Happy Birthday, Oregon


Today is a special day for a variety of reasons.

It’s Wednesday, which is always a nice day to mark the half-way point through the work week.  It also happens to be Ash Wednesday.

The big event today that most people are celebrating, though, is Valentine’s Day.

A day full of romance and roses, candy hearts and sweethearts.

And of all the quotes about Valentine’s Day, my favorite is this:

“I don’t understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine’s Day.

When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind

is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.”

-Author Unknown

Today also happens to be my home state’s birthday.

On February 14, 1859, Oregon was officially admitted to the union as a state.

Oregon’s story started with Spanish and French exploration in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the early 1800s, Oregon was mapped by the Lewis and Clark expedition in their search for the Northwest Passage, opening a route for further exploration.

Merchants, traders and trappers were among the first people to forge a path across the Continental Divide on their way to Oregon territory. Missionaries are credited, through, with blazing the Oregon Trail. The first missionary group made their way west in the early 1830s.

Between 1840 and 1860, thousands of pioneers made the grueling overland trek of more than 2,000 miles. The U.S. began joint settlement of the area with the United Kingdom. In 1846, the border between U.S. and British territory was formally established at the 49th parallel. The part of the territory that was given to Britain would ultimately become part of Canada.

More than 50,000 people called Oregon home by 1857. Only white men were allowed to vote and they petitioned for statehood. The U.S. Senate began to consider Oregon statehood in May 1858 amid a split of the Democratic Party over slavery and ongoing controversy over admitting Kansas to the union. Oregon’s bid added complications to the ongoing debate. Southerners, such as Senator Jefferson Davis, opposed the admission of any more northern states, concerned about keeping a political balance. Others looked at specific issues such as the valid question of whether Oregon had a large enough population to qualify for statehood.

The final vote on the Oregon admission bill in the U.S. House of Representatives was delayed until February 1859, after languishing in the committee on territories for over six months.  When votes were tallied on Feb. 12, they showed a narrow 114 to 103 victory for statehood. Two days later the president signed the bill and Oregon officially became the 33rd state in the union.

Here are some State of Oregon facts:

Date of Statehood: February 14, 1859

Capital: Salem

Population: 4,093,000 (2016 census)

Size: 98,379 square miles

Nickname: Beaver State

Motto: She Flies With Her Own Wings

Tree: Douglas Fir

Flower: Oregon Grape

Fruit: Pear

Bird: Western Meadowlark

Some other fun details about the state include the fact there is no state sales tax. Oregon is the 10th largest state in the union (land wise) and is bordered by Washington, Idaho, Nevada, California, and the Pacific Ocean.

Oregon’s Nature

The state of Oregon offers great diversity in the landscapes. From the rugged coast and lush green forests on the west side of the state to the high desert and rolling hills of wheat on the east, Oregon offers an example of nearly every geographic terrain on the planet within its borders.

*Oregon is home to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States.

*You’ll also find Hells Canyon in the northeast corner of the state, the deepest river-carved gorge in North America.  At 7,913 feet, it’s deeper than the Grand Canyon.

*The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the richest fossil sites in the world.

*The largest concentration of wintering bald eagles can be found in the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

*The highest elevation point is Mt. Hood at 11,239 feet.

*There are more than 6,000 lakes and 112,000 miles of rivers and streams.

*Nearly half of Oregon’s total land area is forested – close to 30 million acres.


History and Heritage

Although Oregon’s history may seem relatively new compared to other parts of the country, it has 14 National Historic Districts and four National Historic Trails, including the Oregon Trail (with ruts still visible in some areas).

*The first scenic highway in the U.S. (and also a historical landmark) is the Historic Columbia River Highway.

*Nine historic lighthouses and one light ship dot the Oregon Coast.

*Oregon is home to 10 Native American Tribes.

*Oregon boasts dozens of historical museums and a few interpretive centers including the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City.

Other Oregon Tidbits

*Although many get it wrong, Oregon is pronounced OR-UH-GUN or OR-GUN, but never, ever OR-EE-GONE.

*Oregon grows 99 percent of the entire U.S. commercial hazelnut crop. (Nutella, anyone?)

*More than 750 vinyards in Oregon product in excess of 70 different varietals of wine grapes.

*Tater tots were invented by two Oregon brothers, Nephi and Golden Grigg, founds of Ore-Ida.

*The Goonies was filmed mostly in Astoria with scenic cameo shots taken in other Oregon coastal towns. You can visit the official Goonies museum in Astoria to get more detail on the movie.

Now that your head is full of Oregon lore, how about we fill your heart with a little sweet Oregon-based romance?

Today, you can download this novella set in the fictional town of Holiday, Oregon, for FREE!

Valentine Bride

Fynlee Dale returns to Holiday to take care of her wacky grandmother. Although it means giving up her dreams of a career and husband, she needs to be there for Grams.

Carson Ford vows to take care of his elderly aunt after buying her ranch. Comfortable with all aspects of his life, his world turns upside down when he meets a woman who’s impossible to forget.

They find themselves in the midst of a plot by two scheming old women determined to make them fall in love.

Valentine Bride is a funny, sweet romance given a liberal dose of humor through a cast of colorful characters intertwined around a heartwarming love story.

Available on Amazon

Happy Valentine’s Day! 
Website | + posts

After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

29 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Oregon”

  1. Thank you for the Oregon story. My Uncle and Aunt settled around Portland when he retired from the Army. He then taught cooking and home ec skills to the Indians in Oregon the next 20 years for the Dept of the Interior. His sister, my Mother, and I got to go once but it was to his funeral. Beautiful country. I am from North Central Texas. SW of Ft Worth.
    Thank you for The Valentine Bride. I got mine.
    You and Captain Cavedweller going to have a romantic Valentine Date, Cabella’s?

    • I’m glad you got to visit Oregon, but so sorry it was for your uncle’s funeral. It sounds like he had a very interesting career.
      Thank you for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy Valentine Bride! And no Cabela’s for us today… but I’m making a steak dinner for CC.
      Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  2. Shanna- I loved this tidbit of info about your great state. Happy Birthday Oregon,(I’m glad to know I’ve been pronouncing it correctly all these years), and Happy Valentine’s Day To you. Now I want to come visit your beautiful state. After reading your books I feel like I’m getting to know your state and the wonderful kind hearted natives that reside there. Thank you for the free download. Have a wonderful Hearts day filled with love, laughter, and chocolates!!!
    Love & hugs sweet Lady!!

    • Hi Tonya!
      Oh, I hope you can visit someday. I think Oregon is such a beautiful place because the landscape is so diverse (but then I’m kind of partial to it after growing up here!)
      You are welcome for the freebie! Enjoy!
      And have an amazing Valentine’s Day!
      Love and hugs to you! <3

  3. Wow, loved your blog. You just taught me more abour Oregon than I’ve ever known. The ruts still being on the wagon trails blew my mind. That gives this HWR reader a true picture of how hard traveling through Oregon truly was for settlers. Thank you so much for the download I love your books! Happy Valentines Day!

    • Hi Stephanie!
      Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
      Enjoy the freebie! 🙂
      And I’m glad I provided some useful info. If you ever have a chance to visit the wagon ruts, it is a really amazing experience… just that feeling of standing where so many have gone before.

  4. I was born in Oregon and have never lived elsewhere.I live on the Souther Oregon coast and it is beautiful here.

  5. Oregon looks beautiful. I hope to be able to visit there one day. My husband used to go when he was younger and had family there and told me about so many great places that they used to visit.

  6. Shana, great post, I have always wanted to go there. One of my unpublished novels is about the Oregon Trail, so I had to do a lot of research, but there’s nothing like being there. We will Never Understand what those pioneers went through.
    Kathy Bailey

    • Hi Kathy!
      I agree, we’ll never fully understand their trials and tribulations. So fun you’ve done much research on the state. Hope you get to visit someday!
      Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

  7. Thanks for sharing about your state. Oregon is very beautiful! Thank you also for the books.
    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  8. Gorgeous picture of Crater Lake and Wizard Island. Also enjoyed your key to pronouncing Oregon. It is one of the words I had to re-learn how to pronounce when we got married and I moved from the Northeast to the Northwest. It was pronounce it the Northwest way or be teased by my husband and his brother and they both liked to tease.

  9. We spent a few days in Oregon on our way to the Worlds Fair in Vancouver, BC back in 1985 or so. Loved Astoria. I saw a house on a hill and made my husband find it. A lovely Victorian that was just what we wanted. It was for sale, but my husband was active duty military, so there was no way to even consider it. Imagine how surprised we were when it was featured in the movie Kindergarten Cop as the home of the little boy and the love interest. It was gorgeous inside handmade me want it even more. We hope to go back to Oregon this summer on our way to Alaska.
    Thank you for Valentine Bride.

  10. Very interesting blog–thank you! And thank you also for Valentine Bride!

    P.S.I love your favorite Valentine’s Day quote too. A chubby toddler with a weapon just nails it. Ha.

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