We Depend on Rural Oregon

By Karla Kay Edwards

Oregon’s rural economies are based on renewable natural resources susceptible to economic volatility. They are also reliant upon the political will of the urban populations they serve. Unfortunately, there is often a disconnect between people’s emotional response to a natural resource policy question and the impacts those policy decisions will have on both rural communities and urban consumers.

Plants and seeds for home gardens, fresh milk at the dinner table, and the home that shelters a family from the rain are just some of the products provided to urban residents by rural Oregon. But when a policy discussion arises about mandating special wastewater treatment facilities for dairies, or if harvest should be allowed on bug-infested, fire-prone forests, the multitude of social, economic and environmental impacts to the communities that provide these products seem to be overlooked by urban consumers.

Urban Oregonians are often emotional and idealistic about nature and how rural communities should look and function. However, our society needs to recognize the importance of having renewable resources readily available. Yes, natural resource products can and will be provided by others if Oregon’s rural communities aren’t allowed to be competitive in the marketplace. But that isn’t the wise decision for consumers, rural communities or the natural environment in Oregon.


Karla Kay Edwards is Rural Policy Analyst at Cascade Policy Institute. She has held positions of leadership in numerous organizations focusing on agricultural and rural industries and issues, including the Fresno (California) Farm Bureau, Washington Cattlemen’s Association, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 6 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Joe

    The urban legislators are clueless.
    Always have been.

  • Andrew Plambeck

    It’s a sad disconnect in Oregon that didn’t used to exist. I think it’s come from a series of bitter campaigns that have sought to divide the state along party and geographic lines.

    But this doesn’t have to be the case. You’re right that urban folks depend on rural folks, but the opposite is true as well. So in that line of thinking, we look to leaders like Peter DeFazio, who can successfully bridge any manufactured divide that once existed.

    As we move forward, our timber and agriculture sectors are in ruin. Our cities have rampant unemployment as companies like Hynix move out of the country and other businesses in our largest cities lay off staff as a result of economic conditions.

    It’s time we start laying framework for real policy changes, not slight alterations, to create a new Oregon economy that does not divide Portlanders from Helvetians.

  • Mike

    Are you all at CPI opposed to government handouts?

  • Naught For You

    Much of this urban-rural divide has been caused by the ECO-NAZI movements and their sheeple supporters. Unfortunately, to most of these people, economic realities are not a priority in any way, shape or form. The sooner people wake up and realize folks like the Sierra Club, Oregon Environmental Council, Wild Trout. 1000 Friends, METRO and many more NEVER consider economic factors the sooner these groups can be “outed” as hostile to the average citizen’s economic health and the state economy.

  • Anonymous

    Oregon is and has been at the mercy of left wing nit wits for years.
    Revenge of the nitwits.

    Carla, Kari, Novick, and most of their electeds are bafoons in a left wing parade.
    Pretending to be be intelligent and caring while actually ignorant and foolfish they misperceive and misrepresent everything.

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