Oregon Geography, Population, Business and History

Oregon, abbreviated OR or Ore., Is a state northwest of the United States, located on the Pacific North of California and south of Washington, and in addition borders Idaho in the east and Nevada in the southeast. Oregon has a total area of ​​approximately 254,800 km2 and has 4,142,776 residents (US Census, 2017). Oregon became the 33rd state of the United States on February 14, 1859. The capital is Salem, and the largest city is Portland.

The name is probably after the Algonquian name Ouragon river Columbia (of Wauregan, ‘beautiful water, river’). Oregon is also known as The Beaver State, the ‘beaver state’, due to the beaver’s wide spread.

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Within the narrow coastal plain run two parallel mountain systems; Coast Range and Cascade Range. The Coast Range consists of high ridge, mountains and valleys, the highest peaks are in the north and south, and the mountains reach their lowest point at Portland where the Columbia River breaks through. A horizontal displacement along the mountain range (San Andreas fault) is still active. To the south, the two mountain ranges meet in the Klamath Mountains. The Cascade Range is rich in glaciers and lakes, including the famous Crater Lake (National Park). The extinct volcano Mt. Hood furthest north reaches 3427 m asl.

The land east of the Cascade Range mostly belongs to the Columbia Plateau, which is low to the south of the Columbia River, but in the northeast reaches 2000–3000 meters above sea level. in the Blue Mountains and Wallowa Mountains. The Southeast belongs to the drainless Great Basin. The Columbia River forms the northern boundary and occupies the Willamette and Snake River rivers, which form the northern part of the eastern boundary. The Willamette Valley is very fertile.

Precipitation decreases from 1000–2500 mm in the west to less than 500 mm east of the Cascade Mountains and in the southeast in several places to below 250 mm. Portland’s average temperature is 19 °C in July and 4 °C in January. The mountains are covered with yellow fur and Douglas fir. Eastern Oregon has steppe vegetation and receives desertification in the southeast. About half of the acreage is wooded and just under 10 per cent is cultivated.


Oregon has had a high population growth: 20.3 percent in the period 1990–2000, compared to approximately 13.2 percent nationwide. In the period 2000–2010, Oregon had 12 percent growth, compared to 9.7 percent throughout the United States. 81% of the population lived in cities or urban areas in 2010.

Of the population, 87.1 percent are considered white – including 13.1 percent Hispanics – 2.2 percent black / African American, 1.8 percent indigenous, and 4.7 percent Asian (U.S. Census, 2017). About 4 per cent of the population is of Norwegian origin, 22.5 per cent have German ancestry, 14 per cent English and 13 per cent have Irish ancestry. Oregon, like the other Pacific States, has relatively more Japanese, Chinese and Filipinos than anywhere else in the United States. In 2013, approximately 38,000 Indigenous people in Oregon lived on five different reserves; far fewer than in the surrounding states.

The largest cities in Oregon are Portland with 647,805 residents, the capital city of Salem with 169,798 residents and the university city of Eugene with 168,916 residents (US Census, 2017).

The state’s largest church community is the Lutherans (47 percent) followed by the Roman Catholic Church, Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians.

Oregon sends two senators and five representatives to the Washington Congress in Washington. The state is traditionally known as liberal and progressive, which introduced citizen initiative and referendum as early as 1902, “recall”in 1908 – a procedure that allows citizens to dismiss public officials within the expired term – and was in 1923 the first state who introduced income tax. Oregon also has a high degree of municipal autonomy.


The most important trade route is the processing of agricultural and forestry products. Oregon’s most important agricultural area lies between the Cascade Range and the Coast Range. The southwestern part has dry grazing land. The northern areas are not suitable for agriculture, but some are used for grazing cattle in open areas. Western Oregon has a multifaceted agriculture with large milk production and fruit and vegetable cultivation. Salem, located in the fertile Willamette Valley, is the center for food processing and forestry products. In dry eastern Oregon, wheat cultivation and southeastern fat farming are practiced. Over 600 km2 is the artificial water.

Forestry is more important than in any other state. About 50 percent of the total area is forest, and most of it is commercially operated. 60 percent is owned by the public. Also, fishing for salmon, halibut, mackerel, oysters and sturgeon is a significant industry, with a focus in Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Gold, silver and nickel ore is extracted. The industry is particularly concentrated in the Willamettedalen Valley and is made up of timber and wood processing industries (which is still important, although the number of wood processing companies has dropped from 1300 to 300 in the period after World War II), the food and metal industry.

In recent decades, the high-tech industry has become increasingly important. These companies are concentrated in Portland and in the Willamett Valley (Portland-Everett Corridor).

One of the state’s biggest success stories in business is the world’s largest shoe manufacturer Nike, headquartered just outside Beaverton.


Oregon’s coast was visited by Spaniards from the 16th to the 17th centuries. The Lewis and Clarke expeditions (1804-1806) reached Oregon, and in 1843 the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri was opened. In the early 1800s, Oregon was a name for a much larger area that, from 1818, was occupied jointly by the United States and Britain and in 1846 divided between them along the 49 ° north latitude. At the same time, the US- Canada border was set.

Oregon was organized as territory in 1848 and as a state in 1859. Washington was separated in 1853. The construction of transcontinental railways in the late 1800s led to strong economic progress.

Oregon Population 2019

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