NOAA Ship Oregon was initially built in Portland, Oregon by Gunderson Brothers and then transferred to Astoria, Oregon where the Astoria Marine Construction Company completed the ship's construction. The ship’s main operation included fisheries research in the north, central, and south Pacific Ocean.
Oregon, along with three other ships, was built for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in response to a few concerns brought by the War Food Administration. The goal was to address the wartime shortage of meat and expand the knowledge of crab and fish resources. In 1949, the ship was assigned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct fisheries research and collect hydrographic and biological data.
For five years, Oregon conducted annual surveys of the Alaska continental shelf for the Groundfish Assessment Program under NOAA Fisheries. In 1973, the ship officially became a part of the NOAA fleet operating in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska for the NOAA Fisheries Resource Assessment Program. The ship eventually decommissioned in 1980.