Interesting facts about Oregon

oregon flag

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

It is bordered by Washington on the north and California and Nevada on the south, Idaho and on the east, and by the Pacific Ocean on the west.

As of November 2018, the population of Oregon was estimated to be about 4.15 million people. It is the 27th most populous state in the United States.

Oregon is the 9th largest state in the United States in terms of total area with 254,806 square kilometers (98,381 square miles).

Salem is the capital the second-largest city of Oregon. It is located in the center of the Willamette Valley alongside the Willamette River, which runs north through the city.


Oregon is 475 kilometers (295 miles) north to south at longest distance, and 636 kilometers (395 miles) east to west at longest distance

The state’s geography can be divided into six areas; the Coast Range, the Willamette Lowland, the Cascade Mountains, the Klamath Mountains, the Columbia Plateau, and the Basin and Range Region.

Oregon’s highest point is the summit of Mount Hood [photo below], at 3,429 meters (11,249 feet), and its lowest point is the sea level of the Pacific Ocean along the Oregon Coast. Oregon’s mean elevation is 1,006 meters (3,300 feet).

mount hood

The state is known for its forests where about 1/10 of the nation’s timber resides. In fact, Oregon is the leading provider of lumber in the United States.

Oregon has 204 kilometers (127 miles) of coastline. It is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon has 1 national park and 110 state parks.

Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake National Park, comprises the caldera surrounding Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the tenth deepest in the world.

crater lake aerial

Crater Lake is 8 by 9.7 kilometers (5 by 6 miles) across, with a caldera rim ranging in elevation from 2,100 to 2,400 meters (7,000 to 8,000 feet). It is 594 meters (1,949 feet) deep at its deepest point. However, when comparing its average depth of 350 meters (1,148 feet) to the average depth of other deep lakes, Crater Lake becomes the deepest in the Western Hemisphere and the third deepest in the world.

crater lake

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

multnomah falls

The Mount Hood National Forest is 100 kilometers (62 miles) east of the city of Portland, and the northern Willamette River valley. The Forest extends south from the Columbia River Gorge across more than 97 kilometers (60 miles) of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mount Jefferson. The Forest includes and is named after Mount Hood, a stratovolcano.

mount hood national forest

Timberline Lodge ski area is the ski and snowboarding area of Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark in the U.S. state of Oregon. It is one of a few ski areas in the United States with most of the skiable terrain below the main lodge. It is located on the south face of Mount Hood, about 95 kilometers (60 miles) east of Portland, accessible via the Mount Hood Scenic Byway.

timberline lodge ski area

A popular tourist resort, Cannon Beach is located in northwest Oregon. The beach offers a wide stretch of sand and spectacular views of jagged coastal rocks. The largest of these is known as Hay Stack Rock – it is a 72 meter (235-foot) high – sometimes claimed locally to be the third-tallest such “intertidal” (meaning it can be reached by land) structure in the world, but there are no official references to support this.

cannon beach

One of the most delightful parks and gardens in the United States is Washington Park. Within park grounds, the famed International Rose Test Garden is located near the impressive Portland Japanese Garden. Each displays exceptional horticultural expertise and are favorites with green thumbs. For families, the park entices with fun explorations at the Oregon Zoo as well as the Portland Children’s Museum.

washington park

The origin of the name Oregon is not certain. One theory has it that the name comes from the French Canadian word “ouragan” meaning “storm” or “hurricane.” It’s thought that the Columbia River was at one time called “the river of storms” by Canadian fur traders plying their trade in the area.

Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before Western traders, explorers, and settlers arrived.

Following exploration by the Spanish and French, in the 17th and 18th centuries, Oregon was mapped by the Lewis and Clark expedition in their search for the Northwest Passage.

map flag

An autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country in 1843 before the Oregon Territory was created in 1848.

Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859.

Oregon’s state flag pictures a beaver on its reverse side. It is the only state flag to carry two separate designs.

oregon flag reverse

Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state.

The state is home to the single largest organism in the world, Armillaria ostoyae, a fungus that runs beneath 890 hectares (2,200 acres) of the Malheur National Forest.

The Columbia River gorge is considered by many to be the best place in the world for windsurfing.

At 2,438 meters (8,000 feet) deep Hells Canyon is the deepest river gorge in North America.

Oregon’s state birthday is on February 14, Valentine’s Day.

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