Washington and Oregon Compared

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Mr. Beat compares and contrasts Washington state and Oregon.
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Photo Credit: Bruce Englehardt (SounderBruce)

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Washington and Oregon
Both of the bordering states in these United States like to talk a lot of trash about each other, but they have a lot in common
Both began as part of Oregon Territory, established by the United States in 1848 after originally being inhabited by Native Americans, the Russians, a even the British for a bit.
Both border the Pacific Ocean and are in the infamous Ring of Fire, an area where lots of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions tend to occur. Both are geographically diverse.
And yep, both have similar climates. West of the Cascades, the mountain range that runs north-south through both of the states, gets a lot of rain and the temperature is more moderate, whereas east of the Cascades is much drier with varied temperatures. That’s why you’ll get a picture like this, where you’re in the rainforest, and then drive east five hours and get a picture like this, where you’re basically in the freaking desert.
Both are known for wine.
Some of the best wine in the world is produced from the grapes grown in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, and Tri-Cities region of Washington. Speaking of alcohol, both states have a ton of craft beer breweries, although Oregon has more per capita than Washington.
Both states have a similar poverty rate and similar income levels, although Washington citizens definitely earn more, on average.
The cost of living is similar in both states, overall, which is higher than most of the rest of the country.
Both states’ biggest industries are healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, in that order, but you can’t mention the two states without their lumber production. They’ve got mad forests, there, I’m telling you.
A lot of people in both Oregon and Washington have lighter skin. Only 4% in Washington and 2% in Oregon consider themselves African American.
Around ⅕ of Oregon residents and Washington residents can trace their ancestry to Germany. Many of the earliest residents of European ancestry of both states came via the Oregon Trail, from the Midwest.
Marijuana is legal in both states, although the laws that regulate it are less strict in Oregon.
Both states lean to the left politically, and typically vote Democratic. Although the Cascades split both states politically, as east of them people tend to be more conservative.
Both states are not that religious. Less residents belong to churches in Oregon and Washington than nearly all other states.

Both border a foreign country. Washington borders Canada to the north and Oregon borders California to the south. Wait a sec…apparently California is also part of the United States. Scratch that, I’m sorry.

So what about their differences? I mean, there are a lot of differences when you nitpick, like the fact that Washington produces much more apples than any other state and Oregon produces more hazelnuts than any other state, but in general terms, there are few major differences.

Washington has a lot bigger population, despite being ⅔ the size of Oregon. Washington has around 7.3 million people, and Oregon just 4.1 million. So that’s why Washington gets 12 votes in the Electoral College and Oregon gets just 7. Washington’s population is also growing more quickly than Oregon’s.
Washington residents are smarter than Oregon residents. Ok, I joke here, obviously. However, more than 41% of Washington residents have a college degree, whereas just under 38% of Oregon residents have one.
Washington doesn’t have an income tax, Oregon has one of the highest income tax rates in the country. That’s quite misleading though, as Washington residents pay some of the highest sales tax rates in the country while Oregon residents pay some of the lowest.


  1. My wife and I moved to Oregon 36 years ago. We are conservative and as such, we cannot stand the political scene here. Washington is the same way, Liberals abound, especially west of the Cascades. Since 1985 we have seen Portland go steadily downhill faster than a cat sliding off a greased rooftop. It has become not just a Democratic city but a "FAR Left" city where they allowed rioting and burning to go on for over 100 days last summer. The so-called "City of Roses" has become the "City of Litter and Piss and Homeless Tents of Filth". It has become a mecca for the Homeless and you can see the damage they have caused all over the city and surrounding areas, by their garbage and trash-heaps. We still enjoy the Oregon Coast and the Mountains, so yes, there are still "Good" areas here (especially east of the cascades). But this place of natural beauty would be FAR BETTER if we had "good to fair" Government (which we do NOT have presently). The last time Oregon had a Republican Governor was 1986 when Vic Atiyeh was Governor (and things were going very excellent)! Our present Governor (Kate Brown) is a 4'10" weird little woman who is a self-proclaimed "bi-sexual" Liberal Democrat who is uglier than a mud fence. She is married to a little creep named Dan Little but she has a female lover on the side. It's just plain odd and wrong. It's OK with me what she does in her own time as long as she is NOT the Governor of our State for God's sake! If the people of Oregon ever "wake up" and realize their vote means something, maybe this state can make some progress, but until then, Good Luck!!

  2. It’s funny how often people skip right over the fact that it was literally illegal for black people to live in Oregon until the late 1800s. Look it up.

    … that’s not me being woke or trying to guilt trip anybody for being white. It’s just a fact.

  3. I was born in California, raised in Washington and lived for 15 years in the Portland, Oregon metro. I have only lived on the west side of the Cascades though my Dad once brought home apples from Yakima that were delicious and huge. I now live to the east of Cleveland Ohio and people here boast about their apples which are small, hard, and bitter. ANyway, city-wise: I loved Portland in the 90s. I have heard it's changed a lot so I can't say whether or not I would love it now. Statewise: Yeah, your right. There basically the same, but my knee-jerk reaction to uniting is "No. Just no. Don't even go there." They may be twins but as every twin will tell you, they are NOT their sister/brother."

  4. I've lived in oregon for over two decades;
    And anyone who tells you it's a sweet, lovely, caring place has obviously never been to portland or anywhere within 100 miles of it.
    Crappy governor, crappy mayors, crappy laws, crappy cities (Portland, Eugene), etc

  5. sales tax in Washington is not on groceries like it is in many states… (looking at you alabama at a combined 11%) Sales tax on groceries is only for select sugary snacks and account only for $0.77 total on my normal grocery bill of $350 monhly, where as in other states that do have sales tax on groceries account for $42.00 for the same grocery bill. As such saying they have a high sales tax is misleading as it negates the vast majority of groceries.

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