Legal Status of official English in Oregon

Oregon has a non-binding “English Plus” resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 16), officially endorsing multilingualism, passed by the legislature in 1989.


WHEREAS the diverse ethnic and linguistic communities have contributed to the social and economic prosperity of Oregon; and

WHEREAS it is the welcomed responsibility and opportunity of Oregon to respect and faciliate the efforts of all cultural, ethnic and linguistic segments of the population to become full participants in our community; and

WHEREAS Oregon’s economic well-being depends heavily on foreign trade and international exchange and one out of five jobs is directly linked to foreign trade and international exchange; and

WHEREAS we wish to protect and promote the multilingual nature of communication that currently exists in Oregon and to build trust and understanding; and

WHEREAS English is already the predominant language of Oregon and legislation imposing English as the official language of Oregon impairs our pluralistic ideals; and

WHEREAS our federal courts have recognized that English-only rules can have an adverse impact on protected groups and constituties discrimination; now, therefore,

Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:

That the use of diverse languages in business, government and private affairs, and the presence of diverse cultures is welcomed, encouraged, and protected in Oregon.


2,810,654 English
388,669 All languages other than English combined
217,614 Spanish or Spanish Creole
18,400 German
17,805 Vietnamese
16,344 Russian
15,504 Chinese
11,837 French (incl. Patois, Cajun)
9,377 Japanese
9,185 Korean
6,181 Tagalog
3,723 Arabic
3,276 Scandinavian languages
3,104 Italian
2,884 African languages
2,867 Laotian
2,831 Mon-Khmer, Cambodian
2,743 Hindi
2,729 Persian
1,960 Other Native North American languages
1,573 Miao, Hmong
1,516 Thai
1,468 Serbo-Croatian
1,238 Polish
1,204 Greek
1,144 Portuguese or Portuguese Creole
967 Gujarathi
912 Hungarian
855 Hebrew
747 Urdu
336 Armenian
286 French Creole
228 Navajo
153 Yiddish