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Oregon was inhabited by many indigenous tribes before Western traders, explorers, and settlers arrived. An autonomous government was formed in the Oregon Country in 1843 before the Oregon Territory was created in 1848. Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Today, at 98,000 square miles (250,000 km2), Oregon is the ninth largest and, with a population of 4 million, 27th most populous U.S. state. The capital, Salem, is the second most populous city in Oregon, with 164,549 residents. Portland, with 632,309 residents, is the most populous and ranks as the 26th most populous city in the United States. The Portland metropolitan area, which also includes the city of Vancouver, Washington, to the north, ranks the 23rd largest metro area in the nation, with a population of 2,389,228.
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Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region on the West coast of the United States. The Columbia River delineates much of Oregon’s northern boundary along Washington state, while the Snake River delineates much of its eastern boundary along Idaho. The parallel 42° north delineates the southern boundary with California and Nevada. Oregon is one of only three states of the contiguous United States to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
Oregon is one of the most geographically diverse states in the U.S., marked by volcanoes, abundant bodies of water, dense evergreen and mixed forests, as well as high deserts and semi-arid shrublands. At 11,249 feet (3,429 m), Mount Hood, a stratovolcano, is the state’s highest point. Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake National Park, comprises the caldera surrounding Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States. The state is also home to the single largest organism in the world, Armillaria ostoyae, a fungus that runs beneath 8.9 km2 (2,200 acres) of the Malheur National Forest.
Because of its diverse landscapes and waterways, Oregon’s economy is largely powered by various forms of agriculture, fishing, and hydroelectric power. Oregon is also the top timber producer of the lower 48 states, and the timber industry dominated the state’s economy in the 20th century. Technology is another one of Oregon’s major economic forces, beginning in the 1970s with the establishment of the Silicon Forest and the expansion of Tektronix and Intel. Sportswear company Nike, Inc., headquartered in Beaverton, is the state’s largest public corporation with an annual revenue of $30.6 billion.
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The state of Oregon has 146,468 road miles within its state lines. 8,000 of these miles are made of 67 active primary state highways, accounting for 9% of the total road mileage in the state. There are also 10 mainline U.S. Highways (US 20, US 26, US 30, US 95, US 97, US 101, US 197, US 199, US 395, and US 730), along with 8 auxiliary highways which consist of 6 business routes, a bypass and a spur. Oregon only has three primary Interstate Highways, Interstate 5, Interstate 82, and Interstate 84. Interstate 84, also known as the Vietnam Vetrans Memorial Highway, is the longest of the three interstate highways at 375.68 miles. I-84 travels east-west from I-84 at the Idaho state line to I-5/US 30 in Portland, OR. Interstate 5 is the main north-south interstate, running 308.14 miles from I-5 at the Washington state line to I-5 at the California state line. Interstate 82 begins at I-82 at the Washington state line and runs only 11.01 miles until it merges with I-84/US 30 in Umatilla County. The state also has three auxiliary Interstate Highways, I-105, I-205, and I-405.