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Oregon Colleges

Oregon Colleges

 

The State of Oregon is a remarkable mixture of geographical features and climates.  The Cascade Mountain Range runs north to south through the state about one hundred miles from the stateís coastline on the Pacific.  Climatic conditions created by moist air coming off the ocean make the western third of the state green and well irrigated.  The eastern two thirds of the state are much dryer to the point of being arid, with some areas having the appearance of high desert.

 

Twenty five miles from the Oregon coast the Coast Mountain Range rises to form the western wall of the Willamette Valley, which has the Willamette River running through its floor.  This valley and the lands within it are where most of Oregonís agriculture and its major cities are located.  Portland, the stateís largest city, lies on both sides of the Willamette near where it meets the Columbia River.  Salem, the capital city and Eugene, the other major city in the state, lie further south in the valley. 

 

The eastern two thirds of the state lie on the other side of the Cascade range, which forms the eastern wall of the Willamette Valley.  The northern portion of that side of the mountain consists of high plateaus.  To the south and east are the semi-arid Basin region and Range region.  Water is a precious resource in eastern Oregon and water rights are a commodity often as valuable as real estate.

 

Portland is a town with unique character and not inconsiderable physical attraction.  It is a city that tolerates any number of flamboyant individualists and independent political philosophies.  It is also a city that is drawing enormous amounts of high tech industrial development.  Some of that development is in Oregon and some in Washington, which lies just across the Columbia River.  Regardless of the state lines, the area is undergoing substantial high tech industrial development.  The city anchors a metropolitan area of over two million people, surpassed only by Seattle in the Pacific Northwest. 

 

Oregonís capital Salem is a city of a little less than one hundred fifty thousand inhabitants and is the center of the stateís agricultural districts.  It is a food processing center and has attracted some high tech development.  Eugene, down the river a bit, is also a food processing center and boasts a little of its own high tech industry.  Eugene is a city of about 120,000 residents, is home to the University of Oregon and is a prototypical college town noted for its alterative lifestyles.  The river invites rafters and kayakers while the cityís active art community has developed its own mini-industry within the town.

 

Western Oregon has about 40-45 inches of precipitation annually but it is spread over 155 days.  It rains a lot there.  Other than the precipitation, the climate is relatively mild and the temperatures comfortable.  Much of Oregon still retains a rustic feel and has long been a retreat for Californians driven north by the exploding population of their home state.

 

Oregon has much to recommend it.  There are three cities, each with its own social character and all with some degree of new economic development underway.  The public universities are worthwhile; although the tuition rates for out of state students are prohibitive.  Still, there are ground floor jobs in top floor industries for people who want to break in to the tech economy while finishing an education.

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