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

State of Oregon
Map of the United States with Oregon highlighted
Map of the United States with Oregon highlighted

Oregon (/ˈɒrɪɡən/ (listen)) is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Oregon is a part of the Western United States, with the Columbia River delineating much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The 42° north parallel delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. The western boundary is formed by the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon has been home to many indigenous nations for thousands of years. The first European traders, explorers, and settlers began exploring what is now Oregon's Pacific coast in the early to mid-16th century. As early as 1564, the Spanish began sending vessels northeast from the Philippines, riding the Kuroshio Current in a sweeping circular route across the northern part of the Pacific. In 1592, Juan de Fuca undertook detailed mapping and studies of ocean currents in the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon coast as well as the strait now bearing his name. The Lewis and Clark Expedition traversed Oregon in the early 1800s, and the first permanent European settlements in Oregon were established by fur trappers and traders. In 1843, an autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country, and the Oregon Territory was created in 1848. Oregon became the 33rd state of the U.S. on February 14, 1859.

Today, with 4.2 million people over 98,000 square miles (250,000 km2), Oregon is the ninth largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. The capital, Salem, is the second-most populous city in Oregon, with 177,723 residents. Portland, with 652,503, ranks as the 26th among U.S. cities. The Portland metropolitan area, which includes neighboring counties in Washington, is the 25th largest metro area in the nation, with a population of 2,512,859. (Full article...)

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Columbia River
The Columbia River is a river that flows from the Canadian province of British Columbia, through the U.S. state of Washington, and forms much of the border between Washington and Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. It is the largest river (measured by volume) flowing into the Pacific from the Western Hemisphere, and is the fourth-largest in North America. It is 1,243 miles (2,000 km) long and drains a 258,000 square miles (670,000 km2) basin. Humans have lived along the river for as many as 10,000 years. Natives enjoyed plentiful salmon, which could be easily caught during their spawning season; Celilo Falls, just east of the Columbia River Gorge, was an important fishing site, and also a regional trading hub, for many millennia. In 1775, Bruno de Heceta became the first European to sight the river's mouth from the Pacific. Spanish, American, and British explorers sought the river, seeking furs to trade and a navigable passage to the east coast of the continent. The river proved elusive until 1792, when American Robert Gray entered the river's mouth and named the river after his ship; and the English captain George Vancouver's crew explored it as far upstream as the Sandy River. Navigation by steamboats, and later by railroads along the river, was crucial to the settlement and trade in the 19th century. The Columbia's heavy flow, and its large elevation drop over a relatively short distance, give it tremendous potential for hydroelectricity generation. 14 dams on the Columbia, and many more on its tributaries, were built in the 20th century. The dams, and other industry near the river, profoundly altered the ecology and economy of the region; today Celilo Falls and other fishing sites have been flooded by lakes, which make up nearly the entire length of the once free-flowing river. The once plentiful salmon now struggle to reach their spawning grounds, and the removal of some of the dams to mitigate their impact on the fish is increasingly under consideration.

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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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Multnomah Falls
Credit: Kelvin Kay

Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet (165 m) and a lower falls of 69 feet (21 m), with a gradual 9 foot (3 m) drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet (189 m). Multnomah Falls is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States after Yosemite Falls.

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Ron Wyden
Mr. Chairman, when Oregonians first adopted the Death With Dignity Act and then defended it on a second ballot initiative, they sent their government a clear message. When the American people resisted government interference in the tragic case of Terri Schiavo, they sent their government a clear message. That message is that death is an intensely personal and private moment, and in those moments, the government ought to leave well enough alone.
Ron Wyden, 2006

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A lake in Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Credit: Adumbvoget
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens (9.49 acres) are botanical gardens located on SE 28 Avenue between Eastmoreland Golf Course and Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, USA. It is affectionately known as the "Rhody Gardens." Although peak blooming times are March to June, blooms can be found in abundance year round.

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Lighthouse of Cape Meares, Oregon


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American beaver
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Oregon Swallowtail butterfly
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This month's Collaboration of the Month projects: Women's History Month: Create or improve articles for women listed at Oregon Women of Achievement (modern) or Women of the West, Oregon chapter (historical)
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44°00′N 120°30′W / 44°N 120.5°W / 44; -120.5