Why is Oregon So Progressive?

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This Wikipedia article describes some of the political milestones that took place in the 20th century. We locals are well aware that, during the earlier half of the century, Oregon was a home for the KKK and that many of Government's more memorable characterers were Conservatives. Sometime around the middle of the century, we started getting politicians like Wayne Morse, followed by Republicans like Mark Hatfield and Tom McCall. (These would be called Socialists or Communists by today's Republicans). What happened?

One thing that stuck out to me was that around the turn of the century, the State started getting landmark laws with a "populist" emphasis. Oregon was the first state, for instance, to have an intitative and referendum. That is, The people were beginning to put some strings on Government's power. Now, the word "populist" has taken on a murkey meaning. The Tea Partiers think that they are populists, and the OWS people are certainly populist. Populism cannot, at this time, be equated with "Progressivism", although, I suspect that if the liberals are able to claim the label as their own, the Tea Partiers will quickly find a way to demonize the label. This is all incidental to the main question I am asking.

How did Oregon get to be the way it is, and what does that protend for the larger picture of America?

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Art
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