81 Fun & Interesting Facts About Oregon

Ready to embark on an adventure to a place filled with towering trees, majestic mountains, and incredible coastlines? Let’s journey to Oregon, a state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States that’s full of wonders waiting to be discovered. So, grab your backpacks, and let’s dive into some interesting facts about Oregon!

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Did you know that Oregon is home to the deepest lake in the United States? It’s called Crater Lake, and it’s super deep and incredibly blue. This lake was formed a long, long time ago when a volcano erupted and then collapsed, creating a huge crater that filled with rainwater and snowmelt over hundreds of years. Now, it’s a beautiful, crystal-clear lake that people come from all over to see.

Oregon is also famous for its forests. In fact, about half of the state is covered in forests! That’s a lot of trees! These forests are home to tall Douglas fir trees, which are really important because they’re used for making things like paper and houses. And, these forests are perfect for adventures like hiking and camping.

And here’s a fun fact about Oregon. They love bikes! Portland, one of the cities in Oregon, is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. People there ride their bikes everywhere – to work, to the store, and just for fun. It’s a great way to get around and see the city.

Are you excited to learn more facts about Oregon? From its deep, blue lake to its bike-loving cities, Oregon is a state full of interesting places and stories. Let’s keep exploring and discover all the amazing things that make Oregon such a special place!

Be sure to discover even more interesting facts with our Facts about Missouri and our Facts about Mississippi.

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Facts about Oregon

  1. In 1949 Portland elected their first-ever female mayor, Dorothy McCullough Lee—who promptly killed all the fun by banning pinball machines.
  2. Oregon’s shipbuilding industry benefited heavily from the demand for ships in WWII.
  3. In 1909, a few local farmers and creameries decided to join forces to create the first rendition of the factory, the Tillamook County Creamery Association. Today, it’s one of the largest direct and indirect employers in the Tillamook Valley.
  4. With a height of 3.43 km, Mount Hood stands about 80 km southeast of Portland, on the border of the counties of Clackamas and Hood River.
  5. Portland, Oregon has more breweries than any other city in the world. Within its city limits, Portland has more than 60 breweries.
  6. It’s illegal to use canned corn as fish bait in the state.
  7. A vandal terrorized the stop signs in downtown Portland placing stickers on them so that they read “poop.” Removing them must have been a crappy job.
  8. Mt. Hood is the third most climbed mountain in the world, at 11,250 feet, Mt. Hood is the tallest volcano in Oregon and the fourth tallest in the Cascade Range.
  9. The Oregon Grape, also known as Holly-Leaved Barberry, is a shrub native to the Pacific Northwest.
  10. The Oregon Grape produces bright yellow flowers in the spring and edible, dark blue, bitter berries in the fall!
  11. Oregon’s nickname is “The Beaver State”.
  12. And if you own a home in Beaverton, you need to purchase a $10 permit before you can install a burglar alarm.
  13. A major earthquake once struck Oregon in 1700. The momentous 1700 Cascadia Earthquake took place on January 26 of that year. The natural disaster resulted from a 20-meter slip in the Juan de Fuca plate, rupturing the ground over 1000 km from Vancouver Island to Northern California.
  14. In 1994, Oregon became the first U.S. state to legalize physician-assisted suicide, resulting in Oregon’s suicide rates being some of the highest in the nation.
  15. Oregon has lots of love for llamas, in fact, one-fourth of the country’s total llama population lives here.
  16. Even the Starbucks baristas and Target cashiers have Master’s degrees in Portland. The city has more literate residents than any other U.S. city.
  17.  Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state in the country. There are over 60 of them, including deserted gold mining towns.
  18. Oregon is home to the largest organism on earth located in the Malheur National Forest and weighing an estimated 7,500 tons and covering 4 square miles, the honey mushroom (Armillaria ostoyae) is known as the largest organism on earth.
  19. In 1927, students in a state contest chose the Western Meadowlark as the state bird of Oregon.
  20. The Willamette Valley is considered the heart of Oregon’s Wine Country. Hundreds of vineyards operate in this territory mainly due to the fertile soil and humid air that allow grapes to thrive.
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  1. The 1990 Mount St. Helens Eruption affected parts of Oregon.
  2. The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake, was formed more than 6,500 years ago within the remains of an ancient volcano. 
  3. Crater Lake has crystal-blue water and is known worldwide.
  4. There are 159 yurts in 19 parks in Oregon. What’s a yurt, you ask? It’s a circular, portable tent structure that’s perfect for camping. You’re welcome, hippies!
  5. Portland is home to the second-largest copper statue in America.
  6. Portland is home to one of the largest roosts of Vaux’s Swifts in the world.
  7. The City of Portland commissioned a sculptor named Raymond Kaskey to create the sculpture after the figure on the Portland seal (fun fact, he modeled the statue’s face after his wife).  The sculptor guards the rights to the statue and doesn’t allow photos of it to be used for commercial purposes. He threatens lawsuits when his request is not met.
  8.  Oregon’s state tree is the Douglas fir. The Douglas fir was named after the Scottish botanist David Douglas, who traveled to Oregon to record and collect new species of plants in North America.
  9. In 1993, the film “Free Willy,” set largely in Oregon, made countless kids fall in love with orca whales. While most movies are filmed in different locations than their actual stories’ settings, that’s not the case with this blockbuster hit.
  10. Oregon has a lot of bridges there are over 8,200 officially registered bridges in Oregon. These bridges were built to help keep traffic flowing and facilitate transportation.
  11. Oregon became an official state on February 14, 1859. Only fitting that a state keen on acceptance and love celebrate her birthday on Valentine’s Day!
  12. In 1957, John McLoughlin was officially named the “Father of Oregon.” This honor stems from his work to help the state’s first settlers and his active role in developing Oregon City as a merchant and businessman.
  13. Several peaks of the Cascade Volcanoes stand in Oregon. There’s the Lava Butte in Central Oregon, between the towns of Bend, Oregon, and Sunriver, which last erupted 7,000 years ago. There’s also Broken Top, North Sister, and South Sister, which together make up the Three Sisters volcanoes of Central Oregon.
  14. Forests cover 60% of the state, with forests covering up to 80% of the landscape west of the Cascades. 
  15. The world’s smallest park is in Portland. Mill Ends Park is a tiny urban park located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway. The park is a small circle 2 ft across, with a total area of 452 sq in (0.292 m). 
  16. Mill Ends Park was designated as a city park in 1948. It is the smallest park in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, which first granted it this recognition in 1971.
  17. You can’t pump your own gas in Oregon.
  18. The Simpsons takes place in Oregon. In 2012, creator Matt Groening finally put the debate to rest by confirming that it’s Springfield, Oregon.
  19. Oregon is home to the deepest canyon in North America. Hells Canyon is an impressive 7,913 feet deep. That’s deeper than the Grand Canyon by almost 2,000 feet!
  20. Weighing up to 50 pounds, Chinook Salmon are the largest species of salmon in the Pacific Northwest!
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  1. Oregon State University has four land grants. 
  2. The Snake River starts out in Western Wyoming, then flows through Southern Idaho, and then along Oregon’s eastern border. It also runs through Washington state, finally emptying into the Columbia River in the state’s Tri-Cities region.
  3. In 1971 Oregon became the first state to ban the use of non-returnable bottles and cans. The law is credited with reducing litter and increasing container recycling. As a result, items that used to make up around 40% of roadside litter now represent about 6%.
  4. Portland’s name was decided with a coin toss. Had the coin landed on the other side, the city would have been named Boston. 
  5. Powell’s Books is the largest independent bookstore in the world. The local bookstore houses approximately one million books and spans 4 floors. 
  6. Salem, Oregon is Oregon’s third-largest city. The local Kalapuya tribe named the area “Chimikiti,” meaning “meeting or resting place,” and the word “Salem” means “peace” in Hebrew.
  7. The Columbia Plateau mountain range stretches across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The mountains formed millions of years ago due to lava outpours.
  8. Oregon also has a town named Boring—which is the sister city of the Scotland town of Dull. They even have their own state holiday “Boring and Dull Day.” Whether either city has lived up to its name- we’ll leave it up to you.
  9. Oregon is one of two coastal states (Hawaii is the other) to protect beach access to the public. The first big act to keep beaches public was passed in 1913 by Governor Oswald West to declare Oregon’s coast a public highway.
  10. Oregon is the 27th most populous state in the United States and the 9th largest state by area in the United States!
  11. Portland is home to over 60 breweries and has more microbreweries than any other city in the world.
  12. Oregon is only 2.4% water.
  13. The Columbia River Gorge is an 80-mile canyon that follows part of its namesake’s path. Since the gorge can reach depths up to 4,000 feet, it’s not surprising that there are numerous natural waterfalls visitors can admire while hiking or biking.
  14. Oregon’s D River has a length of only 130 meters. Guinness World Records once declared it the world’s shortest river, but the title was transferred to Montana‘s Roe River in 1989, as the river only has a length of 61 meters.
  15. Silver Falls Park is the largest park in Oregon and features all sorts of forested hiking trails and 10 amazing waterfalls. 
  16. Oregon is home to the most ghost towns in the nation with over 80 ghost towns listed on the national register. Oregon holds the nation’s top spot as the ghost town capital. 
  17. It’s illegal to box with a kangaroo in Oregon.
  18. There’s no state sales tax in Oregon.
  19. Tourism is a major part of Oregon’s economy. The Crater Lake National Park–averages about 500,000 visitors per year!
  20. The state flag is two-sided. If you look at the Oregon state flag, you’ll see its seal on a blue background, with the year 1859 sprawled underneath to commemorate its admission into the Union. However, unless you look at its back, you’re only seeing half of the flag’s design.
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  1. Ministers in Marion aren’t permitted to eat garlic before beginning a sermon. 
  2. Oregon is the only state in the country to have a dual-sided state flag.
  3. Oregon is the only state that has an official state nut. The official state nut of Oregon is the hazelnut. The hazelnut is also known as a filbert. Oregon grows 99 percent of the entire U.S. commercial crop.
  4. The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.
  5. While it’s illegal to buy and sell marijuana in Oregon, you can still legally smoke it on your own property.
  6. With more than 350+ miles of bike lanes, Portland is considered the most bike-friendly city in the country. 
  7. The state has an average elevation of 1 kilometer above sea level.
  8. Portland International Rose Test Garden, also known as Portland Rose Garden, features over 10,000 roses. Portland has rightfully earned its nickname as the “City of Roses” due to its ideal living conditions for the fabulous flower.
  9. Forest Grove is a relatively small city that typically flies under people’s radar. It’s home to the tallest barber pole in the world. In 1973, a local resident had the idea to build the now-73-foot striped pole in the town’s Lincon Park.
  10. Oregon also has the world’s biggest fungus. You can find it in the Malheur National Forest, located in Eastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains. The fungus belongs to the Armillaria ostoyae species, and lives underground, growing over an area covering an estimated 3.4 square miles.
  11. In Stanfield, no more than 2 people are allowed to share a drink.
  12. The Nike “swoosh” logo was designed by Portland State University student Carolyn Davidson in 1971. 
  13. There are eight major regions In Oregon including The Oregon Coast, Rogue Valley, Columbia River Gorge, Cascade Mountains, Klamath Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon Outback, and Blue Mountains.
  14. The state’s climate is generally mild with cool, sunny summers and cold Pacific Northwest winters. The Oregon coast brings in cooler air, whereas the state’s high desert and mountain areas are hot in the summer and cold in the winter.
  15. The Oregon Trail was a 2,000-mile route from Missouri to Oregon City that was used by pioneers in the mid-1800s. This was the most used route in all of the United State’s history of westward expansion!
  16. Track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon and his former student Phil Knight founded Nike in 1964. Nike was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports and was renamed Nike in 1978, coupled with the appearance of the iconic “Swoosh” logo.
  17. Oregon covers a total area of 254,806 km².
  18. There are 16 hot springs in Oregon. Oregonians totally take every opportunity to relax in one. 
  19. There are 61 volcanoes within the state, five of which are considered active, with others classified as dormant. Despite that large number, only two cities have volcanoes within their territory. Portland’s Mount Tabor is considered extinct, while Bend’s Newberry Volcano is still active.
  20. Eugene was the first city to have one-way streets and is quoted by “Bicycling Magazine” as one of the top ten cycling communities in the United States.
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  1. Oregon’s Sea Lion Caves is America’s largest cave. The cave in question is 1,315 feet in length, with multiple chambers. What draws visitors to the landmark isn’t its size, though; it’s the sea lions that can often be seen sunning on rocks around its mouth.

Do you have even more interesting facts about Oregon? Share them with us in the comments! 

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