National Oregon Day
So just to be clear, National Oregon Day is not an actual thing. There is no official State of Oregon Day. But since WMG is headquartered in Oregon, we thought we’d shed some light on our state’s sometimes headshaking history.
In fact, Oregon became a state (the 33rd to join the union) on February 14, 1859, after a good deal of negotiation about whether it would be considered a “free” or a “slave” state, with civil war brewing over the issue of slavery. The way the debate was settled says a lot about the character of the state’s residents as well as the political climate in Washington back then; it was declared a “free” state, but no African Americans were permitted to live there.
That solves THAT problem, they apparently thought. We won’t ban the institution per se, just the people who could be subjected to it. (Unsurprisingly, the consequences of those decisions continue to affect the diversity of the state to this day.)
Mind you, there were many people living in the territory now known as Oregon before those residents of European origin moved in. People of the Chinook, Coquille, Bannock, Kalapuya, Klamath, Klickitat, Molalla, Nez Perce, Shasta, Takelma, Umatilla, and Umpqua nations lived in the vast area, with evidence of human habitation stretching back 15,000 years.
European explorers alighted on Oregon’s spectacularly beautiful coastline periodically from the 16th through the 18th century, and trappers in droves moved in, mostly from the north at first, by the early 19th century. As the century progressed more and more settlers set out for the Oregon Territory from the plains of what is now the Midwest.
The terrain and natural resources make Oregon a place of incredible variety and natural splendor. It must have seemed even more vast then: the current State of Oregon ranks ninth in land area among the 50 states, and 39th in population, putting it squarely in the ranks of Alaska, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado for population density and land area.
Well, OK nobody really can compare to Alaska in the large, empty state competition.
Still. Oregon is huge, beautiful, and has terrain as varied as the Eastern high desert and Mt. Hood, the rugged Oregon Coast and the mighty Columbia River, and many other natural glories.
Not to mention the notoriously quirky city of Portland. And Oregon has many quirks.
But we can only scratch the surface of the many fascinating attributes of this state. Here’s an invitation that showed up in my email this morning, that somehow expresses a lot:
“Oregon Cannabis Commission's Health Equity Subcommittee Zoom meeting, March 21.”