The Onset of the Modern Age:
Some mark the beginning of the modern age with the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan on August 6, 1945. Despite the utter devastation of the bombing, people clung to thebelief that wartime scientific advances would redound to human benefit.
The Oregon legislature created the Postwar Readjustment and Development Committee to plan for the modern age. Among other things, this development centered on putting the region’s waterways to use.
Forest Products and Agricultural Goods:
Oregon’s post-war economy relied heavily on the export of forest products and agricultural goods. The lumber industry practiced what it called scientific forestry and treated timber as a crop.
The Boom Years:
The great, though short-lived, post-war timber boom found all of Oregon’s timber regions in full production. Following the bust, some Oregon regions had to re-invent themselves economically.
Return to Hard Times:
Some lumber-dependent regions in Oregon encountered difficulties in their attempt to reduce their reliance on vanishing timberlands.
Oregon's Public Lands:
A sizable chunk of Oregon land is currently under some degree of federal management. Because of this, land-management decisions have always been politically volatile.
Criticizing the Industry:
Criticism of forest industry practices focused on the size of proposed wilderness areas and the use of pesticides on public lands. Most attempts to address the problems between the industry and environmental groups failed to account for the needs of timber-dependent communities.
The post-war federal government decided it was time to get out of the Indian business, and set a course toward a policy of termination.
Pollution in Paradise:
Despite Oregon’s reputation for environmental leadership some of the state’s rivers were dangerously unhealthy from years of municipal and industrial abuse.
While dams on the Willamette River system have helped reduce pollution and provide a technological fix to the persisting problem, reports suggest urban sections are still vulnerable to industrial chemicals and rural sections to pest and nutrient contaminents.
The reforms of the McCall administration directly addressed the problem of finding a balance between usage and preservation.
Women in Oregon Politics:
Women have made modest gains in Oregon’s elective politics in the past half-century.
Over the last fifty years, Oregon’s ethnic make-up has become increaingly diverse.
Oregon’s political landscape grew increasingly more contentious over the last two decades of the twentieth century.