PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — No matter where you’re located in Oregon, chances are you live near a city, street, or river that may be easier read in your head than said aloud.

Here are 10 Oregon words that often leave tourists flustered, and have even caused debates among some locals.


Pronouncing the Beaver State itself may seem simple to residents, but it’s not so straightforward for some out-of-towners — like Bernie Sanders, who pronounced it “Or-ih-gone” during a Portland rally in 2016. It’s simply: Or-uh-gn.


Central Oregon town Madras, also nicknamed “The Basin” is pronounced “MAD-russ” instead of “MAHD-russ.”


If you’re using Apple Maps to find your way around the Rose City, Siri may lead you to believe Couch Street is pronounced like the furniture. But don’t let the virtual assistant fool you. It’s “Cooch.”

The Dalles

Not to be confused with the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Wasco County city The Dalles merely rhymes with “the gals.”


This word is pretty much said how it’s spelled, but it still bewilders some newcomers. It’s “UMP-kwah,” and the Oregon Encyclopedia says it “derives from an Indian name for a place along the river.”


Whether you’re referring to the university, the river, or the valley and wine country, Oregon natives will tell you it’s pronounced Will-AM-ett — not Willa-met.


Another word that derives from Indian culture, Yachats is defined as “dark water at the foot of the mountain.” The Oregon coast town is pronounced, “YAH-hots,” so refrain from calling it Ya-CHATS.


You know how the “g” in lasagna is silent? So is the first “s” in Deschutes — kind of. The county and river is pronounced “duh-SHOOTS.”


Forget the Hawaii word used for both greetings and farewells. Aloha, a town located in Washington County, is pronounced a-LOW-ah.


We hate to be the bearer of bad news (sometimes) but this body of water along the Oregon coast isn’t pronounced the “Ya-KEEN-nuh” river. It’s actually “Ya-KWIN-uh.”