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The Oregon Portal

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Oregon (/ˈɒr(ɪ)ɡən/ (About this soundlisten)) is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates 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.

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-mid 16th century. As early as 1565, 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. Spanish ships – 250 in as many years – would typically not land before reaching Cape Mendocino in California, but some landed or wrecked in what is now Oregon. Nehalem tales recount strangers and the discovery of items like chunks of beeswax and a lidded silver vase, likely connected to the 1707 wreck of the San Francisco Xavier.

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 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 169,798 residents. Portland, with 647,805, ranks as the 26th among U.S. cities. The Portland metropolitan area, which also includes the city of Vancouver, Washington, to the north, ranks the 25th largest metro area in the nation, with a population of 2,453,168. (Full article...)

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Exposed pillow lava in the Northern Oregon Coast Range
Siletzia is the massive formation of early to middle Eocene epoch marine basalts and interbedded sediments in the forearc of the Cascadia subduction zone; this forms the basement rock under western Oregon and Washington and the southern tip of Vancouver Island. It is now fragmented into the Siletz and Crescent terranes. Siletzia corresponds geographically to the Coast Range Volcanic Province (or Coast Range basalts), but is distinguished from slightly younger basalts that erupted after Siletzia accreted to the continent and differ in chemical composition. The Siletzia basalts are tholeiitic, a characteristic of mantle-derived magma erupted from a spreading ridge between plates of oceanic crust. The younger basalts are alkalic or calc-alkaline, characteristic of magmas derived from a subduction zone. This change of composition reflects a change from marine to continental volcanism that becomes evident around 48 to 42 Ma (millions of years ago), and is attributed to the accretion of Siletzia against the North American continent. Various theories have been proposed to account for the volume and diversity of Siletzian magmatism, as well as the approximately 75° of rotation, but the evidence is insufficient to determine Siletzia's origin; the question remains open. The accretion of Siletzia against the North American continent approximately 50 million years ago (contemporaneous with the initiation of the bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain) was a major tectonic event associated with a reorganization of the earth's tectonic plates. This is believed to have a caused a shift in the subduction zone, termination of the Laramide orogeny that was uplifting the Rocky Mountains, and major changes in tectonic and volcanic activity across much of western North America.

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Fern Hobbs in 1913
Fern Hobbs (May 8, 1883 – April 10, 1964) was an American attorney in the U.S. state of Oregon, and a private secretary to Oregon Governor Oswald West. She was noted for her ambition and several accomplishments as a young woman, and became the highest-paid woman in public service in America in her mid-twenties. A native of Nebraska, she lived there and in Salt Lake City, Utah, before her family moved to Oregon. The family settled in Hillsboro, with Hobbs working to help support the family before attending Willamette University College of Law where she graduated in 1913. Hobbs made international news when Governor West sent her to implement martial law in the small Eastern Oregon town of Copperfield. The event was considered a strategic coup for West, establishing the State's authority over a remote rural community and cementing his reputation as a proponent of prohibition. Hobbs later worked for the American Red Cross in Europe and at the Oregon Journal newspaper. She died in Portland in 1964.

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Joseph Hamilton Lambert


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Mount Hood reflected in Mirror Lake
Credit: Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory

Mount Hood, a dormant stratovolcano, reflected in the waters of Mirror Lake. At 11,249 feet (3,429 m), Mount Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon and the fourth-highest in the Cascade Range. It is considered an active volcano, but no major eruptive events have been catalogued since systematic record keeping began in the 1820s.

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



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Wallowa Mountains
Credit: Fbolanos
The Wallowa Mountains in summer as seen from the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters/Wallowa Mountains Visitor Center in Enterprise. From left to right the peaks are: East Peak, Aneroid Mountain, Bonneville Mountain, Chief Joseph Mountain, Sacajawea Peak, Twin Peaks and Ruby Peak.

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Addison Crandall Gibbs
Allow me to congratulate you, and, through you, the people of Oregon, that peace and prosperity surround us. The prospects for Oregon were never more promising, save the shadows from the fires of secession which are blazing around our childhood homes. Though we have had a winter of unprecedented severity and devastating floods, no traitorous hand has been raised to tear down our national flag and subvert our beloved institutions.
A. C. Gibbs, 1862, Inaugural Address

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Lighthouse of Cape Meares, Oregon


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