James G. Blaine represented the state of Maine in the House of Representatives – where he served as Speaker – and the Senate. He later became Secretary of State and ran for President in 1884, losing narrowly to Grover Cleveland. In that campaign, Blaine visited every state except one, Oregon.
Eighty years later, Oregon author and journalist Stewart Holbrook, with tongue in cheek, founded the James G. Blaine Society. Concerned about environmental issues and population growth, Holbrook took Blaine as namesake of his non-organization. He felt that Blaine, having never set foot in Oregon, should serve as a model to others.
Tom McCall, Oregon’s governor from 1967 to 1975, earned notoriety when extolling the state’s natural beauty, he urged people to come visit, but added, “For heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.”
Since that time, Oregonians have blamed the influx of Californians for everything from escalating home prices to crowded freeways. (Oregon universities encourage Californians to come. In this age of diminishing financial support for higher education, Oregon universities like out-of-state tuition.)
California has begun doing its part to help. An article in my former hometown newspaper reports that for various reasons, the area is suffering a shortage of workers. In fact, it’s so bad that “Jackson Family Wines just offered a job to an Oregonian because it couldn’t find anyone in California with the skills to program the computers that control high-speed bottling lines.”