SALEM, Ore. — Oregon has long been seen as a wacky state whose primary city was spoofed in a TELEVISION funny, where rugged nation folk and metropolitan hipsters might get along and political distinctions might be settled over a pint or 2 of craft beer.
But with a Republican walkout in the Democrat-controlled Oregon Senate in its 3rd week, Oregonians these days are wistfully remembering “The Oregon Way,” when politicalleaders of various stripes created contracts for the typical great. Famous examples consistof developing the country’s veryfirst recycling program, makingsure public beach gainaccessto for the whole shoreline and restricting metropolitan sprawl in a pioneering land-use program.
A quarter-century ago, previous Republican U.S. Sen. Gordon Smith and present Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden promoted legislation together in Congress and even collectively appeared at town halls throughout the state, stated Kerry Tymchuk, who was Gordon’s Oregon chief of personnel back then. That spirit of cooperation was mirrored in the Legislature, he stated.
“There were moderate Republicans in the Legislature who represented rural Portland. There were conservative Democrats who represented some of the rural districts,” stated Tymchuk, presently the executive director of the Oregon Historical Society. “And now there are no more Democrats in the rural districts. There are no more moderate Republicans.”
The crisis in Oregon’s statehouse is a microcosm of the deeply partisan politics playing out acrossthecountry, typically pitting metropolitan versus rural locations, and the growing divide in Oregon reveals the Pacific Northwest state is not immune.
The gridlock in the state Capitol in Salem comes as Oregon grapples with homelessness, psychological health concerns, a fetid outdoor drug market in Portland and weapon violence in the state’s primary city, where some services are runningaway, consistingof outside equipment seller REI.
Elsewhere, a project to have rural eastern Oregon counties withdraw and signupwith surrounding Idaho has got steam amidst growing problems about the state’s progressive politics.
“There is no turning back now,” Republican Sen. Daniel Bonham stated of the GOP boycott.
“We are in it for the long haul. Oregon is in a management crisis,” he emailed his constituents, who live mainly east of Portland along the Columbia River and along the