Pacific Northwest

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Pacific Northwest
Portland, Oregon by Bill Young.jpg
Left-right from top:
Greater Portland
DialectPacific Northwest English
The Pacific Northwest from outer space

The Pacific Northwest (sometimes Cascadia, or simply abbreviated as PNW) is a geographic region in western

Cascade and Coast mountains. The variety of definitions can be attributed to partially overlapping commonalities of the region's history, culture, geography, society, ecosystems, and other factors.[citation needed

The Northwest Coast is the coastal region of the Pacific Northwest, and the Northwest Plateau (also commonly known as "the Interior" in British Columbia[1] and the Inland Northwest in the United States) is the inland region. The term "Pacific Northwest" should not be confused with the Northwest Territory (also known as the Great Northwest, a historical term in the United States) or the Northwest Territories of Canada. The region is sometimes referred to as Cascadia, which, depending on the borders, may or may not be the same thing as the Pacific Northwest.

The region's largest metropolitan areas are

Greater Portland, Oregon, with 2.5 million people.[4]

The culture of the Pacific Northwest is influenced by the Canada–United States border, which the United States and the United Kingdom established at a time when the region's inhabitants were composed mostly of indigenous peoples. Two sections of the border—one along the 49th parallel south of British Columbia and one between the Alaska Panhandle and northern British Columbia—have left a great impact on the region. According to Canadian historian Ken Coates, the border has not merely influenced the Pacific Northwest—rather, "the region's history and character have been determined by the boundary".[5]


None of the multiple possible definitions of the Pacific Northwest is universally accepted. This map shows three possibilities: (1) The shaded area shows the historical Oregon Country. (2) The green line shows the Cascadia bioregion.[6]
(3) The labeled states and provinces include Washington, Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia.

Definitions of the "Pacific Northwest" region vary, and even Pacific Northwesterners do not agree on the exact boundary.[7][8] The most common conception includes the U.S. states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and sometimes the Canadian province of British Columbia.[5]

Broader definitions of the region have included the U.S. states of Alaska and parts of the states of California, Montana, and Wyoming, and the Canadian territory of Yukon.[5][9][10]

Definitions based on the historic Oregon Country reach east to the Continental Divide, thus including all of western Montana and western Wyoming. Sometimes, the Pacific Northwest is defined as being the Northwestern United States specifically, excluding Canada.


Indigenous peoples

The Pacific Northwest has been occupied by a diverse array of

settlement of the Americas by late Pleistocene peoples moving from northeast Asia into the Americas.[11]

The coastal migration hypothesis has been bolstered by findings such as the report that the sediments in the Port Eliza Cave

kya (16,000 years ago) in the area, while the continental ice sheets were nearing their maximum extent.[13] Other evidence for human occupation dating back as much as 14.5 kya (14,500 years ago) is emerging from Paisley Caves in south-central Oregon.[14][15] However, despite such research, the coastal migration hypothesis is still subject to considerable debate.[16][17]

Due in part to the richness of Pacific Northwest Coast and river fisheries, some of the indigenous peoples developed complex sedentary societies, while remaining hunter-gatherers.[18] The Pacific Northwest Coast is one of the few places where politically complex hunter-gatherers evolved and survived to historic contacts, and therefore has been vital for anthropologists and archaeologists seeking to understand how complex hunter and gatherer societies function.[19] When Europeans first arrived on the Northwest Coast, they found one of the world's most complex hunting and fishing societies, with large sedentary villages, large houses, systems of social rank and prestige, extensive trade networks, and many other factors more commonly associated with societies based on domesticated agriculture.[19][20] In the interior of the Pacific Northwest, the indigenous peoples, at the time of European contact, had a diversity of cultures and societies. Some areas were home to mobile and egalitarian societies. Others, especially along major rivers such as the Columbia and Fraser, had very complex, affluent, sedentary societies rivaling those of the coast.[21]

In British Columbia and Southeast Alaska, the Haida and Tlingit erected large and elaborately carved totem poles that have become iconic of Pacific Northwest artistic traditions. Throughout the Pacific Northwest, thousands of indigenous people live, and some continue to practice their rich cultural traditions, "organizing their societies around cedar and salmon".[22]

Initial European exploration

In 1579, the British captain and erstwhile

Imperial Russia sent the Dane Vitus Bering to the region.[31] By the late 18th century and into the mid-19th century, Russian settlers had established several posts and communities on the northeast Pacific coast, eventually reaching as far south as Fort Ross, California. The Russian River
was named after these settlements.

In 1774, the viceroy of

Captain James Cook visited Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island and also voyaged as far as Prince William Sound

In 1779, a third Spanish expedition, under the command of

Nuu-chah-nulth peoples before returning to Mexico. Another Spanish explorer, Jacinto Caamaño, sailed the ship Aranzazu to Nootka Sound in May 1792. There he met Quadra, who was in command of the Spanish settlement and Fort San Miguel. Quadra sent Caamaño north, to carefully explore the coast between Vancouver Island and Bucareli Bay, Alaska. Various Spanish maps, including Caamaño's, were given to George Vancouver in 1792, as the Spanish and British worked together to chart the complex coastline.[33]

HMS Discovery was the lead ship used by George Vancouver

From 1792 to 1794, George Vancouver charted the Pacific Northwest on behalf of Great Britain, including the Strait of Georgia, the bays and inlets of Puget Sound, and the Johnstone StraitQueen Charlotte Strait and much of the rest of the British Columbia Coast and southeast Alaska shorelines.[32] For him the city of Vancouver and Vancouver Island are named, as well as Vancouver, Washington. From Mexico, Malaspina dispatched the last Spanish exploration expedition in the Pacific Northwest, under Dionisio Alcalá Galiano and Cayentano Valdes aboard the schooners Sutil and Mexicana.[34] They met Vancouver in the Strait of Georgia on June 21, 1792. Vancouver had explored Puget Sound just previously. The Spanish explorers knew of Admiralty Inlet and the unexplored region to the south, but they decided to sail north. They discovered and entered the Fraser River shortly before meeting Vancouver. After sharing maps and agreeing to cooperate, Galiano, Valdés, and Vancouver sailed north to Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands, charting the coastline together. They passed through Johnstone Strait and Cordero Channel and returned to Nootka Sound. As a result, the Spanish explorers, who had set out from Nootka, became the first Europeans to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. Vancouver himself had entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca directly without going to Nootka first, so had not sailed completely around the island.[33]

In 1786,

Robert Gray traded along the coast, and discovered the mouth of the Columbia River

Continental crossover exploration

Explorer Alexander Mackenzie completed in 1793 the first continental crossing in what is called today central British Columbia and reached the Pacific Ocean. Simon Fraser explored and mapped the Fraser River from Central British Columbia down to its mouth in 1808. And mapmaker David Thompson explored in 1811 the entire route of the Columbia River from its northern headwaters all the way to its mouth. These explorations were commissioned by the North West Company and were all undertaken with small teams of Voyageurs.

United States President

Tonquin came oversea via Cape Horn to build and operate Fort Astoria

These early land expeditions mapped the way for subsequent land explorations and building early settlements.

Early settlements

Noteworthy Russian settlements still in place include:

Unalaska (1774), Kodiak (1791) and Sitka (1804) making them the oldest permanent non-Indigenous settlements in the Pacific Northwest. Temporary Spanish settlement Santa Cruz de Nuca (1789–1795) held on a few years at Nootka Sound

Other early occupation non-Indigenous settlements of interest, either long lasting or still in place, built and operated by either the

Fort Alexandria (1821), Fort Vancouver (1824), Fort Langley (1827; oldest in southern British Columbia), Fort Nisqually (1833) and Fort Victoria

Also of interest are the first mixed ancestry settlements sometimes referred as Métis settlements or French Canadian settlements. Native and newly arrived "half-breeds" (born out of "Europeans" and Indigenous alliances), local and newly arrived Indigenous people as well as "French Canadians" all issued of the fur trade were all able to peacefully coexist. Small scale farming occurred. Catholic missions and churches thrived for many years. These first settlements were: French Prairie, Frenchtown near Walla Walla, Cowlitz Prairie (Washington), French Settlement (Oregon) and Frenchtown near Missoula. Most mixed ancestry people ended up resettled in or around Indigenous reserves during the subsequent period, or otherwise assimilating in the mainstream.[36]

Boundary disputes

Initial formal claims to the region were asserted by Spain in 1513 with explorer

, giving up its garrison at Nootka Sound in the process.

The United States established a claim based on the discoveries of Robert Gray, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the construction of Fort Astoria, and the acquisition of Spanish claims given to the United States in the Adams–Onís Treaty.[37] From the 1810s until the 1840s, modern-day Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana, along with most of British Columbia, were part of what the United States called the Oregon Country and Britain called the Columbia District. This region was jointly claimed by the United States and Great Britain after the Treaty of 1818, which established a co-dominion of interests in the region in lieu of a settlement. In 1840, American Charles Wilkes explored in the area. John McLoughlin, Chief Factor of the Hudson's Bay Company, headquartered at Fort Vancouver, was the de facto local political authority for most of this time.

This arrangement ended as U.S. settlement grew and President

54°40' north latitude—the northward limit of the United States' claim.[38] After a war scare with the United Kingdom, the Oregon boundary dispute was settled in the 1846 Oregon Treaty, partitioning the region along the 49th parallel and resolving most, but not all, of the border disputes (see Pig War

The mainland territory north of the

Crown Colony. The two colonies were amalgamated in 1866 to cut costs, and joined the Dominion of Canada in 1871. The U.S. portion became the Oregon Territory in 1848. It was later subdivided into Oregon Territory and Washington Territory
. These territories became the states of Oregon, Idaho, Washington and parts of other Western states.

During the American Civil War, British Columbia officials pushed for London to invade and conquer the Washington Territory in effort to take advantage of Americans being distracted in the war on the Eastern region. This was rejected, as the UK did not wish to risk war with the United States, whose forces were better prepared and trained much more than the British troops.[39]

American expansionist pressure on British Columbia persisted after the colony became a province of Canada, even though Americans living in the province did not harbor

U.S. Navy to "force" the Inside Passage, even though it is not an official international waterway. Disputes between British Columbia and Alaska over the Dixon Entrance of the Hecate Strait between Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii have not been resolved.[40]


The Northwest is still highly geologically active, with both active volcanoes and geologic faults.[41]

The last known great earthquake in the northwest was the 1700 Cascadia earthquake.[42] The geological record reveals that "great earthquakes" (those with moment magnitude 8 or higher) occur in the Cascadia subduction zone about every 500 years on average, often accompanied by tsunamis. There is evidence of at least 13 events at intervals from about 300 to 900 years.[43]

Active volcanoes in the region include Mount Garibaldi, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, Mount Meager, Mount Jefferson, Mount Shasta, and Glacier Peak.


Mount Rainier (top) and Mount Hood (bottom) are the highest mountains in Washington and Oregon, and the 3rd and 20th most prominent summits in the United States
, respectively.

The Pacific Northwest is a diverse geographic region, dominated by several mountain ranges, including the

The Columbia River cuts a deep and wide gorge around the rim of the Columbia Plateau and through the Cascade Range on its way to the Pacific Ocean.

Because many areas have plentiful rainfall and mild summers, the Pacific Northwest has some of North America's most lush and extensive forests, which are extensively populated with

temperate rain forest

Coastal features are defined by the interaction with the Pacific and the North American continent. The coastline of the Pacific Northwest is dotted by numerous fjords, bays, islands, and mountains. Some of these features include the Oregon Coast, Burrard Inlet, Puget Sound, and the highly complex fjords of the British Columbia Coast and Southeast Alaska. The region has one of the world's longest fjord coastlines.[45]

The Pacific Northwest contains an uncountable number of islands, many of the smaller ones being unnamed. The vast majority of such islands are located in British Columbia and Alaska. Vancouver Island is by far the largest island in the area, but other significant land masses include the Haida Gwaii, vast and remote Princess Royal Island, Prince of Wales Island and Chichagof Island. The Salish Sea located close to major populated areas contains smaller but more frequently visited and well known islands. These include Whidbey Island, Salt Spring Island, and Texada Island, along with dozens of smaller islands in the San Juan and Gulf Island chains.

The major cities of Vancouver,

seaports supporting the logging, mining, and farming industries of the region, but have developed into major technological and industrial centers (such as the Silicon Forest), which benefit from their location on the Pacific Rim

If defined as British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Northwest has four

Pacific Rim National Park on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Mount Revelstoke National Park and Glacier National Park in the Selkirk Range alongside Rogers Pass, Kootenay National Park and Yoho National Park on the British Columbia flank of the Rockies, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve in Haida Gwaii, and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve in the Strait of Georgia. There are numerous protected areas in British Columbia and in the United States

Other outstanding natural features include the

in the world.


The main general climatic types of the Pacific Northwest are temperate oceanic, where cool temperatures and frequent cloudy skies are typical: both moderate and four seasons, but mountainous and arid high desert climates occupy the sparsely populated areas east of the Cascades. An

Humid continental climates occur inland on windward sides, in places such as Revelstoke, British Columbia. A subarctic climate can be found farther north, especially in Yukon and Alaska.[46]

Under the

Trewartha, place these areas firmly in the oceanic zone (Do).[48]

Because of summer air dryness and low humidity, many of the main cities of the region have Mediterranean climates. The lack of rain in the hot season is associated with high atmospheric pressure. The shadows of the mountains also greatly decrease the amount of precipitation. West of the Cascades, the marine climates have a much greater precipitation than the west coast of Europe due to orographic lift, with some regions seeing as much as 3,500 mm (138 in) of precipitation per year. Winters are very mild for the region's latitude. The growth of Arbutus, a broad-leafed tree, is possible on Vancouver Island due to the mild winters.[49][50][51][52][53][54]


Much of the Pacific Northwest is forested. The

, which extends over a similar range but incorporates various non-temperate rainforest ecosystems.



The overwhelming majority of the population of the Pacific Northwest is concentrated in the Portland–Seattle–Vancouver corridor. As of 2016, the combined populations of the

Portland metropolitan area totaled more than nine million people.[56][57][58] However, beyond these three cities, the PNW region is characterized by a very low density population distribution. Some other regions of greater population density outside this corridor include the Greater Victoria area and Greater Nanaimo area on Southern Vancouver Island (with a population of approximately 530,000),[59][60]
the Okanagan Valley in the British Columbia interior (about 350,000 people centered around the city of Kelowna, which has close to 200,000 people). Large geographical areas may only have one mid-sized to small-sized city as a regional center (often a county seat), with smaller cities and towns scattered around. Vast areas of the region may have little or no population at all, largely due to the presence of extensive mountains and forests, and plateaus containing both extensive farm and range lands, much of which is protected from development in large parks and preserves, or by zoning use regulation related to traditional land use. For example, all cities within the portion of California which are sometimes included some definitions of the "Pacific Northwest" have populations less than 100,000, with that portion of the state containing millions of acres of national forests and parks.

List of largest cities by population in the Pacific Northwest

City State/Province Population Metropolitan area Urban area
Seattle Washington 704,000[61] 3,905,026[62] 3,059,393[63]
Portland Oregon 658,347[62] 2,753,168[62] 1,849,898[63]
Vancouver British Columbia 631,486[64] 2,737,698[3] 2,264,823[65]
Surrey British Columbia 598,530[64] [a] [a]
Burnaby British Columbia 257,926[64] [a] [a]
Boise Idaho 226,570[66] 691,423[62] 349,684[63]
Spokane Washington 222,081[61] 573,493 [67][68] 486,225[63]
Richmond British Columbia 216,046[64] [a] [a]
Tacoma Washington 198,397[61] [b] [b]
Vancouver Washington 175,673[61] [c] [c]
Salem Oregon 169,798[69] 390,738[62] 236,632[63]
Eugene Oregon 168,916[69] 351,715[62] 247,421[63]
Abbotsford British Columbia 161,581[64] 204,265[3] 121,279[65]
Coquitlam British Columbia 152,734[64] [a] [a]
Bellevue Washington 148,164[70] [b] [b]
Kelowna British Columbia 146,127[64] 222,748[3] 151,957[65]
Redmond Washington 136,420[70] [b] [b]
Langley (Township) British Columbia 133,302[64] [a] [a]
Kent Washington 125,560[61] [b] [b]
Saanich British Columbia 125,107[64] [d] [d]
Delta British Columbia 111,281[64] [a] [a]
Gresham Oregon 111,063[69] [c] [c]
Hillsboro Oregon 106,894[69] [c] [c]
Meridian Idaho 106,000[71] [e] [e]
Everett Washington 103,019[61] [b] [b]
Nanaimo British Columbia 101,336[64] 117,144[3] 88,799[65]
Kamloops British Columbia 101,198[64] 116,896[3] 78,026[65]
Beaverton Oregon 97,514[69] [c] [c]
Renton Washington 95,448[61] [b] [b]
Spokane Valley Washington 94,919[61] [f] [f]
Chilliwack British Columbia 95,178[64] 116,626[3] 73,161[65]
Bend Oregon 94,520[72] 170,705 83,794[63]
Victoria British Columbia 94,415[64] 408,883[3] 335,696[65]
Nampa Idaho 93,590[66] [e] [e]
Kirkland Washington 93,010[70] [b] [b]
Maple Ridge British Columbia 91,479[64] [a] [a]
Bellingham Washington 92,314[61] 201,140[73] 114,473[63]
Yakima Washington 91,067[74] 243,231[74] 129,534[63]
North Vancouver (District)
British Columbia 89,767[64] [a] [a]
Federal Way Washington 89,306[61] [b] [b]
Kennewick Washington 84,347[70] 268,200 232,954[63]
New Westminster British Columbia 82,590[64] [a] [a]
Prince George British Columbia 82,290[64] 96,015[3] 65,510[65]
Missoula Montana 76,784[75] 117,922
Medford Oregon 74,907[72] 207,010 154,081[63]


In British Columbia,

Asians comprising a further 29% of the provincial population. Both the Asian and European populations of the province are diverse; of the Asian population, 15% of the population is of East Asian descent, 8% of the population is of South Asian descent, with smaller numbers of Southeast Asians (4%) and West Asians (2%); the European population contains large communities of English Canadians, Scottish Canadians, Irish Canadians, French Canadians, German Canadians, and many others.[76] Europeans form between 80 and 90 per cent of the population in U.S. section of the Pacific Northwest, thus the Asian presence is comparably smaller, with all Asian groups together comprising about 8% of Washington state's population, and less than 4% in Oregon and Idaho. This is due to immigration quotas at the federal level, as while Canada has one-tenth the population of the United States, it takes in one-quarter as many immigrants; many of whom are from Asia. Vancouver settled about a quarter of all emigrants from Hong Kong to Canada in the late 1980s.[77]

In the U.S. side of the region,

African Americans are less numerous in the Pacific Northwest; however, the overall African American population has been growing in other smaller urban areas throughout the region such as Eugene.[78] African Americans tend to concentrate in western urban areas such as Tacoma, south Seattle, and Portland. Nonetheless, Black people have a very large presence in Tacoma's Hilltop and South Tacoma neighborhoods, Seattle's Central District and Rainier Valley neighborhoods,[79] and in Portland's Northeast Quadrant.[80]
There are growing numbers in Vancouver as well, particularly Africans, Jamaicans and Black people from the United States.

Beginning in the late 20th century, a general

Punjabi Market

African Americans have held the positions of Mayor in Seattle; King County executive, while the state of Washington elected a

Gary Locke

British Columbians of many ethnicities are prominent in all levels of politics and government, and the province has a number of "firsts" in Canadian political history, including the first non-white and Asian

Métis origin. Colonial governor James Douglas was himself mulatto of Guyanese extraction and his wife was of Cree

Oregon has been a national leader concerning

bisexual politician in the United States. In 2017, Jenny Durkan
was elected as the first openly lesbian mayor of Seattle.


Most Americans and Canadians consider the

California Vowel Shift
also affects speech in the region.

place names and a handful of localized slang terms, particularly the word skookum
, which remains hallmark of people raised in the region.

French was the

place names, in the documentation of products intended for North America (along with Spanish and English), as well as an official language in Canada. French schooling is also popular in Western Canada
, including British Columbia.

Besides English and indigenous languages,

Sikh population in the region, first arriving in the late 19th century.[85] Spanish is also spoken in parts of Oregon and Washington as well as British Columbia by Mexicans
and other Hispanics, both recent immigrants and long-standing communities.

Spirituality and religion

The Pacific Northwest has the lowest rate of church attendance in the United States and consistently reports the highest percentage of

atheism;[86][87] this is most pronounced on the part of the region west of the Cascades.[88] A recent study indicates that one quarter of those in Washington and Oregon have no religion.[89] Similarly, according to the 2011 National Household Survey, 44% of British Columbia residents reported no religion.[90]

Religion plays a smaller part in Pacific Northwest politics than in the rest of the United States. The

That said, three of the four major international

Salvation Army having deep roots in the Gastown district, dating back to the era of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1880s) and attained prominence in the same centers during the Klondike Gold Rush

The region is also known as a magnet for a wide range of philosophical and spiritual belief systems. Eastern spiritual beliefs have been adopted by an unusually large number of people (by North American standards), and Tibetan Buddhism in particular has a strong local following.[92] The Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association, claimed to be the largest organization of its kind in the world, was founded in Portland in 1993.

The region is home to many unique Christian communities, ranging from the

dioceses that make up those provinces.

Yogic teachings, Sufism, tribal and ancient beliefs and other philosophies are widely studied and appreciated in the region. The

Society of Friends) population. There has been major growth in Chinese Buddhist temples since the increase in immigration from East Asia
in the 1980s, especially in Vancouver.

Also in Vancouver, there is a small

Ismaili,[95] population from South Asia
, the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere.

Two of the five

Shingon Buddhist temples in America are located in Seattle.[96]

Some people in the area also embrace alternative

Neo-Paganism.[97] A New Thought church called Living Enrichment Center with 4,000 members was located in Wilsonville, Oregon, from 1992 to 2004.[98]


A major divide in political opinion separates the region's greatly more populated urban core and rural areas west of the mountains from its less populated rural areas to their east and (in British Columbia and Alaska) north.

West Kootenay, and some areas of Vancouver Island and the B.C. Coast, have long histories of labour
, environmental, and social activism.

The jurisdictions have relatively liberal

Mount Angel, Oregon, in 1973. In 1986, King County, Washington, which contains Seattle, voted to change its namesake from William R. King to Martin Luther King Jr.[100]

These areas, especially around Puget Sound, have a long history of political radicalism. The radical labor organizers called

lumber camps and shipyards. A number of anarchist communes sprang up there in the early 20th century (see Charles Pierce LeWarne's Utopias on Puget Sound, 1885–1915 for an overview of this movement). There are also pro gun socialist organizations such as Puget Sound John Brown Gun Club. Seattle is one of a handful of major cities in North America in which the populace engaged in a general strike (in 1919), and was the first major American city to elect a woman mayor, Bertha Knight Landes (in 1926).[101] Socialist beliefs were once widespread (thanks in large part to the area's large numbers of Scandinavian immigrants), and the region has had a number of Socialist elected officials. So great was its influence that the U.S. Postmaster General, James Farley, jokingly toasted the "forty-seven states of the Union, and the Soviet of Washington", at a gala dinner in 1936 (although Farley denied ever saying it).[102]

Due to the Pacific Northwest being a generally liberal region, it also has a long history of feminism and people with feminist ideologies. The journey on the Oregon Trail may have been the part of the cause of feminism in the region, many women on the trail had to break gender-normative roles on the trail.[103] Women occasionally were allowed the chance to try new things like cracking the whip for the wagon, given these opportunities women began to question their roles in society.[103] Early days in the west, no forms of government had been established and this may have been part of the cause of feminist ideologies, new laws were formed to fit the regions needs and women were granted rights to land ownership in the West much earlier than in the East because of high death rates of men in the region.[104] While this may be coincidental, this granted women power. Women's suffrage movements were prominent in the Pacific Northwest; Susan B. Anthony did a tour through the region attempting to spread her ideas and made stops in Portland, the Willamette Valley, Columbia River, and Victoria. [105] Not only were women's suffrage movements prominent in the Pacific Northwest, but there was also a fight for women to keep their jobs after men returned from war in World War I. [106] A group titled the Washington State Women's Council (founded in 1963) fought for women's policies, this group worked towards the states' equal rights amendment, and fought for women's property rights in marriage during the 1972 legislative session.[107]

The region also has a long history of starting cooperative and communal businesses and organizations, including

Puget Consumers Co-op, and numerous granges and mutual aid societies. It also has a long history of publicly owned power and utilities, with many of the region's cities owning their own public utilities. In British Columbia, credit unions
are common and popular cooperatively owned financial institutions.

East of the Cascades, in Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon, the population is much more conservative. The eastern portions of Washington and especially Oregon, due to their low populations, do not generally have enough voting power to be competitive at the state level, and thus the governorships and U.S. Senate seats of both Oregon and Washington are usually held by the Democrats. Conservatism in the eastern part of the Pacific Northwest tends to be distrustful of federal government interference in the market.


Kitimat continues in operation and is fed by the diversion of the Nechako River (a tributary of the Fraser) to a powerhouse on the coast at Kemano
, near Kitimat.

The region as a whole, but especially several specific areas, are concentrated high-tech areas: Seattle eastern suburbs, the Portland Silicon Forest area, and Vancouver, British Columbia. These areas are also leading "creative class" economic drivers, feeding thriving cultural sectors, and include many knowledge workers and numerous international advertising, media, and design firms.


Colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest:


Although the dominant culture in the Pacific Northwest today is

hippie movement also began in California and the Pacific Northwest. There have been proposals for certain parts of the Pacific Northwest becoming its own country because of the shared ecoregion and culture,[111][112] the most well-known being Cascadia. However, the region is strongly divided by the international border, and this division grew more rather than less powerful over the 20th century.[113] Carl Abbott argues that, given the twin factors of limited economic integration vis-a-vis NAFTA, and cultural similarities, he views the major cities as "going their separate ways" as east–west gateways of commerce, competing with each other, rather than forming north–south connectors of a tentative "mega-region".[113]

Initiative 502, which was approved by the state's voters on November 6, 2012, by a ten-point margin. As of July 1, 2015, recreational marijuana use was legalized in Oregon as well.[119][120]


Amchitka Island in the Aleutian Islands. Liberal and conservative Northwesterners, such as former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) and moderate Democrats like former Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-WA), have been prominent in the development of conservative approaches to environmental protection. Seattle in particular is also home to a large number of publications and institutions concerned with the environment and sustainability, including both Worldchanging and
, the U.S.'s two largest online green magazines. The Pacific Northwest is also noted for a large number of gardening clubs, with Victoria having an annual flower count in February.

The direct-intervention oceanic protection group known as the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has its headquarters in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.[121]

In British Columbia, environmentalists fought to protect Clayoquot Sound in the 1980s and 1990s. More recently the province has agreed to environmental protections in the Great Bear Rainforest.


The modern-era Pacific Northwest is known for is a popular Seattle-based public indie music radio station known across the country. Among the Northwest's largest music festivals are the Merritt Mountain Music Festival, the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, the Sasquatch! Music Festival in George, Washington, Seattle's Bumbershoot, Boise's Treefort Music Fest, and Portland's MusicfestNW
. Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival is the largest blues-based festival west of the Mississippi River.

Among the most notable rock artists originating from the region are Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Foo Fighters, The Decemberists, and Sleater-Kinney. The history of Northwest rock, however, finds its roots in the mid-1950s and 1960s with such bands as The Sonics, The Ventures, The Kingsmen, and Paul Revere and the Raiders.[122]


Foods typical of the Pacific Northwest include wild salmon, halibut, shellfish, huckleberries, marionberries, a wide variety of Asian cuisines, and locally produced fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.[123][124]

spring rolls or dim sum
are common in most supermarkets in these communities.

Locally-made craft beers, ciders, and premium wines from various wine-growing areas within the region are popular with drinkers and diners. Northern latitude and coastal breezes create a climate that attracts international recognition for its mostly family-owned and operated vineyards and wineries.

Portland is a major microbrewery center in America,

numerous breweries


Skiing, snowboarding, cycling, mountaineering, hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, boating, and


The region's three USSF Division 1

In 2018, the

2018 ConIFA World Football Cup
representing the Pacific Northwest.

Vancouver is home to a 4-team league for


Hockey is the most popular spectator sport in British Columbia, with the


Followers of the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team refer to themselves as the Sixth Man and Blazermania refers to the extraordinary dedication fans have shown the team. In Seattle, many fans are still upset over the move of the

) of the three MLS teams of the region are renowned for their passion and dedication to their teams.

The only NASCAR track in the Pacific Northwest region is Evergreen Speedway, the largest short track west of the Mississippi River and has hosted many of the marquee drivers of NASCAR. With three oval tracks, a figure eight track and various road course variants, Evergreen Speedway operates year-round events. Evergreen Speedway hosts the NASCAR Whelen All American Series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, National Figure Eight Events, USAC, SCCA, plus Touring Groups and Formula Drift.

In Idaho, Washington and Oregon, many residents passionately follow

Battle of the Domes
series 29-13.

Video games

Seattle is considered by Digital Trends magazine to be the top gaming city in America, a possible indicator of markedly higher rates of video game usage throughout the Pacific Northwest in general.

Sony Computer Entertainment's subsidiary Sucker Punch Productions. Microsoft and Nintendo of America also have Canadian branches headquartered in Vancouver—Microsoft Canada and Nintendo of Canada—respectively, while EA Vancouver (a subsidiary division of Electronic Arts
) is located in the same city.

Self-determination movements

Among the fiercely independent and frontier nature of the former Oregon Country and now western part of the United States, is the desire of some Pacific Northwesterners to improve upon their form of democracy by further subdividing the region into

separatist movements


Metro Vancouver area rank third in North America per capita.[133]

A 2007 statistical analysis ranked the 50 Greenest Cities in the United States, placing Portland, Oregon first, Eugene, Oregon, fifth, and Seattle, Washington, eighth.[134] The region as a whole is also known for its bicycle culture as an alternative form of transportation; Portland is considered by Forbes Traveler to be the second most bicycle-friendly city in the world.[135] Portland is also the hub of American bicycle manufacturing; as a whole it generated over $68 million in revenue in 2007.[135]


Seattle, Washington has also garnered a reputation for its contributions to public transportation with the Puget Sound Transit system, including an underground light rail system and a 38.9% worker commute rate as of 2011.[136] Mass transit in Portland Metropolitan area is provided by TriMet and in Vancouver by TransLink (British Columbia).

See also

Notes and references


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Part of Greater Vancouver
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Part of Seattle metropolitan area (Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA MSA)
  3. ^
    Portland metropolitan area
    (Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA MSA)
  4. ^ a b Part of Greater Victoria
  5. ^ a b c d Part of Boise metropolitan area (Boise City–Nampa, Idaho Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA))
  6. ^ a b Part of Spokane metropolitan area (Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA MSA)


  1. ^ "Interior Savings Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia". Archived from the original on August 12, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  2. ^ "Best Places to Live in Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington Metro Area (WA)". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (January 14, 2021). "Population estimates, July 1, by census metropolitan area and census agglomeration, 2021 boundaries". Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  4. ^ "Doing Business in Portland, Oregon". Business.GOV. Archived from the original on December 10, 2009. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  5. ^ . Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  6. ^ "Map of Cascadia". Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  7. . Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  8. . Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  9. . Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  10. .
  11. ^ Ward, Brent (2005). Port Eliza Cave. SFU Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, 2005. Retrieved on July 4, 2018 from Archived June 18, 2018, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ISBN 0494032995, archived from the original
    on February 29, 2020, ... A multi-disciplinary study at Port Eliza cave on Vancouver Island has refined the timing and character of late Wisconsinan environments and has significant implications for the human Coastal Migration Hypothesis ...
  13. ^ "Ancient site of human activity found on Oregon coast". Oregon State University. November 6, 2002. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2015.
  14. ^ Loren G. Davis (2008), "New Support for a Late-Pleistocene Coastal Occupation at the Indian Sands Site, Oregon" (PDF), Archaeology: North America, vol. 25, pp. 74–76
  15. , ... Recent discoveries and events have breathed new life into the coastal migration theory, which suggests just the opposite of the ice-free corridor hypothesis—that maritime peoples first traveled around the North Pacific Coast then followed river valleys leading inland from the sea. Having a coastal route available, however, does not prove that such a maritime migration took place. Archaeological evidence for early boat use from islands along the western margin of the Pacific may support the idea that such a journey was technologically feasible, but archaeological data from the Pacific coast of North and South America are presently ambiguous about the origins of the earliest coastal occupants. ...
  16. S2CID 163953019, archived from the original
    on May 31, 2012, retrieved January 7, 2017
  17. . Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  18. ^ . Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  19. . Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  20. . Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  21. ^ Nash, Gary B. Red, White, and Black. Pearson. Los Angeles 2015. Chapter 1, pg. 5
  22. ^ Von der Porten, Edward; Aker, Raymond; Allen, Robert W.; Spitze, James (2002). "Who Made Drake's Plate of Brass? Hint: It Wasn't Francis Drake". California History. 81 (2): 28–30.
  23. .
  24. .
  25. ^ .
  26. .
  27. .
  28. .
  29. . Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  30. ^ Vitus Bering Biography Summary. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  31. ^ a b "Historical Timeline". September 13, 2007. Archived from the original on August 8, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  32. ^ .
  33. ^ "Captain Alexandro Malaspina". Malaspina University-College. Archived from the original on February 6, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  34. ^ Boyer, Paul S. The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People. (Lexington MA 1996), p. 6
  35. ^ Barman, Jean French Canadians, Furs, and Indigenous Women in the Making of the Pacific Northwest. UBC Press. Vancouver 2014. Chapter 7 and Part 3: Beyond the fur economy
  36. .
  37. ^ "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight". June 14, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  38. ^ James Robbins Jewell. "Thwarting Southern Schemes and British Bluster in the Pacific Northwest" (PDF). pp. 5–6.
  39. ^ "The Alaska Boundary Dispute" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2008. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  40. ^ "Volcano Seismicity in the Pacific Northwest". Archived from the original on August 14, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  41. ^ "The Really Big One". The New Yorker. July 13, 2015.
  42. .
  43. .
  44. .
  45. ^ "North America Köppen Map".
  46. S2CID 9654551
    . Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  47. ^ "Global Ecological Zoning for the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  48. ^ Tomlinson, Stuart (July 15, 2014). "Portland cooldown coming: Oregon's summer Mediterranean climate explained (video)". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  49. ISSN 0362-4331
    . Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  50. ^ "Vegetation Regions". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  51. ^ "On Vancouver Island, Summer Droughts Are the New Normal". Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  52. ^ "Climate". Arbutus Ridge Active Adult Retirement Community. Archived from the original on February 15, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  53. ^ "What Are The Characteristics of an Oceanic Type of Climate?". WorldAtlas. February 5, 2018. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  54. ^ Goward, Trevor; Spribille, Toby (2005). "Lichenological evidence for the recognition of inland rain forests in western North America". Journal of Biogeography. 32 (7): 1209-2010.
  55. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (February 8, 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Lower Mainland--Southwest [Economic region], British Columbia and British Columbia [Province]". Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  56. ^ "Census profile: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA Metro Area". Census Reporter. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  57. ^ "Census profile: Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA Metro Area". Census Reporter. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  58. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (February 8, 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Victoria [Census metropolitan area], British Columbia and British Columbia [Province]". Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  59. ^ Government of Canada, Statistics Canada (February 8, 2017). "Census Profile, 2016 Census - Nanaimo, Regional district [Census division], British Columbia and Nanaimo [Population centre], British Columbia". Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  60. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Washington's 2010 Census Population Totals". United States Census Bureau. February 23, 2011. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2011.
  61. ^ a b c d e f "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 – United States – Metropolitan Statistical Area; and for Puerto Rico". 2010 United States Census. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. April 14, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.[dead link]
  62. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "A national 2010 urban area file containing a list of all urbanized areas and urban clusters (including Puerto Rico and the Island Areas) sorted by UACE code".
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Services, Ministry of Citizens'. "Population Estimates - Province of British Columbia". Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  64. ^ a b c d e f g h Canada, Government of Canada, Statistics (February 8, 2017). "Population and Dwelling Count Highlight Tables, 2016 Census".
  65. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  66. ^ "Washington population by county – Census 2010: Washington". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  67. ^ Bureau, US Census. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates Tables". Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  68. ^ a b c d e "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers Oregon's 2010 Census Population Totals". United States Census Bureau. February 23, 2011. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  69. ^ a b c d "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places in Washington: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2019". United States Census Bureau. May 2020. Retrieved May 26, 2020.
  70. ^ "Meridian – Census 2010: Idaho – The Spokesman-Review". Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved July 9, 2014.
  71. ^ a b "USA: Oregon". 2010. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  72. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Bellingham city, Washington". Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  73. ^ a b "Washington population by city – Census 2010: Washington". The Spokesman-Review. Archived from the original on August 14, 2011. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  74. ^ "Missoula, Montana Population 2021 (Demographics, Maps, Graphs)". Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  75. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census Vancouver [Census metropolitan area], British Columbia and British Columbia [Province]".
  76. .
  77. ^ Gray, Leila (January 15, 1997). "New approach encourages greater community input in decisions about minority affairs efforts at UW School of Medicine". Archived from the original on August 28, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  78. JSTOR 970984
  79. .
  80. ^ Devlin, Thomas Moore (July 17, 2018). "The United States Of Accents: Pacific Northwest English". Babbel Magazine. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  81. ^ Kang, Martha; Pailthorp, Bellamy (October 15, 2014). Listen: Can You Pick Out The Northwest Accent? (And Yes, We Have One!). KNKX. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  82. ^ Wang, Deborah (December 14, 2014). Do Pacific Northwesterners Have An Accent?. KUOW News and Information. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  83. ^ "Can We Still Speak Chinook?". January 10, 2006. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  84. Urban Geography, Vol. 19: 4, June. - DOI 10.2747/0272-3638.19.4.311 - Available at and at ResearchGate
    . p. 316.
  85. ^ "Religion and Public Life in the Pacific Northwest". Archived from the original on May 11, 2011. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  86. ^ "Charting the unchurched in America". USA Today. March 7, 2002. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  87. ^ "Religious identification in the U.S". Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  88. ^ "American Religious Identification Survey" (PDF). March 2009.
  89. ^ "National Household Survey". 2011.
  90. ^ Vance, Chris (July 24, 2007). "Crosscut Seattle – Why Washington Republicans got creamed in 2006 and what they can do about it". Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  91. ^ Yardley, William (April 11, 2008). "Dalai Lama Arrives for a Five-Day Conference in Seattle, Very Much His Kind of Town". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  92. ^ Mennonite Central Committee Supportive Care Services Archived August 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  93. ^ Oregon Historical Society article about Old Believers. Retrieved February 9, 2007.
  94. ^ "Ismaili Success: Made in Vancouver".
  95. .
  96. ^ "ABC News: School Says Halloween Disrespectful to Witches". ABC News. October 21, 2004. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  97. ^ Janine Robben (May 19, 2004). "the Prophet margin". Retrieved November 22, 2012.
  98. ^ "Northwest Passage". CBS News. October 25, 2000. Archived from the original on May 10, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  99. ^ Brodeur, Nicole (January 20, 2020). "'We were before our time': Remembering the fight to change King County's namesake from a slave owner to a civil-rights leader". The Seattle Times. The Seattle Times. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  100. ^ [1] Archived June 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  101. ^ "Communism in Washington State – History and Memory Project". Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  102. ^ a b Bledsoe, Jane L. "Adventuresome Women on the Oregon Trail: 1840-1867." Frontiers (Boulder) 7, no. 3 (1984): 22-29.
  103. ^ Matsuda, Mari J. "The West and the Legal State of Women: Explanations of Frontier Feminism." Journal of the West 24, no. 1 (1985): 47.
  104. ^ Beeton, Beverly, and Edwards, G. Thomas. "Susan B. Anthony's Woman Suffrage Crusade in the American West." Journal of the West 21, no. 2 (1982): 5.
  105. ^ Greenwald, Maurine W. "Working-Class Feminism and the Family Wage Ideal." In Women in Pacific Northwest History, 94. REV - Revised, 2 ed. University of Washington Press, 2014.
  106. ^ Parry, Janine A. "Putting Feminism to a Vote: The Washington State Women's Council, 1963-78." Pacific Northwest Quarterly 91, no. 4 (2000): 171-82.
  107. ^ "HistoryLink Essay: Group Health Cooperative – Part 1: Planting the Seeds, 1911–1945". November 13, 2005. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  108. ^ Aluminum, Columbia River History, Northwest Power and Conservation Council
  109. ^ Arthur Frommer (December 8, 2008). "Vancouver's melting pot makes a terrific cultural stew". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  110. ^ The Republic of Cascadia Retrieved on December 23, 2009
  111. ^ "Retrieved on 2009-12-23". May 3, 1924. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  112. ^ . Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  113. ^ Frequently Asked Questions – Medical Use of Marihuana, Health Canada
  114. ^ Washington Medical Marijuana Legality, Washington State RCW
  115. ^ "Oregon Medical Marijuana Legality". February 1, 2011. Archived from the original on January 22, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2011.
  116. ^ Richardson, Jeff (May 22, 2011). "Without dispensaries, Alaska has avoided federal medical marijuana prosecutions". Juneau Empire. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  117. ^ Oke, Chris (May 14, 2010). "Medical marijuana, coming to a store near you". Yukon News. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  118. ^ Martin, Jonathan (November 6, 2012). "Voters agree to legalize pot". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on November 9, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  119. ^ "November 5, 2012 General Election Results". The state of Washington. November 5, 2012. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012.
  120. ^ "Anti-whaling boat owned by San Juan's Sea Shepherd Society takes on water near Antarctica". Journal of the San Juans. January 6, 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  121. ^ "Louie Louie" and the History of Northwest Rock and Radio. DVD. Directed by SoundWorks USA. Rolling Bay, WA: Soundworks USA, 2012.
  122. ^ Brooke Jackson-Glidden (June 5, 2019). "The 15 Essential Foods of the Pacific Northwest". The Eater. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  123. ^ Bruni, Frank (June 10, 2011). "Seattle, A Tasting Menu". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
  124. ^ Edge, John T. (January 5, 2010), "A City's Specialty, Japanese in Name Only", The New York Times
  125. ^ Kauffman, Jonathan (August 14, 2007), "How Teriyaki Became Seattle's Own Fast-Food Phenomenon", Seattle Weekly, archived from the original on June 9, 2013, retrieved March 4, 2014
  126. ^ Gross, Matt (May 10, 2009). "Frugal Portland". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  127. ^ "Non-FIFA Cascadia National Team officially approved by NF-Board". Cascadia Underground. July 26, 2013. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  128. ^ "Spirit of 12". Archived from the original on February 9, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  129. ^ "Washington Huskies". Washington Huskies. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  130. ^ "- The Michigan Daily". September 21, 2003.
  131. ^ "Seattle Top Gaming City?". Digital Trends. May 2, 2006. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008.
  132. ^ Cruz, Daryl (July 22, 2014). "Vancouverites are spoiled with SkyTrain". Daily Hive. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  133. ^ Svoboda, Elizabeth (August 7, 2010). "America's 50 Greenest Cities | Popular Science". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  134. ^ a b Bower, Craig S. (June 19, 2008). "North America's most bike-friendly cities - Travel - Active Travel - NBC News". NBC News. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  135. ^ "The Best Cities for Public Transportation |". Retrieved May 10, 2016.

Further reading

External links