Guide Guide to Geology of the Cascade Range: Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington

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Oregon was the first U. Washington State was the second when I passed in Colegio Cesar Chavez , the first fully accredited Hispanic college in the U. King to Martin Luther King. These areas, especially around Puget Sound, have a long history of political radicalism. The radical labor organizers called Wobblies were particularly strong there in the mines, lumber camps and shipyards. Seattle is one of a handful of major cities in North America in which the populace engaged in a general strike in , and was the first major American city to elect a woman mayor, Bertha Knight Landes in So great was its influence that the U.

Postmaster General, James Farley, jokingly toasted the "forty-seven states of the Union, and the Soviet of Washington", at a gala dinner in although Farley denied ever saying it. The region also has a long history of starting cooperative and communal businesses and organizations, including Group Health , [77] REI , MEC , Puget Consumer's Co-ops and numerous granges and mutual aid societies. It also has a long history of publicly owned power and utilities, with many of the region's cities owning their own public utilities. In British Columbia, credit unions are common and popular cooperatively owned financial institutions.

East of the Cascades, in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon, the population is much more conservative. The eastern portions of Washington and especially Oregon, due to their low populations, do not generally have enough voting power to be competitive at the state level, and thus the governorships and U. Senate seats of both Oregon and Washington are usually held by the Democrats. Conservatism in the eastern part of the Pacific Northwest tends to be distrustful of federal government interference and strongly protective of gun rights.

Aluminum smelting was once an important part of the region's economy due to the abundance of cheap hydroelectric power. Hydroelectric power generated by the hydroelectric dams on the Columbia River powered at least ten aluminum smelters during the midth century. Production rose during the s and s, then declined. By the first decade of the 21st century the aluminum industry in the Pacific Northwest was essentially defunct.

The region as a whole, but especially several specific areas, are concentrated high-tech areas: Seattle eastern suburbs, the Portland Silicon Forest area, and Vancouver, British Columbia. These areas are also leading " creative class " economic drivers, feeding thriving cultural sectors, and include many knowledge workers and numerous international advertising, media, and design firms present.

The hippie movement also began in California and the Pacific Northwest. There have been proposals for certain parts of the Pacific Northwest becoming its own country because of the shared ecoregion and culture, [80] [81] the most well-known being Cascadia. Several of these jurisdictions have made arrests for cannabis a low enforcement priority. Medical marijuana is legal in British Columbia, [83] Washington, [84] and Oregon, [85] as well as in Alaska, though that state prohibits its sale, and has no licensed dispensaries, [86] and in the Yukon, although less than 50 of the territory's residents are licensed to use medical marijuana, and no legal dispensaries operate within its borders.

Environmentalism is prominent throughout the region, especially west of the Cascades. Environmentally conscious services such as recycling and public transportation are widespread, most notably in the more populous areas.


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The international organization Greenpeace was born in Vancouver in as part of a large public opposition movement in British Columbia to US nuclear weapons testing on Amchitka Island in the Aleutian Islands. Liberal and Conservative Northwesterners, such as former U. Seattle in particular is also home to a large number of publications and institutions concerned with the environment and sustainability, including both Worldchanging and Grist. The Pacific Northwest is also noted for a large number of gardening clubs, with Victoria having an annual flower count in February.

In British Columbia environmentalist fought to protect Clayoquot Sound in the s and s. More recently the province has agreed to environmental protections in the Great Bear Rainforest. The modern-era Pacific Northwest is known for indie music , especially grunge , alternative rock , and metal as well as historically-strong folk music and world music traditions. Many are associated with the independent label Sub Pop.

Lately the region has also gained notice for its Hip hop music in the Pacific Northwest. Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues-based festival west of the Mississippi River. Foods typical of the Pacific Northwest include wild salmon , halibut , shellfish , huckleberries , marionberries , a wide variety of Asian cuisines , and locally produced fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.

Chinese , Japanese , Korean , Italian , Mexican, and Greek cuisines are prevalent throughout the Northwest, and reflect the historically strong presence of those communities in the restaurant industry there. Teriyaki restaurants are particularly common in the Seattle area.

Ethnic staples ranging from frozen perogies to frozen dim sum are common in most supermarkets in these communities. Locally-made craft beers and premium wines from various wine-growing area within the region are popular with drinkers and diners. Northern latitude and coastal breezes create a climate that attracts international recognition for its mostly family-owned and operated vineyards and wineries. Portland is a major microbrewery center in America, [] and is home to the Widmer Brothers Brewery. Skiing, snowboarding, cycling, mountaineering, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, boating, and water sports are popular outdoor activities.

Vancouver is home to a 4-team league for Australian football , the British Columbia Australian Football League , one of several Canadian Australian football leagues. Hockey is the most popular spectator sport in British Columbia, with the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL being the most popular professional team, although the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League also have a very strong following.

Hockey is slowly gaining popularity south of the border too, with the Portland Winterhawks. Followers of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team refer to themselves as the Sixth Man and Blazermania refers to the extraordinary dedication fans have shown the team. In Seattle, many fans are still upset over the move of the Seattle SuperSonics while supporters of the Seattle Seahawks football team are known officially as the 12th Man. With three oval tracks, a figure eight track and various road course variants, Evergreen Speedway operates year-round events.

In Washington and Oregon, many residents passionately follow college athletics. All four of these programs are members of the Pac Conference and compete with each other in a variety of sports. These universities are all considered rivals of one another, particularly in college football. The most significant of these rivalries are the Oregon — Washington game, the Washington-Washington State game, a. As in professional sports, college fans in the Pacific Northwest are known for being particularly passionate about their teams. Both Husky Stadium where the Washington Huskies play football and Autzen Stadium where the Oregon Ducks play football have gained reputations for deafening noise, despite not being the largest of college football venues.

Husky Stadium currently holds the record for the loudest crowd noise in NCAA history at decibels , [] while Autzen Stadium currently holds the record for the 4th at decibels. Seattle is considered by Digital Trends magazine to be the top gaming city in America, a possible indicator of markedly higher rates of video game usage throughout the Pacific Northwest in general.

Microsoft and Nintendo of America also have Canadian branches headquartered in Vancouver—Microsoft Canada and Nintendo of Canada—respectively, while Electronic Arts Canada a subsidiary division of Electronic Arts is located in the same city. In the U. Despite the second Great Migration from the s to s due to the booming Boeing war industry and post-war growing economy, African Americans are less numerous in the Pacific Northwest; however, the overall African American population has been growing in other smaller urban areas throughout the region, such as Spokane and Eugene.

As of the first decade of the 21st century, many Asians were moving out and into middle class suburbs, though some would voice concern about preserving historical communities particularly in Vancouver. The Asian presence in the U. This is due to immigration quotas at the federal level, as while Canada has one-tenth the population of the United States, it takes in one-quarter as many immigrants.

British Columbians of many ethnicities are prominent in all levels of politics and government, and the province has a number of "firsts" in Canadian political history, including the first non-white Premier , Ujjal Dosanjh who is Indo-Canadian and the first Asian Lieutenant-Governor , the Hon. David Lam. Colonial governor James Douglas was himself mulatto of Guyanese extraction and his wife was of Cree origin. At the time of his election to the office of Portland mayor in , Sam Adams was the first openly gay individual to represent a city of Portland's size in the United States.

Governor of Oregon Kate Brown is the highest-ranking openly bisexual politician in the United States. In , Jenny Durkan was elected as the first openly lesbian mayor of Seattle. Most Americans and Canadians consider the Pacific Northwest English accent "neutral", though indistinct from the Midwestern dialects that some believe typify American speech. Canadian raising occurs in British Columbia and some speakers in Washington to a similar degree as it does in southern Ontario , but weaker than other parts of Canada.

The California Vowel Shift also affects speech in the region. Chinook Jargon was a pidgin or trade language established among indigenous inhabitants of the region. After contact with Europeans, French, English, and Cree words entered the language, and "eventually, Chinook became the lingua franca for as many as , people along the Pacific Slope from Alaska to Oregon".

Pacific Northwest - Wikipedia

Today, its influence is felt mostly in place names and a handful of localized slang terms, particularly the word skookum , which remains hallmark of people raised in the region. Besides English and indigenous languages, Chinese has been common since the gold rushes of the midth century, most particularly in British Columbia. Since the s the Toishan , a Yue dialect predominant in the area, has been replaced by mainstream Cantonese and by Mandarin because of large-scale immigration from Asia.

Punjabi is also common in Vancouver, which has very large Sikh communities from India. Spanish is also spoken in parts of Oregon and Washington by Mexicans , both recent immigrants and long-standing communities. Among the fiercely independent and frontier nature of the former Oregon Country and now Western Part of the United States, are a desire of many Pacific Northwesterners to improve upon their form of Democracy by further subdividing the region into socio-political or bioregion defined nation states.

Some desires are transnational and autonomous of the United States while others are in the hope of gaining additional representational control in particular regions of the Northwest. Among these fluidly changing geographical boundaries and areas sought by a segment of the population of the Northwest are the following:. The Pacific Northwest has the lowest rate of church attendance in the United States and consistently reports the highest percentage of atheism ; [] [] this is most pronounced on the part of the region west of the Cascades.

Religion plays a smaller part in Pacific Northwest politics than in the rest of the United States. The religious right has considerably less political influence than in other regions. Political conservatives in the Pacific Northwest tend to identify more strongly with free-market libertarian values than they do with more religious social conservatives. That said, three of the four major international charities in the region are religious in nature: World Concern , World Vision International , and Mercy Corps.

This is part of a long tradition of activist religion. The Skid Road Group, a shelter offering soup and sermons to the unemployed and recovering alcoholics , was launched in Vancouver, with the Salvation Army having deep roots in the Gastown district, dating back to the era of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway s and attained prominence in the same centers during the Klondike Gold Rush.

The region is also known as a magnet for a wide range of philosophical and spiritual belief systems. Eastern spiritual beliefs have been adopted by an unusually large number of people by North American standards , and Tibetan Buddhism in particular has a strong local following. The region is home to many unique Christian communities, ranging from the Doukhobors to the Mennonites.

Their history in Canada includes resistance to state education and industrial development see Sons of Freedom. Also, within the region, there is a fairly strong representation of Orthodox churches Greek, Russian, Serbian, and others , as well as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. Yogic teachings, Sufism, tribal and ancient beliefs and other philosophies are widely studied and appreciated in the region. Oregon has a considerable Quaker Society of Friends population. There has been major growth in Chinese Buddhist temples since the increase in immigration from East Asia in the s, especially in Vancouver.

Also in Vancouver, there is a small Hindu population, a number of Parsee Zoroastrians , and an emerging Muslim , especially the 11,strong Ismaili , [] population from South Asia , the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere. Two of the five Shingon Buddhist temples in America are located in Seattle. Some people in the area also embrace alternative religion , such as New Age spirituality and Neo-Paganism. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the region that contains parts of Canada and the United States. For the U. Region that includes parts of Canada and the United States.

Play media. Main article: History of the west coast of North America. Further information: Geology of the Pacific Northwest. Mount Rainier top and Mount Hood bottom are the highest mountains in Washington and Oregon, and the 3rd and 20th most prominent summits in the United States , respectively. Quad biking on the dunes is one of the most popular things to do on the Oregon Coast, though there are plenty of other places to go for a nice walk. Saving the best for last, we wrap our Oregon Coast road trip in the south.

Boardman , and Pistol River all providing amazing settings. Some of the best hikes on the Oregon Coast are also around Boardman. The Willamette Valley is the breadbasket of Oregon and the source of much of its delicious produce. It also hosts some of the most respected wineries in the USA, which produce some of the finest Pinots in the entire world, not to mention a number of interesting towns and natural attractions. The Willamette Valley runs for about miles from Portland south to Eugene.

The largest highway in Oregon, I nterstate 5, runs through the Willamette Valley all the way to California. There are over wineries spread throughout the Willamette Valley. You could easily spend an entire day touring these vineyards and trying some of the best wine in the country but please remember to drive safely. The Cascades, running all the way from Washington to California, are like the geographic spine of the state and heavily influence the weather.

Hidden inside of the Cascades are some more great waterfalls, which make for great day hikes close to Portland. Silver Falls State Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Oregon because it offers great scenery and easy trails. Nearby is the much more intimate albeit difficult Abiqua Falls , which has become a local favorite. Eugene is worth dropping by if you have a moment. You can still get a taste of the counterculture in the bluesy Whitaker District. Located on the other side of the Cascades in the High Oregon Desert, Bend is, in a lot of ways, like a foil to Portland.

Bend still has that quintessential Oregon charm though and ultimately makes for an awesome stop on any Oregon road trip route. You can cross the Cascades via several passes and each offers their own set of attractions. Note that only the larger highways like 26 may be open in winter. The city itself is really cool though and actually a really fun place in Oregon to hang in.

People usually head outdoors immediately upon arriving in Bend. Around the city are some of the best mountain biking, skiing, climbing, and hiking in Oregon, making the area a paradise for outdoors people. Nearby Mt Bachelor is one of the best places to visit in Oregon in winter as the snow is legendary. North of Bend is the holy Smith Rock , which is often considered the birthplace of American rock climbing. East is endless sagebrush. I definitely suggest driving on the Cascades Lakes Byway in the summer.

You can visit local favorites like Tumalo Falls and Sparks Lake , all the while being afforded views of the Three Sisters. South Sister is a popular and relatively easy climb. Oregon only has one national park but it is among the most stunning of all the parks in the USA. Crater Lake is a marvel, an enormous body of water held high in the air on top of a collapsed volcano. The water is one of the deepest shades of blue that you will ever see and, officially, some of the clearest. Crater Lake is located a couple hours south of Bend in the Cascade Mountains. There are several entrances to the park but only one, Munson Valley via Highway 62 , is open sometimes in the winter.

There is a lot to do at Crater Lake, though most people just stand there and stare in awe at it. Several times in the year the road is closed to vehicular traffic so that bikers and pedestrians may enjoy the park without being disturbed, which is a really nice touch. Though there is more to do in the summer, the best time of year to visit Crater Lake is in the winter.

During this time, there are very few people, tons of snow, and just a powerful stillness to the place. You can, of course, camp at Crater Lake though campgrounds can fill really quick. If you strike out camping, the nearest large town is Klamath Falls and it has plenty of lodging. An Eastern Oregon road trip is a must for anyone who wants to get the full Oregonian experience. Lying on the other side of the Cascades, Eastern Oregon is, contrary to the common image, arid, hot, and sometimes bitterly cold.

This austere landscape is gorgeous though and only solidifies Oregon as one of the most geographically diverse states in the USA. These hills are a geologic wonder and famous for their bright colors. Most of the Wallowa Mountains fall within the Eagle Cap Wilderness though local townships like Joseph and Enterprise are worth visiting as well. There are many more hidden parts in Eastern Oregon that are really out in the middle of nowhere. To learn more about some of these remote locations among others, refer to the section below where we talk about secret Oregon.

Oregon has so many hidden treasures for you to discover!


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To see something different, start with these relatively unknown locations, which are among the most uniques places to visit in Oregon. The epitome of off-the-beaten-path in Oregon; these mountains are located in the far southeastern corner of the state and it takes a real journey to get here. Drive to the top of the mountains via the astounding Steens Mountain Road. Be on the lookout for wild horses and, in the autumn, the golden aspens.

On the other side of the Steens is the Alvord Desert — a surreal playa that is popular among both artists and off-roaders who like to go for joy rides. One of the last untouched desert frontiers in America, full of hoodoos, stone towers, and delicate ravines. The Owyhee Canyonlands are often compared to the landscapes of Utah albeit not as extensive. Popular among hikers, rock climbers, and river rafters though not many people actually make it out this far due to rough and remote roads. Definitely one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit in Oregon.

Though not exactly hidden, Southern Oregon often receives far less attention than the rest of the state. People usually visit to attend the famous Shakespeare Festival in charming Ashland or when passing through on a road trip from California, but there is a lot more happening than most are aware of.

The Rogue Valley has a burgeoning wine and beer scene that will soon rival the Willamette Valley. In terms of natural attractions, there is the Rogue River with its world-class rapids as well as the rugged Siskiyou Mountains and Oregon Caves , all of which make for great adventures. If you are driving onwards to Washington or California, check out our West Coast road trip guide, here!

Americans have a weird affinity to the strange landmarks that are usually found out in the middle of nowhere. The roadside attractions in Oregon have become so admired that many people go on a trip just see them! Below is a list of some of the most interesting roadside attractions in Oregon. Did we mention that a lot of these stops are among the best cheap things to do in Oregon as well?!

Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Backpack. Check out this post to read our full review! Oregon is one of the brightest and quirkiest places in all of the USA. It is a spectacular state that provides everything that makes for an awesome road trip: great food, gorgeous natural attractions, engaging people, and best of all, an easygoing culture that loves to enjoy itself.


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Due to its relative isolation, Oregon has always been a hideaway for the abject in society, the history of which is both good and bad. In short, many people — the eccentric, unaccepted, burnt-out, adventurous sorts — who felt confined in conventional American life all fled to the farthest corner of the US, that is the Pacific Northwest. The result of this migration is now an established culture that champions the strange and alternative. Oregonians are very proud of their eccentricities.

Libertarianism and separatism are very popular concepts in Oregon, both among urban and rural centers. Regardless of politics though, Oregonians are very outspoken people. Oregon has some of the most fantastic landscapes in the USA, a mostly forward-thinking society, and a people that really give a shit. There are very few places as interesting or as enthralling as Oregon.

Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Traveling without insurance would be fucking stupid. Below is a list of Oregon road trip ideas for saving money. Try and practice these as much as possible. Use apps like ViaMichelin to find cheap gas, which, seriously, always ends up being one of the most surprising and costly expenses on a road trip.

Use vehicle relocation services : These brilliant services offer huge discounts to people on the condition they get a vehicle to a certain place at a certain time. Availability is very limited though, so keep a watchful eye on the sites. Check immova and Cruise America to start with. Sleep overnight in an empty lot: Though not technically legal in Oregon, people sleep in parking lots all the time.

Make sure the lot is safe by asking around. Walmarts are reportedly good places to park overnight as they allow overnight parking. Camp : Unless you want to fork out big bucks for a lodge, you have to camp. Campgrounds are way less expensive and sometimes even free. Check out this post for a breakdown of the best tents to take backpacking. Cook your own food: Eating out can be very expensive in Oregon.

Cascade Range

Cook your own food as much as possible to save — I recommend bringing a portable backpacking stove. Otherwise, have a fancy night out at a food cart. Do free shit: There are lots of free things to do in Oregon! From hiking to laying on the beach to going to the local monuments; all of these things cost you nill. You can get started with this awesome guide to free activities in Portland from OregonLive.

Be sure to keep your ear to the ground for all things free in Oregon. Sometimes you need a roof over your head and your own shower to clean all that grime away from camping. Luckily, there are a whole range of accommodation types in Oregon catered to all sorts of travelers. It might be a good road trip idea in Oregon to stay at a lodge once or twice for a recharge. Sticking to a budget while not staying in a dump will still require a bit of research.

There are plenty of budget hotels and motels in Oregon but they suffer from a drab and uninspired design that is endemic to most cheap American lodging. You can find hostels in Oregon that are affordable and fun. Check out our hostel guide for Portland here. AirBnBs in Oregon are often cheaper and far more intimate than generic hotels. There are some really crazy AirBnB rentals out there as well! These would certainly be among the best places to stay in Oregon when visiting. To save the most money on your road trip through Oregon, consider sticking to hostels and campgrounds. Hostels in Oregon are quirky and full of character not to mention the most affordable form of accommodation.

Lots of people use this though so competition is quite high in Oregon. Always check for weather conditions before you head up, as even if the weather is sunny in the cities, there may be clouds around the mountain preventing you from seeing much of it. Likewise, snowy conditions can cause road closures and snow can happen on the mountain during fall, winter and spring. For those flying into the area, the closest airports are in Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon. From Seattle, the park is 95 miles away, and 70 miles from Tacoma.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

From Yakima, take Highway 12 west to Highway or Highway , and enter the park on the east side. There is an entrance fee for the park, which is good for seven consecutive days. If you plan on visiting the park more than once this year, consider getting the Mount Rainier Annual Pass. Mount Rainier National Park offers excellent opportunities for scenic drives, hiking, camping and mountain climbing.

Depending on what time of year you visit, you can also choose from other activities like wildflower viewing, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and snowboarding. Before you head out, be sure to check out the ranger-led programs available. Topics vary from day to day, and may include geology, wildlife, ecology, mountaineering or park history. Most programs are available from late-June until Labor Day.

Details and short descriptions of some evening programs are available on the official NPS site. Special Junior Ranger programs are also offered throughout the park on summer weekends daily at Paradise in summer. A Junior Ranger Activity Book is available year-round. For more information contact the Longmire Museum at ext. Paradise The area is famous for its glorious views and wildflower meadows.