Oregon: A State That Stands Out is the first book to look at Oregon from the national standpoint, assessing how the state stacks up by national standards. So far, other writers have only asked what is best in the state-a much less demanding question. Despite its modest population, Oregon not only looks very good by national standards (e.g., often being in the top ten)-sometimes it is even first. And it has been notable from the outset. For instance, the first English-speaking settlement in the West was here. Settlers in Oregon set up the first acting government of Americans in the West (1843). The federal government built its first western offices in Oregon. Clipper ships built in Oregon (1874) set national speed records. And Oregon has an outstanding natural endowment. It has the nation's deepest lake and its deepest canyon. It has the most waterfalls, the most abundant and varied forests, and the longest coastal sand dunes. Twice Oregon has inspired reforms that have swept the nation. In the Progressive era, its political reforms (e.g., the initiative, the referendum, the recall, and others) made such a deep impact on the US that they became known as "the Oregon System." And in the 1960s, the state helped trigger the environmental movement by pioneering many environmental reforms. Today, some businesses have their largest worldwide plants in Oregon. For instance, it hosts one of the world's largest arrays of plants producing computer chips, and the biggest producers of sports shoes. It also hosts the largest collection of craft beer manufacturers, as well as restaurants that draw national acclaim. Some of its cultural institutions are highly ranked: the Ashland Shakespeare Festival, for instance, and Oregon Public Television, which has the most impact of any such institution in the country. These are just a few of the long and fascinating list of similar claims made in this book. It should make all who live here proud to be Oregonians.
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