Welcome to Oregon

Posted: Jan 10, 2007 3:50 PM

For those of you who haven’t had an opportunity to live in Oregon, you are about to get the “virtual” experience.

Oregon is indeed a picturesque state with wondrous mountain views, glorious Pacific beaches, and beautiful high desert plains. It is inviting in dozens of ways, which is why its population continues to grow. And while in geographical measures, the conservatives cover more ground in the state, the population is overwhelming liberal. And, not unlike other population centers, it has become a Mecca for liberals on Hajj, granola eating Birkenstockers looking for lost brethren, and pandering foil wearing politicos looking for tenure in their careers as professional solons.

With Oregon as the pitre dish, Portland becomes the colony of study. It is the unabashed epicenter of the liberal vortex in the Pacific Northwest, and it fuels itself everyday with massive doses of mineral water, organic tofu, and designer coffees in its effort to wrest the title of liberal Shangri-la away from Berkley, California. It may soon happen.

I don’t doubt the sincerity of liberal thought for a second. I often get into lively debates with pseudo-liberal savants at parties, and there is no doubting the passion of their compassion. Compassion is what drives liberal thought. Unfortunately it drives logic out past the nadir of practicality, and this is typically drives liberal politicians to positions that, while compassionate, don’t work well with the stark realities of everyday mathematics. Sometimes, most times, liberal wishfulness, good intentions, and Birkram yoga, don’t meld into practical solutions. Indeed, as President Johnson and his “Great Society” have discovered, sometimes they fail miserably in the doggedly pragmatic, real world.

Portland is no exception. And I am not the only one standing by to point this out.

Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, a company headquartered in the greater Portland area has noticed as well. In an on-point opinion piece, I am frankly surprised that the Oregonian printed, he points out all of the deficiencies of ineptly supported compassionate governmental programs. All visible without a microscope.

He laments about our education system…

“Three weeks ago, I was talking with a talented potential employee about joining our company, Columbia Sportswear. After going through rounds of interviews, the man began focusing on the potential for his children in Oregon. In particular, he and his wife believed that our public school system had been heading in the wrong direction and would have a negative impact on their son. This wasn't someone relying on distant news stories and Doonesbury cartoons; he used to live in Oregon and had once considered it a wonderful place to raise a family. No more, from his perspective, and he's decided not to move back.”

Because he is in business he understands that defining problems and solving problems is the true path to success. Flooding money into broken processes does not solve problems…even though this is the left’s modus operandi, especially when it comes to “solving” problems in our schools.

He continues on about our feckless and overly scrutinized approach to law enforcement…

“Within days of those conversations, Columbia Sportswear hosted a group of employees from our office in India. That country's economy is becoming one of the world's major powerhouses, and the exchange of talent between Oregon and India has been and can continue to be a major benefit to both locations. Unfortunately, our Indian employees will take home a dim view of Portland after they were robbed at gunpoint downtown.”


“At the same time our Indian colleagues were about to report their armed robbery, The Oregonian was publishing stories about the unopened Wapato Jail and about mismanagement of other jail facilities in the region.”

And he swings for the fence when he correctly points out the chasm between good intentions and results…

“More important, what makes these recent experiences so disconcerting is the disconnect between what is happening on the street and so many of our public policy debates.”

And he scores a knockout with…

“The political community can chase the latest fads and headlines, or it can responsibly craft and manage budgets to deliver critical needs, and in so doing it can demonstrate that the corporate kicker can be put to better use in the hands of government than in the hands of the private sector.”

For those still on the “virtual” tour, Oregon’s Constitution (voter referendum supported) requires that all funds collected in excess of two percent above the budget projections (the “kicker” he refers to), MUST be returned to the taxpayers and corporations of Oregon. Giving money back in boom times runs counter to the main themes of liberal thought, but it keeps budgets from ballooning out of control when the state hits bust times…ala California’s $35 billion deficit that got the Terminator elected.

Tim Boyle is doing a simple thing; he is challenging the State of Oregon and its municipalities to govern responsibly, which means getting results, not just pandering to the flavor-of-the-month lefty cause. This does not require the vegetable munchers to lose their passion; it just requires them to translate that passion from the esoteric realm of the ideal, through the very pragmatic realities of demanded of everyday life, and into results. A concept not always captured while chasing organically grown butterflies, or hunting for naturally diverse ocean kelp.

Welcome to Oregon.