Friday, May 20, 2011
Next up: Pacific Northwest

Thanks to all the warm-hearted New Englanders who responded to our call yesterday, the northeastern U.S. is much better represented in our cultural census. If you’re still not sure what iReport’s cultural census is all about, you can learn more here. In the coming week, we’re planning to boost participation by focusing each day on a different U.S. region.


Today and through the weekend we're taking a look at the Dakotas and Pacific Northwest. We’ve had a great response from Washingtonians already but we’re itching for more representation from Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.


If you have already participated, you can help us get the word out by sharing this blog post with friends and family.



iReporter doe4rae, from Vermillion, South Dakota, sent us a portrait of herself while handcrafting a canoe. She tell us, "After passing that 40 year mark in life you start to think about what kind of lasting impression or legacy will you leave for your children and people you love.  I think that creating something -- building anything -- that expresses your heart and passions and that can physically remain with your family is a worthwhile endeavor!"



Washingtonian rosehips sent us a photo of the mode of transportation she often uses when her other mode of transportation gets put out of commission for a few days. Back in March she commented, "I walk around town whenever I can. I often go days or even weeks without driving my car.  It's ridiculous that I am still going out in snow boots, but if the snow keeps up today, I will have to do just that."


We hope there’s a lot more from where those came from!


Regardless of where you’re from, we’d love for you to share some of your unique qualities in our cultural census. You can start by taking our cultural census survey. Then, take a look at our five assignments and complete one that inspires you.

Share a photo

Take a self-portrait. Get creative!

Read aloud

Tape yourself reading a standard passage.

Eat dinner

Show us a photo of you or your family's typical weeknight dinner.

Write this down

Scan or snap a photo of your handwriting.

Get around

Show us how you generally get around town.

May 21, 2011
Click to view NONcorrect's profile

I live in the "other" Washington - the high valleys of the Columbia River Basin. My car often looks like rosehips' in the winter, yet it feels like Arizona in the summer. I live out in the hops, in the irrigation projects, where the scrub brush starts at the end of the fields and about the only thing thunder clouds bring is wildfire hazard; where the kids run barefoot and use the water feature for a place to cool off. Its a beautiful place if you can appreciate the extremes of nature!

May 22, 2011
Click to view sunethra's profile

You say 'Regardless from where you are" does this mean anyone from any country can participate????


I thought this was only for the US????????

May 22, 2011
Click to view nwtiki's profile

Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are not in the Pacific NW.

May 22, 2011
Click to view jroedel's profile

By the way, only Washington, Oregon, and Idaho are the true Pacific Northwest.  We are proud of that fact, and trying to add other states to the mix does not make it better, only worse.  Please do not compare us to others, or lump us together in your own mix.

May 22, 2011
Click to view DuckIrish's profile

Here I'll give you the Pac NW cultural census in a nutshell. We're low to middle class, hard working americans. We take care of our land and our natural resources. We don't really care what's going on in the rest of the country because when it comes down to it, we'll out survive everybody. Oh by the way, please only share your information in the Pac NW, we don't need anymore idiots moving here.

May 22, 2011
Click to view conoclast's profile

In moving to coastal Oregon from California one of the first things you notice about the people is very subtle: it's a lack of pretense.  And of course there's the color green, which at this time of year is about all you can see---brought about by 200 days per year of measurable rain.  Worth the trade-off?  You betcha!!

May 22, 2011
Click to view Gopherit's profile

The Pacific Northwest coast is a great place - spectacular scenery, lots of rain so that it stays green, nice and cool much of the time, many outdoor activities, and generally friendly people. But a number of the states listed in the survey are not in the PNW even though in the 19th century they all were considered to be the Northwest.

May 22, 2011
Click to view JoyfulGypsy's profile

I thought part of the requirement for submitting a self-portrait to this assignment was you "must show your face." 

May 22, 2011
Click to view GrasshopperY's profile

Eastern Montana is part of the PNW, but Wyoming and the Dakotas absolutely are not. And remember, the Pacific Northwest crosses into British Columbia. We share a good deal of our history with western Canada, what with the influence of Hudson's Bay Company and the North West Company. In fact, an emerging consensus among regional historians is that a fully accurate examination of the American Northwest requires one to double-dip with western Canadian history. A good question would be whether we called the Pacific Northwest because we are the Pacific Northwest of the United States, or whether that is a relative term in contrast to British North America's North-Western Territory.

May 22, 2011
Click to view thunderbasin's profile


Like most have said, the Pacific NW is only Washington, Oregon and Idaho (and B.C., Canada as well).  North/South Dakota are nearly halfway to the Atlantic.  Perhaps western Montana and far northern California might fit in Pac NW.

May 22, 2011
Click to view DonJuan1's profile

One person's comments really hit the mark.  There is, for the most part, a lack of pretense among the people of the Pacific NW.  I first moved to Oregon in 1975 at age 30.  My only regret is that I was not born here.

It's a place of unblievable scenic beauty that I never grow tired of seeing.  I live in a grove of old growth Douglas Fir trees and I am only 15 miles from downtown Portland, Or.

May 22, 2011
Click to view PortlandLady's profile

CNN Fail - Pacific NW is OR, WA and ID (sometimes).  I know blogs are not true news stories with a scrutiny of detailed fact checking, but this is basic US geography. Did the writer even Google Pacific NW prior to publishing this? 

May 22, 2011
Click to view rakista's profile

Live in PDX, OR. 


Secession talk, like Texas, is popular here to, might want to look up the Cascadia movement.  If you took the coastal cities from San Fransisco to Vancouver BC you would have a nice liberal country with some of the highest per capita GDP in the world.   

May 22, 2011
Click to view elchueco's profile

@sunethra: We will be integrating all the assignment responses from the U.S. into interactive maps that are part of CNN's Defining America. Defining America is meant to highlight stories that stem from the 2010 U.S. Census. We might still figure out a way to highlight the responses we've received from other parts of the world, however.


@nwtiki and others: You are correct. Admittedly, we divided U.S. states into less than orthodox groupings. We did so in order to have roughly the same number of states in each group and the number of groups was decided ahead of time in order to feature each group before the end of the month. I referred to this group as Pacific Northwest, as at least all the U.S. Pacific Northwest states (according to varying definitions) formed part of the group. Perhaps a better title could've been "Next up: Northwestern states". In any case, thanks for the clarification.



Thanks also to all of you who have spread the word about iReport's cultural census and to those who have already submitted iReports for the different assignments and filled out the survey.

May 22, 2011
Click to view grandy77's profile

From Missoula , MOntana,  Came to Montana in 1998 to the Bozeman area and moved to Missoula 2004.  Best move I ever Made.  Love looking out and seeing the Bitterroot  and the Saphire Mountaine, especially LOLO Peak with is covered with snow about 9 months of the year. The University of Montana is located in Missoula, the home of the Grizzlies.  The sun rises and sun sets are awesome and there is plenty to do for all ages.  Also we have a very giving community that deeply cares for the homeless, great activities for youngsters and teen ages.  We also have the Janet Rankin Peace  Center and an on going group that works for better understanding  with our Native  American population. There's snowboarding and skateboarding, bike lanes, Clark Fork River for rafting and flying fishing and hunting on public land for those who like that. Oh can't forget Caras Park with the hand carved horses and different animals on the Merry-Go  Ride. Come visit and have a relaxing good time. (PS I'm a 77 year old transplant, not a member of the city council or city pay roll-- but  we do have a great Mayor.)  Also got to visit  the Big Dipper Ice Cream stand for some home made ice crean and St. Francis  Xavier Church on Pine St.  Even the Vatican is jealous of the paintings on the ceiling and surrounding walls, AWESOME


May 22, 2011
Click to view elchueco's profile

@JoyfulGypsy: Yes, the requirement is to show your face. doe4rae sent us a set of photos, a few of which show her entire face--we'll probably use one of those for the interactive. I decided to feature this one on this blog post because it's a stunning photo and it spoke to me personally.

May 23, 2011
Click to view PNWinIraq04's profile

After nearly seven years spent in Iraq in support of the MNC-I forces and the Department of State, I have come to appreciate my home state of Oregon as never before.  My company primarily employs people from the southern half of the U.S.; from Texas to Florida with a smattering here and there of people from other states in the U.S.  I still find it amusing that people have such outdated ideas of the Pacific Northwest: "it rains all the time there, right?", "isn't Oregon a Welfare State?", "where's your hunting jacket?" and my all-time favorite, "where's Oregon?".  Looking around at the desolate environment that is Iraq, I am definitely behind the idea of rain all the time if it means being surrounded by lush greenery year-round!  The politics are different in the Pacific Northwest, too.  I'm proud of being from a "Purple State"; to me, it means that political debate is alive and well and furthermore, it means that election seasons are more interesting because elections could go in any direction.  It's not a foregone conclusion and I think that keeps people engaged.  Our food is better, too.  After all this time of eating a primarily Southern diet over here in Iraq, I long for the amazing fresh foods of the PNW without the need for gravy, deep-frying or heavy spices.  And best of all, I love the diversity of Oregon.  All in all, it's a wonderful place and I can't wait to experience it again soon!

May 23, 2011
Click to view billtuckey's profile

On a nice day, there is no nicer place to be than in the Pacific Northwest.  Here in Seattle, it can be just spectacular.


Lots of wack-jobs here in Seattle though.  We have a 2 decker viaduct that will come crashing down next earthquake. It absolutely has to be replaced and now.  We have started tearing down the viaduct and will replace it with a tunnel.  This will open up the beautiful Seattle waterfront which is right on Puget Sound.  The viaduct is right next to Puget Sound and dominates the waterfront.  It is also dangerous to have double-decker freeways (viaducts) in such an earthquake prone area. Remember SF in 1987?


Yet, there are people here, including the Mayor of Seattle, who want to block this project even though it has already been planned & started.  They have managed to get a vote on the project for this fall.  This, after it was finally agreed to replace the ugly viaduct with a tunnel.  That's the way it is up here, wacked out politically in many ways.  No one can agree on anything it seems.


But, what a beautiful place to live.

May 23, 2011
Click to view Julyfly's profile

I don't live there but have visited. It is the most beautiful country. Something for everyone. I found the people pleasant, helpful, polite, and other good qualities.

I can't wait to go back for another long visit.

May 23, 2011
Click to view Fscottfitz's profile

I lived on and off in Portland, OR for over 20 years. I can say that the weather just sucks. If you like rain 9 months out of the year, then you will love it. I find it depressing and unhealthy; give me that Californian sunshine any day.

May 23, 2011
Click to view philwoodman's profile

I've lived in SW Oregon for almost 30 years, cutting and selling firewood most of that time. I learned the business working and swapping stories with old loggers. For some reason they love to tell stories, probably dating from ancient times when they couldn't work much in the winter and sat around the wood stove talking about the biggest buck, the hottest day, where the trout should be biting, etc.

I always loved forests and this job made it possible to be out there almost every day. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in a postcard or something. Hard work, yes, but very healthy. Sweat and fresh air are like that, and I highly recommend them for almost anyone.

May 23, 2011
Click to view Lonie56's profile

I lived in the Willamette Valley in Oregon for 53 years until we had to move to TriCities Washington for my husband’s job.  I moved from beautiful green forest in the valley to high desert brown with sagebrush.  My  husband loves the drier weather, but I do miss the green.


I believe the Pacific Northwest is unique in so many ways.  I almost feel like we are "hidden" over here.  It does make me laugh when people ask where Oregon is!


May 23, 2011
Click to view pugetsoundr's profile

I live at the start of the foothills on the path to mt rainer, which dominates the skyline throughout the seattle area. in a small town called Enumclaw. we just opened a state of the art hospital one of the first to be green and with the latest med-tech. mri/helo pad on the top, beds that talk to you in 25 different languages, yes thats right, the BEDS talk to you in your language if its needed. the whole hospital is linked, wi-fi doctors can be at another facility and interact with a patient in our hospital via iPads or other devices in our hospital.  the thing that brought me out here from the seattle city area was a trip to the King County fair, you come up from the valley heading up highway 410 into bonney lake, due to the elevation of the bonney lake area on the "plateau" you cant see the mountains, but when you crest the hill My oh my! Mt Rainer is framed Perfectly! that single view the sudden pop up of the most beautiful snow capped mound of rock youll likely find, is something i enjoy seeing every clear day on my commute coming home.


like others have said you really cant understand how green it truly is in the PNW. EVERYTHING is green and you can drive for 20 mins from pretty much anywhere and find the "wild"  you can hike into the woods for 1/2 mile stop and not know where you are unless youre semi boy scout. there is that many trees and other green plants. now we have the best of the surf and turf too, you want sea food? well we got it, you want organic farms we got em, you want high tech (microsoft anyone)

you want to shop online(amazon)  do you like membership stores like costco? we got em. want to give your kids a medical degree from one of the top Universities in the country? UW. (GO HUSKIES)and for the media hounds well theres the reknowned WSU (BOO COUGARS!) and its journalism classes.  kayaking with orcas? yup, octopi by the hundreds and i mean BIG ones big as a 14 yr old no joke. Copper river salmon from Alaska makes its first stop in the lower 48 right here in seattle. YUM  we also can say that all those CSI shows and ncis shows all wouldnt be available to watch if we didnt have the distinction of being the home of the Green River killer, the crime scene detective work you see in those shows was first developed during the GRK investigation. when the FBI and its profilers and other investigative serial killing units developed their techniques from that first GRK investigation.


we run one of the largest Ferry systems in the US if not the world. Space needle monorail, experience music project. and of course a lot of the planes folks fly to come visit were built right here.  i could continue to list things that most would probably not think yould find way up here in the nw corner but in reality we are more high tech AND green then pretty much anyplace else in the US.


all this and more deserts? we got em, ice caves and huge rushing ice cold rivers straight off glaciers yup.

Zoos world renowned for animal care and breeding.


all this is what i call home the Pacific NorthWest is really a awesome place to live for outdoorsy types AND tech types.


and after all ive posted we STILL have a small town mentality and at least in my community you can find a local student mowing a retired neighbors lawn because it needs it and the retired folks ,well they are retired eh?


someone WILL ask you if you need help if youre broke down on the side of the road, people up here are just a step different than in other areas i truly think its all this pollution free air we breathe.



May 23, 2011
Click to view bcole04's profile

What I love about living here in the PNW (Seattle, specifically) is that I am two-three hours away in each direction from spectacular scenery, no matter what direction I travel in. 2 hours to the mountain in one direction, 3 hours to the desert in another, 2 hours to the Pacific ocean or 2 hours and a ferry ride to the rain forest. The air is fresh, the land is green, the people are friendly and it will always be my home.


I'm heading to San Francisco in the fall for grad school and may end up staying in the Bay Area for a few years, but when I feel the need to come home, I know exactly where my heart is and that is right here in the beautiful PNW.

May 23, 2011
Click to view tiff1198's profile

I am a born and raised Oregonian.  I lived in Texas once for 6 months and couldn't stand the dirt and garbage everywhere.  No one there cared about the environment like we do out here.. I agree with the other posters here that ONLY OR, WA and ID are the Pac NW.. and we really don't like new comers to bring their bad habits here.  We work hard, love the outdoors and care about REAL issues.. like are my kids getting the right education and why is it that DC thinks it is ok to enforce their coorporate will on those of us who have never even seen a high rise. 

May 23, 2011
Click to view cook2live's profile

I have lived in the Willamette Valley and have family all over the PNW.  It is breathtakingly beautiful and I always enjoy visiting my family.  One complaint I had when I lived there is the people were very unfriendly.  Standoffish is probably a good word.  I currently live in Texas and the people are really friendly and outgoing.  However, they are still fighting the Civil War!

May 23, 2011
Click to view flyfisher82's profile

Born and raised in the Black Hills of the PNW.  That is Washington's Black Hills (not South Dakota's which are more Midwestern or Middle Eastern than they are PNW).  I went to school at University of Portland and had the pleasure of experiencing the wierdest and most bike friendly city in America.  One of my favorite traditions was running 4 miles every Monday to Widmer brewery for their discount burgers and pints.  Shout out to Forest Park...biggest municipal park in the USA.


Thanks to the military I have lived in the Washington DC Metro area for the past 6 years, but the PNW will always be home.  I miss the clean air, craft beers, and great trout fishing.  I even miss the holier than thou attitude that typifies west coast cities.  To borrow an example from a previous poster, "why is it that DC thinks it is ok to enforce their coorporate will on those of us who have never even seen a high rise."  I find this comment humorous since DC's tallest occupiable building is only 329ft.  Seattle has 22 buildings over 400ft.


Someday I will return, but until then I have resigned myself to preaching the greatness of the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) and instructing the east coast heathens on the proper pronunciation of Oregon.



May 23, 2011
Click to view jlb7640's profile

Don't ever move there.  Outsiders are not welcome.  Very beautiful to visit though. 

May 26, 2011
Click to view DavidPacheco's profile





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