Issue Date: January 14, 2009
City: Portland, OR
Oregon’s waterways have always played a significant role in the state’s development and the lives of its citizens.
More than 15,000 years ago, the mighty Columbia River swept across much of modern-day Oregon. When the water receded, fertile soil was left that today supports the production of potatoes, apples, peppermint, grapes, and hops.
Oregon’s first permanent white settlement was Fort Astoria at the mouth of the Columbia River, built by the Pacific Fur Company in 1811. In 1843, when the settlers of Oregon’s Willamette Valley offered 320 acres of free land for each adult, thousands of new pioneers flooded to the area. The U.S. declared the area a territory a short time later and statehood was granted in 1859.
Oregon state boasts one of the largest salmon fishing industries in the world. Vast forests and waterways to transport logs make the state a major timber producer. High technology industries and manufacturers also found a home in Oregon during the late twentieth century.
Even so, great stretches of windswept Pacific coastline remain untouched by modern industry, providing a connection to the past and preserving Oregon’s rugged natural beauty for future generations.