UFO sightings in the Pacific Northwest leads nation
It's no surprise the Pacific Northwest is home to many of the country's UFO sightings, thanks to our pitch-black skies and curious minds.
By the numbers: The Portland metro area had 69.7 UFO sightings per 100,000 residents between 2000 and 2023, per National UFO Reporting Center data.
- That's nearly 1,750 unusual occurrences spotted in the last two decades.
- The only metro with more sightings was Seattle, which had 86.5 sightings per 100,000 residents since the beginning of the millennium.
Why it matters: Discussion and reports of UFOs — or the more modern term, UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomenon) — have become more mainstream in recent years amid a push for answers from lawmakers and other experts.
- Some view UAPs as a national security concern — what people are seeing out there could be experimental craft from Russia, China or other U.S. adversaries. (Those fears were accelerated by last year's dramatic Chinese spy balloon encounter.)
- Commercial and military pilots have also been increasingly public about their inexplicable sightings.
Zoom in: Some of the most famous UFO photos were taken in 1950 by Paul and Evelyn Trent, just outside of McMinnville.
- The city honors its historic extraterrestrial connection annually by hosting Oregon's premier UFO Fest.
The bottom line: There's still no proof we're being visited by extraterrestrials despite rising public acceptance of the possibility.
- Many of the sightings are likely military activity (especially those near Area 51, which has a storied history of classified aircraft tests), scientific phenomena, etc.
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