Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book represents the collaborative effort of fourteen political scientists and one sociologist from across the state of Oregon. Although some of us eventually took on a more active role in the development of the book, the project would not have succeeded without the willingness of the contributors...

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One: A State Divided

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pp. 1-16

Every state has its own political character, but at times Oregon seems especially unusual. The word that might best describe politics in the Beaver State is schizophrenic. The state is driven by two different visions of government and politics. Many state residents desire an active government that rationally...

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Two: Place, People

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pp. 17- 29

There are many myths about Oregon: myths of its discovery and “conquest,” of its first peoples, and of the history and character of its later inhabitants. An important characteristic of myths is that they may have little to do with reality. Instead, they often tend to be based at best on half-truths. ...

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Three: Oregon in the Nation and the World

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pp. 30- 46

When Oregon voters cast their ballots in the November 8, 1994, election, they thrust the state into the federal spotlight. On the ballot was a proposal to allow physicians to help terminally ill patients commit suicide. The proposal was Ballot Measure 16, the Death with Dignity Act. The battle over the...

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Four: Parties and Elections

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pp. 47-62

The laws relating to nearly all aspects of elections in Oregon derive from progressive values. Many of the state’s most important election laws were enacted during the height of the Progressive Movement in the early twentieth century. The Progressives were particularly worried about the influence...

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Five: Direct Democracy

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pp. 63- 81

Distrust of state legislatures runs deep in the United States, but citizens must generally act through their legislatures, no matter how much they may distrust them. They can keep a watchful eye, join interest groups, attend hearings, write letters or e-mail messages to their representatives, even vote...

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Six: Interest Groups

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pp. 82-98

Interest groups have always been in the center of American politics. In 1787 James Madison noted that a critical responsibility of a republican government is to “secure the public good and private rights against the dangers of ...

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Seven: Media

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pp. 99-114

In 1900 Harvey Scott, the editor of the Oregonian newspaper, wrote nineteen editorials against a proposal to grant women the right to vote. Abigail Scott Duniway, his sister, led the fight to adopt the measure. She lost, but Progressivism won in 1912 when a people’s initiative was passed to grant...

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8. The Legislature

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pp. 115- 133

The big news at the end of the 2001 legislative session was not what had happened, but what had not: the session ended with little conflict. The surprising cooperation was a far cry from the closing of the previous session. The 1999 legislative session was seen by many as one of the most divisive...

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Nine: Governor

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pp. 134-151

State governments are not clones of the federal government, and nowhere is this clearer than in the executive branch. Perhaps the most important feature that distinguishes Oregon’s executive branch from its federal counterpart is the limit on the governor’s control of state government. ...

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Ten: Bureaucracy

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pp. 152- 170

During the past decade Oregonians placed nearly two dozen petitions on the ballot to circumscribe the discretionary authority of their administrative agencies.1 Most of these measures failed, but in November 2000 the voters passed Measure 7 by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. Although overturned...

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Eleven: Judiciary

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pp. 171- 188

When the Lloyd Center, a large indoor shopping mall, was built in Portland, Oregon, in the 1960s, it represented a novel approach to commercial development. Covering fifty acres, with a perimeter of one-and-a-half miles, the Lloyd Center originally included some sixty commercial tenants and an...

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Twelve: Local Government

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pp. 189- 203

Americans often pay little attention to the affairs of local governments, yet these governments greatly affect our lives. Among their many responsibilities, local governments record our births and deaths, they decide how our children will be educated, they build roads, they provide fire and police...

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Thirteen: Fiscal Policy

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pp. 204- 224

Oregon’s public budget patterns reflect a balance of the tradition of a progressive activist government and the more recent conservative populist antitax policies. Oregon’s historic reliance on a graduated income tax (those who earn more pay a higher rate) reflects its progressive tradition. Yet the...

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14. Environmental Policy

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pp. 225- 241

Logging, agriculture, grazing, mining, and fishing have all been important to Oregon’s economic and social fabric, as symbolized by their presence on the official state seal. However, increasing public interest—especially in urban areas—in protecting wildlife habitat, fish species, wilderness, recreational...

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Fifteen: Health Policy

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pp. 242- 255

Oregon’s health care policy is widely viewed as a reflection of the state’s innovative progressivism, and John Kitzhaber’s successful effort to promote what became known as the Oregon Health Plan reflects what might be called a political culture of innovation. That is not the whole story, however. The...

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Sixteen: Social Issues

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pp. 256- 269

As Patrick Buchanan, frequent Republican presidential contender, is fond of saying, “Economics is not the science that sends men to the barricades.” Buchanan’s declaration is less an observation about the dreariness of economic policy than a reflection on the contemporary interest in social issues. ...

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Seventeen: Education Policy

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pp. 270- 286

Education in Oregon, especially its funding, has become one of the most controversial policy areas in recent years. On one hand, there is a general consensus among most Oregonians that providing k–12 public education is perhaps the most important function of government. Annual surveys...

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Eighteen: Oregon in Perspective

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pp. 287- 295

A snapshot of Oregon today reveals a state at an apparent turning point. With the Oregon economy continuing to stagnate and with state revenue declining, the Legislative Assembly needed a record five special sessions in 2002 to find a way to balance the general funds budget. Over the course of the...

Notes

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pp. 297- 322

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For Further Reading

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pp. 323- 331

There are several good general reference books on Oregon. The most comprehensive is the Oregon Blue Book (Salem or: Secretary of State), which is published every two years by the secretary of state. The Blue Book is the official guide to Oregon government, providing information on all levels and...

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Contributors

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pp. 333- 336

Joe Bowersox is associate professor of politics at Willamette University, where he teaches courses in environmental politics, policy, and law. Bowersox received his PhD in political science from the University ofWisconsin– Madison in 1995. His publications include articles on Oregon water policy, ...

Index

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pp. 337- 345