Today is National Oregon Day and I’m happy to celebrate the great state where we live.
Some State of Oregon facts of interest:
Date of Statehood: February 14, 1859
Population: 4,093,000 (2016 census)
Size: 98,379 square miles
Nickname: Beaver State
Motto: She Flies With Her Own Wings
Tree: Douglas Fir
Flower: Oregon Grape
Bird: Western Meadowlark
Tax: There is no state sales tax.
Size: Oregon is the 10th largest state in the union (land wise)
Location: Oregon is bordered by Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and the Pacific Ocean.
Except for a few months while I completed my college internship in Arizona, I’ve lived in three different areas in the state and can tell you Oregon offers an incredibly diverse landscape.
In Eastern Oregon where I grew up and currently reside, we’re part of the high desert region which looks much like this. If the land hasn’t been cleared and tilled for farming or ranching, you’ll find sagebrush and random juniper trees among native grasses and craggy hills. Where I grew up, there were many farms that raised row crops like potatoes, onions, and sugar beets. Where we live now, we have rolling hills covered in wheat, vineyards, and apple orchards. And beyond those cultivated fields you’l find sagebrush and more sagebrush. I love the scent of sagebrush, especially right after a rainstorm. I loved it so much, I dug up a little bush and took a plant with me to college. My roommate did not share my enthusiasm for the scent and my plant “mysteriously” died a few weeks later.
My college days were spent in southern Oregon where there are mountains and loads of trees and lots of rain. Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, was nearby. The lushness of southern Oregon is similar to what you’d find around the Portland area.
The Oregon coastline is beautiful, rugged, and stretches on for hundreds of miles. Some of our favorite areas to visit on the coast are Seaside, Tillamook, and Lincoln City.
In central Oregon, the landscape that is similar to Eastern Oregon includes the magnificent Painted Hills that give a visual reminder of the prehistoric past.
Here are some other interesting tidbits about Oregon’s Nature:
*Hells Canyon in the northeast corner of the state is the deepest river-carved gorge in North America. At 7,913 feet, it’s deeper than the Grand Canyon.
*The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.
*The largest concentration of wintering bald eagles can be found in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
*The highest elevation point is Mt. Hood at 11,239 feet.
*There are more than 6,000 lakes and 112,000 miles of rivers and streams.
*Nearly half of Oregon’s total land area is forested – close to 30 million acres.
History and Heritage
Although Oregon’s history may seem relatively new compared to other parts of the country, it has 14 National Historic Districts and four National Historic Trails, including the Oregon Trail (with ruts still visible in some areas, including a place a few miles from where I grew up where the ruts are nearly knee-deep in some places).
*The first scenic highway in the U.S. (and also a historical landmark) is the Historic Columbia River Highway.
*Nine historic lighthouses and one light ship dot the Oregon Coast.
*Oregon is home to 10 Native American Tribes.
*Oregon boasts dozens of historical museums and a few interpretive centers including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City.
Other Oregon Tidbits
*Although many get it wrong, Oregon is pronounced OR-UH-GUN or OR-GUN, but never, ever OR-EE-GONE.
*Oregon grows 99 percent of the entire U.S. commercial hazelnut crop. (Nutella, anyone?)
*More than 750 vinyards in Oregon product in excess of 70 different varietals of wine grapes.
*Tater tots were invented by two Oregon brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg, founds of Ore-Ida.
*Tillamook cheese and ice cream are produced in Oregon (Toasted Coconut Fudge gelato is my current favorite flavor!)
*The Goonies was filmed mostly in Astoria with scenic cameo shots taken in other Oregon coastal towns. You can visit the official Goonies museum in Astoria to get more detail on the movie.
*The Pendleton Round-Up, started in 1910, is one of the oldest rodeos in the country.