Saturday, July 2, 2011


If you think about it, there are a lot more states that could be used as baby names than we actually are using. How do you feel about Oregon?

Oregon (pronounced "OR-eh-gun") is the 33rd state in the union and it's located in the Pacific Northwest. There are several theories as to where it's name comes from, and many of them reference the Columbia River, the largest river in the area which forms the state's northern border. Some believe that it's a severe butchering of the Portuguese phrase Aure il agua, meaning "hear the water." Others believe that it comes from the French word ouragan, meaning "windstorm" or "hurricane." Areas of the Columbia river are known for having very powerful gusts.

Oregon contains many diverse ecosystems. There is the Pacific coastline, the volcanoes of the Cascade Mountain Range, evergreen forests, lots of waterfalls, and deserts in the east. When the Europeans arrived the state was home to many different Native American tribes including the Chinook, Nez Perce, Umpqua, Bannock, Chasta, Klamath, Takelma, Molalla, and Kalapuya.

The first Europeans to explore the area were Spanish, late in the 1600s. James Cook explored the coastline looking for the Northwest Passage. French Canadian trappers and missionaries soon followed. The Oregon coast was the end of the road for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Starting in 1842, the Oregon Trail brought many settlers into the area.

Today, the coastal cities of Oregon are known for being particularly friendly to Neo-Pagans, because they have something of a hippyish culture. The area is also known for it's Tony Award winning Shakespeare Festival. The state produces 95% of the country's hazelnuts, and wine production is a significant industry. It's also known for being the state where the Twilight movies were filmed.

Personally, I think Oregon could really work as a given name, particularly for a boy. I like the strong ruggedness of it. It's the same ruggedness that Dakota and Montana seem to embody. I think all it would take is for someone famous to use it, or for it to be used on a character in a popular television show, which will give it the little push it needs to enter the namescape. Until then, it'll be a gem for someone wanting unusual Americana.


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  1. Oh, I love Oregon! Great suggestion - plus, it shortens to Ory/Ori/Orrie, which works for either gender.

  2. It reminds me of the "Simpsons" episode where Troy McClure's agent tells him he needs to have a baby for his career, but he can't use any state names used by other celebrities, such as Dakota or Montana. So Troy suggests "Oregon???" rather desperately ...

  3. Oregon is pronounced as OR-gun by most Oregonians. The extra syllable that out-of-state people sometimes add would sound very funny to most Oregonian ears. Actually quite honestly, a lot of people I know would change the 'gun' to more of a 'gehn' or a 'gin', with a hard g but less of the uh sound and rather a short e or short i.

  4. Oregon born and raised and ^^ Ani^^ is right. To the natives, Oregon becomes organ. :)


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