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The Oregon Portal

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Oregon ( /ˈɒr(ɪ)ɡən/ ( About this sound listen)) is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the Western United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon's northern boundary with Washington, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary with Idaho. The 42° north parallel delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada.

Oregon has been home to many indigenous nations for thousands of years. The first European traders, explorers, and settlers began exploring what is now Oregon's Pacific coast in the early-mid 1500s. As early as 1565, the Spanish began sending vessels northeast from the Philippines, riding the Kuroshio Current in a sweeping circular route across the northern part of the Pacific. In 1592, Juan de Fuca undertook detailed mapping and studies of ocean currents in the Pacific Northwest, including the Oregon coast as well as the strait now bearing his name. Spanish ships – 250 in as many years – would typically not land before reaching Cape Mendocino in California, but some landed or wrecked in what is now Oregon. Nehalem tales recount strangers and the discovery of items like chunks of beeswax and a lidded silver vase, likely connected to the 1707 wreck of the San Francisco Xavier.

In 1843, an autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country, and the Oregon Territory was created in 1848. Oregon became the 33rd state of the U.S. on February 14, 1859. Today, with 4 million people over 98,000 square miles (250,000 km2), Oregon is the ninth largest and 27th most populous U.S. state. The capital, Salem, is the second-most populous city in Oregon, with 169,798 residents. Portland, with 647,805, ranks as the 26th among U.S. cities. The Portland metropolitan area, which also includes the city of Vancouver, Washington, to the north, ranks the 25th largest metro area in the nation, with a population of 2,453,168. ( Full article...)

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Headland on the Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is a geographical term that is used to describe the coast of Oregon along the Pacific Ocean. Stretching 362 miles from Astoria to the California border, the beaches along the Oregon Coast are considered public land. Oregon law prohibits private ownership of beaches. The Oregon Coast is often divided into three regions: The North Coast - from the Washington border at Astoria to Lincoln City; The Central Coast - from Lincoln City to Reedsport; The Southern Coast - from Reedsport to the California border, just south of Brookings. There are no large cities on the coast, mainly due to the lack of deep harbors with access to the inland agricultural areas. The largest metro area is Coos Bay/ North Bend on the South Coast, which together make up a population of 25,000. The relative isolation of the coast from nearby large population centers has given the coast a reputation for being somewhat rustic, being a mixture of old logging towns, fishing villages, seasonal resorts, and artists' colonies. Tourism and logging are the major industries on the coast. The coastal region's popularity, combined with the fact that there is only one continuous highway along the coastline ( U.S. Route 101) contributes to traffic along the coast being named the worst tourist traffic in the United States. Features along the coast include the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Oregon Coast National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Sea Lion Caves, Yaquina Bay, many bridges, more than ten lighthouses, and part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks at Fort Stevens at the northernmost portion where the coast meets the Columbia River.

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Mei-Ann Chen (born 1973) is a Taiwanese American conductor currently serving as music director of the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. She has been described as "one of the most dynamic young conductors in America". Encouraged by her parents, Chen began playing violin and piano at a young age and later taught herself how to play the trumpet. By observing her conductor, she began to teach herself how to conduct and even collected batons. Chen attended the Walnut Hill School, a preparatory school affiliated with the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, starting at age sixteen. She continued her undergraduate and advanced degree work at the Conservatory and became the first student to graduate from the institution with a double master's degree in conducting and violin performance. Chen later obtained a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan. Chen became the Portland Youth Philharmonic's fourth conductor in 2002. During her five-year tenure, the orchestra debuted at Carnegie Hall, earned an ASCAP award in 2004 for innovative programming, and began collaborating with the Oregon Symphony and Chamber Music Northwest. She also served as assistant conductor of the Oregon Symphony from 2003 to 2005 and as cover conductor for the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 2005, Chen became the first woman to win the Malko Competition, which recognizes young conductors. That same year she won the Taki Concordia Fellowship. Chen left the Philharmonic in 2007, to become assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony. Chen served as assistant conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for its 2009–2010 season. She was appointed music director of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; her three-year tenure began in September 2010. Chen also began serving as music director for the Chicago Sinfonietta during its 2010–2011 season. Throughout her career, Chen has appeared with many symphonies throughout the United States and Canada. Appearances outside North America include all the principal Danish orchestras, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the Taiwan National Symphony, to name a few. Chen has also participated in the National Conducting Institute (Washington, D.C.) as well as the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen, Colorado.

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Goodpasture Bridge


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Sparks Lake
Credit: Vibrantspirit

Sparks Lake is a small, natural lake in Deschutes County in Central Oregon. Seven mountain peaks are visible from the mile-high lake including Mount Bachelor, Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Mount Jefferson.

State facts

State symbols:

American beaver
Western meadowlark
Chinook salmon
Oregon grape
Oregon Swallowtail butterfly
Douglas fir



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Skyline of downtown Portland, Oregon
Credit: Eric Baetscher
The skyline of downtown Portland, Oregon. Taken from the east waterfront.

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Dr. John McLoughlin
I fed the hungry, caused the sick to be tended to and nursed, furnished them assistance as long as they required it, and which some have not paid to this day, though abundantly able, and for which if they do not pay I am answerable to the Hudson's Bay Company. It may be said, and has been said, that I was too liberal in making these advances. It was not so but was done judiciously and prudently.
John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of Fort Vancouver

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Lighthouse of Cape Meares, Oregon


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This month's Collaboration of the Month projects: Women's History Month: Create or improve articles for women listed at Oregon Women of Achievement (modern) or Women of the West, Oregon chapter (historical)
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PORTAL:OREGON Latitude and Longitude:

44°00′N 120°30′W / 44°N 120.5°W / 44; -120.5