Tag Archive: Tom McCall


 “San Francisco has many charms, but it is not particularly salubrious. People regularly encountering used drug needles, human excrement and sidewalks full of homeless people when they arrive home late at night at their $4,000-a-month one-bedroom flat in San Francisco sometimes think they might just prefer it elsewhere.” The Economist cover story, “Peak Valley, Why startups are going elsewhere.”  

A median-priced home in the SF Bay Area, including the Silicon Valley, costs $940,000. Where can one find this mid-range beauty?

Scenic Milpitas? Bucolic Sunnyvale? Hip Hayward? Utopia in Union City?

HUD considers a family income of $120,000 in San Francisco to be “low income.” Six figures is “low income”?

The traffic in the Bay Area, let alone Los Angeles, is beyond mind-numbing.

If you like taxes, California is your redistribution nirvana: Income, sales, corporate, property, gas, tobacco, liquor, special assessments, fees, surtaxes, bridge tolls … If it tastes good, it’s taxed.

The Bay Area Council quantitatively revealed that 46 percent of regional respondents want to move elsewhere compared to one-in-three just two years ago.

And where do many consider moving? Portland, Eugene, Bend, Lake Oswego, Ashland … all in Oregon.

The desire of Californians to adopt and embrace Oregon’s superior quality of life at saner prices (e.g., zero sales tax) is not new. What is notable is the disappearance of the term, “Californicators” from the vocabulary of Oregonians.

Are Californicators going extinct?

What happened to this threatened species, which at one time was feared and loathed by Oregonians?

Driving Housing Prices; Compounding Traffic; Polluting Campgrounds

“I urge them to come and come many, many times to enjoy the beauty of Oregon. But I also ask them, for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” – Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall

When the author of Almost DailyBrett first moved to Portland, Oregon in 1990, it was a good idea to remove the California plates from a vehicle as quickly (e.g., two nanoseconds) as possible.

As a former “Californicator,” your author was immediately responsible for all the sins that ailed Oregon. The state’s timber industry was heading in the wrong direction and the national recession hit Oregon hard.

Let’s face it, Oregonians exhibited a pronounced inferiority complex vis-à-vis California with its glorious weather, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Hollywood entertainers and yummy wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties.

What Oregonians didn’t seem to appreciate was that times were-a-changing. California was becoming more image than reality. The estimated 9 million more souls (about the size of Michigan), who were projected to move to the Golden State by 2010, actually established residence … and then some.

Californians started commuting longer distances as traffic intensified and as taxes and tempers rose. California is more than Los Gatos, Los Altos, San Francisco, Tiburon, Malibu and La Jolla. The state is also home to hopelessness in Central Valley foreclosure communities including Stockton, Modesto, Fresno, and Bakersfield.

California used to be divided by north (e.g., San Francisco) vs. south (LaLaLand). Today, it is west (e.g., Palo Alto) vs. east (e.g., Visalia).

Doesn’t It Rain in Oregon?

Sure does and Oregonian loved exploiting the rain, dampness and gloom for their own purposes.

And then all the inferiority stopped cold, replaced by a smugness, even a sense that Oregon is superior to California.

Portland as evidenced by Portlandia became the place in which the Dream of the 90s survived.

JASON: “Remember when people were content to be unambitious? Sleep to eleven? Just hangout with their friends? You’d have no occupations whatsoever. Maybe you work a couple of hours a week at a coffee shop?”

MELANIE: “Right. I thought that died out a long time ago.”

JASON: “Not in Portland. Portland is a city where young people go to retire.”

Oregon became synonymous with the Nike Swoosh. The Ducks played twice for the national title, and won their last two Rose Bowls with Marcus Mariota accepting the Heisman Trophy.

Oregon’s Willamette Valley quickly became recognized as the home of some of the best Pinot Gris’ and Pinot Noirs in the world.

The state’s microbrews are literally second to none including: Widmer Hefeweizen (Portland), Deschutes Mirror Bond Pale Ale (Bend), Ninkasi Total Domination IPA (Eugene), Full Sail Amber Ale (Hood River).

The state diversified away from timber to become a leader in high technology, cancer research, and a whole host of service oriented businesses.

The departure of the figurative Californicators from the local nomenclature is both a reflection of the decline of California, but more importantly the growing coolness of Oregon.

https://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/former-governor-tom-mccall-message-visitors/

https://www.economist.com/briefing/2018/09/01/silicon-valley-is-changing-and-its-lead-over-other-tech-hubs-narrowing

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/07/29/the-death-of-californication/

https://genius.com/Carrie-brownstein-and-fred-armisen-dream-of-the-90s-lyrics

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population

 

 

 

 

State of Excitement

“We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” – Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975).

mccall

The sun is out. The rain is falling. The steam is rising off the concrete.

It’s just another sunny, rainy, steamy day in the State of Excitement.

Even though McCall and yours truly both earned journalism degrees from the University of Oregon and affiliate with the right side of the aisle, I suspect the dearly departed governor would be unhappy with me.

I moved from California to Oregon.

Yes, I am personally responsible for rising housing costs, freeway congestion and polluted campgrounds…even though I don’t camp. If you don’t believe me, just ask some of the Oregonians who don’t even know me.

Truth be known, I have lived in Oregon (second time) since 2010 and this time around I have not once heard any rhetoric about being a dirty rotten “Californicator.” There is a good reason for this absence of vitriol; the vast majority of Californians – despite the well documented problems in the Golden State – don’t want to move to Oregon.

It all boils down to what the Realtors call: Tradeoffs. Does a Californian want to trade a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate for a lousy temperate weather pattern, but in most instances a better quality of life?

When is it most difficult to live in Oregon? January and February, when the days are short and the weather is damp, cold and wet? Or May and June, when the days are long and the weather is damp, cool and wet?

oregonrain

In Oregon, you expect January and February to be crummy and Mother Nature obliges. In May and June, you are looking forward to summer. Will summer ever come?

California became a state in 1849 largely as a result of the discovery of gold and the Iron Horse. Oregon became a state 10 years later. Long before, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark trudged more than 4,100 miles to discover a soggy spot (Seaside) in a wet place (Oregon).

Periodically, I am asked if I would ever go back to California. Anything is possible, but not probable. Why? Living in Eugene, Oregon is easy. Keep in mind, I have not shed my Type A personality. I will never subscribe to Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera.

What I have no desire to do again is the East Bay’s Sunol Grade or the San Mateo Bridge and paying $6 for the privilege. The prospect of 45 minutes one-way on a GOOD day or about two hours or more of my time each working day is just not worth it. Life is simply too short to spend more than half-a-day out of each week behind a steering wheel. Oregon gives these hours back to me, every day.

That’s huge.

The other stunning factor of California reality are the real estate prices…$3,500 per month (or more) in mortgage payments or rent and another $1,000 a month for property taxes, let alone utilities…to live in an underwater negative equity McMansion, which serves as the base for your next mind-numbing commute. That’s a price that I do not want to contemplate, let alone pay.

My South Eugene tree house is valued just north of $300,000 and I own it outright. If you magically transported and dropped my house in Silicon Valley, it would be worth about $1.3 million. Maybe, some Silicon Valley stock-option millionaire could bail me out of my mortgage prison and set me free…or maybe not.

I have been there; done that.

Shhh!!! There are days in Oregon when the sun shines, the air is warm and skies are blue. When these days arrive…and they do…Oregonians (yes, I am proudly one of them) head out on the trails, barbecue on our decks, sit under Douglas fir trees…and marvel at the wonders of life.

We have seasons, real seasons. In LA, it was overcast in the morning, hazy sunshine in the afternoon, highs in the 80s or 90s; lows in the 50s and 60s day-in, day-out for months on end. I refused to breathe any air that I couldn’t see.

Give me the deer grazing under the deck of my house. Give me the leaves falling in football season and the Autzen Stadium tailgate party. Give me the longer days of spring and everything blooming. Winter is a drag, but with very little (if any) snow.

There are tradeoffs between Oregon and California. Yogi Berra said that when you come to a fork in the road, “take it.”

I have done just that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_McCall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Que_Sera,_Sera_%28Whatever_Will_Be,_Will_Be%29

%d bloggers like this: