"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

Wash

In partisan terms, you can call the latest Oregon legislative announcements as more or less a wash.

The least surprising was Senator Rick Metsger’s statement that he won’t run for governor, but would seek to stay in the Senate. Metsger would have been a long-shot, especially with his late announcement of interest and the pleentitude of other possible Democratic contenders. Democratic strategists concerned about maintaining control of the Senate probably felt a bit better, since Metsger would be in good shape for re-election. He won last time with 54% in a rural district consisting mostly of Clackamas, but also Democratic-trending Hood River County.

Mark HassOn the other hand, what may be protended if Willamette Week is correct and Representative Mark Hass opts out?

Hass, considered a Democratic moderate, represents a small slice of Multnomah County but mainly Washington County, near Beaverton – an area of considerable civic turnoil right now. The area has been trending Democratic, even strongly Democratic (Hass landslid in 2004 with about 65% and was unopposed for re-election in 2002).

But it is in turnoil, and transition in the legislative ranks – and an open seat in the middle of it all – logically would suggest opportunity to Republicans. And remember: Washington County is, right now, the pivot of Oregon politics.

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