Program the radio with a few of the wide range local repeaters. Set up your radio to scan them and spend time listening to the chatter when one becomes active. Some of the busier ones are 147.04 on the KOIN TV tower in the West Hills, 146.96 on Goat Mountain SE of Estacada, 146.84 on Larch Mountain WA, 147.12 on Mt Hood, and 147.32 on South Saddle Mountain in the coast range.
There are UHF machines at some of those locations linked to the VHF repeaters. Of course there’s the TERAC machine on 443.650, but that has less coverage and very little activity.
Both ARRG (Amateur Radio Relay Group, http://www.arrg.org) and WORC (Western Oregon Radio Club, http://www.qsl.net/worc) have web sites showing their repeaters.
Check out the various nets in the local area. WORC hosts the 6:05pm Traffic and Training Net every day on several of its linked repeaters, and is also linked to the Evergreen Intertie. Monitor some of those sessions and check in when you feel comfortable. Start at the beginning of the net and listen to the preamble. Compose a message and send it to a friend.
Another net is the District 1 net on 147.32 at 7:30pm daily. There are several other local nets. Google “ham radio nets” and do some experimenting.