Oregon Land for Sale
According to many, Oregon is a pacific wonderland, and the state holds true to this claim. It is the nation’s ninth largest state, covering 98,386 square miles. The majority of the area consists of pristine mountain ranges, lush, fertile valleys and beautiful shorelines. It is home to more than 3.8 million residents, making it the 27th most populous state in the nation. Sprawling metropolitan areas are nestled between vast expanses of quiet, untouched wilderness. From the peaks to the prairies, Oregon has a little something to offer nearly everyone.
Oregon has long been heralded as a land of opportunity. From the early 1800s, the state was known for its abundance of fur-bearing animals. Later, settlers discovered the rich, fertile soil and the area, known then as the Oregon Country, became the place to be for intrepid pioneers. Around 400,000 people migrated across the country on the Oregon Trail to find the promise of prosperity in Oregon’s Willamette Valley from 1830 to 1869. During this rush, Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859.
The origin of the name Oregon is one of controversy. Some claim it was named after the French word for windstorm or hurricane: ouragan. Others suggest that the Spanish word oregano was the inspiration, derived from the vigorous sage that grows in the state’s eastern reaches. A third theory asserts that Oregon was named after the Spanish word orejon, meaning “big ear,” which was a term used to describe the Native Americans who lived in the region before it was settled by Europeans.
Oregon’s nickname, however, is not contested at all. The “Beaver State” was chosen not only to honor the beaver’s fur that drew early settlers to make their home in the state but for the admirable qualities that the citizens associate with the creature. These qualities, including intelligence, industry and ingenuity, are as important to the lives of Oregonians today as they were more than 150 years ago.
Investors interested in Oregon real estate have a wide variety of land options over a broad price range from which to choose. The terrain of Oregon is as varied as the arguments of the name’s origin. The state can be divided into several regions: coastal Oregon, Willamette Valley, the Cascade Range, Columbia Plateau and Basin and southern Oregon. From fertile farmland and forests to majestic coastline, there is something for nearly any enterprise in the beautiful state of Oregon.
Spanning from the Pacific Ocean eastward to the Coast Range, Coastal Oregon runs more than 350 miles from the Astoria and the Columbia Rivers to the border of California at Brookings. There is a great diversity in this area, from the shore itself to the towns that line it. The temperatures are typically mild here. While the northern towns see occasional snow, the southern areas of the coast rarely plunge below freezing, even in the coldest of winter months. The Oregon Coast has fertile soil, which is cultivated by dairy farmers and specialty crops, such as lily bulbs. To the east, a temperate rain forest stretches to reach the foothills of the Coast Range.
There are no property taxes in Oregon. In exchange for this benefit, homeowners on the Oregon shore permit pedestrian easement through their shoreline stretches, making access to the shore possible from any point. No one is permitted to build upon the beach, giving the entire stretch of pristine series of sandy beaches, sea cliffs and bays a picturesque visage broken only by the eleven lighthouses that dot the landscape.
There are over 80 state parks and recreation areas along the Oregon Coast. Only a few highways cross the Coast Range from Oregon’s interior to the shore, secluding Coastal Oregon from the rest of the state. Mid-sized cities and small towns follow the rhythm set by the surf, separating it from the influence of the other regions. Fishermen harvest a bounty from the sea, including muscles, clams, oysters, salmon, halibut, snapper, ling cod, bass, scallops and Dungeness crab.
The communities here have established themselves as laid-back, resort-like destinations — a welcome retreat from the bustle of Oregon’s larger cities. Outdoor activities, including hiking, cycling, sport fishing and kiting are popular activities on the coast. Prices for land in Coastal Oregon are typically high right on the shore, but a few miles from the waves, land can be had at reasonable prices.
Nestled between the mountains of the Coast Range to the west, the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Calapooya Mountains to the south, the low-lying Willamette Valley is one of the most productive areas in the state. The land rolls and winds through many rivers and tributaries among the majestic mountains in this region. This is the region of Oregon that was publicized in the 1820s as the promised land of “flowing milk and honey,” sparking a migration westward. The Oregon Trail ends in Oregon City, located on the north end of the Willamette Valley.
The Willamette Valley has rich soil, made by more than 40 sweeping floods during the ice age that carried glacial and volcanic soils down the Columbia River Gorge. The lush valley is home to plenty of green plant life. Among the many trees that make up the state’s flourishing forestry industry grow in the Willamette Valley, including Oregon ash, Oregon oak, big leaf maple, Ponderosa pine, western red cedar, vine maple and osoberry (Indian plum).
Vegetables and berries also grow in this fertile region. The climate is mild, with a long growing season, of which agriculture enterprises take advantage. The Willamette Valley produces the majority of grass seed, hazelnuts and Christmas trees sold in all of North America. Hops, used in the production of beer, are also grown in the valley. Vineyards stretch across the hills in the valley, producing some of the most sought-after pinot noirs in the world.
The Willamette Valley is the most populous area of Oregon. The valley is home to 70 percent of Oregon’s citizens, with the major cities of Portland, Salem and Eugene in this area. Because of all of the people and agricultural ventures, land in the Willamette valley is highly valued.
The Cascade Range
The Cascades are a combination of volcanic and non-volcanic mountains that form a kind of backbone running north to south through the entire state of Oregon. It separates the moist Coastal Oregon and Willamette Valley regions from the rest of the state, which is typically dry. This difference can be seen on the range itself. The western side of the mountains receive as much as 150 inches of rainfall each year, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the westerly winds in the region. By contrast, the rain shadow effect leaves the eastern side of The Cascades with only around nine inches of rain per annum.
Mount Hood, the state’s highest elevation at 11,239 feet, is located within the Cascade Range. The higher peaks of the Cascades are covered in snow year-round. The wet western slopes are covered in densely packed stands of Douglas fir, red alder and western hemlock, while the eastern side has Ponderosa pine and Western Larch. Grizzly and black bear, cougars, coyotes, beavers, elk, bobcats and deer are common inhabitants in the Cascades.
Crater Lake is nestled within the Cascade Range. This five-by-six mile lake was formed by a collapsed volcano and is the deepest lake in the country, reaching 1,932 feet in depth. There are no rivers or streams feeding the lake—normal evaporation is compensated by rainfall and snow melt. Two islands rise from the depths of the caldera, creating a pristine view among the mountains. People visit Crater Lake National Park year round for outdoor sports and adventure, including hiking or fishing the populations of stock that were added to the water between 1888 and 1941.
Volcanic rock is rich in potassium, making the soil rich and fertile. Some farms cultivate the land in the valleys, and several ranches raise livestock, including cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. Geothermal power is also harvested in the Cascade Range. Volcanic steam is used to heat public buildings in Klamath Falls. National forests, wilderness areas and monuments protect the majority of the Cascades from development. Available land is sparse, and market prices are high in this region.
Columbia Plateau and Basin
The northeastern corner of Oregon is nestled in the Columbia Basin, surrounded on the eastern side by Hells Canyon, home of North America’s deepest gorge. The scenery here is magnificent: The Blue Mountains rise and fall in untouched splendor and the Columbia Plateau rises above the arid plains to heights of more than 6,000 feet.
Several national forests in this region create a paradise for outdoor recreation, where millions of visitors travel each year. Five large rivers intersect the Basin, creating a Mecca for rafting and other water sports. Fishing enthusiasts delight in the rich bounty of rainbow, bullhead and steelhead trout that cut through these rivers, as well as the serenity of the remote alpine lakes in the region.
Irrigation of the Columbia River to the basin region has turned once-arid desert into a fertile region where 60 percent of the state’s wheat is grown. Other northeast Oregon crops include potatoes, alfalfa, watermelon, carrots, field corn and carrots, making this area home to some of the most productive farmland in the entire nation.
Northeastern Oregon is considered by some to be the last frontier of the lower 48 states. The small towns in this corner of the state are lined with historical landmarks marking the passage of pioneer trails that crossed the region in migration to the Willamette Valley. The Columbia Basin is very thinly populated, and land here is very inexpensive, provided investors search for parcels outside of the towns.
Southern Oregon has an array of beautiful scenery that stretches from the Idaho border to the Coastal Range. Captivating valleys boasting babbling rivers are hemmed in by the Fremont and Steens Mountains, creating a lush haven perfect for rafting, fishing, camping and hiking.
The Rogue Valley, in the western part of this region, is famous for producing wines, cheeses and specialty products. This valley produces tree fruits, such as pears and has a reputation for unmatched quality. Southern Oregon farmers produce potatoes, onions, sugar beets, various fruits and livestock. The hilly terrain gives sheep and cattle a perfect grazing location. The rainfall is scarce, so irrigation systems are employed to maintain proper soil moisture for growing pastures.
Land in Southern Oregon is priced to sell, with many parcels available for less than $1,000 per acre. These prices spike considerably in the region’s towns and cities, but investors can find great opportunities here.
Oregon is home to many thriving enterprises, but the principle venture in the state is the service industry. Eighty-two percent of Oregon’s gross state product is generated through services including agriculture, international trade and tourism. The remaining 18 percent comes from Oregon’s robust manufacturing community.
Timber and wood processing is Oregon’s most important manufacturing activity. Nearly half of the state is covered in dense forests, making Oregon one of the world’s leading wood suppliers. It is the nation’s leading producer of lumber and plywood, maintaining sustainable stands of Douglas fir, western hemlock, Sitka spruce and Ponderosa pine, which are among the most popular trees grown and harvested in Oregon.
Agriculture is another important Oregon industry. Early pioneers boasted that one could “drive a nail in the land and it comes up green.” In the eastern reaches of the state, grains, grass, hazelnuts, berries, Christmas trees, wine grapes, vegetables, apples, stone fruit and flower bulbs are produced in abundance. Major crops and products from the west of the Cascades include cheese, lilies and cranberries. From the bounty of the sea, oysters, clams, mussels, salmon, cod, snapper, halibut, bass, crab, scallops and shrimp are harvested. Livestock production across the state includes poultry, cattle, sheep and pigs. Privately owned family farms are the major producers of Oregon’s bounty, rather than corporate farming facilities.
Tourism thrives in Oregon. The scenic expanse of the state draws outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world, from the Oregon coast to the Columbia Basin. Hiking, swimming, rock climbing, boating, fishing, hunting and windsurfing are among the most popular activities enjoyed in nearly all parts of the state. The metropolitan areas draw visitors, with shopping, performing arts and museums. With so many attractions, Oregon has the power to appeal to almost any investor.