Portland Skyline
Jan. 7, 2004
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Geography & Climate

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Haystack Rock on the Oregon CoastDivided by the Cascade Mountain range, Oregon is a land of contrasts. Western Oregon is characterized by a mild marine climate, while the eastern part of the state is high-desert country.

Despite the claim that "Portlanders don't tan, they rust," the average annual total rainfall is only 37 inches (93.98 cm). Most of the rain falls between October and April, heavy rainfall is rare, and the sun really does shine frequently. Average temperatures range from highs of 80 degrees (26.6 c) degrees in mid-summer to lows of 33 degrees (.55 c) degrees in January. Snow is rare.

The Steens Mountains in Eastern Oregon (Photo by Katherine Siefkes)The Portland skyline is dominated by Mount Hood, which towers 11,240 feet above sea level. Pacific Ocean beaches are a short drive from Portland, and also from Corvallis and Eugene. Forests rising above productive farmland in the Willamette Valley blanket the rugged Cascade Mountains.

Located in Lane County, 110 miles (176 km) south of Portland, Eugene is Oregon's second-largest city. The county population is 306,000. Corvallis, population 55,000, is 80 miles (128 km) south of Portland.

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