The Oregon Trail tested all who came, demanding strength and determination. These families set the character of the native Oregonian with a constitution forged in the cauldron of this epic migration. We savor the rugged outdoors because of our connection to this land that was attained at great sacrifice. Oregon carries on this tradition as a state of mind, for those willing to make the journey to live the good life.
Oregon’s legacies are wonders bold and ambitious, carved from the majestic landscape like a bridge of the gods, framed in a golden afternoon that could be had for the asking. Images of rural life passing by the car window portrayed the dignity and idealism of our independence. There was an unspoken pride shown in the uncluttered roadsides and forest camps where only tracks remained of those before. Solitary trails beckoned towards a vision quest of freedom, to bask in alpenglow upon windswept heights, viewing the misty valleys and twinkling lights of logging towns slowly merging with the night sky. From the beaches to the mountain lakes, generations of Oregonians coal dreamed philosophy around the campfire. These were places held pristine by the honor system. We had everything we needed, and those with a bad attitude could go elsewhere. Against the silhouette of Cascade volcanic peaks, cast in starlight, and woven into the murmur of tumbling whitewater, the spirit of the Oregon country mingles with fragrant campfire smoke and spins into the night.
Governors Tom McCall and Oswald West contributed to the Oregon mystique. West mandated that our beaches were public highways, and in doing so, our coastline remains pleasingly natural and accessible. These people saw Oregon's destiny and shaped it to preserve the intrinsic character of the state and its people. The new Oregon should remember the Oregon of old, as the courageous pioneers who ignored the gold rush for things of greater value.