Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Oregon

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OREGON, a State in the Pacific Division of the North American Union; bounded by Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and the Pacific Ocean; admitted to the Union, Feb. 14, 1859; capital, Salem; counties, 36; area, 96,699 square miles; pop. (1890) 313,767; (1900) 413,536; (1910) 672,765; (1920) 783,389.

Topography.—The surface of the State is mountainous, three ranges dividing it from N. to S.; the Coast Range from 10 to 30 miles from the ocean; the Cascade Mountains, from 110 to 150 miles inland; and the Blue Mountains in the E. The Coast Range has an extreme altitude of 4,000 feet, and is covered with dense forests. The Cascade Mountains, a continuation of the Sierra Nevadas, have an extreme height of 7,000 feet, with several peaks rising 2,000 to 5,000 feet higher. Mount Hood reaches an altitude of 11,500 feet, McLoughlin, 11,000 feet; and Jefferson, 10,500 feet. The Cascades are heavily timbered to the snow line. Four transverse ranges connect the Coast Range with the Cascades; the Calpooia, Umpqua, Rouge River and Siskiyou Mountains. The Willamette river valley, lying between the Coast Range and Cascade Mountains, and the Columbia river and California spur, is 150 miles long, from 30 to 70 miles wide, and is extremely fertile. Eastern Oregon, embracing two-thirds of the State, is a high table-land, with little rainfall, and sparsely populated. There are fertile valleys along the rivers and lakes in the S., and in the Blue Mountains. The rivers flowing into the ocean are the Roque, Coquille, Umpqua, Sinslaw, Alsace, Yaquina, Nestuca, and Nehalem; those emptying into the Columbia, Lewis and Clark, Clatskaine, Youngs, Sandy, Willamette, Des Chutes, Hood, Umatilla, and John Day; and those feeding the Snake river, the Owybee, Malbeur, Burnt, Powder, and Grande Ronde. The principal lakes are, Klamath, Goose, Warner, Salt, Christmas, Albery, Summer, Silver, Henry, and Malheur. Crater Lake in the Cascades, 8,000 feet above sea-level, is the crater of an extinct volcano, 10 miles in circumferance, and surrounded by bluffs 2,000 feet high. It is the deepest body of fresh water in America. The coast line of Oregon is very abrupt and rocky and but little indented, the mouth of the Columbia river being the best harbor. There are other harbors in Port Orchard, Roque river, Coos Bay, Tillamook Bay, and Yaquina Bay.

Geology.—The geological structure of the State is quite varied. The Coast Range and Blue Mountains are of Eozoic formation; the Cascade ranges and the E. part of the State, of volcanic, with its ridges and hills of obsidian; and the Pacific Coast, Willamette valley, and part of the Umpqua valley, are of Tertiary formation. The Cretaceous fossil deposits are found in the upper velleys of Des Chutes, Crooked and John Day rivers, and the Grande Ronde valley. The Glacial, Champlain, and Terrace periods are well represented. In 1919 the principal minerals productions included gold, silver and coal. The gold production was valued at $1,071,000. The building stones are granite, sandstone, and limestone.

Soil and Agriculture.—The soil is of volcanic origin, with alluvial deposits in the valleys, and is extremely fertile. In the central and S. E. portions of the State the rainfall is very light and the farming depends largely upon irrigation. Grapes, prunes and other fruits thrive abundantly, and the wool growing industry is very large. The acreage, production and value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 71,000 acres, production 1,860,000 bushels, value $2,883,000; oats, 347,000 acres, production 11,104,000 bushels, value $10,216,000; barley, 82,000 acres, production 1,886,000 bushels, value $2,829,000; wheat, 1,126,000 acres, production 20,495,000 bushels, value $43,449,000; hay, 854,000 acres, production 1,452,000 tons, value $27,783,000; potatoes, 45,000 acres, production 4,230,000 bushels, value $6,345,000.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914 2,320 manufacturing establishments, employing 28,829 wage earners. The capital invested amounted to $139,500,000, and the wages paid to $20,921,000. The value of the materials used was $63,258,000, and the value of the finished production was $109,762,000. The natural advantages of the State are extensive, furnishing material for its various manufacturing enterprises, and its streams furnish abundant power at the Dalles, the Cascades, and Oregon City. The principal industries include railroad cars and shop construction, fish canning, flouring mills, lumber and timber, printing and publishing, shipbuilding, slaughtering, meat packing, and the manufacture of woolen goods.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 87 National banks in operation, having $10,661,000 capital, $6,371,000 in outstanding circulation, and $25,793,000 in United States bonds. There were also 191 State banks, with $8,155,000 capital, and $2,980,000 surplus, The exchanges at the United States Clearing House at Seattle, during the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, amounted to $2,013,736,000, an increase over those of the preceding year of $11,686,829.

Education.—The school population in 1918 was 207,158, with a total enrollment of 106,546. The average daily attendance was 111,832. There were in the elementary schools 5,913 teachers. The total expenditures for public education is about $10,000,000 annually. The colleges include the University of Oregon, at Eugene; Pacific University at Forest Grove; Willamette University, at Salem; and Portland University at University Park.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic; Methodist Episcopal; Regular Baptist; Disciples of Christ; Presbyterian; Congregational; Methodist Episcopal, South; Protestant Episcopal; and United Brethren

Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1919 was $17,784,693; and the disbursements $17,604,604. The balance on Jan. 1, 1919 was $3,128,790, and on Dec. 31, 1919, $3,308,879. The State indebtedness amounted to $10,665,750. The assessed value of taxable property was $990,435,472.

Railways.—The total length of main line track in 1919 was 2,937 miles. The roads having the longest mileage were the Oregon and Washington Railroad and Navigation Company, and the Oregon and California.

State Government.—The governor is elected for a term of four years. Legislative sessions are held biennially, and are limited to 40 days each. The Legislature has 30 members in the Senate, and 60 in the House. There are 3 Representatives in Congress.

History.—The name Oregon was long applied to all the territory claimed by the United States on the Pacific coast, extending from lat. 42° to 54° 40′ N. By the treaty of 1846, a boundary line was fixed between Great Britain and the United States at lat. 49°. The discovery of the Columbia river, in 1792, was succeeded by an exploration under Captains Lewis and Clark, 1804–1805. In 1808 the Missouri Fur Company established trading-posts in the country; and, in 1811, the American Fur Company founded a settlement at the mouth of the Columbia, and named it Astoria. In 1839, the emigration of Americans commenced overland by way of the South Pass, and the territory continued to receive settlers yearly till 1848, when the California “gold-fever” attracted a large quota of her citizens away. In 1850, however, the land-donation law, passed by Congress, had the effect of registering 8,000 citizens in Oregon, which was formally organized as a Territory, Aug. 14, 1848. On March 2, 1853, Washington Territory was formed out of the N. half of Oregon; Nov. 5, 1857, a State constitution was adopted; and Feb. 14, 1859, the State was admitted into the Union by Act of Congress under the constitution previously ratified. From 1845 till 1855, a desultory warfare was kept up with the Indian aborigines, and a resumption of the same occurred in 1858, and again in 1872–1873.

Oregon map Colliers.png
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921