12 Reasons Why Oregon is Better Than Washington

The Seattle Times recently published an article called “12 Reasons Why Living in Washington is Better Than Living in Oregon.” You’d think the Seattle Times would have some notion of journalistic integrity (kidding!), but let’s look at the facts:

Lewis and Clark famously stopped their journey just short of Washington for a reason, knowing that one day “The Goonies” would film not far from where they made camp on the Pacific. Seattle has “Sleepless in Seattle.” That should be enough of an argument right there (Portland also boasts the best supernatural TV series running today in “Grimm”), but the Seattle Times gets pretty specific. So let’s quote what they had to say, examine the facts, and declare a winner once and for all.


Seattle Times: “1. Look out the window, there’s Mount Rainier. It’s visible from about half of our state because – oh, it’s 14,411 feet high. That’s 28 percent higher than Mount Hood. And, aha, it has its own national park – a place of such splendor it was the fourth national park in the United States.”

Oh, Washington. What are you trying to compensate for? Are you worried we’ll look more closely at the size of our parks? Mount Rainier National Park covers 236,381 acres and sees just over 1 million visitors a year. That’s pretty impressive. But Mount Hood covers 1,071,466 acres. Not only is it four times the size, it sees four times the visitors (at 4.4 million a year).

WINNER: Oregon.


Seattle Times: “2. Speaking of which, Washington has three major national parks – Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades – with some of America’s most rugged mountain scenery, spectacular rain forest and wild coastline. Oregon has, oh, just one national park: Crater Lake, known for a deep hole in the ground.

That seems awfully specific, doesn’t it? It’s almost as if Washington doesn’t want you to know that Oregon has 7 state forests to Washington’s three. Why does the federal government have to come in and make all your parks for you, Washington? Don’t you care about nature?

Combining National Parks AND National Forests, Washington has 10. That’s impressive. It’s not as impressive as the 17 Oregon has, but it’s a start. And where’s your state tree nursery, Washington? Oh, that’s right, you don’t have one. Why don’t you care about trees, Washington? Why do you hate the planet so much?

Well, okay. Because wilderness protection is so important, it’s worth pointing out that Oregon and Washington both do better than most states in keeping wilderness areas protected.



Seattle Times: “3. And before we leave the subject of Mount Rainier – which is hard to get away from – it reminds us: We have a place called Paradise. Oregon has places called Boring and Drain.”

Oh come on, Washington, you have Humptulips. It’s on the Humptulips River. What exactly do you even do in Humptulips? You know what, never mind. I feel sorry for those flowers.

You also have Whiskey Dick Mountain. It’s only 3,873 feet tall. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s usually much taller. There’s just a lot of pressure on the moment. We completely understand.

And Auburn, Washington used to be three towns named Upper Slaughter, Lower Slaughter, and just plain old Slaughter. Have the police looked into that?

Oregon has Zigzag, Sodaville, Canyon City, Riddle, and Cove. Oregon is basically all the fun parts of a “Fallout” game.

Although, I am fond of your town of George. It’s where the Gorge Amphitheater is located. It means I can tell people honestly that I’ve listened to the sounds coming out of the Gorge in George, Washington.

Winner: Oregon.


Seattle Times: “4. Washingtonians can sail for hours in one direction on the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, without having to tack every 5 minutes. (Ever sailed on the Columbia or the Willamette?)”

Congratulations, Washington, you’ve realized you’re next to the Pacific Ocean. What do you want, a medal? (You do realize Oregon is also on the Pacific, right?)

WINNER: Fine, Washington, whatever.


Seattle Times: “5. Portland might revel in being weird. But Washington can claim what’s regarded as the “first of the modern era of UFO sightings” (Wikipedia says so), in 1947 when pilot Kenneth Arnold claimed that he saw a string of nine shiny, unidentified flying objects zipping past, yes, Mount Rainier. His description of the objects led to the coining of the term “flying saucer.” Oregon’s most famous (and derivative) UFO sighting, documented by fuzzy photos of what looks like a pie tin flying through the air, was over a rabbit farm near McMinnville three years later.”

Why don’t you and Mount Rainier get a room already? Besides, the first documented UFO sighting was in 1878 in Denison, Texas. The only thing that makes Arnold’s claim the first “modern” one is that the Seattle Times arbitrarily decided 1947 is modern. Besides, Portland regularly makes Most Haunted City lists, while Seattle’s nowhere to be found. And while Sasquatch may hold his music festival in Washington, he makes beer in Oregon. Let’s just split this one down the middle. (Check out Article Cats’ own 11 Scariest Haunted Places in Oregon and 11 More. We also did one on Washington because Oregonians are nice like that.)



Seattle Times: “6. Portland and Bend claim to be the craft-brewing capitals of the universe. But Scottish-born brewmaster Bert Grant opened what’s widely credited to have been the first brew pub in the United States since Prohibition – in Yakima, in 1982. Washington’s beer culture has never looked back. Bonus point: If you’re a brewer in need of IPA-blasting hops, look no further than the Yakima Valley, which exports hops to brewers all over the world.”

Yeah, but Oregon still has the craft-brewing capitals of the universe. Actually, California leads in number of breweries with 431. Washington has 256 while Oregon has 216, but Washington is nowhere near Oregon in terms of total barrels brewed. Oregon is one of only six states to brew over 1 million barrels a year. Vermont actually has the most craft breweries per capita. North Dakota is last, by the way, with six breweries producing 4,571 barrels a year.

WINNER: Everyone but North Dakota.


Seattle Times: “7. Speaking of a spirited place to live: Washington state is the second largest producer of premium wines in the United States, with more than 850 licensed wineries producing almost 15 million cases annually. Oregon has about 700 wineries producing one-fifth as much vino fino.”

Whatever, we’re all buying South American and Australian anyway. Besides, Oregon makes the most absinthe. You can drink with your pinkies up, we’ll be over here pretending we’re in a Nine Inch Nails video.

WINNER: Oregon.


Seattle Times: “8. Oregon makes a big deal about having no sales tax, which we admit makes things easier for the math-challenged at the cash register. But what about every April when Washingtonians are paying NO STATE INCOME TAX? Meanwhile, those poor suckers south of the Columbia are doling out as much as 9.9 percent of their paycheck to Salem.”

Look, Washington, your last two points were about buying beer and buying wine. Figure out your priorities. Huh, maybe that’s why we have more state parks. We can fund them.

WINNER: I don’t know: do you buy stuff? Oregon.


Seattle Times: “9. Want to stay at the newest, biggest hotel operated by the funky-hip, Oregon-based McMenamins chain? Gotta head for Bothell, Washington, and the newly renovated Anderson School, which opened this week.”

Wow, for always declaring you’re the first at something, you’re awfully excited that you finally have something Oregon’s had for three decades. In fact, the number of McMenamins hotels in Oregon is eight. Washington has two. Not even a contest.

WINNER: Oregon.


Seattle Times “10. And speaking of paychecks: Seattle’s economy is booming, with an August unemployment rate dipping to 3.7 percent (Portland was 5.5 percent). Have you counted the number of construction cranes around South Lake Union alone? Want a job?”

Seattle’s actually got Portland’s number here. Look, we’ve got to be honest about this one. Seattle’s median family income is 50% higher than Portland’s and Portland’s child poverty rate is twice as high. This stuff is serious, and even a Portlander will tell you the city and state could do a whole lot better on this front.

WINNER: Washington.


Seattle Times “11. Not trying to get all snooty about this, but in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities, the University of Washington ranked 15th in the world for the quality of its education. The University of Oregon was between 300th and 400th (ratings don’t get more specific in those ranks).”

It all depends on what kind of education you want. That ranking doesn’t include private colleges. Oregon places four colleges in the U.S. News & World Report’s Top 150 Liberal Arts Colleges: Willamette, Lewis & Clark, Reed, and Linfield. Washington has only two: Whitman and University of Puget Sound.



Seattle Times: “12. While it’s true that Washington no longer has the distraction of an NBA team, that just gives us more time to cheer for the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. In Oregon, pro football fans cheer for – oh, the Seattle Seahawks.”

Two words: Malcolm Butler.

Look, Oregon fans get to cheer for the Seahawks without dealing with stadium traffic. Well, not this year, actually. I mean, it’s not as if the 2-4 Seahawks are a wonder to behold. They’re tied for last place in their division with the most over-dramatic player retirement party in sports, the San Francisco 49ers. They got beaten by a Rams team that can’t even figure out where it’s going to play next year. They lost to the Cincinnati Bengals. You made Andy Dalton look like Dan Marino.

Speaking of the Oregon and Washington universities, by the way, how’d last Saturday’s game go? Oregon 26, Washington 20? So, okay, maybe football’s not your thing. Nothing wrong with that.

We all know where it’s really at: The Rose City Rollers came second in the world behind New York City’s Gotham Girls in the 2014 Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Championship. So far in 2015, they’re ranked second in the world behind the Gotham Girls again. Go check them out. They won’t disappoint you like the Seahawks.

WINNER: Oregon.


Let’s look at the final tally:

Oregon 6, Washington 2, North Dakota -1 (there were 3 ties). It looks like Oregon won, but maybe we don’t need to fight. Washington and Oregon are both better in all of these categories than most other states. Especially North Dakota.


Which state do you like better? Are you for Oregon or Washington?




Gabriel Valdez
Gabriel Valdez
Gabriel is a movie critic who's been a campaign manager in Oregon, an investigative reporter in Texas, and a film producer in Massachusetts. His writing was named best North American criticism of 2014 by the Local Media Association. He's assembled a band of writers who focus on social issues in film. They have a home base.