The Pacific Northwest is the region of the western United States located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. It runs north to south from British Columbia, Canada, to Oregon. Idaho, parts of Montana, northern California, and southeastern Alaska are also listed as parts of the Pacific Northwest in some accounts.
Much of the Pacific Northwest consists of rural forested land; however, there are several large population centers which include Seattle and Tacoma, Washington, Vancouver, British Columbia, and Portland, Oregon.
The region of the Pacific Northwest has a long history that was mainly occupied by various Indigenous groups. Most of these groups are believed to have been engaged in hunting and gathering as well as fishing.
Today, there are still visible artifacts from the Pacific Northwest’s early inhabitants as well as thousands of descendants that still practice historic Indigenous culture.
Relief and drainage
Oregon has nine major landform regions, of which the forest-blanketed Coast Range, which borders the Pacific Ocean from the Coquille River northward, is the lowest. Its elevations are generally below 2,000 feet (600 metres), but Mount Bolivar, east of Port Orford, reaches 4,319 feet (1,316 metres).
The Klamath Mountains, which extend from California, lie south of the Coast Range and west of the Cascades. Composed of ancient resistant rocks, they have had a complicated geologic history. They are higher and more rugged than the Coast Range and lack the north-south orientation.
The Malheur-Owyhee Upland of southeastern Oregon is generally a high, warped plateau. It contains older lava and has been more eroded than the High Lava Plains. The major drainage system, the Owyhee River, has incised several notable canyons in an area locally called the Rimrock Country.
Oregon’s climates range from equable, mild, marine conditions on the coast to continental conditions of dryness and extreme temperature, in the interior. Location with respect to the ocean, prevailing wind and storm paths, and topography and elevation are the principal climatic control factors.
The world loves Oregon wheat
The Lower Columbia River is the largest wheat export gateway in the United States. At the Port’s Terminal 5, we ship wheat to Asia and other parts of the world. A lot of the grain comes from Oregon farmers, but wheat from Washington, Montana, Wyoming and even the Dakotas arrives at our marine terminal via rail, allowing us to quickly load it onto ships and send it out to sea.
Want to go on a road trip?
Because our marine terminals sit at the confluence of major rivers, we’re an attractive location for auto imports and exports. Automobile companies prefer to move cars in and out of Portland because their vehicles aren’t sitting next to corrosive saltwater like most seaports, and they can quickly get them inland across the U.S. thanks to the rail lines accessible at our marine terminals.
Trade is about making connections
Relationships with trade partners are more important than ever for Oregon – they’re a big reason exports grew 1.8% last year, despite global trade uncertainty. At the Port of Portland, we focus on the long, hard work of global collaboration – including trade missions to our trading partners. We’ve joined Governor Kate Brown on recent trips to Asia to market everything from kombucha to potatoes.
Crater Lake National Park
With a landscape like nowhere else, Crater Lake National Park lies in the Cascade Mountains of southwestern Oregon. It is not actually a crater, but rather an ancient caldera of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama. Lava cliffs rise to heights of up to 2,000 feet around the intensely blue and extremely deep lake.
Just a short distance from the edge of the crater, Rim Drive circles the lake in a clockwise direction. It begins at Rim Village and is only accessible by vehicle in warm weather months. Throughout winter, snowshoers and cross-country skiers can use the unplowed road for winter travel.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area follows the course of the Columbia River as it cuts through the Cascade Range. The boundary line between Oregon and Washington, the gorge is known for its spectacular views and numerous waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls — the tallest waterfall in the state. The area offers a range of hiking and biking trails, plus camping facilities.
This is one of the most popular day trips from Portland, and one of the many great destinations to aim for in the gorge includes Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek. Traveling along the Historic Columbia River Highway through the gorge offers a slower pace than the adjacent Interstate 84.
Washington Park, Portland
Portland offers a bevy of delightful parks and gardens, but none has quite the density of attractions as Washington Park. Within park grounds, the famed International Rose Test Garden is located near the impressive Portland Japanese Garden. Each displays exceptional horticultural expertise and are favorites with green thumbs.
For families, the park entices with fun explorations at the Oregon Zoo, as well as the Portland Children’s Museum. The park is also home to some of the best hiking trails in the Portland area. A free Washington Park shuttle operates within the park daily between April and September, and several public transit options help alleviate the need for parking.