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The Oregon Portal

Raised-relief map of Oregon

Relief map of Oregon

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.

Selected biography

Ken Kesey (1935–2001) was an American author, best known for his novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and as a counter-cultural figure. He is sometimes considered a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s. He was born in Colorado and grew up in Springfield, Oregon. After high school he graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree from the journalism school, before receiving a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship and moving on to Stanford University. At Stanford he volunteered for the CIA's Project MKULTRA and was exposed to a variety of drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, cocaine, and DMT. These experiences would contribute to his writings. Kesey's first book was One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, published in 1962. When the publication of his second novel, Sometimes a Great Notion, required his presence in New York in 1964, Kesey, Neal Cassady, and others in a group of friends they called the "Merry Pranksters" took a cross-country trip in a school bus nicknamed "Furthur" or Further. This trip, described in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (and later in Kesey's own screenplay "The Further Inquiry") was the group's attempt to create art out of everyday life. In New York, Cassady introduced Kesey to Jack Kerouac and to Allen Ginsberg, who in turn introduced them to Timothy Leary. Sometimes a Great Notion was made into a 1971 film starring Paul Newman; it was nominated for two Academy Awards. In 1966, Kesey was arrested for possession of marijuana and eventually spent five months in jail. He later returned to Oregon, where he lived the rest of his life. Kesey died on November 10, 2001, following an operation for liver cancer.

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Boone Bridge


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The statue is located outside the Oregon Convention Center
The Dream, also known as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Sculpture, is an outdoor bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Michael Florin Dente, located outside the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. The 8-foot (2.4 m) memorial statue was dedicated on August 28, 1998, the 35th anniversary of King's "I Have a Dream" speech. It depicts King plus three allegorical sculptures: a man who symbolizes the American worker, a woman who represents immigration, and a young girl shown releasing King's coattail, who represents, according to Dente, the "letting go" that occurs when people sacrifice time and energy fighting a struggle. It is part of the City of Portland and Multnomah County Public Art Collection courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. Lee P. Brown and Vera Katz, mayors of Houston and Portland, were present at the dedication ceremony. The memorial is considered a black heritage site and has been used as a reference point for gatherings. It has also appeared in public art guides and walking tours. Seventy-five bronze replicas of the work exist, and Dente planned to send pieces of the original mold to each of their owners once all were sold.

State facts

State symbols:

American beaver
Western meadowlark
Chinook salmon
Oregon grape
Oregon Swallowtail butterfly
Douglas fir



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Pillars of Rome
Credit: Cacophony
Pillars of Rome, a unique feature in the southeast corner of Oregon.

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Gordon Smith
The Washington State football score isn’t useful when you are rooting for the Ducks or the Beavers. Our bill will correct the law so local news is local and reports of rain mean reports of rain in your own town. Our goal is to end the frustration faced by satellite subscribers.
Gordon Smith, 2007

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Oregon State Capital rotunda
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Natural history

Lighthouse of Cape Meares, Oregon


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