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Capital Salem
Nickname The Beaver State
Official Language English
Governor John Kitzhaber, D
Senator Ron Wyden, D
(202) 224-5244
Senator Jeff Merkley, D
(202) 224-3753
Ratification of Constitution/or statehood February 14, 1859 (33rd)
Flag of Oregon Motto: "She Flies with Her Own Wings"
The back of the state flag of Oregon.

Oregon is a liberal leaning, rainy state on the west coast of the United States. Its capital is Salem and largest city is Portland. Oregon became the 33rd state on Feb. 14, 1859.


Oregon was originally settled by many Native Americans before the Lewis and Clark expedition brought greater attention to the area from the United States and Britain. The British had control of the majority of the territory until the Oregon Trail started in the 1840s and American settlers began moving in. Eventually, the land was ceded to the United States in the resolution of a boundary dispute.


The population is concentrated in the fertile Willamette Valley from Portland to Eugene. The Cascade mountains divide the state into wet and dry halves, much like neighboring Washington State, but Eastern Oregon lacks the irrigation works of the Columbia basin and much more resembles Nevada. Oregon supports a significant logging industry, largely concentrated in the western half of the state. Environmental restrictions have severely hurt the industry, producing conservative opinions inland, but the liberal cities of Portland and Eugene generally support environmentalism.

Since 2007, Oregon has offered domestic partnerships, which are similiar to same sex marriage[1]

Oregon is the birthplace of author Lance Goldman, and football quarterback Harry Shields.


Oregon has been a blue state in presidential elections since 1988. It had been a red state from 1964 to 1984.

Elected Officials



Further reading

  • Corning, Howard McKinley, ed. Dictionary of Oregon History. (2d ed. 1989). 281 pp.
  • DeMarco, Gordon. A Short History of Portland. (1990). 158 pp.
  • Dodds, Gordon B. The American Northwest: A History of Oregon and Washington. (1986). 359 pp.
  • Dodds, Gordon B. Oregon: A Bicentennial History. (1977). 240 pp., popular history by leading scholar
  • Pomeroy, Earl. The Pacific Slope: A History of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. (1965) 412pp
  • Robbins, William G. Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940. (1997). 392 pp. standard history of the state
  • Schwantes, Carlos. The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History. (1996)

Specialized studies

  • Abbott, Carl. Greater Portland: Urban Life and Landscape in the Pacific Northwest. (2001). 242 pp. by a leading historian
  • Allan, Stuart; Buckley, Aileen R.; and Meacham, James E. Atlas of Oregon. (1976). 301 pp.
  • Bataille, Connie Hopkins. The Oregon Book: Information A to Z. (1998). 677 pp.
  • Boag, Peter G. Environment and Experience: Settlement Culture in Nineteenth-Century Oregon. (1992). 227 pp. advanced new social history
  • Bourke, Paul and DeBats, Donald. Washington County: Politics and Community in Antebellum America. (1995). 407 pp., advanced history
  • Carlson, Laurie Winn. On Sidesaddles to Heaven: The Women of the Rocky Mountain Mission. (1998). 253 pp.
  • Clark, Malcolm, Jr. Eden Seekers: The Settlement of Oregon, 1818-1862. (1981). 327 pp.
  • Dodds, Gordon B. and Wollner, Craig E. The Silicon Forest: High Tech in the Portland Area, 1945-1986. (1990). 226 pp.
  • Douthit, Nathan. A Guide to Oregon South Coast History: Traveling the Jedediah Smith Trail. (1999). 224 pp.
  • Drukman, Mason. Wayne Morse: A Political Biography. (1997). 545 pp. liberal senator 1945-69
  • Drury, Clifford M. Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and the Opening of Old Oregon. (2 vol. 1973). 911 pp. pioneer Methodist missionaries massacred by Indians in 1847
  • Farmer, Judith A. et al. Historical Atlas of Early Oregon. (1973). 53pp.
  • Gilmore, Janet C. The World of the Oregon Fishboat: A Study in Maritime Folklife. (1986). 271 pp.
  • Haarsager, Sandra. Organized Womanhood: Cultural Politics in the Pacific Northwest, 1840-1920. (1997). 427 pp.
  • Heider, Douglas and Dietz, David. Legislative Perspectives: A 150-Year History of the Oregon Legislature from 1843 to 1993. (1995). 227 pp.
  • Johnson, David Alan. Founding the Far West: California, Oregon, and Nevada, 1840-1890. (1992). 474 pp.
  • Kesselman, Amy. Fleeting Opportunities: Women Shipyard Workers in Portland and Vancouver during World War II and Reconversion. (1990). 192 pp.
  • Lang, William L. and Carriker, Robert C., eds. Great River of the West: Essays on the Columbia (1999). 181 pp.
  • Mason, Thomas L. Governing Oregon: An Inside Look at Politics in One American State. (1994). 251 pp.
  • May, Dean L. Three Frontiers: Family, Land, and Society in the American West, 1850-1900. (1994). 313 pp. advanced social history of Sublimity, Oregon, and two other towns
  • Mullins, William H. The Depression and the Urban West Coast, 1929-1933: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland. (1991). 176 pp.
  • Murrell, Gary. Iron Pants: Oregon's Anti-New Deal Governor, Charles Henry Martin. (2000). 228 pp.
  • Neal, Steve. McNary of Oregon: A Political Biography. (1985). 249 pp. conservative GOP Senator 1917-44, and 1940 VP nominee
  • Robinson, Thomas; Gifford, Benjamin and Terrill, Steve, photographer. Oregon Then and Now. (2000). 192 pp. photo history
  • Schwantes, Carlos Arnaldo. Hard Traveling: A Portrait of Work Life in the New Northwest. (1994). 234 pp. labor history by leading historian
  • Shirley, Gayle. More Than Petticoats: Remarkable Oregon Women. (1998). 139 pp., popular

Primary sources

  • Applegate, Shannon and O'Donnell, Terence, eds. Talking on Paper: An Anthology of Oregon Letters and Diaries. (1994). 324 pp.
  • Beckham, Stephen Dow, ed. Many Faces: An Anthology of Oregon Autobiography. (1993). 330 pp.
  • Dodds, Gordon B., ed. Varieties of Hope: An Anthology of Oregon Prose. (1993). 330 pp.
  • Wendt, Ingrid and St. John, Primus, eds. From Here We Speak: An Anthology of Oregon Poetry. (1994). 332 pp.

Oregon Trail

  • Butruille, Susan G. ed. Women's Voices from the Oregon Trail. (1993). 251 pp., primary sources
  • Unruh, John D., Jr. The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1860. (1979). 565 pp. standard scholarly history