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Toward One Oregon

Rural-Urban Interdependence and the Evolution of a State

Edited by Michael Hibbard, Ethan Seltzer, Bruce Weber, and Beth Emshoff

Publication Year: 2011

Every state in the nation has geographic divisions that loom large as barriers to common cause. In Oregon, the so-called “rural-urban divide” has shaped its history. Toward One Oregon examines the prospects for uniting our geographically diverse state in the years ahead.

When Oregon became a state in 1859, its role in the nation and the global economy was quite different than it is today. Current times demand a new, strategic understanding of the state and its role in the nation and the world if its people—all of its people—are to thrive.

Toward One Oregon examines Oregon’s urban and rural history through political, economic, and demographic lenses. The contributors—historians, urban planners, economists, geographers, and political scientists—explore the two Oregons. Using the best of urban and rural policies in strategic and complementary ways, they offer a collaborative path forward—for Oregon and for any state faced with seemingly insurmountable geographic divisions.

Published by: Oregon State University Press


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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Preface: A New Oregon Trail

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pp. 8-10

In 1842 and 1843, wagon trains began the great migration westward over the Oregon Trail. Two years later the Oregon Territory was created, embracing the area west of the Rockies from the forty-second to the forty-ninth parallels. In 1859 the southwestern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union, and Oregon became a state. ...

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Chapter 1. Toward One Oregon: A Declaration of Interdependence

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pp. 11-16

Every state has a legacy of “truths”—those stories we tell each other to explain why the world is organized the way that it is—and every successive generation has to live with that legacy. At the same time, every state is institutionally and legally bound together within a set of borders that are unlikely to change and a governance structure that changes only slowly and incrementally. ...

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Chapter 2. A Tale of Two Oregons: Common Aspirations, Different Contexts, and Critical Interdependencies in Urban and Rural Oregon

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pp. 17-40

All Oregonians, regardless of where they live, have the same hopes and aspirations for their communities: -— A strong economy offering rewarding jobs and the opportunity to meet a family's basic needs for food and shelter —Good health and a healthy environment —Vibrant communities and neighborhoods ...

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Chapter 3. From Urban Frontier to Metropolitan Region: Oregon’s Cities from 1870 to 2009

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pp. 41-58

This is an investigation of the evolution of Oregon’s system of cities from the era of settlement to the present. We can best understand the changing relationships between Portland and Oregon’s other towns and cities if we set their development side by side, tracing changes in population, economics, and cultural relations in parallel in the different parts of the state. In the ...

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Chapter 4. Town and Country in Oregon: A Conflicted Legacy

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pp. 59-78

The landscapes of the American and Canadian West offer great distances between towns, a lower intensity and volume of human activity than in the East, and, in many places, abandoned farmsteads and town sites. In his bestseller Great Plains, the writer Ian Frazier provides a blunt assessment of that West: “Money and power in this country concentrate elsewhere” (Frazier ...

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Chapter 5. The Declining Economic Interdependence of the Portland Metropolitan Core and Its Periphery

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pp. 79-98

For many decades, rural areas in many parts of the United States, including the Pacific Northwest, have lagged economically behind urban centers. Nonetheless, rural and urban economies haven’t developed separately. In fact, some have suggested that urban economic vitality ought to be viewed as a resource for rural areas, and that rural policy ought to pursue a strat-...

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Chapter 6. Who Pays, Who Benefits?: An Analysis of Taxes and Expenditures in Oregon

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pp. 99-112

The Portland metropolitan area plays a key role in driving Oregon’s economy. Job and population growth in the metropolitan area have reshaped the region, and the state’s economy, in ways that are obvious to most Oregonians. Less obvious and less well understood is the metro area’s role in funding the public services financed and provided by state government. In examining the fiscal ...

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Chapter 7. The Politics of One Oregon: Causes and Consequences of the Rural-Urban Divide and Prospects for Overcoming It

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pp. 113-142

Oregon’s state and local governments face many challenges today that complicate their tasks of sustaining current programs in both rural and urban areas and of finding politically acceptable solutions to the state’s most pressing policy concerns. How public officials respond to these challenges will affect Economic change has long been among the most perplexing of these chal-...

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Chapter 8. Critical Linkages: Strengthening Clusters in Urban and Rural Oregon

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pp. 143-158

People living in the urban and rural parts of our state are linked in a number of ways. First, they are linked through relationships developed through migration. Migration has occurred in both directions: from the rural areas to urban areas for the purposes of education, work, and social interaction, and from urban to rural areas to retire or simply to find an alternative way of life ...

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Chapter 9. Reframing Our Common Cause in an Interdependent World

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pp. 159-166

The reality of interdependence between rural and urban Oregon is not difficult to grasp. Rural Oregonians travel to urban areas to shop and get specialized medical, educational, and legal/financial services, and they commute or move to cities for jobs. Urban Oregonians depend on rural places for food, It is not obvious, however, that there is a strong case for rural and urban ...


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pp. 167-170


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pp. 171-176


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pp. 177-183

E-ISBN-13: 9780870716164
E-ISBN-10: 0870716166
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870715969
Print-ISBN-10: 0870715968

Page Count: 208
Illustrations: Maps, graphs
Publication Year: 2011

OCLC Number: 794698943
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Toward One Oregon

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Rural-urban relations -- Oregon.
  • Urbanization -- Oregon.
  • Oregon -- Economic conditions.
  • Rural development -- Oregon.
  • Cities and towns -- Oregon.
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