(Detailed view of both sides) (Full size)
State nickname: Beaver State

Other U.S. States
Capital Salem
Largest City Portland
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water
 - % water
Ranked 9th
255,026 kmē
248,849 kmē
6,177 kmē
 - Total (2000)
 - Density
Ranked 28th
Admittance into Union
 - Order
 - Date

February 14, 1859
Time zone Pacific: UTC-8/-7
Mountain: UTC-7/-6
All but majority of Malheur County in Pacific
42°N to 46°15'N
116°45'W to 124°30'W
420 km
580 km
3,426 meters
1,005 meters
0 meters
ISO 3166-2:US-OR

[T]his state of scenic grandeur and easygoing individualism is writing the preface to what may be the future for all Americans: simple living, conservation, and limited growth. -- A 1977 article in U.S. News and World Report on Oregon.
Oregon is a state located in the western United States bordering the Pacific Ocean, California, Washington, Idaho, and Nevada. Its northern border lies along the Columbia River and the east along the Snake River. Two north-south mountain ranges - the Coastal Range and the Cascade Mountain Range - form the two boundaries of the Willamette Valley, one of the most fertile and agriculturally productive regions in the world. Oregon is known for its rain, but only the western half of the state is notably rainy; east of the Cascades the climate is much more arid.

Oregonians are proud of their state's wealth of beautiful forests and streams, and place great importance on proper use of their environment, yet struggle to balance this need with the desire to achieve progress. The state has pioneered many of the nation's environmental firsts, such as one of the first bottle bills, but has also suffered under the rapid pace of logging its forests.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Law and Government
3 Geography
4 Economy
5 Demographics
6 Important Cities and Towns
7 Education
8 Professional Sports Teams
9 Miscellaneous Information
10 External links


Oregon was originally home to a number of Native American tribes, including the Bannock, Chinook, Klamath, and Nez Perce. James Cook explored the coast in 1778 in search of the Northwest Passage. The Lewis and Clark Expedition travelled through the region during their expedition to explore the Louisiana Purchase, at the direction of Thomas Jefferson. They built their winter fort at Fort Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia River. Exploration by Lewis and Clark (1805-1806) and Britain's David Thompson (1811) publicized the abundance of fur in the area. In 1811, New York financier John Jacob Astor established Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River with the intention of starting a chain of Pacific Fur Company trading posts along the river. Fort Astoria was the first permanent white settlement in Oregon. In the War of 1812 the British gained control of all of the Pacific Fur Company posts.

By the 1820s and 1830s the British Hudson's Bay Company dominated the Pacific Northwest. John McLoughlin, who was appointed the Company's Chief Factor of the Columbia District, built Fort Vancouver in 1825.

The Oregon Trail infused the region with new settlers, starting in 1842-43, as the United States sought to wrest control of the area from the United Kingdom. A popular slogan among the Democrats who wanted the Pacific territory as far north as latitude 54°40′ was "fifty-four forty or fight." This controversy was resolved in 1846 after a period of saber rattling where it seemed that the United States and the United Kingdom would go to war a third time in 75 years. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the boundary between the United States and British North America was set at the 49th parallel.

In the 1880s, railroads enabled marketing of the state's lumber and wheat, and the more rapid growth of its cities.

Industrial expansion began in earnest following the construction of the Bonneville Dam in 1943 on the Columbia River. The power, food, and lumber provided by Oregon have helped fuel the development of the west, and the periodic fluctuations in the nation's building industry has severely impacted the state's economy on multiple occasions.

The state has a long history of polarizing conflicts: Native Americans vs. British fur trappers, British vs. settlers from the U.S., ranchers vs. farmers, wealthy growing cities vs. established but poor rural areas, loggers vs. environmentalists, white supremacists vs. anti-racists, and native Oregonians vs. Californians (or outsiders in general). State ballots frequently illustrate the extremes of the political spectrum - anti-gay, pro-religious measures on the same ballot as liberal drug decriminalization measures.

Law and Government

Oregon's governor serves a four-year term. The legislature consists of a thirty member Senate and sixty member House. Senators serve four year terms, and Representatives two. At the federal level, Oregon is represented by two senators and five representatives, which translates into seven electoral votes.

Oregon has been a pioneer in the use of vote-by-mail:

  • 1981 The Oregon Legislature approves experimentation with vote-by-mail for local elections.
  • 1987 Vote-by-mail becomes permanent, with the majority of Oregon's counties making use of it.
  • 1995 Oregon becomes the first state to conduct a federal primary election totally by mail.
  • 1996 Ron Wyden, Bob Packwood's replacement, is elected by mail with a 66% turnout.
  • 1998 Through a voter initiative, Oregonians confirm their overwhelming support for vote-by-mail.
  • 2000 Oregon becomes the first state in the nation to conduct a presidential election entirely by mail. About 80% of registered voters participated.

See also: Oregon Constitution, List of Oregon ballot measures, List of Oregon governors.


See: List of Oregon counties

Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in the state.

Highest point: Mount Hood, 11,239 ft (3,428 m)
Lowest point: Sea level (the Pacific Ocean).


The Willamette Valley is very fertile, and coupled with Oregon's famous rains, gives the state a wealth of agricultural products. Appless and other fruits, cattle, dairy products, potatoes, and peppermint are all valuable products. Oregon is also one of four major world hazelnut growing regions.

Her forests have historically made Oregon one of the nation's major lumbering states, but forest fires (such as the Tillamook Burn, over-harvesting, and law suits over the proper management of the extensive federal forest holdings have reduced the amount of timber produced since the later 1980s. Even the shift in recent years towards finished goods such as paper and building materials have not slowed the decline of the timber industry. Examples include the Weyerhaeuser's acquisition of Willamette Industries in January, 2002, the announcement by Louisiana Pacific in September, 2003 that they will relocate their corporate headquarters from Portland to Nashville, and the experiences of small lumber towns like Gilchrist.

High technology industries and services have been a major employer since the 1970s. Tektronix was the largest private employer in Oregon until the late 1980s. Intel's creation and expansion of several plants in eastern Washington County continued the growth that Tektronix had started. The spinoffs and startups that were produced by these two companies led to the establishment of the Portland metropolitan area as the Silicon Forest. The recession and dotcom bust of 2001 in the Silicon Valley has led to similar results in the Silicon Forest; many high technology employers have either reduced the number of their employees or gone out of business.

Oregon had one of the largest salmon-fishing industries in the world, although ocean fisheries have reduced the river fisheries in recent years. Tourism is also strong in the state; Oregon's evergreen mountain forests, waterfalls, pristine lakes (including Crater Lake National Park), and scenic beaches draw visitors year round.


As of the 2000 census, the population of Oregon is 3,421,399. Its population grew 20.4% (579,062) from its 1990 levels. According to the 2000 census,

86.6% (2,961,623)  identified themselves as White,
8% (275,314)  as Hispanic or Latino,
1.6% (55,662)  as black,
3% (101,350)  as Asian,
1.3% (45,211)  as American Indian or Alaska Native,
0.2% (7,976)  as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander,
4.2% (144,832)  as other, and
3.1% (104,745)  identified themselves as belonging to two or more races.

6.5% of its population were reported as under 5, 24.7% under 18, and 12.8% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 50.4% of the population.

Important Cities and Towns

See: List of Oregon cities

The capital is Salem and the largest city is Portland.

Oregon City was the first incorporated city west of the Mississippi River and later, the first capital of the Oregon Territory, from 1848 to 1852, when the territory capitol was moved to Salem, Oregon. It was also the end of the Oregon Trail and the site of the first public library established west of the Rocky Mountains, stocked with only 300 volumes.


Colleges and Universities

Professional Sports Teams

Portland is in competition to be the home of the Montreal Expos or another major league baseball team.

Miscellaneous Information

Population: (2000) 3,421,399, a 20.4% increase over 1990
State Animal: Beaver
State Bird: Western meadowlark
State Fish: Chinook Salmon
State Flower: Oregon grape
State Insect: Oregon Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio oregonius)
State Motto: She Flies With Her Own Wings
State Rock: Thunderegg
State Song: Oregon, My Oregon
State Tree: Douglas fir

Abbreviation: Oreg. Ore. OR

See also: Flag of Oregon, List of radio stations in Oregon

External links

Oregon is also the name of some places in the United States of America:

and of several warships named in honor of the state.