Pronunciations for Oregon House Buyers and Sellers – On The Lighter Side

On the lighter side – Pronunciations that every Oregon buyer and seller should know

If you are buying and selling houses in Oregon, it is helpful to know the pronunciations of certain words like a native Oregonian.  Pronunciations are always hard for non-locals because they are typically derived from the history of the region. For example, many of our Oregon names come from the North American Indians who live in this area. Pronouncing locations differently than an Oregonian, is a sure way to let people know that you are freshly new to Oregon.  For example, many non-Oregonians pronounce Oregon wrong.  Pronouncing it (Or-ee-gone) not only irritates Oregonians, it instantly lets everyone know that you are not from here. Oregon is pronounced (Ore-uh-g’n).  If it rhymes with gun, you are saying it correctly.

Tumalo, north of Bendis becoming a hot place for buying and selling houses in Oregon. The pronunciation of Tumalo is often butchered. I hear people calling it Toomalo.  It’s Tum (like the Tums antacid) – uh (like in duh) – lo (like in low).

Scappoose, northwest of Portland,  is another up-and-coming community for buying and selling houses in Oregon. It is often mispronounced. It is pronounced Sca (rhymes with scat) – poose (rhymes with moose). The accent is on the first syllable.

The Willamette valley is lush, green and beautiful. The people who live there consider it God’s country. This is one of the hottest places in the country to buy or sell houses. It is pronounced Wil (as in the boy’s name) – Lamm (sounds like lamb) – it (rhymes with bit).  The accent is on the second syllable.

Aloha, west of Portland, is a sought after community for buying and selling houses. It is not pronounced uh-low-hah, like you are in Hawaii. Since Aloha is a community in Oregon, it is pronounced uh-low-uh, with the accent on the second syllable.

If you’re interested in buying and selling houses in small Oregon towns, you might want to look at Madras. Make sure the pronunciation is Mad-russ with the accent on the first syllable. Madras is a small community about an hour north of Bend.

Wallowa is a Nez Perce name in eastern Oregon. It is pronounced wal-ow (like the word ouch) -ah, with the accent on the second syllable.

Couch is a street in northwest Portland. Many people want to pronounce it like it is a sofa but it’s actually pronounced cooch. Many times, pronunciations just don’t make any sense!

Don’t confuse Lebanon, Oregon, south of Salem, with the country in Western Asia.  Just because words are spelled the same does not mean the pronunciations are the same. In Oregon, it is pronounced leba-nin, not Leba-non.

One word that bothers me is lava.  As a kid in Bend, Oregon, the common pronunciation was la (rhyming with at) – va (rhyming with duh). With the influx of people into Bend, it is now pronounced lah (rhyming with tot) – va (rhyming with duh).  So, my old high school mascot is now pronounced Lahva Bears – not Lava Bears.  Today Bend High cheerleaders shout, “Lahva Bears are big and bold,” rather than “Lava Bears are big and bold” – bummer.

Using the above pronunciations will help you sound like a native Oregonian.  Now the people you deal with when buying and selling houses in Oregon will never know you haven’t lived here your whole life.  Welcome to Oregon!




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