Happy birthday, Oregon!

Happy birthday, Oregon!

February 14 may be Valentine’s Day, but it’s also a significant day for the State of Oregon.

On February 14, 1859, President James Buchanan signed a bill that officially admitted Oregon to the United States of America.

So as you give flowers or chocolate to your sweetheart today, take a minute to also wish Oregon a happy 153rd birthday.

As we celebrate the Beaver State’s birthday, you can also impress your loved ones with your knowledge of Oregon’s state symbols. For instance, did you know that Oregon’s state beverage is milk?

Here are some other Oregon symbols:

State animal: American Beaver – The beaver was named the state animal by the 1969 legislature. Beavers have long been prized for their fur and admired for the engineering ingenuity.

State beverage: Milk – In recognition of milk’s contribution to Oregon’s economy, legislators named it the state beverage in 1997.

State bird: Western Meadowlark – School children named the Western Meadowlark the state bird in 1927 in a poll that was sponsored by the Oregon Audubon Society.

State crustacean: Dungeness crab – One of the newest state symbols, the Dungeness crab was added to the symbol list during the 2009 legislature. Students at Sunset Primary School in West Linn petitioned lawmakers to add Dungeness crab to the list.

State dance: Square dance – Because who doesn’t love a good old fashioned square dance?

State dirt: Jory soil – Named for the Jory family of south Salem, the red clay is found throughout western Oregon.

State fish: Chinook salmon – This is the largest of the Pacific salmon.

State flower: Oregon Grape – Don’t be fooled by the name, the Oregon Grape is actually a plant that resembles holly. The Oregon Grape is native to many areas along the Pacific Coast and rarely found east of the Cascades.

State fruit: Pear – Pears grow particularly well in the Rogue River Valley and along the Columbia River near Mount Hood.

State insect: Oregon Swallowtail – The Oregon Swallowtail lives in the sagebrush canyons along the Columbia River and its tributaries. They are strong fliers and not easily captured.

State motto: “She Flies With Her Own Wings” – The motto was adopted in 1987 and replaced the former motto of “The Union.”

State mushroom: Pacific golden chanterelle – More than 500,000 pounds of Pacific golden chanterelles are harvested annually in Oregon.

State nut: Hazelnut – Oregon grows 99 percent of the commercial crop in the entire country. Oregon hazelnuts grow on single-trunked trees and can reach up to 40 feet.

State rock: Thunder-egg – The geode is primarily found in central and eastern Oregon.

State tree: Douglas fir – The iconic fir is named for David Douglas, a 19th century Scottish botanist who traveled through Oregon in the 1820s. Doug firs average up to 200 feet in height, although some can reach more than 300 feet and be 15 feet in diameter.

For more facts and figures about Oregon, check out the Oregon Blue Book.