Origin of Name: The first written record of the name "Oregon" comes to us from a 1765 proposal for a journey written by Major Robert Rogers, an English army officer. It reads, "The rout... is from the Great Lakes towards the Head of the Mississippi, and from thence to the River called by the Indians Ouragon. ..." His proposal rejected, Rogers reapplied in 1772, using the spelling "Ourigan." The first printed use of the current spelling appeared in Captain Jonathan Carver's 1778 book, "Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America 1766, 1767 and 1768." He listed the four great rivers of the continent, including "the River Oregon, or the River of the West, that falls into the Pacific Ocean at the Straits of Annian."
Highest: Mt. Hood (11239')
Lowest: Pacific Ocean (sea level)
The American Beaver (Castor canadensis) was named Oregon state animal by the 1969 Legislature. Prized for its fur, the beaver was overtrapped by early settlers and eliminated from much of its original range. Through proper management and partial protection, the beaver has been reestablished in watercourses throughout the state and remains an important economic asset. The beaver has been referred to as "nature's engineer," and its dam-building activities are important to natural water flow and erosion control. Oregon is known as the "Beaver State" and Oregon State University's athletic teams are called the "Beavers."
The official state beverage, milk, was adopted in the 1997 by the legislature.
The Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) was chosen state bird in 1927 by Oregon's school children in a poll sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society. Native throughout western North America, the bird has brown plumage with buff and black markings. Its underside is bright yellow with a black crescent on the breast; its outer tail feathers are mainly white and are easily visible when it flies. The Western Meadowlark is known for its distinctive and beautiful song.
Washington on north
California on south
Idaho on east
Pacific Ocean on west
Nevada on southeast
The 2009 Legislature designated the Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister) as the official state crustacean. The action followed petitioning by the 4th grade class of Sunset Primary School in West Linn. Common to the Pacific coastline from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Santa Cruz, California, Dungeness Crab is considered the most commercially important crab in the Pacific Northwest.
In 1977 the Legislature declared the Square Dance to be the official state dance. The dance is a combination of various steps and figures danced with four couples grouped in a square. The pioneer origins of the dance and the characteristic dress are deemed to reflect Oregon's heritage; the lively spirit of the dance exemplifies the friendly, free nature and enthusiasm that are a part of the Oregon Character.
The 1957 Legislature bestowed upon Dr. John McLoughlin the honorary title of "Father of Oregon" in recognition of his great contributions to the early development of the Oregon Country. Dr. McLoughlin originally came to the Northwest region in 1824 as a representative of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), also known as spring, king and tyee salmon, is the largest of the Pacific salmons and the most highly prized for the fresh fish trade. Declared state fish by the 1961 Oregon Legislature, the Chinook Salmon is found from southern California to the Canadian Arctic. Record catches of 53 inches and 126 pounds have been reported.
The Oregon state flag, adopted in 1925, is navy blue with gold lettering and symbols. Blue and gold are the state colors. On the flag's face the legend "STATE OF OREGON" is written above a shield which is surrounded by 33 stars. Below the shield, which is part of the state seal, is written "1859," the year of Oregon's admission to the union as the 33rd state. The flag's reverse side depicts a beaver. Oregon has the distinction of being the only state in the union whose flag has a different pattern on the reverse side. The dress or parade flag has a gold fringe, and the utility flag has a plain border.
The Legislature designated the Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) as the Oregon state flower by resolution in 1899. A low growing plant, the Oregon Grape is native to much of the Pacific Coast and is found sparsely east of the Cascades. Its year-round foliage of pinnated, waxy green leaves resembles holly. The plant bears dainty yellow flowers in early summer and a dark blue berry that ripens late in the fall. The fruit can be used in cooking.
The Metasequoia (Dawn Redwood) was designated as the state fossil by House Joint Resoluion 3 in 2005. Though found abundantly in Oregon's fossil record and believed to be extinct, living examples of this unique tree were discovered in a remote area of China over 50 years ago. Today, a Dawn Redwood adorns Willson Park on the Capitol grounds. The Metasequoia is a unique needle-bearing tree that has distinctive green foliage during the spring and summer. During autumn, its needles turn golden brown and are shed during the winter.
Pears (Pyrus Communis) grow along the banks for the Columbia River, in the valleys beneath Mt. Hood, and in the Rogue River Valley in southern Oregon. Oregon's mild climate allows growers to produce both summer and winter pears. The most common varieties are the Comice, Anjou, Bosc, and Bartlett. The 73rd Legislative Assembly passed HJR 8 in 2005 making the pear Oregon's state fruit.
The 1987 Legislature designated the Oregon sunstone as the official state gemstone. Uncommon in its composition, clarity, and colors, it is a large, brightly colored transparent gem in the feldspar family. The Oregon sunstone attracts collectors and miners and has been identified as a boon to tourism and economic development in southeastern Oregon counties.
In 1979 the Legislature designated the Oregon Swallowtail (Papilio oregonius) as Oregon's official insect. A true native of the Northwest, the Oregon Swallowtail is at home in the lower sagebrush canyons of the Columbia River and its tributaries, including the Snake River drainage. This strikingly beautiful butterfly, predominantly yellow, is a wary, strong flier not easily captured.
Crater Lake - 1932' (deepest in U.S.)
Cape Arago Lighthouse - Coos Bay
Cape Blanco Lighthouse - Port Orford
Cape Meares Lighthouse - Tillamook
Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse - Yachats (privately-owned, not open to the public)
Coquille River Lighthouse - Bandon
Heceta Head Lighthouse - Florence
Tillamook Rock Lighthouse - Cannon Beach
Umpqua River Lighthouse - Reedsport
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse - Newport
Yacquina Head Lighthouse - Newport
Honored by the 1987 Legislature as Mother of Oregon, Tabitha Moffatt Brown "represents the distinctive pioneer heritage and the charitable and compassionate nature of Oregon's people." At 66 years of age, she financed her own wagon for the trip from Missouri to Oregon. The boarding school for orphans that she established later became known as Tualatin Academy and eventually was chartered as Pacific University.
"She Flies With Her Own Wings" was adopted by the 1987 Legislature as the state motto. The phrase originated with Judge Jessie Quinn Thornton and was pictured on the territorial seal in Latin: Alis Volat Propiis. The new motto replaces "The Union," which was adopted in 1957.
The 1999 Legislature recognized the Pacific golden chanterelle (Cantharellus formosus) as the Oregon state mushroom. This mushroom is a wild, edible fungus of high culinary value that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. More than 500,000 pounds of Pacific golden chanterelles are harvested annually in Oregon, representing a large portion of the commercial mushroom business.
Deschutes, Fremont, Malheur, Mount Hood, Ochoco, Rogue River, Siskiyou, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Umpqua, Wallowa-Whitman, Willamette, Winema
Historic - Oregon Trail:
Length: 2170 miles
From Independence, Missouri to the Willamette Valley, Oregon
States the trail passes through: Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon
9 federally-recognized tribes:
Burns Paiute Tribe
Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians
Coquille Indian Tribe
Cow Creak Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians
Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community
Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation
The hazelnut (Corylus avellana) was named state nut by the 1989 Legislature. Oregon grows 99 percent of the entire U.S. commercial crop. The Oregon hazelnut, unlike wild varieties, grows on single-trunked trees up to 30 or 40 feet tall. Adding a unique texture and flavor to recipes and products, hazelnuts are preferred by chefs, bakers, confectioners, food manufacturers and homemakers worldwide.
The Thunder-egg (geode) was named state rock by the 1965 Legislature after rockhounds throughout Oregon voted it first choice. Thundereggs range in diameter from less than one inch to over four feet. Nondescript on the outside, they reveal exquisite designs in a wide range of colors when cut and polished. They are found chiefly in Crook, Jefferson, Malheur, Wasco and Wheeler counties.
Sea Shell, State
In 1848, a conchologist (shell expert) named Redfield named the Fusitriton oregonensis after the Oregon Territory. Commonly called the Oregon hairy triton, the shell is one of the largest found in the state, reaching lengths up to five inches. The shells are found from Alaska to California and wash up on the Oregon coast at high tide. The Legislature named the state shell in 1991.
J.A. Buchanan of Astoria and Henry B. Murtagh of Portland wrote "Oregon, My Oregon," in 1920. With this song, Buchanan and Murtagh won a statewide competition sponsored by the Society of Oregon Composers, gaining statewide recognition. The song became the official state song in 1927.
The state seal consists of an escutcheon, or shield, supported by 33 stars and divided by an ordinary, or ribbon, with the inscription "The Union". Above the ordinary are the mountains and forests of Oregon, an elk with branching antlers, a covered wagon and ox team, the Pacific Ocean with setting sun, a departing British man-of-war signifying the departure of British influence in the region and an arriving American merchant ship signifying the rise of American power. Below the ordinary is a quartering with a sheaf of wheat, plow and pickax, which represent Oregon's mining and agricultural resources. The crest is the American Eagle. Around the perimeter of the seal is the legend "State of Oregon 1859". A resolution adopted by the Constitutional Convention in session on September 17, 1857, authorized the president to appoint a committee of three--Benjamin F. Burch, L.F. Grover and James K. Kelly--to report on a proper device for the seal of the state of Oregon. Harvey Gordon created a draft, to which the committee recommended certain additions that are all incorporated in the state seal.
The Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), named for David Douglas, a 19th century Scottish botanist, was designated state tree in 1939. Great strength, stiffness and moderate weight make it an invaluable timber product said to be stronger than concrete. Averaging up to 200' in height and six feet in diameter, heights of 325' and diameters of 15' can also be found.
Multnomah Falls - 620'
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