When used within the United States, the Pacific Northwest usually refers to the northwestern region of the continental United States which borders on the Pacific Ocean (Oregon, Washington, and, if one goes inland a bit, Idaho and Montana as well). An expanded view of the region might include parts of Canada, such as British Columbia, or possibly even as far as the US state of Alaska. Oddly enough, using the centre of the Pacific Ocean as a starting point, the "Pacific Northwest" would be to the northeast. It's only northwest if the starting point is the centre of the US or North America.

Some would disagree that The Pacific Northwest is an adequate description for the region that includes British Columbia and other parts of Canada, as BC really is southwestern Canada, not northwestern. Have to be fair to our neighbors to the north.

Some people call the greater BC-Oregon-Washington area "Cascadia" to be more inclusive.

Many people also equate the Pacific Northwest with rain, although it is much drier on the east side of the Cascade mountains in Oregon and Washington. Most people don't know about the Oregon high desert.

Many of us (I'm from Oregon) would agree, however that there are plenty of (western) washington-centric pacific northwesterners.

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