Oregon Vs Portland

Beating up on “Portland” is a regular sport for some rural Oregon politicians. You get the people riled up how the big bully on the Willamette keeps neglecting those of us in the rest of the state. You tell them someone else is to blame for their troubles and capture their votes.

This might help win elections. But it does absolutely nothing to help govern effectively or to get things done for the people you serve.

Here’s a reality we all have to deal with: four million people live in this place we call home. Two million of them are in the greater Portland area. Rural Oregon has many real grievances about how the metro area has treated us through the years. But the way to change that isn’t to stamp our feet, point fingers, kick sand on the bully’s shoes and walk away from the table.

The way to change this situation is to find ways to work together. When we all cooperate, we can accomplish good things. Let me talk about two issues dear to my heart: improving services to Oregon veterans and dealing with our affordable housing crisis. I’ve worked in tandem with county commissioners from every part of this state who share these goals. We sit down together to develop a united strategy to address those issues, and yes, “Portland” is at the table, and yes, that’s absolutely necessary to get things done.

It’s also been the formula for making headway on other challenges, like coming up with a package to start catching up with decades of unmet needs on our road system. It was wonderful to hear farmers from eastern Oregon testify in support of road improvements in the metro area---because the bottlenecks there make it more costly for them to deliver their products to their markets.

As Benjamin Franklin said during the American Revolution, we must hang together or assuredly we will hang separately.

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