Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. It is bordered on its west by the Pacific Ocean, on its north by Washington, on its south by California, on its east by Idaho, and on its southeast by Nevada. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary, and the Snake River delineates much of the eastern boundary. It is one of only three states of thecontiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in theOregon Country in 1843, the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Today, Oregon is the 9th largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. Its capital is Salem, the second most populous of its cities, with 160,614 residents (2013 estimate). With 609,456 residents (2013 estimate), Portland is the largest city in Oregon and ranks 29th in the U.S. Its metro population of 2,314,554 (2013 estimate) is 24th. The Willamette Valley in western Oregon is the state's most densely populated area, home to eight of the ten most populous cities.
Oregon's landscape is diverse, with a windswept Pacific coastline, volcano-studded Cascade Range, abundant waterfalls, dense evergreen forests, mixed forests, and deciduous forests at lower elevations, and high desert sprawling across much of its east all the way to the Great Basin. The tall Douglas firs and redwoods along its rainy west coast contrast with the lighter timbered and fire-prone pine and juniper forests covering portions to the east. Abundant alders in the west fix nitrogen for the conifers; aspen groves are common in the east. Stretching east from central Oregon are semi-arid shrublands, prairies, deserts, steppes, and meadows. At 11,249 feet (3,429 m), Mount Hood is the state high point, and Crater Lake National Park is its only national park.
State of Oregon
|Nickname(s): Beaver State|
|Motto(s): Alis volat propriis (Latin: She flies with her own wings)|
|State song(s): "Oregon My Oregon"|
The Flag of Oregon
The Seal of Oregon
|Animal and Plant insignia|
Typical of a western state, Oregon is home to a unique and diverse array of wildlife. About 46% of the state is covered in forest, mostly west of the Cascades where up to 80% of the land is forest. Sixty percent of the forests in Oregon are within federal land. Oregon remains the top timber producer of the lower 48 states. Typical tree species include the Douglas fir, the state tree, as well as redwood, ponderosa pine (generally east of the Cascades), western red cedar, hemlock, camas, and ferns. Ponderosa pine are more common in the Blue Mountains in the eastern part of the state and firs are more common in the west.
There are many species of mammals that live in the state, which include, but are not limited to, opossums, shrews, moles, bats, rabbits, pikas, mountain beavers, chipmunks, western gray squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, beavers, porcupines, coyotes, wolves, red foxes, black bears, raccoons, badgers, skunks, cougars, bobcats, lynxes, deer, elk, and moose. Marine mammals include seals, sea lions, and humpback and killer whales. Notable 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.
Moose have not always inhabited the state but came to Oregon in the 1960s; the Wallowa Valley herd now numbers about 60. Gray wolves were extirpated from Oregon around 1930 but have since found their way back; there are now two packs living in the south-central part of the state. Although their existence in Oregon is unconfirmed, reports of grizzly bears still turn up the state and it is probable that some still move into eastern Oregon from Idaho.
Oregon has three national park sites: Crater Lake National Park in the southern part of the Cascades, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, and Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks.
Oregon is also one of four major world hazelnut growing regions, and produces 95% of the domestic hazelnuts in the United States. 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 the Southern Oregon coast commercially cultivated cranberries account for about 7 percent of US production, and the cranberry ranks 23rd among Oregon's top 50 agricultural commodities. From 2006 to 2008, Oregon growers harvested between 40 and 49 million pounds (18 and 22 kt) of berries every year. Cranberry cultivation in Oregon uses about 27,000 acres (110 km2) in southern Coos and northern Currycounties, centered around the coastal city of Bandon.
In the northeastern region of the state, particularly around Pendleton, both irrigated and dry land wheat is grown. Oregon farmers and ranchers also produce cattle, sheep, dairy products, eggs and poultry
Tourism is also a strong industry in the state. Oregon's mountains, forests, waterfalls, beaches and lakes, including Crater Lake National Park draw visitors year round. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, held in Ashland, is a tourist draw for Southern Oregon.
Oregon is home to many breweries and Portland has the largest number of breweries of any city in the world.
Oregon occasionally hosts film shoots. 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