Oregonians are proud of their state's wealth of beautiful forests and streams, and place great importance on proper use of their environment, yet struggle to balance this with the desire for economic and housing development to support its increasing population. The state has pioneered some of the nation's environmental firsts, such as the Oregon Bottle Bill, but has also suffered under the rapid pace of logging its forests.
Its population in 2000 was 3,421,399, a 20.4% increase over 1990; the 2002 estimate was 3,504,700.
In the 1880s, railroads enabled marketing of the state's lumber and wheat, and the more rapid growth of its cities.
Industrial expansion began in earnest following the construction of the Bonneville Dam in 1943 on the Columbia River. The power, food, and lumber provided by Oregon have helped fuel the development of the west, and the periodic fluctuations in the nation's building industry has severely impacted the state's economy on multiple occasions.
The state has a long history of polarizing conflicts: Native Americans vs. British fur trappers, British vs. settlers from the U.S., ranchers vs. farmers, wealthy growing cities vs. established but poor rural areas, loggers vs. environmentalists, whitesupremacists vs. anti-racists, supporters of social spending vs. anti-tax activists, and native Oregonians vs. Californians (or outsiders in general). State ballots frequently illustrate the extremes of the political spectrum - anti-gay, pro-religious measures on the same ballot as liberal drugdecriminalization measures.
Why Rogers used the name has led to many theories, which include:
George R. Stewart argued in a 1944 article in American Speech that the name came from an engraver's error in a French map published in the early 1700s, naming the Ouisiconsink (Wisconsin River). This theory was endorsed in Oregon Geographic Names as "the most plausible explanation."
In 2001, David G. Lewis published an article in the Oregon Historical Quarterly argued that the name Oregon came from the word oolighan, referring to grease made from fish, which the Native Americans of the region traded in.
In a 2004 article for the Oregon Historical Quarterly, professor Thomas Love and Smithsonianlinguist Ives Goddard argue that Rogers chose the word based on exposure to either of the Algonquian words wauregan and olighin, both meaning "good and beautiful". Olighin was one of the early names for the Ohio River, shown on a 1680s map of the explorations of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. Rogers is likely to have heard the terms because of his frequent encounters with Mohegans in the late 1750s.
Less supported theories are based on it having a Spanish etymology. The theory that it comes from oregano, was dismissed years ago by Henry W. Scott, an early editor of Oregonian. He wrote that it was "a mere conjecture absolutely without support. More than this, it is completely disproved by all that is known of the name." Others have speculated that the name is related to the kingdom of Aragon.
In 1778, Jonathan Carver used Oregon to label the River of the West in his book Travels Through the Interior Parts of North America. The poet William Cullen Bryant took the name from Carver's book and used it in his poem "Thanatopsis" to refer to the recent discoveries of the Lewis and Clark Expedition; this use helped establish it in modern use.
Oregon's governor serves a four-year term. The legislature consists of a thirty member Senate and sixty member House. Senators serve four-year terms, and Representatives two. At the federal level, Oregon is represented by two senators and five representatives, which translates into seven electoral votes.
Oregon adopted many electorial reforms proposed during the Progressive Era, due to the efforts of William S. U'Ren and his Direct Legislation League. Under his leadership, the state overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure in 1902 that created the initiative and referendum processes for citizens to directly introduce or approve proposed laws or amendments to the state constitution. In following years, the primary election to select party candidates was adopted in 1904, and in 1908 the Oregon Constitution was amended to include recall of public officials.
Of the measures placed on the ballot since 1902, the people have passed 99 of the 288 initiatives and 25 of the 61 referenda on the ballot, though not all of them survived challenges in courts (see Pierce v. Society of Sisters, for example). During the same period, the legislature has referred 363 measures to the people, of which 206 have passed.
Her forests have historically made Oregon one of the nation's major timber production or logging states, but forest fires (such as the Tillamook Burn), over-harvesting, and law suits over the proper management of the extensive federal forest holdings have reduced the amount of timber produced. According to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, timber harvested from federal lands dropped some 96% from 1989 (when 4,333 million board feet was harvested) to 173 million board feet in 2001. While the 1980s saw an unsustainable amount of timber harvested, the drop in timber harvested is still significant, as the total amount of timber harvested in 2001 is less than half of that in the late 1970s. Even the shift in recent years towards finished goods such as paper and building materials have not slowed the decline of the timber industry. Examples include the Weyerhaeuser's acquisition of Willamette Industries in January, 2002, the announcement by Louisiana Pacific in September, 2003 that they will relocate their corporate headquarters from Portland to Nashville, and the experiences of small lumber towns like Gilchrist. Despite these changes, Oregon still leads the United States in softwood lumber production: in 2001, according to the Oregon Forest Resources Source | Copyright