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Oregon, US (Population: 3,700,758)

Capitol: Salem

Major Cities: Portland, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Medford, Springfield, Bend, Corvallis

State Nickname/Motto: Beaver State – Alis Volat Propiis: She Flies With Her Own Wings

Statehood Granted: February 14, 1859

History: 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, social progressivism vs. small-government conservatism, supporters of social spending vs. anti-tax activists, and native Oregonians vs. Californians (or outsiders in general). Oregonians also have a long history of secessionist ideas, ranging from varying parts of the population on all sides of the political spectrum attempting to form other states and even other countries. Oregon state ballots often include politically conservative proposals side-by-side with politically liberal ones, illustrating the wide spectrum of political thought in the state.

Geography: Highest point: Mount Hood 11,239 feet. The Columbia River, which constitutes much of the northern border of Oregon, also played a major role in the region's geological evolution, as well as its economic and cultural development. The Columbia is one of North America's largest rivers, and the only river to cut through the Cascades. About 15,000 years ago, the Columbia repeatedly flooded much of Oregon during the Missoula Floods; the modern fertility of the Willamette Valley is largely a result of those floods. Plentiful salmon made parts of the river, such as Celilo Falls, hubs of economic activity for thousands of years. In the 20th century, numerous hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia, with major impacts on salmon, transportation and commerce, electric power, and flood control.

Ethnic Diversity: One Race (97.0%), White (86.8%), Black or African American (1.6%), American Indian and Alaska Native (1.3%), Asian (3.5%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.2%), Some other race (3.5%), Two or more races (3.0%), Hispanic or Latino (9.9%)*

Famous State People:

  • Edwin Markham (1852 - 1940) Famous poet born in Oregon City who is frequently called the “Dean of American Poetry.” Works include The Man with the Hoe, and Lincoln, Man of the People.
  • Ursula LeGuin (1929 - ) Author. She has written science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories, including The Wizard of Earthsea trilogy and The Left Hand of Darkness; lives in Portland.
  • Beverly Cleary (1916 - ) Children’s novelist who wrote the Ramona Quimby books; born in McMinnville.
  • Abigail Scott Duniway (1834 - 1915) Journalist and woman-suffrage leader; lived in Lafayette.
  • Lindsay Wagner (1949 - ) Actress. She starred in the TV series, The Bionic Woman; lived in Portland.
  • Ahmad (1949 - ) Played 11 years in the NFL. He is currently an NBC Sportscaster; born in Portland.
  • Matt Groening (1954 - ) Cartoonist whose drawings became The Simpsons television show; Portland native.
  • John McLoughlin (1784 - 1857) Built Fort Vancouver and is known as the “Father of Oregon.”
  • Doc Severinsen (1927 - ) Band leader and jazz trumpet player. He was the band leader for the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson hosted it.
  • Dick Fosbury (1947 - ) Invented the “Fosbury Flop” move in high jumping, flipping over the bar backwards. Set an Olympic record in 1968; born in Portland.

  • Major Colleges/Universities: University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Western Oregon University, Southern Oregon University, Eastern Oregon University, Portland State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon Health and Science University, University of Portland, Marylhurst University, Concordia University, Lewis & Clark College, Multnomah Bible College, Reed College, Warner Pacific College, Cascade College, National College of Natural Medicine, Pacific University, Linfield College, George Fox University, Willamette University, Corban College, Northwest Christian College, Eugene Bible College

    State and National Parks: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Carl G. Washburne Memorial State Park, Beachside State Recreation Site, Heceta Head State Park, Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint, Smelt Sand State Recreation Site, Tokatee Klootchman State Natural Site, Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Ona Beach State Park, Seal Rock State Recreation Site, South Beach State Park, Agate Beach State Recreation Area, Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint, Devils Lake State Recreation Area, Beverly Beach State Park, Whale Watching Center, Rocky Creek State Scenic Viewpoint, The Cove Palisades State Park, White River Falls State Park, LaPine State Park, Tumalo State Park, Ainsworth State Park, Mayer State Park, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Area, Rooster Rock State Park, Hat Rock State Park, Hilgard Junction State Park, Wallowa Lake State Park, Fort Rock State Natural Area, Fort Stevens State Park, Cape Lookout State Park, Valley of the Rogue State Park, Collier Memorial State Park

    Misc: Oregon has one of the most diverse landscapes of any state in the U.S. It is well known for its tall, dense forests; its accessible and scenic Pacific coastline; and its rugged, glaciated Cascade volcanoes. Other areas include semiarid scrublands, prairies, and deserts that cover approximately half the state in eastern and north-central Oregon.

    *U.S. Census - 2005