Portland is one of four cities in the United States with an extinct volcano within its boundaries. Bend is the other city in Oregon with a volcano within its city limits (Pilot Butte). The two additional cities are Jackson Volcano in Jackson, Mississippi, and Diamond Head in Honolulu.
Oregon is one of the most geographically diverse states in America. It has abundant bodies of water, dense evergreen and mixed forests, high deserts, and semi-arid shrub-lands.
There are nine lighthouses along the Oregon coastline. America's most photographed lighthouse is the Heceta Head Lighthouse.
Hells Canyon in eastern Oregon is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America. It is 7993 feet deep, and stretches through Oregon and Idaho. It is popular for spectacular views and whitewater rafting along the Snake River. There are no roads across its ten-mile wide expanse.
The Malheur Wildlife Refuge is home to the largest freshwater marsh in America. The refuge was created in 1908 by order of President Theodore Roosevelt to protect habitat for diverse waterfowl and migratory birds, and grew to encompass 187,757 acres (760 km2; 293 square miles) of public lands. It is a popular site for birding, fishing, hunting, and hiking. Archaeological demonstrates that it likely was home to Native Americans for approximately the past 16,000 to 15,000 years.
Volcanoes: At 11,249 feet, Mount Hood, a potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, is Oregon's highest point. It is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east-southeast of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. The peak is home to 12 named glaciers and snowfields. Mount Hood is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt. However, based on its history, an explosive eruption is unlikely and the mountain is informally considered dormant.
Oregon has three national park sites: The Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks on the north coast, Crater Lake National Park in the southern part of the Cascades, and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument east of the Cascades.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through northern Oregon in search of the Northwest Passage. They built their winter fort in 1805-1806 at Fort Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia River, staying at the encampment from December until March.
Oregon was home to the world's largest log cabin, built in 1905 in honor of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It was a half-acre in size. It burned down in an epic fire in 1964.
Crater Lake National Park is the deepest lake in the United States and one of the ten deepest lakes in the world. Formed by the collapse of a volcano approximately 7700 years ago, the lake is roughly 2000 feet deep, and is home to two islands: Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. Crater Lake pooled into the remains of a volcano. The crystal-blue waters of Crater Lake are known worldwide.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world. Only in Pakistan is there a fossil bed that rivals it. The park is known for its well-preserved layers of fossil plants and mammals that lived in the region between the late Eocene, about 45 million years ago, and the late Miocene, about five million years ago. Sahaptin people hunted, fished, and gathered roots and berries in the region before the arrival of Euro-Americans in the 19th century. Paleontologists have unearthed and studied fossils in the region since 1864, when Thomas Condon, a missionary and amateur geologist, recognized their importance and made them known globally.
Giant Mushroom: Oregon has what is considered the largest single organism in the world. The Armillaria ostoyae, known as the honey mushroom, is a fungus that runs beneath 2,200 acres of the Malheur National Forest of eastern Oregon. The mushroom measures approximately 2.4 miles across and is believed to be 1,900 to 8,650 years old. It covers 2200 acres. It was discovered in the late 1990s using aerial photos and DNA testing cultures from 112 dying trees.
The honey mushroom exists in other places, such as California, Michigan, and Germany; however, Oregon's mushroom is the largest ever measured. Scientists believe the huge size may be a function of the dry climate in eastern Oregon. Spores have a difficult time establishing new organisms, making room for the old-timers to spread without competition. This enables the Armillaria ostoyae to grow and spread.
Because of its diverse landscapes and waterways, various forms of agriculture, fishing, and hydroelectric power largely power Oregon's economy.
Oregon is home to a unique and diverse array of wildlife. The largest concentration of wintering bald eagles can be found in Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Approximately 60 percent of the state is covered in forest, while the areas west of the Cascades are more densely populated by forest, making up around 80 percent of the landscape. Approximately 60 percent of Oregon's forests are federal land. Oregon is the top timber producer of the lower 48 states.
The official Oregon state fish is the Chinook salmon, and the official state animal is the beaver. Both are indigenous to the area. Oregon is sometimes unofficially called "The Beaver State."
The pear is Oregon's state fruit.
Tree species include the Douglas fir (the state tree), redwood, ponderosa pine, western red cedar, and hemlock. Ponderosa pines are more common in the Blue Mountains in the eastern part of the state and firs are more common in the west.
Many species of mammals live in the state, which include opossums, shrews, moles, little pocket mice, great basin pocket mice, dark kangaroo mouse, California kangaroo rat, chisel-toothed kangaroo rat, ord's kangaroo rat, bats, rabbits, pikas, mountain beavers, chipmunks, squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, beavers (the state mammal), porcupines, coyotes, wolves, foxes, black bears, raccoons, badgers, skunks, antelopes, cougars, bobcats, lynxes, deer, elk, and moose.
Marine mammals include seals, sea lions, humpback whales, killer whales, gray whales, blue whales, sperm whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, and bottlenose dolphins.
Birds include American widgeons, mallard ducks, great blue herons, bald eagles, golden eagles, western meadowlarks (the state bird), barn owls, great horned owls, rufous hummingbirds, pileated woodpeckers, wrens, towhees, sparrows, and buntings.
1930: Gray wolves were completely exterminated during the 1930. They have returned. The Oregon wolf population reached an estimated minimum of 110 in 2015, and 112 in 2017.
1981 & 1998: Oregon pioneered the American use of postal voting, beginning with experimentation approved by the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1981 and culminating with a 1998 ballot measure mandating that all counties conduct elections by mail. Oregon remains one of two states, the other being Washington, where voting by mail is the only method of voting.
1989 & 2011: Vast forests have historically made Oregon one of the nation's major timber-producing and logging states, but forest fires (such as the Tillamook Burn), over-harvesting, and lawsuits over proper management of the extensive federal forest holdings have reduced the timber produced. Between 1989 and 2011, the amount of timber harvested from federal lands in Oregon dropped approximately 90 percent, although harvest levels on private land have remained relatively constant.
1990-2013: Moose have not always inhabited Oregon. Moose migrated to Oregon south from Washington or west from Idaho across the Palouse Prairie in the late 1990s or early-2000s. In 2005, researchers confirmed the presence of a small moose herd of approximately 70 in Wallowa County. In 2013 the number was estimated be 60. Hunting moose is illegal in Oregon, though shooting a limited number of deer, elk, black bear, cougar, pronghorn, Rocky Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and Western gray squirrels is permitted during specified seasons.
Oregon is black bear country. Although native to the area, there are no longer grizzly bears in the state. The last grizzly bear recorded in Oregon was killed in the late 1930s. Because black bears are often brown, people sometimes wonder what species of bear they have seen.
During the 1990s, conservative Christians formed the Oregon Citizens Alliance, and unsuccessfully tried to pass legislation to prevent "gay sensitivity training" in public schools and deny legal benefits for homosexual couples.
In 1994, Oregon adopted the Oregon Health Plan, which made health care available to most of its citizens without private health insurance.
In 1994, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide through the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Oregon's suicide rates are some of the highest in America.
In the 2002 general election, Oregon voters approved a ballot measure to increase the state minimum wage automatically each year according to inflationary changes, which are measured by the consumer price index (CPI).
In the 2004 general election, Oregon voters passed ballot measures banning same-sex marriage and restricting land use regulation.
In the 2006 general election, voters restricted the use of eminent domain and extended the state's discount prescription drug coverage.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in Oregon on May 19, 2014 after U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane ruled that the state's 2004 constitutional amendment banning such marriages was unconstitutional in relation to the Equal Protection Clause of the Federal Constitution.
1973 & 2014: Oregon was the first state to decriminalize marijuana in 1973. A measure to legalize recreational use of marijuana in Oregon was approved on November 4, 2014.
In 2014 Oregon became the second state at the time to have legalized physician-assisted suicide, legalized same-sex marriage, and legalized recreational marijuana.
1970s-2014: While the history of the wine production in Oregon can be traced to before Prohibition, it became a significant industry beginning in the 1970s. In 2005, Oregon ranked third among U.S. states with 303 wineries. Due to regional similarities in climate and soil, the grapes planted in Oregon are often the same varieties found in the French regions of Alsace and Burgundy. In 2014, 71 wineries opened in the state. The total is currently 676, which represents growth of 12 percent over 2013.
In the southern Oregon coast, commercially cultivated cranberries account for about seven percent of U.S. production, and the cranberry ranks 23rd among Oregon's top 50 agricultural commodities. Cranberry cultivation in Oregon uses about 27,000 acres in southern Coos and northern Curry counties.
In the northeastern region of the state, both irrigated and dry land wheat is grown.
Oregon farmers and ranchers produce cattle, sheep, dairy products, eggs, and poultry.
Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut, the hazelnut. Oregon is the only state in America and one of four major world hazelnut growing regions. Oregon produces approximately 95 percent of the domestic hazelnuts in the United States. The hazelnut is also known as the filbert.
Oregon has one of the largest salmon-fishing industries in the world, although ocean fisheries have reduced the river fisheries in recent years. Because of the abundance of waterways in the state, it is also a major producer of hydroelectric energy.
Tourism is a strong industry in the state. Tourists enjoy the state's natural features-mountains, forests, waterfalls, rivers, beaches, and lakes, including Crater Lake National Park, Multnomah Falls, the Painted Hills, the Deschutes River, and the Oregon Caves. Mount Hood and Mount Bachelor attract visitors year-round for skiing and other snow activities.
Portland is home to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Zoo, which is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River. The International Rose Test Garden is a prominent attraction in the city. Portland has been named the best city in the world for street food by several publications, including the U.S. News & World Report and CNN. Oregon is home to many breweries, and Portland has the largest number of microbreweries of any city in the world.
Oregon's coastal region produces significant tourism. The Oregon Coast Aquarium comprises 23 acres along Yaquina Bay in Newport, and was home to Keiko the orca whale. It has been noted as one of the top ten aquariums in North America.
Fort Clatsop in Warrenton features a replica of Lewis and Clark's encampment at the mouth of the Columbia River in 1805.
The Sea Lion Caves are the largest system of sea caverns in the United States, and attract many visitors. They are a connected system of sea caves and caverns. They are located 11 miles (18 km) north of Florence on U.S. Highway 101, about midpoint on the 400 miles (640 km) Oregon Coast. In this area Highway 101 follows a steep and undeveloped seascape 300 feet (91 m) above sea level. People access to the caves through a gift shop building.
Oregon Shakespeare Festival: In Southern Oregon, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, held in Ashland, is a regional repertory theatre. From late February through October each year, the world-class festival offers approximately 800-850 matinee and evening performances of a wide range of classic and contemporary plays, not limited to Shakespeare. At any given time 5-11 plays are offered in rotation six days a week in three theatres. The popular festival has an audience of approximately 400,000 each year.
The Oregon Vortex is a roadside attraction that opened in 1930. It is located on Sardine Creek in Gold Hill. It has interesting gravity optical illusions. The proprietors propose that the illusions are the result of paranormal properties of the area.
Wolf Creek Inn State Heritage Site was built along the Applegate Trail in 1883 for Henry Smith, a local entrepreneur. It is the oldest continuously operating inn in the Pacific Northwest, and is the site where author Jack London completed his 1913 novel Valley of the Moon. The historic inn housed Hollywood actors from the early days when they wanted privacy. Celebrities Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, and Orson Welles stayed at the inn.
Oregon is a popular region for film shoots because of its diverse landscapes. Movies filmed in Oregon include: Animal House, Free Willy, The General, The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and Stand By Me. Oregon native Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, has incorporated many references from his hometown of Portland into the TV series. Several TV shows have been filmed in Oregon including Portlandia, Grimm, Bates Motel, and Leverage. The Oregon Film Museum is located in the old Clatsop County Jail in Astoria.
Medford is home to Harry and David, an American-based premium food and gift producer and retailer. The company sells products through direct mail, online, and in retail stores nationwide.
Lithia Motors is an American nationwide automotive retailer headquartered in Medford, Oregon. It is the third largest automotive retailer in America.
Graphic Arts Center Publishing Company was a book publishing company in Portland, Oregon. It was one of the Northwest's largest book publishers. The company liquidated in November 2009.
Oregon is home to Mentor Graphics Corporation, a leader in electronic design automation.
Nike is an American multi-national corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. It is the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment. The headquarters of Nike are located on an unincorporated 200-acre campus inside, but excluded from, Beaverton, Oregon city limits. Nike is continuously ranked as a top employer in Oregon along with its competitor Adidas.
Adidas is a German manufacturer of athletic shoes, apparel, and sporting goods. In the early 21st century it was the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest (after Nike) in the world. Adidas Corporations American Headquarters is located in Portland, Oregon.
Many technology companies operate in Hillsboro, making it the center of Oregon's Silicon Forest. Intel's largest site is in Hillsboro. Other high-tech companies in Hillsboro include Synopsys, Epson, Salesforce, and Oracle's (formerly Sun Microsystems) High-End Operations. Hillsboro is the corporate headquarters for RadiSys and Planar Systems among others.
Hillsboro is also a landing point on three fiber optic cable systems linking the United States across the Pacific Ocean: C2C, Southern Cross Cable, and VSNL Transpacific.
Tektronix, known as Tek, is an American company best known for manufacturing test and measurement devices such as oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and video and mobile test protocol equipment. Originally an independent company, it is now a subsidiary of Fortive, a spinoff from Danaher Corporation.
The U.S. Federal Government and Providence Health systems are respective contenders for top employers in Oregon with roughly 12,000 federal workers and 14,000 Providence Health workers.
Oregon is one of five states that have no sales tax. Oregon voters have voted against sales tax each of the nine times they have been proposed.
Oregon Health & Science University is a Portland-based medical school that operates two hospitals and clinics.
The Oregon Health Plan is the state's Medicaid managed care plan, and it is known for innovations. The Portland area is a mature managed care and two-thirds of Medicare enrollees are in Medicare Advantage plans.
2009-2010: In a 2009 Gallup poll, 69 percent of Oregonians identified themselves as being Christian. The largest Christian denominations in Oregon by number of adherents in 2010 were the Roman Catholic Church with 398,738; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with 147,965; and the Assemblies of God with 45,492. Oregon has the largest community of Russian Old Believers in the United States. Judaism is the largest non-Christian religion in Oregon with more than 50,000 adherents, 47,000 live in the Portland area. Kosher food and Jewish educational offerings have led to a increase in Portland's Orthodox Jewish population. The Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association is headquartered in Portland. There are an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 Muslims in Oregon, most live in and around Portland.
Most of the remainder of the population had no religious affiliation; the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) placed Oregon as tied with Nevada in fifth place of U.S. states having the highest percentage of residents identifying themselves as "non-religious", at 24 percent.
Oregon has frequently been cited by statistical agencies for having a smaller percentage of religious communities than other states. According to a 2009 Gallup poll, Oregon was paired with Vermont as the two "least religious" states in America.
Secular organizations include the Center for Inquiry (CFI), the Humanists of Greater Portland (HGP), and the United States Atheists (USA).
Oregon supports seven public universities and one affiliate. It is home to three public research universities: The University of Oregon (UO) in Eugene and Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, both classified as research universities with high research activity, and Portland State University which is classified as a research university with high research activity.
UO is the state's highest nationally ranked and most selective public university by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. OSU is the state's only land-grant university, it had the state's largest enrollment for fall 2014, and is the state's highest ranking university according to Academic Ranking of World Universities, Washington Monthly, and QS World University Rankings. OSU receives more annual funding for research than all other public higher education institutions in Oregon combined. The state's urban Portland State University has Oregon's second largest enrollment.
The state has three regional universities: Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Southern Oregon University in Ashland, and Eastern Oregon University in La Grande. The Oregon Institute of Technology has its campus in Klamath Falls. The quasi-public Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) includes medical, dental, and nursing schools, and graduate programs in biomedical sciences in Portland and a science and engineering school in Hillsboro. The state also supports 17 community colleges.
Oregon is home to three major professional sports teams: the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, the Portland Thorns of the NWSL and the Portland Timbers of MLS.
Interesting Things About Oregon
Oregon is pronounced OR-UH-GUN, never OR-EE-GONE.
No one knows how Oregon got its name. Some believe it derives from the French word for windstorm or hurricane (ouregan), referring to the chinook winds of the Columbia River. Other people believe it is from the Spanish word orejon, meaning big ears.
Annually, Portland hosts one of the biggest "World Naked Bike Rides" in the world.
Portland is home to the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland. Built in 1948 by World War II veteran Dick Fagan, "Mills End Park" is allegedly home to a group of invisible leprechauns, led by head leprechaun Patrick O'Toole. The park, which measures two square feet, was an empty hole dug for a light post that was never installed. Fagan, who worked across the street, turn the ordinary posthole into a magical place. He planted flowers and spun enchanting stories about the miniature leprechauns who called the tiny "Mills End Park" home.
In 1971 Oregon became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans. The law reduced litter and increased container recycling. Items that used to be approximately 40 percent of roadside litter now represent about 6 percent.
Oregon residents own approximately one-fourth of America's llama population. In some cases, in recent years, llamas are being replaced with alpacas.
November is, on average, the rainiest month in Portland, followed by December and January. The wettest year on record is 71.82 inches in 1882. From 2000 to 2014, Portland averaged 35.09 inches of rain per year. Portland averages 68 clear days per year. Weeks of dreary and cloudy gray skies can cause seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that is a type of depression. Symptoms are low energy, feeling moody, and feeling depressed. Treatment may include light therapy (phototherapy), medications, and psychotherapy.
Oregon and New Jersey are the only states with limited self-serve gas stations. In most cases, you must allow an attendant to fuel your vehicle. The only Oregon exceptions are: Under House Bill 2482, which took effect in 2018, retailers in counties with a population of less than 40,000 are allowed to have self-service gas pumps. There are 36 counties in Oregon. Drivers in 15 counties can pump their own gas any time of day, while those in three other rural counties can only after business hours, between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA) is a dairy cooperative headquartered in Tillamook County, Oregon. It is the largest cheese factory in the world. It produces more than 170,000 pounds of cheese each day. The Tillamook Cheese Factory serves as a visitor center and hosts over one million tourists each year. Visitors learn about the cheese-making process, cheese-packaging process, and the ice cream-making process. Tours are self-guided and self-paced, and are augmented by video presentations and interactive kiosks. Tours inside the cheese-processing area were discontinued in 1967 due to health and safety regulations. A gift shop has a variety of items, including cheese and other food products. The name "Tillamook" is a Chinook language term meaning people of Nekelim (or Nehalem). The Tillamook are a Native American tribe from coastal Oregon of the Salish linguistic group.
There is much more about Oregon. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.