Oregon Facts

The beautiful state of Oregon is stretching from a really spectacular coastline on the west, to America’s deepest gorge, Hells Canyon, on the east. Crater Lake is actually the deepest lake in America (1,932 feet), but also among its loveliest.

Oregon boasts America’s largest standing timber, the biggest and highest sand dunes, as well as what was the nation’s largest geyser, Old Perpetual, which is still a very popular tourist attraction in Lake County.

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Tens of thousands of pioneers had Oregon as their destination as they were traveling West overland on the ‘Oregon Trail’, an immigrant trail that was connecting the Missouri River area to Oregon’s valleys.

The Oregon Trail’s western half was spanning most of the present-day states of Idaho and Oregon. Lumber harvesting, including all related manufacturing industries, has always been a major Oregon economic activity and helps to keep Oregon vital, even today.

Oregon State has long been a frontrunner when it comes to sound social and ecological legislation.

Quick Facts about Oregon

– Largest American reserves of standing timber.
– Leads the U.S. in timber production.
– Oregon is America’s number 1 plywood producer.
– Leads the U.S. in the production of nickel.
– Greatest American reserves of agates.
– First ring-necked pheasants in America (in Linn County).

Oregon brief history

Bartolome Ferrelo, a Spanish explorer, sailed along the coast of present-day Oregon while he was leading his expedition, in the year 1543, but we don’t know exactly how far north he actually went, and Sir Francis Drake, the famed British explorer, probably also reached the southern Oregon coastal region by the year 1579.

Martin d’Agilar, a Spanish explorer, came to the area in 1603, and he recorded the first descriptions of the Oregon coastline. He named it Cape Blanco, and later sailed probably as far north as Coos Bay.

Bruno Heceta, a Spanish navigator, later discovered the Columbia River’s mouth in 1775, on August 17th, and a famous English explorer by the name of Captain James Cook sailed the Oregon coastal waters in 1778 and named it Cape Foulweather.

That same year, Robert Gray, an American captain, was the first white man who, as far as we know, set foot on Oregon land, when he came to the area that we now know as Tillamook County.

In 1792, on May 11th, Captain Gray was the first man to sail up the dangerous entry of the Columbia River. His party sailed some 15 miles upstream to trade with the local Indians. They traded a beaver skin for 2 spikes, and 2 salmon for 1 nail and Captain Gray named the mighty river the Columbia, for his ship.

During the early 1800s, the Pacific Northwest fur trade was predominantly controlled by American ships, but later that century, the fur trade diminished and the ships turned to whaling. The Pacific Fur Company, led by John Jacob Astor, was founded in 1811, and the company was headquartered in Fort Astoria, which became Oregon’s first permanently occupied white settlement.

At the time of the War of 1812, the English forces captured Fort Astoria, but only to be taken over again by the Americans in 1817. The Hudson’s Bay Company, led by the remarkable John McLoughlin, then seized Astoria in 1824.

In the year 1834, the Reverend Jason Lee had set up a mission post including a school near what now is Salem, and in May 1843, the Champoeg settlers, supported by the U.S. government, set up their own provisional government. Champoeg is now a ghost town, but in those days it was an important settlement in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

During the late 1840’s tens of thousands of new settlers came to the region over the Oregon Trail, and their number increased continuously till the railroad reached the region in the 1870s. Oregon became a U.S. state in 1859, on February 14th.

1877 has gone down history as the year that the Nez Pece’ Indians, led by Chief Joseph, were brutally forced to abandon their possessions and homeland which covered parts of Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

Then, in 1883, the transcontinental railroad had reached the city of Portland, and in 1911, the state of Oregon set up for the first time U.S. primary elections to establish a presidential preference.

At World War I, Oregon’s Third Infantry Division was among the nation’s first national guards that were mobilized to take part in the conflict. The first power was generated by the mighty Bonneville Dam in 1938, and during one of Japan’s attacks on the U.S. mainland during World War II, Fort Stevens was shelled by a Japanese sub in 1942, on June 21st.