Essay from Doug Hawley


Oregonian Special Californication Issue February 10, 2045


Over the last few years, the trickle of people moving north into the greater northwest has gone from a trickle to a torrent.  The population table tells the story:


State/Province                        Population (000 omitted)

                       2010 census  2044 estimated              2055 projected

California            37,253            44,367                       42,500

Washington            6,721            11,839                      14,675

Oregon                   3,831              9,845                      11,438

Idaho                      1,567              4,382                        6,891

Montana                    989               2,010                       4,236

British Columbia    4,221             10,546                     10,856


U.S. Census demographer Hal Lelen was blunt in analyzing the numbers.  His interview with the Oregonian has been edited for length and clarity:


Oregonian:  Give us a short version of what’s happening.

Lelen:  People don’t want to live in California anymore.


Oregonian:  That was definitely short.  Could you expand on that?

Lelen:  Well, you got the climate and the water situation.  The lack of rain and snowfall, except for the occasional monsoon, has caused the state agriculture to plummet, and for people to rely on very expensive desalinated water.  Then you have the hot spells that regularly kill thousands of the very young and very old.

Oregonian:  What has been the effect on the economy?

Lelen:  Devastating.  Agriculture is down 45% from the peak.  Since tech companies can pretty much go where they want, they’ve been leaving in droves.


Oregonian:  How has that affected the population mix there?

Lelen:  The short version is that white people with money have moved out and everybody else is stuck.  California is now 80% “minority”.  Some of those that have moved out have been blunt about wanting to live with their own kind, whether own kind means race, ethnicity or class is a matter of debate.  Whatever the reason, the exodus of the well-to-do has caused a vicious cycle of higher taxes on the rich, which accelerates their leaving.


Oregonian:  Was there a tipping point when the California success story changed?

Lelen:  There were two related event.  The estimated population briefly broke 50,000,000 before beginning to decline, and commuters broke four hours in their cars in Los Angeles and the Bay Area in April of 2036.  Even though nothing had changed much from the previous month, it triggered the idea that it was just too much.


Governor Neil Hamilton is the first Oregon Republican governor since Victor Atiyeh left office in 1987.  Former Governor Tom McCall is remembered for wanting people to visit, but not to stay.  Hamilton says “Better yet, don’t come at all.”  He was elected on a solidly anti-Californian platform.  So far all of his attempts to prevent immigration have been thwarted by the Oregon Supreme Court.  The court wasted no time in declaring that employment discrimination based on previous residence was illegal, but Hamilton keeps trying to find a way to “keep those damned Californians” out.


Governor Hamilton told us “We’ve got too many of our own out of work.  We’ve got water shortages.  The Portland metro area has passed five million people, and our treasured Oregon lifestyle is being ruined by the minute.  How could anybody want more Californians here, or anyone else for that matter, doing all that damage as well as pricing the locals out of their homes?”


As far back as the 1960s some Oregonians railed or even acted against “Californication”.  Today the movement is very popular and active.  Cars with California plates are frequently vandalized.  Jason Atkins was the leader of Oregon for Oregonians, or OFO, until it was discovered that he was born in San Diego.  Current leader, Duke Hanley, has presented his birth certificate from Good Samuel hospital in Portland to anyone who asked.  His take “We don’t condone violence against Californians.  Sure some cars have been shot up, but I don’t think any of our people have done it.  We do favor not socializing with or hiring any Californians, but that is legal isn’t it?”  Hanley does not seem to follow court decisions.


When we interviewed recent arrivals from California, none wanted their names used for obvious reasons.  We heard things like “Why do those people hate us?”  “We love it here and just want to fit in.”  “I can’t get any good French food here.”  “I didn’t expect so many people of color.”  “How soon can I get Oregon plates?”


We did a quick overview of the other states in the Northwest to get their reaction to the northern population growth.  Washington has benefited from all of the tech firms that have relocated there, but it has had some of the same problems as Oregon, and despite building more mass transit, Seattle traffic is as bad as anywhere in California at its peak.  Idaho worries about the number of people who have come explicitly to escape non-whites.  Montana is mostly happy about the boon to the economy that came with the Californians and still is not too crowded.


British Columbia is a special case.  For many years BC welcomed rich immigrants with money to invest.  As the climate warmed, the northern parts of the province became more habitable, and agriculture moved north as well.  Only in the last few years have people started to be concerned about overpopulation.


The California emigration has been largely to the Northwest.  Californians were used to visiting and were comfortable with the mountains, beaches and deserts here.  The South has the many of the same problems as California and Californians don’t want to live in the Midwest and East where people have been moving out for years.


Our next issue will cover the Californian effect on the Oregon economy.


                                        Orefornia / Caligon


Oregonian Special Californication Issue Feb 11, 2045


Continuing our series on “Californication”, we look at one of the perceived grievances of Oregon natives about the California immigration.


Native Oregonians may hate them, but has the Californian wave hurt the Oregon economy?  If we just look at the economy, and ignore the downside of crowding, the answer is probably no.  Californians have brought a lot of money with them, new businesses, and support for education.  Because our new citizens insisted, we now teach Spanish in all of our elementary schools.  That by itself has been a big aid in expanding the state’s business with Latin America.


Let’s look at the economy region by region and see if Californians have helped.


In Portland metro, the influx from California and elsewhere has been a tremendous boon to the building industries.  Just about any able bodied person can get a job at good wages.  Construction has mostly been in multistory apartments for the growing population and office buildings for the various startups and home offices previously located in California and elsewhere.  The businesses that don’t officially move their headquarters to the Portland area, like Apple and Microsoft, now have most of their executives there.  Intel moved its headquarters to Washington County, The Silicon Forest, years ago.  If a business does not need a specific location, Portland is the place to go.  The price conscious or the income tax escapees go the sales tax side of the river, the Vancouver Washington area which now holds more than a million people.  Rich executives make sure that the local schools are well funded and that there are plenty of gourmet restaurants and luxury stores.


Coastal Oregon is another story.  New residential building in the tsunami zone has been brought to a near halt with the requirements of new houses to be “tsunami proof”.  Some people and businesses have moved a little inland along the major coastal rivers, Tillamook, Siletz, Umpqua and Rogue, but the difficulty and cost of building on unstable, uneven land has mostly kept people out.  A few rich out-of- staters have built mansions along some of the rivers for the fishing and some of those houses have been build on pillars, but riverside building is undesirable for most.  Tourist business, fishing and forestry dominate the economy, much as they have for the last hundred years.  A new smaller player is the offshore energy sector.  In the last ten years it has grown to be a major source of energy in the state, joining hydroelectric and more than replacing coal and gas.  While employing few now that the turbines and windmills have been built, it produces a lot of value.


The Columbia River / I84region is success story.  It is still has a relatively low population, but after years of stagnation, the population has doubled with two new major industries.  Going back as far as 2010, drones were manufactured on both sides of the Columbia.  The Columbia River region from Hood River to Hermiston has stayed in front as drones have become sophisticated and ubiquitous.  Drone makers now employ 5,000 in the region.  The other new driver is electric cars.  This seeming oddity originated with a couple of sources.  Oregon has a long history of metal fabrication, which made car parts production an easy step.  The other source is the lone genius, Orville Jones, who tinkered with batteries in his Hood River garage until he was able to produce one better than any other manufacturer.  In the old days, he probably would have gone full scale somewhere else, or outsourced to Asia, but he wanted to keep his manufacturing in Oregon.  Pears, apples and watermelons still produce the same economic value that they did in the past, their ranking has fallen.


California can’t get much credit for the new industries along the Columbia except for some savvy investing in the new industries, but they were behind the building of many of the second and retirement homes close to the Columbia.  Another boon to the area was not due to either locals or out-of-staters.  With higher temperatures from global warming I84 is rarely closed due to ice and snow as it was in the past.


The Willamette Valley south of Portland has not changed as much as some of the regions.  Agriculture remains the number one economic driver.  It has gained some startups and established Portland business because of the crowding and traffic in Portland.  As with the rest of Oregon, it has gained its share of Californians and their businesses.


The Central Oregon area has gotten a jolt from the Californian immigration.  Bend, Redmond and Madras have all doubled in population since 2010, and Bend is now second in Oregon only to Portland.  Rich Californians have either located here or have second homes, mostly for the access to wide open spaces and the recreation.  Besides construction, central Oregon has become a center for the design and manufacture of expensive recreation wear.  Some of the success of Central Oregon’s rise has been the decline of Asian imports.


Southeast Oregon or, as it is sometimes known, the Great Outback has been little affected by California or anything else for a number of years.  Because of its low value land and little water it is mostly devoted to sagebrush and cattle grazing.  Here and there are Californian enclaves for the poorer immigrants, and because of cheap labor and land, there is some manufacturing in support of the industry along the Columbia.


Southern Oregon has been colonized by California for a long time, and the process continues.  Most of those who move here are the rich retired, so the major effect is on the service segment – stores, motels, gas stations and so on.  Californian’s taste for Southern Oregon marijuana and the US legalization in 2020 contributed to it being the biggest source of income for the region.  With the movement of some film stars from the frantic Hollywood scene, which started even before Bruce Campbell moved to the region, several motion pictures and three television series are currently being shot here.  It is no British Columbia, but filming has increased steadily over the years.


Despite all of these upsides, the newcomers have burdened the state with huge infrastructure bills to support their increase to the population.


Our next edition will continue to answer the question “Why do native Oregonians dislike Californians so much”.


                 California Hating (to the tune of California Dreaming)


Oregonian Special Californication Issue February 12, 2045


As a part of our continuing story of the dislike of Californians by Oregonians, we went into the streets to find people who would comment on the reasons for their feelings.


The first person we talked to was Jeff, no last name given.  He didn’t want to talk about anti-Californian attitudes because he just got here from San Jose last week.


Our next interviewee was Al Easton, who was born in Bend.  He said “The Californians have driven up home prices and clogged traffic.  They ruined our carefully cultivated and envied lifestyle.”


When asked if he had any connections to California, he admitted that he worked in Silicon Valley for twenty years before coming back to retire, but he spent at least a third of his life here, so his sojourn in California shouldn’t be held against him.


Henry Jackson said “Those guys have no morals.  There’s all of that homosexuality, sex changes, and creepy reality shows.  All of those Hollywood characters have been married at least three times.”  Mr. Jackson runs a string of strip clubs.


Millie Hawkins “They have all of those crazy ideas.  It is a hotbed of vegetarianism.  Earlier they had two female Jewish senators, if you can imagine that.  They have all of those weird religions.  I’m not happy about them taking over our state.”


Our next attempt at an interview was terminated when the man we tried to talk to said “Listen, I’ve got a question for you.  Why is your writing so crappy?  You verb every noun you can.  You use the latest and worst cliché you find.  For some reason you append ‘community’ to every group that you write about.  You use the term ‘people of color’ every chance that you get without having any idea what it means.  Are YOU from California?”  He was later identified as Doug Hawley, a man who quit our Community Columnist venture after a feud with his editor.  Mr. Hawley has been a persistent critic of the Oregonian.


A woman who wouldn’t give her name just said “They look different” without giving any details.


Jason Atkins is a bank executive.  His take “A lot of our bums are from California.  I think they are addicts as well.  If we kept the Californians out, our streets would not have all of those strung out guys looking for handouts just to buy more drugs.  You must know that the drugs in Oregon either originate in California or Mexico, but come in through California.”


Jean Weldon was wearing worn out jeans and a sweatshirt.  She said “They don’t know how to dress, or what to drink or eat.  They have weird ideas about buying new clothes and drinking mass market beer and they buy food from the agricultural – industrial complex.”


We went to Jeff Alberton to get the academic community response.  He is in the psycho-sociological relations community.  His statement has been edited for clarity, brevity and humor.


“The first thing that you should know is that people make up their minds and then find reasons for their decisions.  That certainly applies to the stated reasons for why native Oregonians claim to dislike Californians.  The real reasons are much different.  Paramount is the feeling of inferiority.  The Oregon territory used to include the states of Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana.  As the various parts were taken away, Oregon was left with an inferior state with no good harbors and few people.  Added to that, Washington got a boost from gold in the Klondike and a pioneer airline industry now known as Boeing.  Later, Washington got more and better sports teams, better schools, Starbucks, Amazon and Microsoft.  Oregon got Nike, a company that imports shoes.  As a result, Oregon feels inferior to Washington as well as California.  British Columbia has surpassed Oregon as well.”


“As far ahead of Oregon as Washington and British Columbia are, California is leagues ahead.  The population of Oregon was close to that of Los Angeles alone                  earlier in this century.  California is superior in just about every measurable way, and that was increasingly been true since the gold rush depopulated Oregon.  This is still true, even after California’s recent decline.  Clearly, the claimed dislike of Californians is really envy and feelings of inferiority.  Specifically, Portland has San Francisco envy, because San Francisco is clearly more liberal and even weirder.”


“Another cause of antipathy is the ‘exaltations of small differences’.  It is in the nature of humans to fear or dislike those who are perceived to be different.  Ancient Greeks viewed others as barbarians.  Tribal thinking goes back to our ape forebears.  Oregonians feel ‘authentic’ with their cheap clothing, and locovore eating and drinking habits.  In fact there is very little difference between Oregonians and the typical Californian, much less any difference between a southern Oregonian and a northern Californian.  Oregonians like to feel different and superior.  They are not.”


After professor Alberton had delivered his lecture, we asked if blaming Californians for unaffordable housing and continuous traffic jams in every metro area was irrational.  The professor was late for a meeting and had no time to respond.


At the end of the day no one from the people of color community would speak about what was impacting Oregonians feelings about Californians.  Apparently that issue was not on their radar screen, and no expert was tasked with examining that issue.


                                      Californication Justification

Oregonian Special Californication Issue February 13, 2045

In our last issue, we interviewed Professor Jeff Alberton about the enmity native Oregonians have for the mass of Californian immigrants.  We got responses from Oregonians about his dismissal of Oregonians’ dislike of the immigrants.

We first talked to a colleague of his at Portland State University, Professor Leonard Jones of the School of Urban Planning.  “What Professor Alberton does not tell you is that he was at California State Stockton until about three years ago.  He took a pay cut to teach at PSU and tells everyone how happy he is to be out of California.  He also talks about the poor suckers that he outbid to buy his house.  Sure, publicly he says native Oregonians are delusional about their dislike of Californians, but privately he tells people that he wishes that he was the last Californian to move here.  He says ‘I’m here, now pull up the drawbridge’.  He is such a hypocrite and he does not want to address the real problems of congestion and housing.”

Professor Alberton did not respond to the allegations of Professor Jones, except to say “Unfortunately there is a lot of infighting in academia.”

In an email to the Oregonian Manley Roberts wrote “What Alberton doesn’t talk about is that California was ruined by overpopulation.  What most Oregonians want to avoid is the same fate, and we are headed in that direction.  We’ve been able to get by without massive road construction like happened in California for close to seventy years.  As the California population gets smaller, it would become more livable, except for the weather of course.  Our commutes are bad now, in part because of the mass immigration, but the California commutes are even worse.  Even with the huge desertion of California and the horrible weather there, home prices are still higher there than here.  Any rational person living in Oregon would not want to live as Californians do, so why would anyone here want to turn the state into another California?”

We asked for a response to Alberton from Susan Striper of Livable Oregon.  “Professor Alberton primarily talks about California’s alleged quantitative superiority, which is missing the point.  Our craft beer is better than the mass produced drinks, and eating the vast array of locally grown crops is better than importing food from thousands of miles away, not only in the harm caused by the transportation thereof, but the loss of freshness.  He mentions the exaltations of small differences.  If he spent any time in Los Angeles and Portland, he would see that the differences are not small.  Further, he seems to be truly impressed by the huge businesses in California.  We here in Oregon appreciate the smaller scale of our businesses and institutions.  For example, our wine production pales compared to California, but I think that our quality is better, as do many wine judges.  There are just so many examples which show that small can be better than huge.”

We asked local author Duke Hanley what he thought based on being a native Oregonian who spent nineteen years in California.  “When I moved to California from Colorado to work in insurance, I thought it was great to get away from the snow of Denver, but after three years in Los Angeles, I was happy to see LA in my review mirror.  Not only that, but I found out that I’d had a headache all the time that I lived there.  I didn’t notice it until I left.  Living in the Bay Area was better, but the home prices were horrendous, and traffic was miserable.  I was so happy to return to Oregon.  It hurts me every day that I see Oregon look more like California.  I think that Alberton is off his rocker.”

                                 Californication Examination (5)


Oregonian Special Californication Issue February 14, 2045

In this issue we look at the migrant and native Oregonian experience.

Mel Jacobs moved to Tigard from Orange County in Southern California twenty years ago.  He tells us how that has worked out.  “When I got here twenty years ago, I was so glad to get out of the greater LA area.  My grandparents lived in the same general area where I grew up.  They told me when they were young that it was a paradise of orange groves and small towns.  I don’t know if Disneyland ruined it, or only hastened its destruction.  By the time that I left, it was wall to wall people and cars.  Of course it suffered from the same oppressive heat as all of Southern California.  I was so glad to get out when I was offered a transfer to our Portland office.  Traffic was so much easier and I could take Clackamax light rail to work.  For many years after we moved, life was sweet.  Then everybody else started moving in.  I know, I did the same, only earlier, but I’m still not happy.  It’s hard to simply drive to get groceries now, and the weather is heating up here.  I’m thinking about Idaho now.  We have an office there, but I’m not the only one that wants to relocate there.”

Joe Henry is a third generation Oregonian living in Gresham.  “It’s not the Oregon that I grew up in, and I blame that on the politicians.  When they saw so many people moving here, rather than think of ways to keep them out, they said ‘Let’s increase density.  Build fifty story apartment buildings on every block.  Get rid of cars, buy everyone a bike.  While we’re at it, let’s make it as attractive as we can for bums.’   Like my eighty year old mother is going grocery shopping on a bike.  I’ll tell you what they should have done.  Change the zoning for less density, no more building permits, limit the available water hookups.  But no, welcome all the millions getting out of California and all those other undesirable places.  I think there will be a revolution around here soon; I’m not the only one sick of the way things are going.  I went away to school at UCLA, and if there is one thing I hate, it is turning the Portland area into LA, but without the glamour.  But I’ll tell you, I’m staying here.  This is my place, and I’m not letting the idiot politicians and outsiders ruin it.”

Jim Joel is much more stoic and succinct “You probably got a lot of complainers both from outsiders and locals, and this place has its problems, but where do you want to be, Ohio?”

Julie Hanson is one of the few people that we talked to that seemed happy.  She lives in West Linn.  “I understand how a lot of people are unhappy about what has happened in Oregon, but life isn’t too bad here in the Southwest suburbs.  Our Clackamas politicians have fought tooth and nail against the Portland way of life and it has paid off here.  We don’t have hour long commutes or people crowded into huge apartment buildings here.  We have maintained a high quality, relaxed way of life.  As a result, modest single family houses go for over a million dollars, but if you are old timers like we are, you could get a house for less than half that.  I have no sympathy for newcomers.  If they don’t like it here, they can go somewhere else.”

After the pushback that we got from our interview with Professor Alberton about the hatred against Californians, we decided to run a poll rather than consult experts. 

                                         Dislike Immigrants                    Want To Leave Oregon

Native Oregonians                                36%                                  12%  

Oregon Immigrants                              10%                                  15%

The comments that came with the survey explain some of the odd results.  Among the high number of native Oregonians that dislike the immigrants, many say that they like the ones that they know; it is more that they don’t like the idea or image of the immigrants.  Among the immigrants that don’t like immigrants, many say words to the effect of ‘I’m OK, but some of us can be pretty bad.  Particularly those from some place other than where I’m from.’  The apparent reasons why many want to leave Oregon is that either the immigrants miss something from wherever they came from or that the native Oregonians that think that the state is being ruined.

An odd result of the survey is the large number of respondents who wrote in “Bring the Tampa Bay Rays to Portland”.  This has the look of an organized movement to bring Major League Baseball to Portland from the devastated state of Florida.  The rising ocean and near continuous storms has rendered the state barely habitable, much less able to support major sports teams.                    


                       Californication – Global  (Californication 6)


Oregonian February 15, 2045


The Californication series has been limited up to now in its effects on the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest.  The broader picture of climate change is even more extreme. 


The extreme heat in the US-Mexican Border States and the far south of the US has fostered talks of ceding those US areas to Mexico.  The population of those areas has been primarily Latin since the 2030s and most of the Anglo population has moved north.  Many that had lived there couldn’t take the heat and couldn’t or wouldn’t learn Spanish.  Despite the temperatures considered high by some, it is better than Mexico or Central America.


While those negotiations proceed, the US and Canada are talking about a loose union.  The US offers an unbeatable armed force and a huge economy, while Canada has vast natural resources and the potential for an increased agricultural base and a more inviting temperature as the heat increases.  With the greater land area the union would offer a hedge against future weather changes.  There are still many questions to resolve, but the US rejection of capital punishment and movement towards universal health care have smoothed some possible problems.  If the union movement succeeds, there would be many powers devolving to the states or provinces as is currently the case, with the Union handling defense and foreign affairs.


Russia has, like the US, decided that its southern regions, particularly those that are largely Muslim, are just too much trouble, and has withdrawn from those areas and left them to fend for themselves.


Northern Europe, Argentina, South Africa, Siberia and Australia have done relatively well with the increased temperatures except for the increase in storms and droughts.  In some cases, agriculture has improved.  There are far more refugees seeking a better place to live than at any other time in history.  Some places such as Siberia and Argentina can still support more people, but most countries can hardly support their own citizens.


President for life, Gdan Znak, has declared that weather problems in his neighboring countries is the work of Western Devils, and that only he can save Zhole.  Even before global warning was in the news, he was a mesmerizing politician, and he has used the catastrophe to his benefit.  Anyone who claims that temperatures have risen in Zhole is imprisoned.  Most of his subjects believe that he has kept the temperatures down in their country despite the evidence to the contrary.  Other cult leaders sell repressive religious or racial views as a way to rule.  Some of the cults believe in end times and encourage mass suicide, celibacy or survivalist tactics.  In a few short years, the franchised survival company Staying Alive has become a multi-national billion dollar company. 


Conflict around the world is justified by religion or politics, but a closer look indicates that the worse off areas want what the slightly better off have.  Israel and all of the Muslim countries of the Middle East want water and arable land.  The same applies to much of Asia and Africa.  The worst off are those that believe that expanding populations equals success.  Much of the world has devolved into tribal primacy over national interests.  Multicultural countries like Belgium, Iraq and India have splintered into more cohesive cultural units.  As usual in hard times, the rich are building their fortresses and even private armies, or buying their way into more pleasant climes.


So called first world countries have a completely different problem.  In order to keep what they already have, the people there are not having children and the population is sinking.  It has not taken a government decree to tell the women that more children mean a harder life.  Europe, Japan, Australia and North American have an increasingly expensive elderly population, but are unwilling to open the floodgates to an unassimilated contingent that wants in.  Nationalist politicians with the aid of compassion fatigue have largely taken over in the more advanced countries and have taken the path of preserving what they have over helping other nations.  Despite pleas for sympathy and insults of fascism, the majority chooses survival, while millions die of disease and starvation in refugee camps.  Policies vary, but Argentina, for one, will admit no immigrants.


Compared to the pain in the tropical countries, Oregon’s irritation with Californians is merely a minor annoyance.  Despite all of the problems attendant with overpopulation, as always life continues.  Oregonians are now paying more attention to the upcoming election than environmental problems.


This ends the series.  Our series on the teacher strike starts next Monday.


A slightly different version was serialized in the defunct Nugget Tales