Oregon is weird, but that’s why we love it so much! Our state is unique and special and quirky in so many incredible ways. When raving to your out-of-state friends about the Beaver State, it’s always wise to be prepared with a bunch of fun facts. The following quirky facts about Oregon are sure to catch anyone’s interest – even if they do sound made-up at first! Read on to check them out.
1. Oregon residents own a quarter of the nation's llamas.
Oregonians love llamas! It may be hard to believe, but 25% of the nation's llamas live in Oregon. Clackamas County has the most, followed by Washington, Yamhill, and Marion counties.
2.The town of Springfield from
The Simpsons is based on Springfield, Oregon.
People tend to think that the Springfield in
The Simpsons is based on some other Springfield, but creator Matt Groening has said himself that Springfield, Oregon was his inspiration.
3. Portland was almost named Boston.
The area where Portland sits was first settled by Francis Pettygrove of Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy of Boston, Massachusetts. They couldn't agree on what to name the place, so they flipped a coin. Obviously, Pettigrove won.
4. One time, people used dynamite to blow up a deceased beached whale, and it didn't go well at all.
This happened in Florence in 1970. No one was injured, but a bunch of rotting whale pieces is not any better than a complete whale rotting on the shore. Gross! You can visit the commemorative park in Florence to contemplate this.
5. Oregon is home to the world's largest fungus. It's humungous.
Honey mushrooms (Armillaria ostoyae) are not at all uncommon, but they don't usually grow to gigantic proportions. But, there's one single fungus in the Malhuer Natonal Forest in eastern Oregon that covers 2300 acres - mostly underground. It's a humungous fungus, that's for sure, and is the largest living thing in the whole entire word.
6. There are underground tunnels beneath Portland.
Not only are there tunnels, but you can tour them! These tunnels connect many of the bars and businesses downtown. Rumor has it that they were used to kidnap drunken bar patrons to put them to work as forced labor on ships during Portland's importing and exporting heyday. You'll love touring Portland's "Shanghai Tunnels!"
7. Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state.
When you think of ghost towns, you probably first think of Arizona or Colorado or even California, but Oregon has more ghost towns than any of those states. Southern, central, and eastern Oregon are full of them, and many are fairly well preserved. Plan a visit!
8. Oregon's flag is perhaps the most unique state flag.
The Oregon state flag is the only one in the country that has an image on both sides. One side has the image you see here; the other side has a beaver on it.
9. The deepest lake in the United States is in Oregon.
Crater Lake is DEEP. It is the deepest lake in the United States and is 1,949 feet deep at its deepest point. The second deepest lake isn't even all that close - Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet deep. The reason Crater Lake is so deep is because, well, its in the crater of a dormant stratovolcano that last erupted abut 4,800 years ago.
10. The smallest park in the world is in Oregon, too.
Oregon is also home to the world's smallest park! Mill Ends Park is a circle that is only two feet across and it has a total area of 452 square inches. It's in the
Guinness Book of World Records if you need to prove it to someone!
11. Eugene was the first city in the United States to institute one way streets.
Although the first one way streets in the world were in Paris in 1909, the first one way streets in the United States were in Eugene in 1941. 6th Avenue was the first street in Eugene and in the nation to be made one way.
12. The world's biggest cheese factory is in Oregon.
You might guess that the world's biggest cheese production facility would be in France or Italy, but you'd be wrong. It's in Oregon. The Tillamook Cheese Factory produces more than 170,000 pounds of cheese every day and packages approximately one million pounds of cheese each week. Its warehouse has the space to age 50 million pounds of cheese at one time!
13. More mammalian fossils have been found in one place in Oregon than almost anywhere else in the world.
John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a treasure trove of ancient fossils. It showcases one of the world’s best and most continuous records of the past 66 million years. The fossils found in this area helped scientists to understand the evolution of horses, felines, dogs, and other important mammals.
14. Portland has the biggest naked bike ride ever - every year.
The World Naked Bike Ride began in Spain in 2001, but now it happens every year all over the world. Portland always has the most participants, though - usually around 10,000 cyclists come out to ride bikes in the nude every June.
We hope you enjoyed these fun facts about Oregon! Now, tell your friends – and keep Oregon weird!
If you’re looking for more great posts that will make you proud to be an Oregonian, check out our
Oregon State Pride page!
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