Free Online Topography map of Oregon

Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon’s northern and eastern boundaries respectively. The area was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before the arrival of traders, explorers and settlers; the Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Salem is the state’s capital and third-most-populous city; Portland is the most populous. Portland is the 30th-largest U.S. city, with a population of 575,950 (2008 estimate) and a metro population of 2,176,136 (2007 estimate), the 23rd-largest U.S. metro area.

One of the most beautiful regions in North America is the Northwest. With breathtaking scenery and never ending coasts it has fast gained the reputation of being one of the best travel destinations in Americas. The mountain ranges are apt for the thriving wilderness and for the adventure lovers too. Mount Saint Helens with its historical past and Mt. Rainer with the natures bounty stand tall in the northwest as embodiments of the claim the place makes about its grandeur. The metropolitan scene of this side of America is abuzz with cities like Washington and Oregon making it the political corner of the country. The ocean too is gracious enough to offer all its beauty to the northwestern coast. The northern pacific flushes the coast and some of the most fantastic beaches are found on the coastal cities like Washington. The waters are also home to whales, which has made whale-watching a favorite activity in this part of North America.

The valley of the Willamette River in western Oregon is the most densely populated and agriculturally productive region of the state and is home to eight of the ten most populous cities. Oregon’s 2000 population was about 3.5 million, a 20.3% increase over 1990; it is estimated to have reached 3.7 million by 2016. Oregon’s largest for-profit private employer is Intel, located in the Silicon Forest area on Portland’s west side. The state has 199 public school districts, with Portland Public Schools as the largest. There are 17 community colleges, and seven publicly financed colleges in the Oregon University System. Oregon State University in Corvallis and the University of Oregon in Eugene are the two flagship universities of the state, while Portland State University has the largest enrollment.

Similar to other places Oregon real estate investments are, a booming business opportunity for real estate companies. A unique factor of real estate investments is that they are largely influenced by local factors. This includes local events and situations that affect the popularity of an area. Unfortunate events such as car bombings can result in adverse returns, for Oregon real estate returns on investments for a short period. On the contrary, a simple rock show can send profits soaring.

Portland is in the shadow of Oregon City, the territorial capital located 19 kilometres upstream of the Willamette Falls. However, because it is located at a point on the river which is important to navigation, it has a key advantage over other ports. It quickly became the main town in the state, growing much faster then the rival cities of Milwaukie and Sellwood. In 1850 Portland had 800 inhabitants, a steam sawmill, a hotel and a newspaper, and the Weekly Oregonian. Portland was the main port in the region during much of the nineteenth century until the 1890s when access by rail between the deep water port of Seattle and the Stampede Pass was built. The goods can then be transported without the help of ships. But this did not stop the city from maintaining its position as the metropolis of Oregon.

Oregon History

The Lewis and Clark Expedition traveled through the region also in search of the Northwest Passage. They built their winter fort at Fort Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia River. Overland exploration was also conducted by British explorer David Thompson.

In 1811, David Thompson, of the North West Company, became the first European to navigate the entire length of the Columbia River. Stopping on the way, at the junction of the Snake River, he posted a claim to the region for Great Britain and the Northwest Company. Upon returning to Montreal, he publicized the abundance of fur-bearing animals in the area.

Also in 1811, New Yorker John Jacob Astor financed the establishment of Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River as a western outpost to his Pacific Fur Company; this was the first permanent Caucasian settlement in Oregon.

With promises of cheap land and a new beginning, thousands of settlers packed up their belongings and made the journey west across the Oregon Trail. Nearly 2200 miles long, the journey would take five months of brutal hardship across some of the most grueling terrain America has to offer. Indeed, many never did finish the journey, choosing to settle along the way.

The huge Conestoga wagons most commonly used by Pioneers were not suited to travel across the prairies, making it necessary to develop a new, streamlined vehicle nicknamed the Prairie Schooner. At half the size and weight of the Conestogas, these wagons made it possible for settlers to make the full voyage without becoming stranded.

The Oregon Trail was only in heavy use for 25 years due to the construction of the transcontinental railroad. Even so, it saw more than 300,000 travelers during its time. Now it can be traveled by car along the Oregon National Historic Trail, a large portion of which follows U.S. Highway 26.

In 1841, the master trapper and entrepreneur Ewing Young died leaving considerable wealth and no apparent heir, and no system to probate his estate. A meeting followed Young’s funeral at which a probate government was proposed. Doctor Ira Babcock of Jason Lee’s Methodist Mission was elected Supreme Judge. Babcock chaired two meetings in 1842 at Champoeg (half way between Lee’s mission and Oregon City) to discuss wolves and other animals of contemporary concern. These meetings were precursors to an all-citizen meeting in 1843, which instituted a provisional government headed by an executive committee made up of David Hill, Alanson Beers, and Joseph Gale. This government was the first acting public government of the Oregon Country before annexation by the government of the United States.

A brutal practice, the capture and sale of men to serve as seamen was apparently in force in Portland, Oregon from 1850-1940. While it has not been fully proven when, where and how these kidnappings occurred, it is a fact that men were purchased by captains of ships bound to the Orient to serve as free labor for the voyage. Legend has it that Portland was one of the primary sources of this kind of cheap labor.

Below the city is a vast series of basements interconnected by tunnels that are commonly known as the Shanghai Tunnels. Running from Portland’s Old Town to downtown Portland, it is suspected that these tunnels were used to hold captured men and women, ready for sale. During prohibition bars moved their sales underground, making it even easier to Shanghai unsuspecting people from the city. When visiting Portland, be sure to take a tour of the catacombs beneath the city and hear the tales of Shanghaiing. Let your eyes and ears decide how true this legend may be.


The mountainous regions of western Oregon, home to four of the most prominent mountain peaks of the United States including Mount Hood, were formed by the volcanic activity of Juan de Fuca Plate, a tectonic plate that poses a continued threat of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the region. The most recent major activity was the 1700 Cascadia earthquake; Washington’s Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980, an event which was visible from Oregon.

Oregon is located between Washington and California. This area is probably more densely populated than most people think, especially near the northwestern part of the state. While that area has two area codes to help with the demand for new numbers, the rest of the state is using one code, and that is the area code 541. In fact, a very large geographical area of Oregon relies on this area code. and so does some parts of California.

At one time, the area code 541 did not exist. The only code in Oregon was the code 503. The code 541 split from 503 just recently. The split took a little over a half of a year to complete. This area now contains the cities of Eugene, the Dalles, Pendleton, Albany, Medford, and Springfield. This code also includes a vast rural area of the state.

Not only that, it also covers part of Del Norte county in the northern part of California. Most codes stay within a state, but this is one of the exceptions. This area of California is small and only includes areas that have the 541-596 beginning to their phone number. This may very well be because this area is serviced by Frontier phone service, and the code being the same helped with numbering.

The Columbia River, which constitutes much of the northern border of Oregon, also played a major role in the region’s geological evolution, as well as its economic and cultural development. The Columbia is one of North America’s largest rivers, and the only river to cut through the Cascades. About 15,000 years ago, the Columbia repeatedly flooded much of Oregon during the Missoula Floods; the modern fertility of the Willamette Valley is largely a result of those floods. Plentiful salmon made parts of the river, such as Celilo Falls, hubs of economic activity for thousands of years. In the 20th century, numerous hydroelectric dams were constructed along the Columbia, with major impacts on salmon, transportation and commerce, electric power, and flood control.

Between the harsh agricultural climate, the tumultuous upheaval of the transcontinental railway and the whims of the gold rush, it is no wonder that Oregon is home to dozens of ghost towns. One interesting locale is Sumpter. Founded in 1862 by several men on the way to the California gold rush, it began as nothing more than an old cabin. Because it was so far out of the way, the town grew slowly, not even rating a post office until 1874. As technology improved, making it easier to mine gold, the population increased. By 1900 the 35 gold mines in the area had raked in nearly nine million dollars worth of gold. With a population of around 3500 the city was booming.

Oregon government

Oregon state government has a separation of powers similar to the federal government. It has three branches, called departments by the state’s constitution:

* a legislative department (the bicameral Oregon Legislative Assembly),
* an executive department which includes an “administrative department” and Oregon’s governor serving as chief executive, and
* a judicial department, headed by the Chief Justice of the Oregon Supreme Court.

Governors in Oregon serve four year terms and are limited to two consecutive terms, but an unlimited number of total terms. Oregon has no lieutenant governor; in the event that the office of governor is vacated, Article V, Section 8a of the Oregon Constitution specifies that the Secretary of State is first in line for succession. The other statewide officers are Treasurer, Attorney General, Superintendent, and Labor Commissioner. The biennial Oregon Legislative Assembly consists of a thirty-member Senate and a sixty-member House. The state supreme court has seven elected justices, currently including the only two openly gay state supreme court justices in the nation. They choose one of their own to serve a six-year term as Chief Justice. The only court that may reverse or modify a decision of the Oregon Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of the United States.

The debate over whether to move to annual sessions is a long-standing battle in Oregon politics, but the voters have resisted the move from citizen legislators to professional lawmakers. Because Oregon’s state budget is written in two year increments and, having no sales tax, its revenue is based largely on income taxes, it is often significantly over- or under-budget. Recent legislatures have had to be called into special session repeatedly to address revenue shortfalls resulting from economic downturns, bringing to a head the need for more frequent legislative sessions.

The Beaver State is known for being the home of the massive, 11,000 foot Mt. Hood, but it is home to a lesser known mountain that should be of greater interest to OR residents. Currently, Oregon unclaimed money totals more than $250 million. That’s right, more than a quarter of a billion, owed to more than 1 million people. This translates in to roughly 30% of the population, which means the odds that any given citizen is owed a portion of this money are 1 in 3.

Each year, the state of Oregon receives between $30 and $40 million in unclaimed property, but only returns about $10 million to the rightful owners. Since the owners of the other $20 to $30 million weren’t located, that money gets added to the total, so that $250 million on stands to grow. While it may be tough to believe that 1 in 3 Oregon residents are due a claim, these monies really come from sources that we all use everyday. The OR Department of State Lands describes some of the most common sources as follows:”Unclaimed property includes savings accounts, checking accounts, unpaid wages or commissions, stocks, dividends proceeds, refunds, money orders, paid-up life insurance policies, utility deposits and contents of safe deposit boxes.”

The state maintains formal relationships with the nine federally recognized tribes in Oregon:

* Burns Paiute Tribe
* Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians
* Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde
* Confederated Tribes of Siletz
* Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
* Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
* Coquille Indian Tribe
* Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Indians
* Klamath Tribes

Oregonians have voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate in every election since 1988. In 2004 and 2006, Democrats won control of the state Senate and then the House. Since the late 1990s, Oregon has been represented by four Democrats and one Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, and, until 2009, by one U.S. Senator from each party. In 2009, Democrat Jeff Merkley became the second Democratic senator, joining Ron Wyden. Democratic Governor Ted Kulongoski defeated Republicans in 2002 and 2006, defeating conservative Kevin Mannix and the more moderate Ron Saxton respectively.

The base of Democratic support is largely concentrated in the urban centers of the Willamette Valley. In both 2000 and 2004, the Democratic Presidential candidate won Oregon, but did so with majorities in only eight of Oregon’s 36 counties. The eastern two-thirds of the state beyond the Cascade Mountains often votes Republican; in 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush carried every county east of the Cascades. However, the region’s sparse population means that the more populous counties in the Willamette Valley usually carry the day in statewide elections.

Oregon’s politics are largely similar to those of neighboring Washington, for instance in the contrast between urban and rural issues.

In the 2024 general election, Oregon voters passed ballot measures banning same-sex marriage, and restricting land use regulation. In the 2006 general election, voters restricted the use of eminent domain and extended the state’s discount prescription drug coverage.

The distribution, sales and consumption of alcoholic beverages are regulated in the state by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Thus, Oregon is an Alcoholic beverage control state. While wine and beer are available in most grocery stores, comparatively few stores sell hard liquor.

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