Take Me Back to 1948

Chuck Sheketoff

Take me back to 1948. That’s the year Oregon voters narrowly – by only 1,875 votes of the 420,509 votes cast or less than three-tenths of one percent – approved the state bonding authority to reforest the Tillamook Burn.

Take me back to 1948, when those who now claim “it doesn’t add up” lost at the ballot box to those who now say “let’s create a better tomorrow, today.”

Take me back to 1948. Then, unlike now, there was no clear, assumed, or contrived urban-rural, east-west, Willamette Valley v. rest of state, divide. Fifteen counties in 1948 supported the Tillamook reforestation bond measure (Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Coos, Crook, Deschutes, Hood River, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Washington), while 21 counties opposed it (Baker, Columbia, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Josephine, Lake, Linn, Malheur, Marion, Morrow, Tillamook, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, Wheeler, Yamhill). The 2,265-vote margin in favor in Multnomah County helped carry the day. Did the opponents of the bond measure in 1948 complain that Multnomah County voters were wrongly dictating Tillamook forest policy? Without Multnomah County voters’ support there would have been no reforestation. Hopefully the voters (and their descedents) in Tillamook and the 20 other counties who wrongly opposed the reforestation bond measure “reserved the right to be wiser tomorrow” and will vote yes on Measure 34 today.

Take me back to 1948, when the shortsightedness of the voters in timber and natural resource-based counties such as Tillamook, Douglas, Josephine, and Wallowa were overridden by the foresight of voters in the Tri-County region and elsewhere who cast pro-government votes and understood that spending the money on reforestation was good for Oregon, would be respected by future generations.

Take me back to 1948, when Dick Armey, Jack Kemp, Grover Norquist, Don McIntire, Bill Sizemore, Kevin Mannix, Dick Wendt, Randall Pozdena, Bill Conerly, Tom Cox and others who today denigrate the positive role that government plays in our lives each day thankfully were not poisoning the minds of Oregon voters with their anti-government rhetoric. The Legislature referred a measure to the voters that recognized that government could solve a problem and could create a forest that would become one of Oregon’s finest gems. And like most government programs, it worked.53view_1

I wish that today I could be more confident that Oregon voters will be thinking about the future and future generations and will support Measure 34 and reject the toxic campaign ads that urge shortsightedness and question the vision and balance in Measure 34.

Hopefully, we will have a 1948-moment come November 2nd with the vision and progressive ideals set forth in Measure 34 winning over the stubborn, more-of-the-same-minded, opponents.

  • Ellen C. Lowe (unverified)

    I choose to think of the Tillamook Forest as a partner to the Oregon Coast in being our Oregon Commons. It has been entrusted to us as a public to manage well. We need to honor that public trust which was placed with us in 1948. Measure 34 affords us the opportunity.

  • Jesse (unverified)

    It was yesterday when I decided to switch my vote from No to Yes on 34. This goes against the judgment of many folk who call the measure, well, imperfect.

    Too bad. We haven't seen a perfect measure by initiative in a good long while. One could say ever.

    This measure will be as contested as the current forest management plan. No side will ever settle, and who knows if they should. By my vote I hope to say, well, dammit, forests are important to me--their preservation is important to me, their contribution to cleaner air, cleaner water, recreation, and quality of life are important to me. More important--in the long run--than lost timber jobs, and shifted education financing.

    When we truly commit to education finance reform, tax reform, and all the other reforms desperately needed we will solve some issues this measure presents.

    For now, I say, hear this: Yes on 34.

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