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February 14 is Oregon’s 164th Birthday

Anniversary of statehood

Courtesy of the Oregon state capitol foundation


Oregon was founded on Feb. 14, 1859. It was the 33rd state admitted into the union, and in 1860 was home to over 54,000 residents. Today, around 4 million people call Oregon home.


In the 1850s, there were no cell phones or computers. The news had to travel across the country from Washington DC, and the telegraph -- our best technology at the time -- could only reach as far as St. Louis. From Missouri, it traveled by stagecoach to the west coast. It then traveled by ship to Portland, and finally a rider rode his horse from Portland to Salem. It took three days in the March rain.


When enacted in 1859, Oregon was the only state in the union to have an exclusion clause prohibiting African Americans from living or owning property. The law was removed from the state constitution in 1926. The ripples of the state's racist history are still felt today, particularly in Oregon's largest city. This year, there will be a number of cultural and heritage organizations, as well as some of Oregon's tribes, that have provided online activities and learning opportunities for the public.

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