Saturday May 27th Floyd McKay will give a presentation on Reporting the Oregon Story. There was a time when it was believed that government could be a force for good, even during periods when many of the polices of government were vehemently opposed. Nowhere was this more apparent than in Oregon. In 1964 Tom McCall was elected Secretary of State and Bob Straub treasurer, they were friends and adversaries in the race for Governor. Note the year, 1964. The period covered in the book is 1964 to 1986; the Vietnam era followed by Watergate. Yet political parties were just that, they could and would pull together to serve the needs of the people who elected them and in Oregon they accomplished some amazing things during that turbulent era. Considering the state of the nation today, it is good to reflect on the accomplishments of these Oregonians dedicated to protecting their state where needed and improving it where possible.
If you enjoy a trip to the beach, your right to walk on the sand was protected by the Beach Bill. By 1960 developers could see the potential profits from owning a “private” beach, with a hotel in Cannon Beach going so far as to fence off their bit of the beach. The Beach Bill put an end to that, they put the beach into the hands of the public, so we can all enjoy a stroll on the beach without running into fences or being prevented access to public land. In Oregon, the beach is for everyone to enjoy. Straub was instrumental in stopping a move to relocate Highway 101 across the beaches to make it straighter. In 1970, politicians again served the people with the Scenic Waterways initiative. Mark Hatfield, a Republican Governor, joined forces with Democratic Senator Wayne Morse in opposition to the Vietnam War. Throughout this era, activists and politicians engaged with the press to keep the people informed. They may not always agree with each other, and sometimes they would have to suffer defeat with grace. But this was an era of accomplishment not hate. Who among us would rather see the Oregon beaches in private hands, the public denied access? Who among us is against cleaning up the Willamette, protecting our water? In order to have a legacy that says something positive, that accomplishes goals that will be applauded through the ages, it is necessary to put aside hatred and work together.
Floyd McKay spent 32 years in journalism, Reporting the Oregon Story first for the Oregon Statesman and then KGW-TV out of Portland. In 1990 McKay left the state and turned to a career in academia. Retired in 2004, this book remembers an era when Oregon led the nation as a state of progressive policies that benefited all Oregonians, not just the few.
Please join us in remembering an important era in Oregon’s history, the value of an independent press, and the power of people working together without hate.
There will be refreshments and door prizes. Sign up to attend the free events by calling 541-593-2525, e-mailing email@example.com or stopping by Sunriver Books & Music.