The story of small towns in Oregon is one of the people who settled the West, their relationship with the natural resources they found here, and the capacity of the land. It's a story that highlights change initiated with European settlement of the area, the enthusiasm of invention and innovation, a vast palette of awe-inspiring resources, courage and optimism of heart and spirit, and lives carved out of the land. Yet it's also a story of displacement of native peoples, reduction and elimination of native plants and animals, and nonsustainable harvest of natural resources. It's a colorful story, and a complicated one. The Oregon story of small towns is a story about our use of a resource that has changed as we used it, and of the choices that face Oregonians who live in small towns.
Oregonians are known for their connection with the land. Post-European settlement in Oregon has been defined largely by our relationship with the region's abundant natural resources. These resources have provided the base of the state's economy. Yet increasingly, Oregon is being defined by its urban populations, and employment in the resource-based industries that have supported Oregonians since statehood is giving way to service, manufacturing, and professional positions.
Oregonians of all ages - both those who've lived here for generations and those newly arrived - are acknowledging that changes have occurred in the resource base, and are accepting the fact that the face of Oregon as we now know it, the land and the people, has been altered significantly by the use of that resource base.
Our task now is to consider how we use and manage our natural resources in the next century. Our decision will affect Oregon, economically, culturally, and environmentally. This is our challenge and our opportunity, and will form the legacy we leave to future generations.
Educational Objectives>>>