Background: Trillium Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest. located 20 miles east of Portland, and the northern Willamette River Valley. Photo by Kelvin Kay

Living in Oregon

Oregon - Things Look Different Here

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of Oregon

Oregon USA Map
Oregon USA Map

Featuring a landscape unique from any other state located in in the nation, Oregon is a mixture of fog and rain on the Pacific Northwest coast continuing east to the Cascade volcanoes, with arid desert prairies further inland.

A wide range of diversity is the mainstay of Oregon's economy. The state historically has been a global leader in the production of lumber and salmon fishing, although today it is a foremost location for high tech services and industries within the Silicon Forest Situated mainly around the Portland area, also 42% of the state population calls it home. Nike, another major employer, with its global headquarters in Beaverton calls Oregon home.

Spanish and English sailors are believed to have sighted the Oregon coast in the 1500s and 1600s. Capt. James Cook, seeking the Northwest Passage, charted some of the coastline in 1778. In 1792, Capt. Robert Gray, in the Columbia, discovered the river named after his ship and claimed the area for the U.S.

In 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition explored the area. John Jacob Astor's fur depot, Astoria, was founded in 1811. Disputes for control of Oregon between American settlers and the Hudson Bay Company were finally resolved in the 1846 Oregon Treaty, in which Great Britain gave up claims to the region.

Climate

The climate of Oregon is typocally mild. West of the Cascade Mountains, winters are chilly with frequent rain, while light snowfall occurs a few days each year; temperatures can become very cold, but only occasionally, as the result of Arctic cold waves. The high desert region of the state is much drier, with less precipitation, more snow, colder winters, and hotter summers.

Demography

  • Oregon Geography, Facts and History
  • Oregon Facts & Trivia
  • Oregon Flags
  • Famous People from oregon
  • Oregon Timeline
  • Oregon Official Song
  • Education

    Oregon Colleges. The Oregon Office of University Coordination is the agency established by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) in 2013 according to ORS § 352.002, which provides academic and fiscal co-ordination for seven public universities in Oregon. In early 2015-2016, the Office of University Coordination was authorized to handle academic program approval by the HECC, make budget recommendations for public universities in Oregon, and allocate funds using a model for students' success and completion. Effective July 1, 2014, three universities (University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and Portland State University) have separated from the Oregon University system. Effective July 1, 2015, the remaining four universities (Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University and Western Oregon University) also became independent

    Economy

    The economy of Oregon is made up several sectors. During the 1990s and 2000s, Oregon has attempted to transition its economy from one based on natural resources to one based on a mix of manufacturing, services, and high technology.

    Flora and Fauna

    Oregon State Flower - Oregon Grape
    Oregon State Flower - Oregon Grape

    Oregon State Tree - Douglas Fir
    Oregon State Tree - Douglas Fir

    With its variety of climatic conditions and surface features, Oregon has a diverse assortment of vegetation and wildlife, including 78 native tree species. The coastal region is covered by a rain forest of spruce, hemlock, and cedar rising above dense underbrush. A short distance inland, the stands of Douglas fir—Oregon's state tree and dominant timber resource—begin, extending across the western slopes to the summit of the Cascade Range. Where the Douglas fir has been destroyed by fire or logging, alder and various types of berries grow. In the high elevations of the Cascades, Douglas fir gives way to pines and true firs. Ponderosa pine predominates on the eastern slopes, while in areas too dry for pine the forests give way to open range, which, in its natural state, is characterized by sagebrush, occasional juniper trees, and sparse grasses. The state's many species of smaller indigenous plants include Oregon grape—the state flower—as well as salmonberry, huckleberry, blackberry, and many other berries. Eighteen Oregon plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in 2003 (up from eight in 1997), including the Willamette daisy, Western lily, Malheur wire-lettuce, rough popcornflower, and MacFarlane's four-o'clock.

    More than 130 species of mammal are native to Oregon, of which 28 are found throughout the state. Many species, such as the cougar and bear, are protected, either entirely or through hunting restrictions. The bighorn sheep, once extirpated—deliberately exterminated—in Oregon, has been reintroduced in limited numbers; the Columbian white-tailed deer, with an extremely limited habitat along the Columbia River, is still classified as endangered. Deer and elk are popular game mammals, with herds managed by the state: mule deer predominate in eastern Oregon, black-tailed deer in the west. Among introduced mammals, the nutria and opossum are now present in large numbers.

    At least 60 species of fish are found in Oregon, including five different salmon species, of which the Chinook is the largest and the coho most common. Salmon form the basis of Oregon's sport and commercial fishing, although dams and development have blocked many spawning areas, causing a decline in numbers and heavy reliance on hatcheries to continue the runs.

    Hundreds of species of birds inhabit Oregon, either year-round or during particular seasons. The state lies in the path of the Pacific Flyway, a major route for migratory waterfowl, and large numbers of geese and ducks may be found in western Oregon and marshy areas east of the Cascades. Extensive bird refuges have been established in various parts of the state. Thirty-six Oregon animal species were classified as threatened or endangered in 2003 (up from 21 in 1997), including the short-tailed albatross, bald eagle, Fender's blue butterfly, three species of chub, brown pelican, northern spotted owl, and three species of sea turtle.

  • Oregon State Bird (Western Meadowlark)
  • Oregon Official State Flower (Oregon grape)
  • Oregon Official State Tree (Douglas-fir)
  • Government

    Oregon State Capitol
    Oregon State Capitol Photo by BCX News
    The Oregon State Capitol building houses the state legislature and the offices of the governor, secretary of state, and treasurer of the U.S. state of Oregon. It is located in the state capital, Salem. The current building, constructed from 1936 to 1938, and expanded in 1977, is the third to house the Oregon state government in Salem. Two former capitol buildings were destroyed by fire, one in 1855 and the other in 1935. Like all U.S. states,

    Oregon is represented by two senators. Since the 1980 census, Oregon has had five congressional districts

    Oregon state government has a separation of powers similar to the federal government. It has three branches:

    State elected officials are the governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction, and a commissioner of labor and industries, all elected for four-year terms. The governor, who may serve no more than eight years in any 12-year period, must be a US citizen, must be at least 30 years old, and must have been a resident of the state for three years before assuming office. Much policy in Oregon is set by boards and commissions whose members are appointed by the governor, subject to confirmation by the senate.

    To vote in Oregon a person must be a US citizen, age 18 or older, and a state resident.

  • State of Oregon Official Website
  • Attractions

    Oregon is a lush and slightly wild state offering many scenic tourist attractions. US 101 runs along the coast, a holiday paradise par excellence with resorts, beaches, and parks. At the northernmost point, the coast meets the mouth of the Columbia River, which marks the state's northern border. This major river leads inland, paralleled by a scenic route passing plummeting waterfalls.

    In addition to its natural beauty, Oregon is equally known for its urban charms. Portland in particular has an international reputation for offbeat culture having adopted and embraced the slogan, "Keep Portland Weird." The state's largest city, Portland's sightseeing gems range from rose gardens to art museums and an immense bookshop. Further south, Eugene is a thriving university town, Newport is a favorite beach resort, and the Capitol is in Salem

    Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
    Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
    Lighthouses in Oregon - List of all lighthouses in the state of Oregon as identified by the United States Coast Guard and other historical sources.

    Focal height and coordinates are taken from the 1907 United States Coast Guard Light List, while location and dates of activation, automation, and deactivation are taken from the United States Coast Guard Historical information site for lighthouses.

  • Oregon Tourism Commission
  • Amusement Parks

    Enchanted Forest, Turner
      The Enchanted Forest is an amusement park located in Turner in Oregon, next to Interstate 5 just south of Salem. Creator Roger Tofte opened the park in 1971 after seven years of construction. Today, the Tofte family still owns and operates the 20-acre park. The park is divided into various districts. Storybook Lane has attractions inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Mother Goose, and Grimms' Fairy Tales. Also featured are the English Village and its lighted fountain show, the Tofteville Mining Town, and a food service court featuring Bavarian architecture. Augmenting the park are attractions such as the Ice Mountain Bobsleds roller coaster, the Haunted House, and the Big Timber log ride, the largest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The Challenge of Mondor is an ETF Ride Systems indoor trackless interactive ride featuring dragons and monsters.
    Oaks Amusement Park, Portland
      Oaks Park is a small amusement park 3.5 miles south of downtown Portland, near the Sellwood Bridge. Known as the "Coney Island of the Northwest" after its opening in May 1905, it is one of the oldest operating amusement parks in the country, and one of only thirteen trolley parks still open. The 44-acre park includes midway games, about two dozen rides that operate seasonally, a skating rink that is open all-year, and picnic grounds. It is also home to the Herschell–Spillman Noah's Ark Carousel, a historic wooden carousel constructed in 1912.

    National Parks

    Crater Lake National Park Crater Lake National Park
    California National Historic Trail, Various States CA,CO,ID,KS,MO,NE,NV,OR,UT,WY
      Follow in the footsteps of over 250,000 emigrants who traveled to the gold fields and rich farmlands of California during the 1840s and 1850s: the greatest mass migration in American history. The California National Historic Trail is over 5,000 miles long and covers portions of 10 states. Step into history along more than 1,000 miles of ruts and traces from travelers and their overland wagons.
    Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake, OR
      Crater Lake inspires awe. Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth. Artists, photographers, and sightseers gaze in wonder at its blue water and stunning setting atop the Cascade Mountain Range.
    Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Vancouver, OR,WA
      Located on the north bank of the Columbia River, in sight of snowy mountain peaks and a vibrant urban landscape, this park has a rich cultural past. From a frontier fur trading post, to a powerful military legacy, the magic of flight, and the origin of the American Pacific Northwest, history is shared at four unique sites. Discover stories of transition, settlement, conflict, and community.
    Ice Age Floods National Geological Trail, WA,OR,ID,MT
      "At the end of the last Ice Age, some 12,000 to 17,000 years ago, a series of cataclysmic floods occurred in what is now the northwest region of the United States, leaving a lasting mark of dramatic and distinguishing features on the landscape of parts of the States of Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon." Public Law 111-11, March 30, 2009
    John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Kimberly, OR
      Colorful rock formations at John Day Fossil Beds preserve a world class record of plant and animal evolution, changing climate, and past ecosystems that span over 40 million years. Exhibits and a working lab at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center as well as scenic drives and hikes at all three units allow visitors to explore the prehistoric past of Oregon and see science in action.
    Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Long Beach to Cannon Beach, OR,WA
      Between May 1804 and September 1806, 31 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery. In their search for a water route to the Pacific Ocean, they opened a window into the west for the young United States. Read the Lewis and Clark Pups blog, the Newfie News!
    Nez Perce National Historical Park, four states ID,MT,OR,WA
      For thousands of years the valleys, prairies, mountains, and plateaus of the inland northwest have been home to the nimí·pu· (Nez Perce) people. Extremely resilient, they have adapted and survived the settling of the United States. Explore these places. Learn their stories.
    Oregon National Historic Trail, Various States ID,KS,MO,NE,OR,WA,WY
      Imagine yourself an emigrant headed for Oregon: would promises of lush farmlands and a new beginning lure you to leave home and walk for weeks? More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states and serve as reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers.
    Oregon Caves National Monument Preserve, Cave Junction, OR
      Deep within the Siskiyou Mountains are dark, twisting passages that await your discovery. Eons of acidic water seeping into marble rock created and decorated the wondrous “Marble Halls of Oregon.” Join a tour, get a taste of what caving is all about, and explore a mountain from the inside and out.

    National Forests

    Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
    Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest
    Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest - 1,718,893 acres
      This forest ranges from the Cascade Range to the Siskiyou Mountains, and the Rogue River drains over 75% of the forest's area. There are parts of eight wilderness areas in the forest as well as what may be the world's tallest pine tree, a ponderosa pine that is 268.35 feet tall.
    Wallowa-Whitman National Forest - 2,261,480 acres
      Wallowa-Whitman National Forest stretches from the Blue Mountains to the Snake River. Elevations range from 875 feet in Hells Canyon, the deepest gorge in North America, to 9,845 feet at the summit of Sacajawea Peak in the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.
    Umatilla National Forest - 1,405,898 acres
      Located in the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon, Umatilla National Forest includes three wilderness areas, occupying over 20% of the forest. The forest has over 715 miles of trails, 2,000 miles of roads, and one of the largest elk herds of any National Forest.
    Fremont-Winema National Forest - 2,253,796 acres
      Encompassing the Warner Mountains and bordering Crater Lake National Park, Fremont-Winema National Forest also includes the semi-arid areas of the Oregon Outback. The Gearhart Mountain Wilderness is near the center of the forest
    Umpqua National Forest - 986,120 acres
      Umpqua National Forest is in the Cascade Range of southwestern Oregon and includes three wilderness areas. Watson Falls is a waterfall that is 272 feet high on Watson Creek, a tributary of the Clearwater River.
    Deschutes National Forest - 1,612,218 acres
      On the east side of the Cascade Range, Deschutes National Forest includes Newberry National Volcanic Monument and five wilderness areas. Lava River Cave, at 5,211 feet long, is Oregon's longest lava tube.
    Willamette National Forest - 1,681,674 acres
      Willamette National Forest is in the Cascade Range, stretching from Mount Jefferson to Mount Washington. About 20% of the forest is designated wilderness, but there are also 6,000 miles of roads in the forest.
    Malheur National Forest - 1,480,818 acres
      In the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon, Malheur National Forest's highest point is Strawberry Mountain at 9,038 feet. The Cedar Grove Botanical Area contains the only stand of Alaska yellow cedar east of the Cascade Range in the United States.
    Ochoco National Forest - 854,817 acres
      Ochoco National Forest contains a variety of odd geological formations, 95,000 acres of old-growth forest, the headwaters of the Crooked River, and three wilderness areas. Stein's Pillar is a 350 foot tall rock column in the Ochoco Mountains.
    Siuslaw National Forest - 630,291 acres
      Siuslaw National Forest includes Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, three wilderness areas, and Cascade Head Scenic Research Area among the Central Oregon Coast Range. Marys Peak Scenic Botanical Area includes Marys Peak, which at 4,097 feet is the forest's highest point
    Mount Hood National Forest - 1,069,427 acres
      This forest is named for and contains Mount Hood, the highest point in Oregon at 11,249 feet. The forest stretches from the Columbia River Gorge and includes Mount Hood National Recreation Area and nine wilderness areas.

    Sports

    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.

    Until 2011, the only major professional sports team in Oregon was the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Blazers were one of the most successful teams in the NBA in terms of both win-loss record and attendance. In the early 21st century, the team's popularity declined due to personnel and financial issues, but revived after the departure of controversial players and the acquisition of new players such as Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers play in the Moda Center in Portland's Lloyd District, which also is home to the Portland Winterhawks of the junior Western Hockey League

  • Oregon Sports
  • Taxes

    Oregon Tax Facts
    • Income tax: 5% - 9.9%
    • Sales tax: none
    • Property tax: 1.07% average effective rate
    • Gas tax: 31.07 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 30.34 cents per gallon of diesel

    Transportation

    Aviation

    Portland International Airport
    Portland International Airport Photo by Shutterstock
    Oregon Airports. There are 98 airports in Oregon that the public can use. The airports in Oregon are the gateway to the thriving tourism industry in the state. The airports in Oregon have the latest in aviation technology and provide friendly assistance to the passengers.

    There are two international airports in Oregon. These are the Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport at Medford and the Portland International Airport at Portland.

    The Portland International Airport at Portland sees more than a million passengers walk through its gates annually. The airport offers many amenities and services such as free WiFi service, a well-equipped business center, restaurants and many retail shops. The airport has wheel chair service and blind assists to help people with disabilities. The airport also has TTY phones, visual paging, easy and accessible parking and accessible parking.

    The Eugene Airport at Eugene is one of the important regional airports in Oregon. The airport offers amenities and services to make the journey a smooth one for the passengers. Some of these are ATMs, restaurants, bars and grilles, a news and gifts shop and special assistance for people with disabilities including wheel chair service and TDY phones. 

    Port of Portland
    Port of Portland
    The important airports in Oregon are at Astoria, Portland, The Dalles, Salem, Newport, Eugene, Bandon, Roseburg, Gold Beach, Medford, Klamath Falls, Lakeview, Burns, Prineville, Redmond, Madras, Pendleton, La Grande, John Day, and Baker City.

    Ports

    Oregon’s 23 ports provide recreational, commercial, and economic services to residents and businesses in Oregon and beyond, serving as state, national, and international transportation gateways. They are a key component in sustaining Oregon’s economy and quality of life, supporting thousands of family wage jobs. One out of six Oregon jobs is directly or indirectly tied to cargo, recreation, industrial, commercial or other activities at Oregon’s ports.

    Rail

    Amtrak Stations Albany station, Chemult station, Eugene–Springfield station, Klamath Falls station, Oregon City station, Portland Union Station, Salem station

    Roads

    Most Oregon Highways have both a Highway number and a Route number that are different as can be seen in the Bridge Inventory Marker shown in the attached picture. However, there were many Secondary Highways that were not assigned a Route Number. Also, a specific Route may transverse multiple Highways. For example, US 26 transverses 7 different Highways as it crosses the state.

    Oregon Housing

    The median list price per square foot in Oregon is $213. The median price of homes currently listed in Oregon is $375,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $330,800. The median rent price in Oregon is $1,795.

    Oregon Association of Realtors
    State of Oregon Real Estate Agency
    Oregon Real Estate Listings

    Oregon Cities & Towns

    There are 36 counties, 241 incorporated cities and towns and 135 census designated-places in Oregon. The largest is Portland with a population of 647,805 and the smallest being Biggs Junction with a population of 22. Cities are the only form of municipal government incorporated in Oregon. While there are villages and hamlets in Oregon, they only exist in Clackamas County and do not resemble municipalities due to the limited nature of their powers and their lack of home-rule charters.
  • Oregon Cities and Towns
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