Or'egon, one of the Pacific states of the American Union, bounded by Washington, Idaho, California, and Nevada. Area, 96,030 sq. m., or almost twice that of England. Oregon on the west is literally rock-bound by the Coast Range of mountains, having, however, numerous indentations, which furnish good harbours. The Columbia River, which bounds the state on the north, affords the largest and deepest entrance. Seventy miles east of the Coast Range is the Cascade Range, rising to 6000 to 8000 feet, and surmounted by snow-capped peaks of nearly double that altitude. From the Cascade Range eastward to the Blue Mountains, about 70 miles, and farther on to the eastern boundary the surface is diversified by mountains and valleys, rolling plains, and tablelands. Here the soil and climate are suitable for agriculture and grazing. In Western Oregon, between the Coast and Cascade ranges, is the Willamette valley, 130 miles long and 60 wide, every foot of which is arable - adapted to grain and fruit. The climate is mild, in spite of the northerly situation, owing to the Japanese oceanic current and the shelter of the mountain-ranges. On the coast there is fog in summer and excessive rain in winter; in the Willamette valley the summers are pleasant, the winters wet; in Eastern Oregon there is a good deal of snow in winter. The grain-crops are wheat, oats, barley, rye, and maize. Flax-seed, hay, potatoes, tobacco, and hops are also raised. Great quantities of butter and cheese, and of fruit, both green and dried (prunes, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, and cherries), are annually shipped. The wealth of Oregon in timber is remarkable. Among the other industries are the tinning of salmon, the rearing of sheep, and mining. The minerals comprise coal, iron ore, gold, copper, nickel, quicksilver, fireclay, chrome, silver, manganese, zinc, lead, and platinum.
Oregon formerly included all the land between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean north of 42° N. lat. John Jacob Astor established Astoria (q.v.) in 1811; in 1813 it was sold to the North-western Fur Company, and it afterwards passed to the Hudson Bay Company. There was joint occupation by Britain and the United States from 1818 until 1846, when the long dispute was compromised, the boundary line with British America being fixed at 49' N. lat. Oregon became a territory in 1848, and, with reduced limits, a state in 1859. The principal cities are Portland (90,500), Astoria (8400), Baker City (6670), and Salem, the capital (5000). Pop. of the state (1860) 52,464; (1880) 174,768; (1900) 413,536.