Oregon

A State That Stands Out

Some states stand out because they are large—some because they are populous. Some are memorable because historically important things have happened there.

But some are distinguished by what is there, by what is being done in them, or by the quality of life there. Oregon is such a state. It stands out because of what it is.

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At a Glance

Title: Oregon: A State That Stands Out
Author: Michael McCloskey
Publisher: Inkwater Press
Pages: 194
Trim Size: 8.5″ × 8.5″

Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-62901-338-1
Price: $19.95

Kindle
ISBN: 978-1-62901-339-8
Price: $4.99

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6750 SW Franklin Street, Suite A
Portland, OR 97223-2542
Email: orders@inkwaterbooks.com
Phone: 503.968.6777
Fax: 503.968.6779

About the Book

Oregon: A State That Stands Out is the first book to look at Oregon from the national standpoint, assessing how the state stacks up by national standards. So far, other writers have only asked what is best in the state—a much less demanding question.

Despite its modest population, Oregon not only looks very good by national standards (e.g., often being in the top ten)—sometimes it is even first. And it has been notable from the outset. For instance, the first English-speaking settlement in the West was here. Settlers in Oregon set up the first acting government of Americans in the West (1843). The federal government built its first western offices in Oregon. Clipper ships built in Oregon (1874) set national speed records.

And Oregon has an outstanding natural endowment. It has the nation’s deepest lake and its deepest canyon. It has the most waterfalls, the most abundant and varied forests, and the longest coastal sand dunes.

Twice Oregon has inspired reforms that have swept the nation. In the Progressive era, its political reforms (e.g., the initiative, the referendum, the recall, and others) made such a deep impact on the US that they became known as “the Oregon System.” And in the 1960s, the state helped trigger the environmental movement by pioneering many environmental reforms.

Today, some businesses have their largest worldwide plants in Oregon. For instance, it hosts one of the world’s largest arrays of plants producing computer chips, and the biggest producers of sports shoes.

It also hosts the largest collection of craft beer manufacturers, as well as restaurants that draw national acclaim. Some of its cultural institutions are highly ranked: the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, for instance, and Oregon Public Television, which has the most impact of any such institution in the country.

These are just a few of the long and fascinating list of similar claims made in this book. It should make all who live here proud to be Oregonians!

Excerpt

Some states stand out because they are large—some because they are populous. Some are memorable because historically important things have happened there.

But some are distinguished by what is there, by what is being done in them, or by the quality of life there. Oregon is such a state. It stands out because of what it is.

Moreover, Oregon stands out because it has character—interesting things have happened here. Things in the West often began here.

This book features many points of this kind about Oregon, grouped together by categories. Th ese are the kind of things that cause Oregon to stand out when viewed nationally (rather than just being Oregon’s best).

To be more specific, things are listed here for various reasons:

This book does not cover undertakings that are merely ordinary. It is highly selective in what it mentions.

The book aims to

A business section is included to help make this last point. This section

Sometimes this modern economy is characterized as the “New Economy.” In Oregon, it is composed of high technology businesses, aviation, fabrication of specialized metal and composite products, the nursery trade, specialty crops, athletics and athletic products, and elements in health services, education, and the arts and culture.

The New Economy represents a move away from what many have characterized as the “Old Economy”: the process of extracting natural resources seen in such industries as logging, ranching, mining, commercial fishing, and traditional farming. In Oregon, this transition has already occurred, although there are remnants of the extractive economy and they continue to cause environmental problems.

When we examine this transition, two other profound perspectives emerge. First, the cumulative record of Oregon’s achievements shows that high standards and leadership have emerged again and again. And second, this record is particularly amazing in light of the limited size of Oregon’s population. On a per capita basis, Oregon often compares well (on matters of food and culture, for instance) with states that are much larger. And it has often led the way in making improvements in social welfare and environmental policy.

Certainly, not everything that now goes on in the state rises to high levels, and not everything in its past is admirable. But more and more of what goes on here today does stand out, and for the most part the state has overcome the ignoble moments in its past. And in general, it has built upon the admirable things in its past.

In sum, Oregon not only stands out again and again, it must be viewed as a place of distinction—in contrast to historian Gordon Dodd’s conclusion, forty years ago, that too often “Oregon…[has been] satisfied with the competent, not the distinguished.” That no longer seems to be true. That is worth celebrating!

About the Author

Michael McCloskey earned a law degree at the University of Oregon and led the Sierra Club as Executive Director and Chairman during pivotal phases to get framework laws enacted nationally to protect the environment. After a forty-year career with the Sierra Club, he chaired Portland’s Heritage Tree program for eight years. He still lives in Portland and recently authored Conserving Oregon’s Environment: Breakthroughs That Made History.

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