Oregon is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the
east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern boundaries respectively. The area was inhabited by many
indigenous tribes before the arrival of traders, explorers and settlers who formed an autonomous government in Oregon Country in 1843; the
Oregon Territory was created in 1848, and Oregon became the 33rd state on February 14, 1859. Salem is the state's capital and
third-most-populous city; Portland is the most populous. Portland is the 30th-largest U.S. city and the 23rd-largest U.S. metro area.
The valley of the Willamette River in western Oregon is the most densely populated and agriculturally productive region of the state,
and is home to eight of the ten most populous cities. Oregon's largest for-profit private employer is Intel, located in the Silicon
Forest area on Portland's west side. Oregon State University in Corvallis and the University of Oregon in Eugene are the two flagship
universities of the state, while Portland State University has the largest enrollment.
Oregon enjoys a diverse landscape including a scenic and windswept Pacific coastline, the volcanoes of a rugged and glaciated Cascade
Mountain Range, dense evergreen forests, and high desert across much of the eastern portion of the state. The towering Douglas firs and
redwoods along the rainy Western Oregon coast provide a dramatic contrast with the lower density and fire prone pine tree and juniper
forests covering portions of the Eastern half of the state. The eastern portion of the state also includes semi-arid scrublands, prairies,
deserts, and meadows. These drier areas stretch east from Central Oregon. Mount Hood is the highest point in the state at 11,249
feet (3,429 m). Crater Lake National Park is the only national park in Oregon.
Oregon's population is largely concentrated in the Willamette Valley, which stretches from Eugene to Portland. Oregon City, at the end of the
Oregon Trail, was the Oregon Territory's first incorporated city, and was its first capital until 1852, when the capital was moved to Salem.
Bend, near the geographic center of the state, is one of the ten fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States. In the southern
part of the state, Medford is a rapidly growing metro area, Further to the south, near the California-Oregon border, is the community of
Ashland, home of the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival.