15 Things You Might Not Know About Oregon


1. You might think that a crack team of high-paid designers came up with Nike’s renowned “swoosh” logo. In fact, it was Portland State University student and Oregon native Carly Davidson who thought up the design in 1971. She sold it to Nike’s co-founder (Phil Knight, another Oregon native and an accounting professor at the college) for only $35.

2. Knight is also co-founder and chairman of the animation studio Laika, which operates in Portland under the management of his son Travis. Laika, the brand behind Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls, is just one of many animation companies situated in Portland, which is considered one of the top cities in America to pursue a career in the field. ADi, Happy Trails Animation, BENT IMAGE LAB, Hinge Digital, Wallace Creative, and several others call the Oregon city their home.

3. Without one particular Oregon invention, you’d have had an awful hard time clicking on this article. In 1970, Portland’s most delightfully named scientist Douglas Engelbart patented his long gestating invention, the computer mouse.

4. Also born in Oregon: the hacky sack. The game—and partnership of co-inventors Mike Marshall and John Stalberger—came to be in 1972, when Marshall introduced a makeshift beanbag to Stalberger, who was nursing a knee injury and was seeking a fun and stress-free means of rehabilitation. Following Marshall’s death, Stalberger sold the idea to the Wham-O toy company in 1983.

5.With a bed resting 1,943 feet below the surface, Oregon’s Crater Lake enjoys distinction as the deepest lake in the United States (and the ninth deepest on Earth). The 6-mile-long, 5-mile-wide body of water was formed as a result of the collapse of the cascade volcano Mount Mazama.

 around 5000 BCE. Crater Lake is also noteworthy for remarkable water clarity and purity, and for its sacred significance to the Klamath Native Americans.

6. The state also hits another landmark in nautical depth. Hells Canyon, which sits on Oregon’s border with Idaho, is the deepest river gorge in North America. A distance just shy of 8,000 feet (7,993, to be precise) separates the peak of the He Devil mountain and the pit of the ravine.

7. The last of Oregon’s achievements in maritime grandeur concerns its Sea Lion Caves, the longest sea caves in America … or anywhere, for that matter, outside of New Zealand (which claims the only five sea caves in the world longer than Oregon’s).

8. The mother of all “biggests” has got to be Oregon’s Armillaria solidipes, a single specimen of mushroom that scientists consider to be the largest living organism on Earth. Known colloquially as the “Humungous Fungus,” the Malheur National Forest resident measures approximately 2,400 acres (though the bulk of its area exists underground) and is between 2,000 and 8,000 years old.

9. But Oregon also abides by the “good things come in small packages” dictum. In 1971, the state became the proud recipient of a Guinness World Record for the smallest park on the planet. The tiny Mill Ends Park stands proud in Portland with a 452 square inch area, hosting little more than a hole filled with hand-planted flowers … though locals swear that the diminutive locale is home to an elusive leprechaun. In 2012, Great Britain challenged the record on the grounds that an area so small couldn’t appropriately be deemed a park, insisting that the true victor of the title is the two-feet-in-diameter Prince’s Park in Burntwood, Staffordshire. But the ruling went unchanged, as it was determined that a plot of land need neither trees nor benches to be called a park … just leprechauns.

10. Oregon may also be home to the world’s shortest river, although that also depends on whom you ask. Up until 1989, the Guinness Book of World Records recognized Oregon’s D River, which spans only 440 feet, as the world's shortest river. However, once the state of Montana brought its own 201-foot Roe River to the book’s attention, the honor was passed over. But Oregon did not give up. Following the shift, citizens of Lincoln City took it upon themselves to wait until a remarkably high tide to again measure the D River, calculating the length at just 120 feet. All was ultimately for naught, unfortunately, as Guinness discontinued its documentation of shortest rivers in 2006.

11. If movies have taught us anything about the FBI, it’s that discretion is a characteristic of great merit. And yet there’s something about a 26-foot-tall rabbit-man hybrid that doesn’t exactly scream “inconspicuous.” Nevertheless, marine retail salesman Ed Harvey’s store mascot—the aforementioned fiberglass giant that stands roadside in Aloha, Oregon—has been an alleged meeting ground for federal agents … and the source of nightmares for many a local child.

12. Oregon plays a part in a number of Nickelodeon cartoons. The cult series Angry Beavers is set explicitly in the fictional rural city of Wayoutatown, Oregon, and the ever popular Hey Arnold! drew inspiration from its creator’s upbringing in Portland (combining elements of the city with New York and Seattle). Additionally, CatDog is suggested to have based its fictional Nearberg on the Northwestern state.

13. If you’re look for a West Coast pen pal, Oregon’s Barbara Blackburn should be a speedy correspondent. In 2005, the Guinness Book of World Records named the Salem writer the fastest English language typist in the world; she can maintain a rapid 150 words per minute for 50-minute spans. Her fastest recorded speed was the impressive 212 words per minute (just over three-and-a-half words per second).

14. A tip of the hat to Portland for its impressive beer scene. Strewn throughout Oregon’s hip metropolis are more breweries than any other city in the world has to its name—56 in the city itself, and 76 in the Portland metropolitan area.

15. And all that drinking is actually for a good cause! Portland is home to the world’s first non-profit pub, Oregon Public House, that donates its income to a variety of charities all in the name of (their joke, not ours) “ale-truism.”

Mental Floss's Three-Day Sale Includes Deals on Apple AirPods, Sony Wireless Headphones, and More


During this weekend's three-day sale on the Mental Floss Shop, you'll find deep discounts on products like AirPods, Martha Stewart’s bestselling pressure cooker, and more. Check out the best deals below.

1. Apple AirPods Pro; $219


You may not know it by looking at them, but these tiny earbuds by Apple offer HDR sound, 30 hours of noise cancellation, and powerful bass, all through Bluetooth connectivity. These trendy, sleek AirPods will even read your messages and allow you to share your audio with another set of AirPods nearby.

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2. Sony Zx220bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones (Open Box - Like New); $35


For the listener who likes a traditional over-the-ear headphone, this set by Sony will give you all the same hands-free calling, extended battery power, and Bluetooth connectivity as their tiny earbud counterparts. They have a swivel folding design to make stashing them easy, a built-in microphone for voice commands and calls, and quality 1.18-inch dome drivers for dynamic sound quality.

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3. Sony Xb650bt Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones; $46


This Sony headphone model stands out for its extra bass and the 30 hours of battery life you get with each charge. And in between your favorite tracks, you can take hands-free calls and go seamlessly back into the music.

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4. Martha Stewart 8-quart Stainless-Steel Pressure Cooker; $65

Martha Stewart

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a new pressure cooker, this 8-quart model from Martha Stewart comes with 14 presets, a wire rack, a spoon, and a rice measuring cup to make delicious dinners using just one appliance.

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5. Jashen V18 350w Cordless Vacuum Cleaner; $180


If you're obsessive about cleanliness, it's time to lose the vacuum cord and opt for this untethered model from JASHEN. Touting a 4.3-star rating from Amazon, the JASHEN cordless vacuum features a brushless motor with strong suction, noise optimization, and a convenient wall mount for charging and storage.

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6. Evachill Ev-500 Personal Air Conditioner; $65


This EvaChill personal air conditioner is an eco-friendly way to cool yourself down in any room of the house. You can set it up at your work desk at home, and in just a few minutes, this portable cooling unit can drop the temperature by 59º. All you need to do is fill the water tank and plug in the USB cord.

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7. Gourmia Gcm7800 Brewdini 5-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker; $120


The perfect cup of cold brew can take up to 12 hours to prepare, but this Gourmia Cold Brew Coffee Maker can do the job in just a couple of minutes. It has a strong suction that speeds up brew time while preserving flavor in up to five cups of delicious cold brew at a time.

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8. Townew: The World's First Self-Sealing Trash Can; $90


Never deal with handling gross garbage again when you have this smart bin helping you in the kitchen. With one touch, the Townew will seal the full bag for easy removal. Once you grab the neatly sealed bag, the Townew will load in a new clean one on its own.

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Parking sensors are amazing, but a lot of cars require a high trim to access them. You can easily upgrade your car—and parking skills—with this solar-powered parking sensor. It will give you audio and visual alerts through your phone for the perfect parking job every time.

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10. Liz: The Smart Self-Cleaning Bottle With UV Sterilization; $46


Reusable water bottles are convenient and eco-friendly, but they’re super inconvenient to get inside to clean. This smart water bottle will clean itself with UV sterilization to eliminate 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria. That’s what makes it clean, but the single-tap lid for temperature, hydration reminders, and an anti-leak functionality are what make it smart.

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Prices subject to change.

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. If you haven't received your voucher or have a question about your order, contact the Mental Floss shop here.

15 Memorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quotes

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away at the age of 87.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away at the age of 87.
Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Supreme Court justice, feminist, and all-around badass Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020 from "complications of metastatic pancreas cancer," the Supreme Court said in a statement. Over the course of her 87 years, she smashed glass ceilings and delivered plenty of wisdom—inside the courtroom and out. Here are some of our favorite quotes from the Notorious RBG.

1. On her mother

"My mother told me two things constantly. One was to be a lady, and the other was to be independent. The study of law was unusual for women of my generation. For most girls growing up in the '40s, the most important degree was not your B.A., but your M.R.S."

— via ACLU

2. On turning rejection into opportunity

“You think about what would have happened ... Suppose I had gotten a job as a permanent associate. Probably I would have climbed up the ladder and today I would be a retired partner. So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.”

— In conversation with Makers

3. On female Supreme Court Justices

"[W]hen I’m sometimes asked when will there be enough [women on the supreme court]? And I say ‘When there are nine.’ People are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that."

— In an interview with 10th Circuit Bench & Bar Conference at the University of Colorado in Boulder, via CBS News

4. On dissenting opinions

"Dissents speak to a future age. It's not simply to say, ‘my colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way,’ but the greatest dissents do become court opinions."

— From an interview on Live with Bill Maher

5. On criticism and not getting a majority vote

"I’m dejected, but only momentarily, when I can’t get the fifth vote for something I think is very important. But then you go on to the next challenge and you give it your all. You know that these important issues are not going to go away. They are going to come back again and again. There’ll be another time, another day."

— via The Record [PDF]

6. On having it all

"You can't have it all, all at once. Who—man or woman—has it all, all at once? Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it."

— From an interview with Katie Couric

7. On discrimination

"I ... try to teach through my opinions, through my speeches, how wrong it is to judge people on the basis of what they look like, color of their skin, whether they’re men or women."

— From an interview with MSNBC

8. On gender equality

"Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation."

— via The Record [PDF]

9. On feminism

"Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, 'Free to be You and Me.' Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent."

— In an interview with Makers

10. ON her fellow Supreme Court Justices

"We care about this institution more than our individual egos and we are all devoted to keeping the Supreme Court in the place that it is, as a co-equal third branch of government and I think a model for the world in the collegiality and independence of judges."

— In an interview with C-Span

11. On the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling

"[J]ustices continue to think and can change. I am ever hopeful that if the court has a blind spot today, its eyes will be open tomorrow."

— From an interview with Katie Couric

12. On those Notorious RBG T-shirts

"I think a law clerk told me about this Tumblr and also explained to me what Notorious RBG was a parody on. And now my grandchildren love it and I try to keep abreast of the latest that’s on the tumblr. … [I]n fact I think I gave you a Notorious RBG [T-shirts]. I have quite a large supply."

— In an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg

13. On being an internet sensation

"My grandchildren love it. At my advanced age—I’m now an octogenarian—I’m constantly amazed by the number of people who want to take my picture."

— From an interview with the New Republic

14. On retirement

"Now I happen to be the oldest. But John Paul Stevens didn’t step down until he was 90."

— From an interview with The New York Times

15. On how she'd like to be remembered

"Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. ‘Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid."

— From an interview with MSNBC