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The Oregon Portal

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, Washington on the north, Idaho on the east, and California and Nevada on the south. The Columbia and Snake Rivers form, respectively, much of its northern and eastern borders. Between two north-south mountain ranges in western Oregon—the Oregon Coast Range and the Cascade Mountain Range—lies the Willamette Valley, the most densely populated and agriculturally productive region of the state.

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.

Oregon's population in 2010 was about 3.8 million, a 12% increase over 2000. Oregon's population is largely concentrated in the Willamette Valley, which stretches from Eugene through Salem and Corvallis to Portland, Oregon's largest city.

The origin of the name Oregon is unknown. One account, advanced by George R. Stewart in a 1944 article in American Speech, was endorsed as the "most plausible explanation" in the book Oregon Geographic Names. According to Stewart, the name came from an engraver's error in a French map published in the early 1700s, on which the Ouisiconsink (Wisconsin) River was spelled "Ouaricon-sint", broken on two lines with the -sint below, so that there appeared to be a river flowing to the west named "Ouaricon".

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The Dalles Carnegie Library
Credit: Jgilhousen

The Dalles Carnegie Library is a historic building located at the corner of Fourth and Washington Streets in The Dalles, Oregon, United States. It is one of the 2,509 libraries whose construction was funded by Andrew Carnegie.

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Portrait of Bryant in 1913 by Paul Trullinger's uncle, John Henry Trullinger
Louise Bryant (December 5, 1885 – January 6, 1936) was an American journalist known for her sympathetic coverage of Russia and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution. Bryant, a feminist married in 1916 to the more famous writer John Reed, wrote about leading Russian women such as Katherine Breshkovsky and Maria Spiridonova as well as men including Alexander Kerensky, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky. Her news stories, distributed by Hearst during and after her trips to Petrograd and Moscow, appeared in newspapers across the U.S. and Canada in the years immediately following World War I. A collection of articles from her first trip was published in book form as Six Red Months in Russia in 1918. In 1919, she defended the revolution in testimony before the Overman Committee, a Senate subcommittee established to investigate Bolshevik influence in the United States. Later that year, she undertook a nationwide speaking tour to encourage public support of the Bolsheviks and to discourage armed U.S. intervention in Russia. Bryant grew up in rural Nevada and attended the University of Nevada in Reno and the University of Oregon, graduating with a degree in history in 1909. Pursuing a career in journalism, she became society editor of the Portland, Oregon, Spectator and freelanced for The Oregonian. During her years in Portland (1909–15), she became active in the women's suffrage movement. Leaving her first husband in 1915 to follow Reed to Greenwich Village, she formed friendships with leading feminists of the day, some of whom she met through Reed's associates at publications such as The Masses, or at meetings of a women's group, Heterodoxy, or through work with the Provincetown Players. During a National Woman's Party suffrage rally in Washington, D.C., in 1919, she was arrested and spent three days in jail. Like Reed, she had lovers outside of marriage; during her Greenwich Village years (1916–20) these included playwright Eugene O'Neill and painter Andrew Dasburg. Suffering from a rare and painful disorder, Bryant wrote and published little in her last 10 years and drank heavily. Bullitt, winning sole custody of Anne, divorced her in 1930. Bryant died in Paris in 1936 and was buried in Versailles. A group from Portland visited her neglected grave in 1998 and worked to restore it.

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Wayne L. Morse United States Courthouse


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1845 map of the region
The Pacific Northwest is a region in the northwest of North America. There are several partially overlapping definitions but the term Pacific Northwest that span the United States and Canada. The term Northwest Coast is often used when referring only to the coastal regions. The term Northwest Plateau has been used to describe the inland regions, although they are commonly referred to as "the Interior" (which in British Columbia is by convention capitalized and is used as a proper name). The inland portion of the U.S. is called the Inland Empire. The region's biggest metropolitan areas are Seattle, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon. The region has an Oceanic climate ("marine west coast climate") in many coastal areas, typically between the ocean and high mountain ranges. Alpine climate dominates in the high mountains. Semi-arid and Arid climate is found east of the higher mountains, especially in rainshadow areas. The Harney Basin of Oregon is an example of arid climate in the Pacific Northwest. A Subarctic climate occurs farther north. The Pacific Northwest was occupied by a diverse array of Native American peoples for millennia, beginning with Paleoindians who explored and colonized the area roughly 15,000 years before Europeans arrived. The Pacific Coast is seen by a growing number of scholars as a major migration route for late Pleistocene peoples moving from northeast Asia into the Americas. Archaeological evidence for these earliest Native Americans is sketchy--in part because heavy glaciation, flooding, and post-glacial sea level rise have radically changed the landscape--but fluted Clovis-like points found in the region were probably left by Paleoindians at least 13,000 years ago. Even earlier evidence for human occupation dating back as much as 14,500 years ago is emerging from Paisley Caves in Central Oregon. European exploration began as early as 1579 with Francis Drake possibly landing along the coast, but exploration began in earnest in the 1700s. The first permanent non-Native settlement in the American portion came at Fort Astoria in 1811.

State facts

State symbols:

American Beaver
Western Meadowlark
Chinook salmon
Oregon Swallowtail butterfly



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Mount Hood seen from OHSU
Credit: Cacophony
Mount Hood (called Wy'east by the Multnomah tribe), is a stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc in northern Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located about 50 miles (80 km) east-southeast of the city of Portland, on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties.

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Oden in 2008
I kinda looked at my mom and said, 'I'm out for the season? You kidding me?'
Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers and NBA overall 2007 #1 draft pick

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Oregon State Capital rotunda
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Lighthouse of Cape Meares, Oregon


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Coordinates: 44°00′N 120°30′W / 44°N 120.5°W / 44; -120.5