‘The Beaver State’
Once the beaver was an animal which could be met all over the place. Because of its fur the beaver was a desired hunting object and the population shrinked rapidly and fast. After it became clear that beavers create also important habitats for other species like birds, frogs, etc., beavers became protected and their population grew again. In 1969 it became the state animal in recognition of its ecological relevance and the state’s nickname derived from the dam-architect as well.
Oregon has a diverse landscape that ranges from a beautiful Pacific Coast, pristine forests, rivers and valleys to mountains up to 3.426 m / 11.240 ft (Mt. Hood). The Cascade Mountain Range divides the state into two climate zones. West of the mountains the weather is determined by the Pacific Jetstream and therefore milder and more moderate than on the east side of the mountain range where harsh weather conditions especially during winter time made early settlement difficult.
Oregon’s largest city is Portland, the ‘city of roses’. The capital is Salem.
What to do / Sightseeing
State Data & Essentials
Oregon – State Abbr.: OR
– Statehood Ranking: 33
95,997 square miles (248,623 qkm)
– Land Area Ranking: 10
3,831,074 (2010 Census); 3,421,399 (2000 Census)
The Beaver State
She Flies With Her Own Wings (1987)
3.426 m / 11.240 ft (Mt. Hood)
Daylight Saving Time: yes
Douglas-Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
American Beaver (Castor canadensis)
“Oregon, My Oregon” (by J.A. Buchanan from Astoria and Henry B. Murtagh from Portland, 1920)
The Oregon Coast
Oregon’s share of the Pacific coastline owes its international reputation to the rugged beauty and natural wonders found all along its nearly 400-mile length.
Lewis and Clark ended their epic journey on the north coast near Astoria – a wonderful place to start yours. The entire coast is studded with singular sights, from dramatic rock formations to churning whirlpools to miles and miles of sandy beaches.
The rich history of the coast is offered up in the world-class Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, a host of museums and historic homes, and inside Oregon’s lighthouses.
Some of the state’s best camping parks are on the edge of the ocean, as are recreational opportunities galore – whale watching, fishing, golfing, surfing and hiking.
To maintain its delicate and beautiful nature, Governor Tom McCall introduced legislation in 1967 designating all of Oregon’s beaches for public access, protecting the entire coast from encroachment.
A civic-minded population, acres of park space, fabulous restaurants and a vibrant arts scene – what more could you want in a city? How about a pair of snow-capped volcanoes in the backyard and a river running through downtown? We’ve got that, too.
Portland’s legendary scenic beauty is surpassed only by the myriad of cultural opportunities it offers. The microbreweries, museums, wine bars and arts enclaves of Oregon’s biggest city are easily accessed by an award-winning public transit system. Light-rail service, dubbed MAX for Metropolitan Area Express, is offered even from the airport to the heart of downtown and to the friendly towns of Gresham to the east and Beaverton to the west. All Portland buses, MAX trains and the sleek Euro-designed streetcars are free in Portland’s “Fareless Square” district, which covers most of the downtown area.
Take a look at the meticulously designed metro areas with smaller, walkable city blocks, bike lanes and abundant city parks, and it’s easy to see why Portland-area urban planning practices are considered a model for the rest of the country to follow.
The Willamette Valley
The Willamette (emphasis is on the “a”) Valley is the heart of Oregon’s agricultural country – and it’s a big heart. Besides fruits, nuts and vegetables, farms in the valley grow everything from Christmas trees to flowers to front lawns.
Many pioneers found their promised land in this valley; and some of their descendants are still working that land today. During growing seasons (and sometimes year-round), roadside stands dot picturesque country lanes, and farmer’s markets appear in the valley’s historic towns.
A burgeoning wine industry is gaining prestige for its vigor and for Oregon’s top varietal: Pinot noir. The valley’s flat terrain and temperate climate make it a favorite for hikers and cyclists, who also enjoy the paved bike paths in the college towns of Eugene and Corvallis.
Central Oregon’s climate – lots of sun in the summer, lots of snow in the winter – is the reason it’s known as a sports paradise. Coveted fly-fishing rivers and world-famous golf courses are irresistible attractions along with popular outdoor activities including hiking, rock climbing and snow sports of all kinds.
Cowboy adventures, whitewater rafting, quiet mountain retreats – Central Oregon has it all.
The region’s geological history, marked by explosive volcanic activity, is showcased at several parks, and its rich cultural history is on display at the High Desert Museum in Bend.
An impressive collection of quality restaurants and lodging is spread throughout the region, with its quaint towns providing a vibrant nightlife and arts scene.
The spirit of the West is alive and well in the high desert of Eastern Oregon, where snow-capped mountains, dusty plains and jagged red rocks look down on rolling hills of sage, wild rivers and fertile wheat fields.
The legendary figures who passed through or lived in Eastern Oregon, including Chief Joseph, Lewis and Clark, and the Oregon Trail pioneers, provide a window into the region’s rich history. Visitors today can still see wagon ruts of these early residents.
Interpretive centers bring bygone days to life, as do the historic hotels and bed and breakfasts sprinkled throughout the region. Small towns with frontier charm still largely intact nurture a lively arts scene, and the area’s ranching history is celebrated each year with a rodeo that draws an international audience.
Also in the Eastern part of Oregon is Farewell Bend State Park offers the opportunity to camp along the Snake River just like pioneers on the Oregon Trail did for more than 150 years. In fact, there is a special Oregon Trail exhibit which commemorates the site where pioneers rested and viewed the Columbia River for the last time before heading westward.
Farewell Bend State Park features year round recreational opportunities and access to the Snake River’s Brownlee Reservoir which offers excellent bass and catfish angling. The Oregon State Parks Trust helped raise money to build a handicapped accessible fishing dock so now visitors of all abilities can enjoy the fishing opportunities in this park.
The glowing green of growing valleys, the sparse beauty of high desert country – you get all that and more in the climatically diverse Southern Oregon.
World-class fishing and rafting rivers vie for attention with mountain biking and desert hiking. Then there’s the clear blue water of Crater Lake, one of Oregon’s most spectacular natural wonders.
Southern Oregon is home to a pair of well-known festivals celebrating music and theater, as well as historical museums, arts communities, antique malls and thriving winery industries in several of its many valleys. History buffs will recognize the region as the site of Oregon’s 19th-century gold rush, an era preserved for posterity within the boundaries of the entire town of Jacksonville.
Collier Memorial State Park and Logging Museum
Located 30 miles north of Klamath Falls, Collier Memorial State Park is rich with the history of eastern Oregon’s timber industry. Established in 1947, when the Collier brothers donated a unique collection of antique logging equipment, the museum at Collier Memorial State Park has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of forestry equipment in the country.