During the Lewis and Clarke expedition, the western territories that were purchased in the Louisiana Purchase were explored, including the Oregon Territory. Being so far west, no one had gone there before, and when word came back of what lay there, more people found their way to the area, especially during the Western expansion when pioneers traveled the Oregon Trail to get there. Settlement was made difficult for a while because the British had laid claim to the area. It wasn’t until 1859 that the territory was officially declared a state.
There are a total of 36 counties in the state of Oregon. Interestingly enough, the Oregon Constitution does not actually provide for county seats. Many of their counties were named after Native America tribes that resided in the area before it became a state. Others were named for prominent residents, U.S. historical figures, or geographical features.
Oregon has the same set up as any other state in the Union, in terms of state government, with three branches that deal with all of the governing laws and regulations. But it also has something different than other states, and that is the system of commissions. This system allows for the governor to appoint citizens who are confirmed by the Senate to hire and fire the certain heads of agencies where they govern.
The Supreme Court of Oregon is primarily an appeals court. It can trace its history all the way back to 1841 when the pioneers who settled there wanted to form a higher court to deal with all of the laws. There are seven justices who serve six year terms when they are elected. Any empty seats are filled by appointment from the Governor.