How Tom McCall lost, and won, in Oregon

“Tom McCall, more than any leader of his era, shaped the identity of modern Oregon. As governor from 1967 to 1975, McCall, a Republican, pioneered a doctrine of balancing economic growth with environmental protections and took the lead in establishing safeguards for the state’s beaches, rivers, and farmlands by curbing pollution and suburban sprawl. His leadership, defined by bold actions and lyrical speeches, helped transform Oregon from a political backwater to a state renown for progressive ideals.”  … ” [I]n November [1954] he lost a bitter general election race to Democrat Edith Green, a former teacher and union official. McCall blamed himself for allowing right-wing businessmen to manipulate him and his campaign message, and the loss taught him to value political independence. Oregon Encyclopedia

Tom McCall became Oregon’s governor in 1966 winning 55% of the vote. At that time there was a relative even split between Democrats and Republicans in public office. (Democrats held the State Senate while Republicans held the State House)

“As governor, McCall advocated for an ambitious environmental agenda. Soon after assuming office, he appointed himself interim chairman of the Oregon State Sanitary Authority to push for strengthened state-wide water and air pollution regulations. In 1969 the legislature passed a comprehensive program to curb pollution that included the creation of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. In 1971 McCall pushed the “Bottle Bill” through the legislature; the measure was intended to reduce litter by requiring a consumer deposit on beer and soft drink containers. Two years later, in McCall’s second term, the Oregon legislature passed Senate Bill 100. The law created the Land Conservation and Development Commission to oversee and implement Oregon’s land use laws by rejecting or accepting proposed land use plans from around the state.” –  Oregon History Project

The common thread is fiscal responsibility and preservation of quality of life. Clean air, water and beaches. “History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends.” (The Gilded Age: A Tale of To-Day by Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) and Charles Dudley Warner) Or … History never repeats itself but it often rhymes.

Will 2018 rhyme with 1954, or with 1966?

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