Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Oregon Historical Society

Exploring Portland

When we finally decided to move to Oregon permanently, we called our little condo on the Columbia River a pied a terre.  PDX is only an hour's drive away and we envisioned flying out of there on a regular basis.  At least that was the initial plan.  But as our one year anniversary approaches, I realize we have canceled three (three!) trips abroad--mainly because there's so much to do and see right here.
 As I walked through the Oregon Historical Society's museum last Saturday, it dawned on me how enamored I was of this beautiful state.  Much like the pioneers who traveled here via the Oregon Trail, this Kansan found her way here, too.

The diversity is amazing.  Oregon has mountains, fertile valleys, deep canyons, the ocean and deserts.  Granted, California did, too, but the exploding population, high prices and the lingering drought drove me out.  Oregon is affordable.  Quiet.  Green.  Liberal.  I have adopted it as my own.

This is a very well-thought out museum.  The exhibits follow a time-line from the Native Americans who lived here long before the Europeans first set foot on its soil, to the fur trading industry, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Oregon Trail and westward migration, the Indian Wars, and finally statehood.  There are interesting videos throughout, giving you an opportunity to stop and rest.

But I confess, what interested me the most was the exhibit on current day politics.  Oregon is a very progressive, liberal state.  It was the first state to make assisted-suicide legal; and after witnessing the long, painful death of my father, I am wholeheartedly in favor of this very humane law.

It was also the very first state to expand Medicaid coverage to all Oregon citizens below poverty level and to all citizens denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.  This was in 1989, long before Obamacare.  It made me sigh with relief.  No matter what happens in Washington D.C., Oregon will take care of its people!
The museum had a very fun interactive display, using a juke box for the visitor to punch.  There were ten controversial topics which the state legislature tackled and subsequently voted on.  It was clear to me that the People come first in this state.

Love this Quotation!

Portraits of Lewis and Clark

Besides the permanent exhibits, there are special traveling ones and I had the luck to be there on the first day that "High Hopes--The Journey of John F. Kennedy" opened.  No photographs were allowed, so I couldn't take a picture of Jackie's tweed suit or JFK's rocking chair.  But by the time I finished I confess I was silently weeping a bit.  In office only three years before he was assassinated, he had showed great leadership in his averting a Cuban missile crisis.  He wanted to ease relationships with Russia, he wanted to end racial segregation and he proposed that the federal government provide health care to the poor and to the elderly.  These proposals eventually became the law of the land, but not under his administration.  He was gunned down way too soon; way too young.

Much of the exhibit was devoted to Kennedy and his relationship with fellow democrats in Oregon.  He had many friends here.

I left this museum with a sense of pride--that I was now a resident and citizen of this great state.  Nope.  Won't be flying on an airbus to Europe or South America any time soon.  I'll be staying right here.

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