Lies We Have Told You

Have you ever held a conversation with someone and mentioned “Oregon” or maybe “Pacific Northwest” and there’s always that reply “The place the rains all the time?” It’s just like… common knowledge that Oregon and Washington are literally wet all the time, and dreary, and overcast, with way too many trees.

This is a lie. Yes, even the trees.

I cannot stress this enough. Yes, there’s a large amount of rainfall in the Willamette valley, all the way up to Seattle, and beyond. No, that is not the only weather we get. Let me explain:

On the coast, it’s usually a steady temperature of ~60 degrees and it’s overcast. As you go further down the coast, temperatures rise (duh) and it’s quite pleasant. Do you know how many times I’ve been to the beach? Hundreds of times. Hundreds. The amount of rain I’ve seen? Maybe a handful of times. It’s literally either windy and overcast or windy and sunny. The coastal area can get snow, tsunamis, etc, etc, etc, etc. But it doesn’t rain all the time there.

In the Willamette valley, it rains. It does. When? In the fall, winter, and spring. Literally, that’s when most of the precipitation falls. In the summer, it’s humid as all get out, and there’s at least 50% less rain there. The valley is what you hear about when it comes to rain. The Columbia River gorge is similar. However, there’s not this rain cloud that just settles over atop of the area between the Cascades and the Coastal ranges, okay.

The real kicker, to completely blow you away, is the fact that there are not one, but two regions of Oregon that are dry, dusty, barren, and rocky. First, we have Central Oregon. Central Oregon is located in the northwestern most part of the Great Basin. I currently live in the middle of a desert. Yes, that’s right, a desert. Technically, a high desert, which means we have dry, hot summers, and cold winters – there’s typically at least one snowfall a year here. The only trees naturally growing we have here are juniper trees, a sparse, ugly tree. Then there’s Eastern Oregon. Literally, it’s a continuation of Central Oregon, but it gets drier and more barren. All of this is due to the rain shadow of the Cascades.

Please remember that Oregon and Washington, I’m sure, though I know zero about Washington is actually a very diverse place in terms of climate. There are areas that get less than 5 inches of rainfall a year, while others get a good 20 inches or more. We do see the sun! We know what it looks like! We curse the clouds until they go away! Unless they are thunderstorms, then we hope that wildfires are not started, especially in the desert regions!