Information and Services
Travel Oregon (775 Summer St. NE, Salem, 800/547-7842, www.traveloregon.com) is an outstanding resource for visitors and residents alike. The state-run organization maintains an informative website and produces a number of useful free maps and publications, with extensive listings of lodgings and activities, suggested itineraries, events, and more.
Nine “welcome centers,” located near the borders along major routes into the state, are a good first stop for newly arriving visitors. They stock literature and maps on the entire state, though their regional offerings tend to be best represented.
Other useful contacts are the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (1115 Commercial St. NE, Salem, 503/378-6305 or 800/551-6949, www.oregonstateparks.org), the Bureau of Land Management (333 SW 1st Ave., Portland, 503/808-6002, www.or.blm.gov), and the National Forest Service (333 SW 1st Ave., Portland, 503/808-2971, www.fs.fed.us/r6/). All offer free information and maps on the specific recreation areas and preserves under their respective auspices.
For members only, AAA Oregon/Idaho (600 SW Market St., Portland, 503/222-6734 or 800/452-1643, www.aaaorid.com) provides tour guides and high-quality maps of the state and major towns.
In addition, several regional tourism authorities offer similar information and services for their corners of Oregon; see Internet Resources at the back of this book for a complete listing. Finally, the best sources for local information are the many chambers of commerce and visitors centers operating in communities across the state. These are listed in the destination chapters.
Visitor information offices are all good sources for free state, regional, and town maps. Some of the best road and city maps available are those produced by AAA for their members.
Particularly useful for outdoor recreation is Oregon Road & Recreation Atlas, a large-format book of beautiful shaded-relief maps of the entire state, published by Benchmark Maps (www.benchmarkmaps.com). The atlas is available in bookstores and sporting goods shops and directly from the publisher.
Accurate trail and topographical maps are worth their weight in gold for hikers, mountain bikers, anglers, and other outdoors enthusiasts. Oregon maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) can be purchased at the Nature of the Northwest store (800 NE Oregon St., Suite 177, Portland, 503/872-2750, www.naturenw.org) in Portland for $8.50 each. If you plan to use many of these maps, consider buying mapping software, such as National Geographic’s Topo!, which is available for Oregon at REI and other outdoors stores.
Another good series of paper maps is put out by Green Trails. Unlike USGS maps, these maps show trail mileage and campsites. Look for them at outdoors stores and ranger stations.
The state’s two largest-circulation dailies, the Oregonian and the Eugene Register Guard, come out of the most populous cities, Portland and Eugene. The Oregonian is distributed statewide, while the Register Guard is carried in newspaper dispensers as far away as the southern coast of Oregon.
Alternatives to the big dailies are found in a number of excellent tabloids, including Portland’s Willamette Week, the Eugene Weekly, Astoria’s monthly Hipfish, and others.
Portland and Eugene also dominate the broadcast media, serving far-flung rural communities by means of electronic translators. Oregon Public Broadcasting (www.opb.org) is also a statewide presence both in TV and radio. Some standout TV programs of interest to visitors include the long-running Oregon Field Guide, which explores natural history, outdoor recreation, travel, and environmental issues; and Oregon Art Beat, which profiles local artists, craftspeople, and performers of all stripes.
Warm Springs Indian Reservation’s KWSO (91.9 FM) is a progressive country radio station spiced with elders chanting in the morning and topical discussions on Native American issues by younger community members. Other local stations of interest are listed in individual destination chapters.
Even though regional monthlies such as Northwest Travel and Sunset do not have a strictly Oregon focus, there are usually several destination pieces about the state in each edition of these magazines. Oregon Coast magazine confines its coverage to subjects closer to home. All these periodicals can be obtained at newsstands throughout the state.
Oregon has three area codes. 503 is the main area code in use for the greater Portland metropolitan area, including Mount Hood and the westerly portion of the Columbia River Gorge, Astoria to Lincoln City on the coast, and Portland to Salem in the Willamette Valley; it’s supplemented by 971. 541 is for the rest of the state.
Note that in Oregon you must dial the area code, even for local calls. For long-distance calls within the state, dial 1 before the area code and then the seven-digit telephone number. For directory assistance dial 1, the area code for the locale you are searching, and then 555-1212.
Cell phone service in some parts of Oregon—including mountainous regions, the southern coast, and the state’s eastern areas—can be spotty to nonexistent. You may have to hunt around for that increasingly rare species, the phone booth, to make your call in those places.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel