present day Nyssa, and headed northwest through Keeney Pass and the hot springs on the Malheur River. The town of Nyssa was incorporated in 1903. Some believe the town's name is an acronym for New York Sheep Shearing Association, or N.Y.S.S.A., since large flocks of sheep were raised here.
Today, because of the introduction to irrigation, Nyssa's main economic supporter is agriculture. The Owyhee Dam, built in 1932, contributes largely to the irrigation process in the region.