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 1500s. 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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Pioneer Courthouse Square where the Weather Machine is located
Weather Machine is a kinetic sculpture and columnar machine that displays a weather prediction each day at noon. Designed and constructed by Omen Design Group Inc., the approximately 30 feet (9.1 m) tall bronze sculpture was installed in 1988 in the northwest corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. 2,000 people attended its dedication, which was broadcast live nationally from the Square by Today weatherman Willard Scott. The machine cost $60,000. During its daily two-minute sequence, which includes a trumpet fanfare, mist, and flashing lights, the machine displays one of three metal symbols as a prediction of the weather for the following 24-hour period: a sun for clear, sunny weather; a blue heron for drizzle and transitional weather; or a dragon and mist for rainy or stormy weather. The sculpture includes two bronze wind scoops and displays the temperature via vertical colored lights along its stem. The air quality index is also displayed by a light system below the stainless steel globe. Weather predictions are made based on information obtained by Square employees from the National Weather Service and Department of Environmental Quality. Considered a tourist attraction, Weather Machine has been called "bizarre", "eccentric", "playful", "unique", "wacky", "whimsical", "zany" and a "piece of wizardry", and has been compared to a giant scepter.

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Tom McCall Waterfront Park, named in McCall's memory
Tom McCall (1913–1983) was an American politician, and member of the Republican Party. He served two terms as the 30th governor of Oregon from 1967 to 1975. He was known for his environmental policies, passing the country's first "bottle bill" and working to clean the polluted Willamette River.

McCall was born in Massachusetts, the grandson of copper-king Thomas Lawson and Massachusetts governor and congressman Samuel W. McCall. He graduated from Redmond High School, and enrolled at the University of Oregon, graduating in 1936. McCall moved to Idaho to write for the local paper where he met his future wife, Audrey Owen.

He moved to Portland in 1942, where he worked for The Oregonian. He moved to the paper's radio station until 1949, when he became an assistant to Oregon Governor Douglas McKay. He was elected Oregon Secretary of State in 1964, then governor in 1966 and 1970. McCall later returned to journalism, and was a commentator for a Portland TV station. He made an unsuccessful bid to return to the governorship in 1978, losing in the primary to State Senator Victor G. Atiyeh, who went on to defeat incumbent Robert W. Straub. McCall died of prostate cancer in 1983, and after his death Portland dedicated a park along the Willamette River as Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

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Crater Lake


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Sparks Lake
Credit: Vibrantspirit

Sparks Lake is a small, natural lake in Deschutes County in Central Oregon. Seven mountain peaks are visible from the mile-high lake including Mount Bachelor, Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Jefferson.

State facts

State symbols:

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



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Skyline of downtown Portland, Oregon
Credit: Eric Baetscher
The skyline of downtown Portland, Oregon. Taken from the east waterfront.

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George L. Woods
A great system of internal improvement is being inaugurated in our midst, which fostered and encouraged, as it should be, will make Oregon, in the not distant future, one of the finest and most prosperous States in the Republic.
George L. Woods, 1870, Governor's Message

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Natural history

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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The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






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