What's your demonym - for your community, that is? Subject came up at the Salem Statesman Journal, where a write pointed out that few people seemed to know what to call a resident of Salem. Salemite? That seemed to be the closest to a consensus, but it's not commonly used there. It doesn't trip off the mind the way Portlander or Seattleite or even Boisean do. Could have something to do, the article seemed to suggest, with the way people look at the community: Demonyms probably come up more easily when people like to talk about themselves as community residents, and while Salem is a nice community (underrated, I think), there is an in-the-shadow-of feeling there. No, they're not Portland, but then they don't have to be. Our town here, Carlton, is far smaller than either Salem or Portland, but the self-description of Carltonian flows easily.
Posts tagged as “salem”
What was striking, sitting in the Oregon House Sustainability & Economic Development Committee session this afternoon, was the matter of factness around a pretty big idea: Extending a commuter rail line from the Portland metro area to Salem.
There is, of course, sometime to work with already on the northern reach: The tri-county MAX rail system, together with a recently-opened add-on, already runs not just from Hillsboro to Gresham but also south to Wilsonville, a big chunk of the way to Salem. There are also plans, in conjunction with planning for the upgrade to the Columbia River I-5 bridge, to extend commuter rail north through to Vancouver, where it could easily be strung in parallel to the Mill Plain crossway.
So now imagine a connector linking to the south, running through communities large and small (Donald might be a stop, or at least slow-down point) on existing tracks. The significant number of people commuting or running back and forth between Portland and Salem could train it. (Especially if they start loading in wi fi throughout the system.)
It's a big project at a time when big new projects aren't much in fashion. House Bill 2408, which has a substantial bipartisan group of sponsors, doesn't authorize the line, but it does create a task force on it and will wrap up a study on the idea, due out this fall.
Representative Paul Holvey, D-Eugene, said "I'm not famliar with Donald" (well, most people a few miles from it aren't), and said it was a shame the 4th congressional district wasn't included. But he'd support the study anyway.
We know of at least one legislative staffer (and there are doubtless others) who commutes from Eugene to Salem. Give it a little time, and Eugene might make the line yet.
Are these the silliest bills in Salem? Your chance to weigh in.
But how can you not vote for the one, House Bill 3146, described by its own sponsor (Representative Chip Shields, D-Portland) as "a stupid bill." (Go to the link and look at the list; that's where you'll kinda get the point.)
Now: How about Washington and Idaho?
|Tour guide Jason Atkinson at the Supreme Court library|
A video recommend: An Oregon state capitol mall, done in a nicely personal fashion by state Senator Jason Atkinson, R-Central Point, on occasion of the state's 150th birthday. (You can see it on a page of Atkinson's campaign web site, but scroll down the page a bit until you get to "Happy 150th Birthday Oregon! (Historical documentary of the Oregon Legislature)." You'll learn a bit about Oregon and the building, and that's just a part of it.
Atkinson's affection for the Capitol and the mall area runs clear, and he makes for a good tour guide. That's true even though the job of walking around some of the vertical areas was a little tougher in this season than in most previous years, since he's using a cane, aftermath of an accidental gun shooting last year, which he briefly remarks on. At one point he mentions of a climb to the top of the statehouse, "It's 120 stairs, which is easy if you haven't been shot."
He talks a bit too about the refurbishing of the statehouse, still underway, and some cleanup projects he has worked on. Some of that got an impetus, he recalled, when he first came to the legislature and brought his two grandmothers (of opposing political persuasions) to the building. Both quickly pointed out things that were varyingly unkempt, and remarked to him, "We're so proud of you but you are going to get this cleaned up, aren't you?"
Atkinson's enthusiasm bespeaks the worthiness of the goal.
Are there any state governments not being crunched by economic downturn and diminished revenues? If there are, the Northwest's aren't among them - Oregon, Washington and Idaho have that situation in common. Oregon's legislature does have one advantage over the other two: Longer to work. Not until summer hit hot on the Salem pavement will Oregon's lawmakers call it quits. So they have a little more time to ponder, reflect, and consider. This doesn't always improve the lawmaking, but any sense of imminent panic may dissipate by then.
And the concern is running high. Said Representative Bob Jensen, R-Pendleton: “It’s the worst budget prognosis we’ve had since 1930.”
The challenges may be a little different. For the better part of a couple of decades, the governing responsibility in Salem have been split between the parties, at least to some degree; even last term, Republicans held enough seats in the House to block an array of fiscal proposals if they chose. This year, Democrats have full effective control, and also full effective responsibility for whatever happens. A certain giddiness at the prospect of pushing through all sorts of ideas is understandable, but caution will have to be part of the mix too. The voters who make can take as easily.
Some of what they'll be facing may be easy and even popular. Governor Ted Kulongoski has, for example, a number of proposals which would "green" the state and also encourage green business, and some of these may run through quickly. But legislators will need to step carefully. The shape of economic assistance (what about the resource industries? what about home sales?) will have to be hashed out. Kulongoski's proposal for a state mileage tax has taken a lot of heat and probably will go down in flames; if it doesn't, the political fallout will be fierce.
In common with Washington, Oregon has had a big budget runup in the last couple of years, and that may give some indication of where cuts can be found. But only to a point. There's going to be little appetite for cutting back on children's health care, or on the recent increase in state police, finally beginning to approach numbers that suggest adequacy.
There are no simple answers here. (more…)