Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes, 40 seconds. 

Oregon has it rough. People from the East Coast can't usually produce our name (it's Ore-again, not Ory-gone), some think we still use covered wagons, and even Jon Stewart once commented that Oregon was “California’s Canada, Washington’s Mexico, and Idaho’s Portugal.” It's time to set the record as straight as the southern border of Oregon: We are #1. 

Proof of Oregon's greatness

Why make this bold statement? One, it's something that people in the US need to know. Two, I’m officially fed up with people from the UK not knowing about the glorious fountain of wonder that is the state of Oregon. Here’s a common example:

  • UK Person: Whereabouts are you from in the States?
  • Me: Oregon! Have you heard of it? It’s only the coolest state in the union.
  • UK Person: Ya, Oregon, umm, that’s umm… near Minnesota? Midwest somewhere?

Yep, totally Midwest. Really, what’s a few thousand miles between friends? I don’t blame them though, there are 50 states to remember, and these people are not originally from the US. In fact, they'd probably score better than most Americans on a similar test. To turn it around, how many Americans could name any one of the 48 counties in the UK? (Nope, London isn’t one, nice try).

So I don't care if you don't know all 50 states in the union. But you should know Oregon. Oregon is different. Special. Unique, Brilliant. Forget about all of those other states, and memorize these two facts:
  1. West Coast Best Coast. It’s simple, and oh so true. Why do you think so many left the East Coast and took the Oregon Trail? Because they wanted to get to someplace awesome.
  2. Oregon is the best state on the West Coast.
  3. Therefore, Oregon is the best state in the US.
And this proof would hold up to the highest levels of academic scrutiny. Well, assuming the academic is from Oregon. Let’s dive a bit more into the specific reasons why.

1. We have the best beer city in the US

Could there be a better place to start? I actually have facts to back up this assertion! Portland is ranked as the best beer city in the US, and is consistently ranked in the top 5 of beer cities in the world, with over 50 microbreweries within the city limits We are have big beer names, with Deschutes, Rogue and Widmer all birthed in Oregon. But in the end, it’s the not the number sold, it’s the quality of the beer (call this the Coors Light proof.). If you’ve ever tried Rogue’ All American Amber or Oakshire’s Espresso Stout, you know the kind of quality I’m talking about. And this is only the beginning… 

2. We are the goal in the game “The Oregon Trail”

If you haven’t played The Oregon Trail  before, I demand that you whip out a ’95 Macintosh computer with MSDOS and buy a CD Rom copy off ebay. Or for less dedicated players, you can read about it here.

This game may have been the most exciting yet tragic offering for kids under 10 ever conceived. Here is a quick review:

  • The premise: Load up a wagon with your friends and family and head west, toward the wonderful state of Oregon.
  • The actions: Ford some rivers, hunt for some food, and soon you’ll be in the paradise of the West Coast.
  • Any risks? Not really. Only that at least 1 member of your family will drown or die of typhoid or cholera, and there is about a 50% chance that your venture will end in starvation or your own death. But no, no big.

Again Nicole? Really?!? 

3. We invented the freaking bottle deposit… and more

Ya, you’re welcome. Actually, Oregon has been at the forefront of a number of cutting edge social or environmental programs. According to former Oregon senator Frank Robert, Oregon was also the first to grant widespread public beach access, the first to have statewide voter registration, and the first state to celebrate Labor Day. Boom. 

This picture is literally how I feel, and is available for purchase from these wonderful artists.

4. We don't use umbrellas

Who needs them? Not using an umbrella comes down to simple pride, and is a perfect example of Oregon's resilient and wacky spirit. We are one with the rain. If you can't handle it, grab an umbrella and move to Washington. If you are a true Oregonian, but on a rain coat, some boots, and tough it out. 

Try graduating while holding an umbrella in Oregon... Not going to happen. 

5. We have the most applicable state mottoes

“She Flies With Her Own Wings.” Yep. It says it all. Progressive, daring, independent, Oregon. And when did we come up with that motto? Freaking 1854. That's right, we've been doing it right for over 150 years. 

The most recent Oregon tagline is "We Love Dreamers." I think this picture tells you about all you need to know:

6. Oregon Looks Like This:

So there it is Rhino Nation, it's settled. Oregon wins. 


Kurt Berning

Hug the Rhino
For a better life