Coming up with a short (or long) list of potential baby names is either super fun or super stressful – there is no in-between. Personally, I’m a sucker for sentimentality and a good story. Portland-area expanding families are in luck as Oregon is FULL of beauty and awesome places to explore that could, naturally, lead to plenty of baby name inspiration. Here are 20 Oregon-inspired baby names to consider for your little bundle of joy.
Ash feels like the hipster version of Ashley. This could be in reference to Ashland, a southern city that hosts the annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Alternatively, it also takes inspiration from the Oregon ash tree, a native tree found west of the Cascade Mountains.
Aurora is a city southwest of Canby along Highway 99. However, many folks likely associate the name with the aurora borealis (aka the Northern Lights) which on VERY rare occasions make an appearance this far south. On a completely unrelated note, Disney fans may be more familiar with Sleeping Beauty‘s Princess Aurora. All valid reasons to go with this name.
Most Portlanders are familiar with the popular seaside town of Cannon Beach, since it’s only about a 90-minute drive (with decent traffic) from the city. In addition to Haystack Rock being a staple image for many Oregonians, Cannon Beach was named one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places by National Geographic.
One of Oregon’s most well-known natural resources is its trees. (There’s a reason Portland’s men’s soccer club is the Timbers, after all.) With four varieties of cedar that are native to Oregon, they can grow incredibly tall in the old-growth forests.
Everyone limber up for this one because it may be a bit of a stretch: Cole could be a shortened name of Columbia. Whether you’re talking about the river, the gorge, or the sportswear company, they’re all beloved in Oregon.
Forests and hills that feature Douglas fir trees are iconic to the Pacific Northwest landscape. Naturally, the name Douglas feels just as distinguished. I personally like the nickname Doug (if that ends up being more your kid’s vibe).
Are you a Duck’s fan? Home to the University of Oregon, Eugene is a beautiful city situated along the Willamette River on the southern end of the Willamette Valley.
Found throughout Oregon (including my own backyard), ferns grow easily and are impressively resilient. It’s like having a little piece of the forest in your own garden. The name Fern may sound soft, but don’t underestimate her – she is able to grow in even the rockiest of terrain.
I LOVE the name Flora. It’s an an ode to the diversity of plant life found through the hiking trails and forests of the state. Or perhaps it could be short for Florence, the tiny coastal town east of Eugene with sea lion caves.
Sidenote, when I was expecting, I told myself that if I had triplet girls I would name them Florence, Coraline, and Eleanor, – Flora, Cora, and Nora (spoiler alert: I did not).
This one feels pretty explanatory. Oregon has trees. Like, a lot of them with multiple state forests to explore. I adore the drive to the coast along Highway 6, through Tillamook State Forest. It feels a little magical.
Beer is kind of a big deal in Oregon. While I hear a lot of talk about IPAs (Indian pale ale), I prefer a porter, especially in the brisk, Oregon autumn.
Many a Portland native and tourist alike enjoy a visit to Powell’s City of Books, one of the largest independent and used bookstores in the world. There are also the Powell Buttes mountains in Crook County and Powell Butte in Multnomah County.
If you’re looking for a name that truly embodies Oregon (and the greater Pacific Northwest) the name Rain may be the way to go. We usually get a lot of it. It may actually be the most appropriate name for a 2022 baby because it’s been REAL rainy this year. In fact, Rainy could be a viable alternative, as could Raine, Raina, or Rayne.
Another self-explanatory name, Oregon has some extensive waterways, including larger and smaller rivers throughout the state. The Willamette and Columbia Rivers are most prominent in Portland, but you can find rivers near many trails and waterfalls.
Birds! We cannot forget the birds of Oregon. I certainly can’t forget robins as I’m currently co-housing with a family nested on my back deck. Robyn is an alternative spelling that also works.
One of Portland’s famous monikers is “The City of Roses.” While not native to Oregon, the city now houses the International Rose Test Garden. Beautiful and fragrant, Rose works as both a first or middle name. Variations of Rose include Roslina, Rosslyn, or Rosalind.
I hadn’t considered Salem for a potential baby name until putting together this article, but I have to say, I like it. It’s different but compelling. It’s also the capital of Oregon, so there’s that, too.
Another tree commonly found among Oregon’s coniferous forests, Spruce is a fun name that’s not formal and gives me “likes to explore their surroundings and is growing their own garden” vibes. I give it a 10 out of 10.
The Wilson River runs through Tillamook State Forest and I’ve already mentioned my love for the drive along Highway 6. Also, I’m a little biased in my affection for the name Wilson as we have a close family friend by the name who has a GREAT love of the Titanic (which, same).
Does your little one’s name have a connection to Oregon? Are there other Oregon-inspired names that you love? Share your thoughts in the comments.